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Milwaukie, Happy Valley looking for agreement on annexation

Clackamas Town Center, the area of unincorporated Clackamas County between Milwaukie and Happy Valley, could soon join a city.

Both cities like the idea of bringing the area into their jurisdictions. The 5.7-square-mile area, which stretches roughly from Linwood Avenue to Interstate 205, has a population of 20,253 people. Taking it on would double Milwaukie's population and increase Happy Valley's population by 133 percent.

Representatives from Milwaukie and Happy Valley will meet on July 12 to discuss possibly annexing the area.

Milwaukie already has the area in its urban growth management agreement, a pact with the county that delineates what land can be annexed by the city. Happy Valley is considering taking the land into its own growth management agreement.

Neither city is looking to annex into the area immediately, said Assistant to Milwaukie City Manager Teri Bankhead and Happy Valley Mayor Lori DeRemer. But the agreements made are important for delineating what areas will be fair game for annexation in the future.

The core of the area, which includes the commercial-zoned Town Center, would yield $7 million in taxes annually, according to an estimate by Milwaukie city officials. The area, including surrounding residential zones, would yield $8.9 million each year.

Milwaukie city councilors agreed that whoever takes the Town Center should also take on the surrounding residential areas.

"A natural boundary is either I-205 or Linwood," and whoever takes west of I-205, should take all the way to Milwaukie, said Milwaukie Council President Greg Chaimov.

DeRemer also said it seemed "fair and reasonable" to bundle the residential area with the business area.

Overlapping growth management agreement boundaries are technically allowed, but they are not favored by Clackamas County because of the confusion they would engender, says Bankhead.

If Milwaukie's and Happy Valley's growth area boundaries overlapped, both cities would be able to expand into the area.

Annexing the area will mean an expansion in services for whatever city takes it on. Milwaukie would have to "effectively double the staff of the police department" and expand into new larger facilities, estimated Milwaukie Police Capt. Steve Bartol.

Streets are also an issue for the area.

"In general, the local streets are in pretty poor condition," said Milwaukie Engineer and Interim Public Works Director Gary Parkin. "There'll be quite a need. It would add to our backlog of local streets that need to be addressed."