City of Happy Valley's proposed withdrawal from NCPRD

Court rules Happy Valley improperly withdrew from Parks District

A Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge ruled that Happy Valley relied on the wrong law in its attempt to withdraw from the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District. Further proceedings are scheduled for Dec. 21. Read press release.

NCPRD Community Conversations

The City of Happy Valley is seeking to withdraw from the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District. NCPRD held two public meetings in mid-December for people who live in the District (Happy Valley, Milwaukie and unincorporated areas of North Clackamas County) and wanted to learn how this could affect them. View the presentation.

More public meetings will be held in January. Details will be available soon.

If you are unable to attend a public meeting or have questions or comments, feel free to contact NCPRD at 503-742-4348 or info@ncprd.com, or visit their website.

Overview

In June 2017, the Happy Valley City Council took action to withdraw from NCPRD and to provide their own parks and recreation services to Happy Valley residents. However, the City did not follow appropriate state law in withdrawing from the District. This legal question is in the process of being resolved in court.

On Dec. 13, the Circuit Court ruled that the City of Happy Valley improperly withdrew from the District. The City and District are scheduled to report to the Court Thursday, Dec. 21 before next steps are determined. Read the court ruling.

During the legal proceedings, the District has continued to maintain facilities and programming in Happy Valley without receiving a permanent tax rate from Happy Valley residents.

NCPRD will continue to make any necessary adjustments to our operations and budgets to provide the best service and value possible to our residents.

What Does This Mean for Happy Valley Residents?

The City’s withdrawal from NCPRD would mean that the District is no longer the provider of parks and recreation services within Happy Valley. The City of Happy Valley would become the provider of parks and recreation services for Happy Valley residents. If this occurs, residents of Happy Valley would:

  • No longer have access to the following NCPRD programs and services:
    • Meals on Wheels
    • Transportation program
    • Emergency firewood service
    • In-home care referral services
    • Movies in the Park
    • RecMobile
  • Possibly have to pay more or have reduced access to the following programs
    • Swim lessons
    • Aquatic fitness and training
    • Older adult services
    • Adult recreation and sports leagues
    • Youth recreation and sports programs
    • Summer camps
    • Travel program
    • Drop-in activity groups
    • Special events (e.g., Daddy-Daughter Dinner Dance, Winter Celebrations, etc.)
  • Likely enjoy fewer services or have to pay more for the same services, because NCPRD has existing infrastructure and is able to provide economies of scale otherwise unavailable to the City of Happy Valley.

What Does This Mean for NCPRD Residents Outside of Happy Valley?

NCPRD residents in Milwaukie and unincorporated areas of North Clackamas County continue to receive high-quality services, have access to programs and facilities and pay taxes for parks and recreation programs. However, a withdrawal of the City of Happy Valley and the City’s financial contribution to the District could:

  • Reduce the District’s ability to offer remaining residents the same high level of programs, services and facilities at current costs. The District could be in a position of evaluating specific programs and services for reduction and/or elimination, or considering increased costs to participants to mitigate the impact of this lost revenue.
  • Require a scaling down of services, staff and/or infrastructure to accommodate the lost revenue from the City of Happy Valley.

What Is Going to Happen Next?

The county and NCPRD will continue to focus on serving the best interests of all District residents. We will post updates on this website as they are available.

What is NCPRD?

The North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District (NCPRD) is a service district of Clackamas County. It provides exceptional parks and recreation programs, facilities and services to more than 122,000 residents in a 36-square-mile area, including the cities of Milwaukie and Happy Valley, and a large area of northern unincorporated Clackamas County including Oak Grove, Jennings Lodge and more.

The NCPRD offers residents the use of more than 39 parks, 25 natural areas, 15 miles of trails, the Hood View Sports Complex, the North Clackamas Aquatic Park, the Milwaukie Center and Mount Talbert Nature Park.

Citizens voted to create the NCPRD in 1990, and Happy Valley voted to join the District in 2006. According to the measure approved in 2006 by Happy Valley voters, “City Finances alone cannot adequately fund parks and recreation.”

The NCPRD has its own permanent taxing authority, with 54 cents of every $1,000 of assessed value dedicated to providing parks and recreation services in the community.

Timeline

Dec. 13, 2018 The Circuit Court rules that Happy Valley improperly withdrew from NCPRD. The City of Happy Valley argued that ORS 222.520 governed the proper withdrawal from NCPRD. The District argued that ORS 198.870 governed the proper withdrawal of a city from a special district. The Court ruled that ORS 198 was the correct statute. The City and District are to report to the Court by Dec. 21 to address other matters raised by the motion before next steps are determined.
Dec. 12, 2018 A hearing is held in Circuit Court in Happy Valley’s lawsuit on the form of Order on Summary Judgment.  The court takes the question under advisement to decide if, after the Court’s earlier ruling that NCPRD was in breach of the agreement, Happy Valley is entitled to damages at this time or if damages must be determined at trial in August 2019.
Dec. 5, 2018      A hearing on NCPRD’s Motion for Summary Judgment is held in the declaratory judgment action in Circuit Court on the question of whether Happy Valley’s attempt to withdraw from NCPRD was proper, or illegal and void. 
Nov. 28, 2018 The Circuit Court denied a request by Happy Valley to dismiss a declaratory judgment filed by the NCPRD, Clackamas County, and the Clackamas County Assessor to decide the question of whether the City’s attempt to withdraw from NCPRD was legal.
Oct. 29, 2018 The Circuit Court denied a request by Happy Valley to dismiss a declaratory judgment filed by the NCPRD, Clackamas County, and the Clackamas County Assessor to decide the question of whether the City’s attempt to withdraw from NCPRD was legal.
Oct. 12, 2018 The Circuit Court denies Happy Valley’s motion to consolidate the declaratory judgment action with the lawsuit seeking a share of the District’s assets filed earlier by Happy Valley.  This decision allowed for an earlier hearing on a Motion for Summary Judgment.
Sept. 19, 2018 The Oregon Tax Court rules that the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) exceeded its authority in rescinding approval of a boundary change sought by the City of Happy Valley during its attempt to withdraw from NCPRD. The decision invalidates the June DOR decision that rescinded the boundary approval and reinstates the DOR’s March approval of the boundary change.
June 19, 2018 Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) rescinds approval of Happy Valley's boundary change. DOR determined that the City did not follow appropriate state law in withdrawing from NCPRD.
May 15, 2018 City of Happy Valley voters approve establishing a five-year local option levy for parks and recreation services with the same assessed tax rate as NCPRD.
Nov. 2017 NCPRD files a countersuit against Happy Valley.
Oct. 2017 Happy Valley files a lawsuit against NCPRD seeking a share of the District’s assets and substantial cash.
June 2017 The Happy Valley City Council votes to withdraw from NCPRD effective Dec. 31, 2017.

News

Dec. 13, 2018 Court rules Happy Valley improperly withdrew from Parks District
Sept. 19, 2018 Oregon Tax Court rules Department of Revenue without authority to rescind Happy Valley boundary change; No longer part of NCPRD
July 3, 2018 Clackamas County Commissioners decline Happy Valley requests for NCPRD boundary change submission, tax delay
June 21, 2018 Oregon Department of Revenue invalidates Happy Valley boundary change; City remains part of NCPRD
April 10, 2018 NCPRD status change for Happy Valley residents
Oct. 9, 2017 Clackamas County on Happy Valley lawsuit: City has ‘misguided perception’ that it is owed more than authorized by state law in withdrawal from NCPRD
June 7, 2017 North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District to transition services within Happy Valley city limits