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Stafford Triangle hamlet on the move

Letter from Tualatin mayor opposes Stafford Triangle hamlet formation order

STAFFORD TRIANGLE - Even with local cities withholding their support, the Clackamas County commissioners have approved a formation order for the Stafford Triangle hamlet.

'The commissioners chose to stay committed to the process,' said Dave Adams, chief petitioner for the hamlet.

Adams described Stafford as having likely dodged the Urban Growth Boundary expansion bullet for the last time. Adams said he and the rest of Stafford know development is probably coming.

Resident Mike Stewart knows that everyone has an opinion about development in the Stafford Triangle - an unincorporated area that includes 650 homes and about 3,000 residents, located north of I-205 and bordered by Tualatin, Lake Oswego and West Linn. But both Stewart and Adams believe that the time has come for Stafford residents to give form to their own vision of the future.

'We've been bounced around with everyone else's opinions for the last 20 years,' said Stewart, a supporter of the Stafford Triangle hamlet. 'We just want to give Stafford residents a voice.'

Last week the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners approved a hamlet formation order for the area known as the Stafford Triangle. A hamlet is a quasi-governmental model that organizes forums for local citizens to express concerns, prioritize activities and coordinate community-based activities. Unlike a village, it has no taxing authority.

The order allows Stafford residents to move forward with organizational meetings in the creation of a hamlet to produce bylaws and formation of a board of directors. The commissioners will still have to approve of the final hamlet formation once the meetings are over.

But while Stafford groups originally torn between the concepts of a village and a hamlet celebrated their newfound consensus, the surrounding cities of Tualatin, Lake Oswego and West Linn were less impressed.

Each of the cities sent similar letters of concern to the Clackamas County commissioners.

Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden issued a letter that stated the city would oppose the hamlet formation order unless commissioners included several stipulations. The stipulations included intergovernmental agreements for planning and the requirement of annexation in order to receive any urban services should the Urban Growth Boundary expand to include the North Stafford Basin area. The stipulations were not included in the order.

'The concern is that any development in this area has significant impact on surrounding cities,' Ogden said during a July 24 City Council workshop.

Stewart would not comment on the cities' concerns outlined in the letters. He only added, 'We don't want to be a threat to any of the cities.'

Adams and Stewart noted that the organizational meetings would be '100 percent open to the public' and designed to encourage discussion.

'I think everyone understands the cities have a stake in Stafford's future, but the vision of Stafford needs to come first from the citizens that live here,' Adams said.