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Mount Hood neighbors invited to comment on, ask questions about proposed parks district

COURTESY PHOTO: HOODLAND WOMENS CLUB - The Hoodland Parks District would exist within the boundaries of the Hoodland Fire District, spreading from Government Camp to Summertime Road at Alder Creek.Hoodland Women's Club is urging local voters to take a good look at a proposal for a new parks district on November's ballot.

With a district and its associated tax base, the club plans to turn the former Dorman Center land into a park. The district would be in Hoodland Fire District boundaries, from Government Camp to Summertime Road at Alder Creek.

Three parcels of land, all on Salmon River Road, will make up the new park. That includes the former 3.97-acre Dorman Center property, five acres adjacent to the Oregon Department of Transportation road gravel storage and an 11-acre strip beyond Birdie Lane.

The club has a memorandum of understanding with Clackamas County commissioners, saying the county would donate the land to the park district. If the district doesn't use it, the county will sell the property.

A town hall is planned from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort's Trails Room to answer questions and discuss the progress of the campaign. Among those scheduled to speak is Clackamas County Parks and Forest Manager Rick Gruen.

"He'll be good to speak about what it'll mean to our community to have a parks district," said club President Marci Slater. "I think people don't really get what will happen to that land if we don't get the district."

The estimated cost to start the district is about $480,000, or 49 cents per $1,000 of assessed value of the property taxes in the district.

Besides the park district measure, there will also be measures to create a tax base and to form a board for the district. Those who are interested in potentially serving on the five- to seven-member board should contact Clackamas County Elections in the next few months.

A consultant hired by the club is writing a legal description of the district to be turned into a map of its boundaries by the county GIS.

"We've got a very tight timeline to get this on the ballot," Slater said.

To get the district proposal on November's ballot, the club must get 750 signatures from registered voters by May. That effort ramps up following the February's town hall.

"The next big ask will be to get people to help us," Slater said. "At this town hall we need to hear straight from the community what their expectation is for the park and also what does the district mean after the Hoodland park is created. What scope does the community expect to see from the district?"

"We are a small committee trying to do so much," Hoodland Parks District Committee Member Regina Lythgoe said. "I (envision) this (as an) opportunity for our community to establish something we can all be proud of. This land should be a place that belongs to this community with our local control. This land should not slip through our fingers and be sold off for logging or commercial uses. This park will be a vehicle for our community to grow in providing a sense of identity and cohesiveness. This would be a place to call our own."

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