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Park District petition expected to be approved posted on 12/01/2021

Organizers of the proposed Hoodland Park District, a new entity that could receive three parcels of land on Salmon River Road from Clackamas County and oversee community projects from Wapinitia to Sleepy Hollow, expect the county to verify enough signatures on a petition to put the potential district on the May 2022 ballot. The petition required 788 signatures to be submitted to the county before Nov. 18 to be verified, and Regina Lythgoe, co-chair of the effort, reported 1,077 signatures were obtained.

“It was a relief to finally get them done in such a short amount of time,” she said, adding that 34 volunteers participated in the drive to get signatures. “It feels good to get everybody involved and all the help we got from the volunteers.”

The county has 10 days to verify signatures and certify the petition, which Lythgoe expected to be done in the early days of December. Once certified, the county commissioners will have 50 days to hold a public hearing, but no date has been set as of yet.

Lythgoe noted that organizers expect to hold a number of community forums and other outreach following the hearing.

The proposed district would encompass approximately 20,000 acres, including the communities of Sleepy Hollow, Brightwood, Wemme, Welches, Zigzag, Rhododendron, Government Camp and Wapinitia, and feature a board of directors that will be elected on the same ballot. District organizers hope to develop the Dorman Center site as a community park, with possible amenities including a pavilion, playground, walking trails, extended community garden, bike pump track, skate park, dog park, space for farmers market, restrooms and onsite security.

The district would be funded by a local property tax, proposed to be at approximately 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value (resulting in approximately $200 per year on a house with an assessed value of $300,000).

The district could acquire other land in the community (either by purchase or a gift) and secure different methods of funding (such as grants) to create trails connecting Mountain communities, an ice-skating rink or other amenities.

If the district fails to form, the parcels of land on Salmon River Road will be sold by Clackamas County.

One Mountain community expressed some reservations about the proposed district, as the Government Camp Planning Organization formed a subcommittee to gauge interest in it.

The subcommittee created a survey, which showed 84 percent of the 156 responses were opposed to the district (76 percent of 33 registered voters who participated were opposed).

The survey was conducted over three days in October and was limited to one response per household.

In a document outlining the survey, the subcommittee recommended that petitioners should reconsider the proposal and exclude the communities of Government Camp, Summit Meadows and Wapinitia.

Lythgoe noted the district’s aim is to improve livability throughout the Mountain and that many of the people who work in those three areas live in Welches, Rhododendron and other Hoodland communities.

“We’re in this together,” she said.

For more information, visit the district’s website, www.hoodlandparkdistrict.us or email hoodlandparkdistrict@gmail.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT





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