Mayoral candidates, community members support park land annexation on ballot
In addition to the House District 52, Senate District 26 and handful of city races in the November election, Sandy voters will have a resolution to annex park land belonging to the city, the only Sandy-based measure to appear on Nov. 6, ballot.
The plot in question is a 38.05-acre area located just outside the urban growth boundary. The Sandy Community Campus Parkland Annexation measure asks voters if the city of Sandy should annex the city-owned land for park and open space purposes.
"I fully support the ballot measure asking for voter approval for annexation of park property owned by the city," Mayor Bill King told The Post. "I believe the the voters should support this ballot measure as well. It makes sense to have city-owned property including our parks within the city limits."
The land would become part of the greater proposed Sandy Community Campus space and part of the Sandy River Park. Because the proposed land to be annexed is outside of the Urban Growth Boundary, it cannot be used for "urban" purposes. If annexed in, the land will "remain in a natural state," as noted by City Attorney David Doughman in a meeting of the Sandy City Council on Aug. 20.
Permitted uses as outlined in the Sandy River Park Master Plan would include "hiking, nature study, and habitat restoration and ... a trail system to facilitate these uses. Accessory structures in the park identified in the plan include interpretative signage, benches, picnic tables, restroom facilities and limited parking," according to the explanatory statement by Associate Planner James Cramer included in the voters pamphlet.
"While the future of the Sandy Community Campus remains unclear, every single positive outcome for our community and taxpayers begins with voter approval of this annexation," said Stan Pulliam, candidate for mayor. "No matter your view on the projects direction, local control of the area is vital."
Parks Advisory Board member Kathleen Walker said she has often been a "no-vote" on annexations by the city, but supports the ballot measure because she supports "responsible development."
"I advocate for considering before annexing more property," she said. "Let's make sure we have the infrastructure to deal with what we have first."
Looking forward, Walker noted, the annexation is important to Sandy's future.
"Our key thing is as development goes forward that there are parks and trails to connect development to key places," she said.
The alternative to annexing the property would involve quite a bit of red tape at the county level. The Clackamas County government would be calling the shots on development or use of the land.
If the city has the property then it can decide on the use of the land through its own practices.
Walker spoke of Sandy River Park as a past example of how county management of city land panned out.
"When Sandy River Park was not in our area, it was difficult to get our cops to go patrol that area," Walker noted. "I kind of dread the idea of our trails looking like the Springwater Corridor and our parks looking like Portland parks."
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