Mayor says new zip code is a step in the city's growth and development
by: photo by David Stroup, Postal Clerk Charlie Buechle carefully applies the first commemorativce pictorial cancellation marking Happy Valley’s brand new zip code.

Sometimes a simple number can make a big difference. In Happy Valley, that number is 97086.

On Friday, Happy Valley celebrated the introduction earlier in the month with a commemorative 'pictorial postmark' - applied by the Clackamas postmaster in a ceremony at the gazebo in Happy Valley Park.

'We've had lots of constituents - over the years - tell us that 'you need to have a Happy Valley address,'' Mayor Gene Grant said, '' to feel like you're in a city.' It's a recognition - a coming of age - that now we are a real city.'

The boundary of the new zip code starts at SE 82nd Avenue on the west, the county line on the north, 172nd on the east and Sunnyside Road on the south - Grant noted that Clackamas Town Center 'is now a Happy Valley address - that's nice!'

Grant noted that there are practical benefits as well - some residents may see insurance benefits or have an easier time getting a better price when selling real estate with a 'real' Happy Valley address. However, postal officials noted that the decision to create a new zip code is made purely for practical reasons - the main impetus for the new number is the growth that the area has been experiencing.

The commemorative 'pictorial postmark' was a one-time thing - a special treat for collectors of postmarks and postal memorabilia, who lined up to get post cards with the collectable cancellation. 'It's a way to introduce the zip code to the community,' said Kerry Jeffrey, customer relations coordinator for the Postal Service. 'It's a part of the community identity - and it's a big deal to them.'

Q: How does a community get a zip code?

Kerry Jeffrey, U.S. Postal Service: 'It's a rare occurrence - it actually has to do with the growth in the area. Zip codes are purely for the delivery and processing of mail, they aren't ties to community identity… in this case the growth in this area is phenomenal. Looking down the road 20, 30 years it really became essential for a new zip code for Happy Valley and neighboring Damascus - so we carved areas out of existing zip codes to create it.'

Q: What does this mean to a collector?

Bill White, postal historian and collector: 'Since 1847 there have been 124 post offices [in Clackamas County], of which - until July 1 - there were only 24 left, some of them only in existence for a couple of years in the 1880s and whatnot - before 1859 they were territorial towns in the county there were seven Clackamas County towns that had O.T. - Oregon Territory - on them.'

Q: What's the practical

significance for Happy Valley residents?

Mayor Gene Grant: 'It means that the property owners that have Portland addresses now will have lower insurance, they actually were charged higher insurance for the rating for the city of Portland… a lot of people will see an actual financial benefit. And we've had people say, too, that brokers have told them that if you have a Happy Valley address - the Portland address would detract from your property value… because it's not officially Happy Valley.'

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