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Citizen's View: Stafford Hamlet: fulfilling its purpose

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The Stafford Hamlet is an advisory board to the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. In the matter of the Stafford remand, the Hamlet has been completely transparent, informative, forthright and as inclusive as possible, reaching out to all stakeholders as we have completed tasks to help not only the Hamlet, but also the County determine how best to proceed with planning for our area.

Taking our purposes to heart, we have accomplished the following to fulfill the obligations outlined in our Clackamas County Hamlet bylaws:

— Accomplished the great work of helping develop our community identity. A Vision and Values Statement was our first offering, which was overwhelmingly approved and supported by all. The Community Vision Plan and the Stafford Compromise are other products of our great work;

— Listened to and provided community members a place to express positions on issues of concern;

— Used the above to be "the voice of the community"; and

— Provided advice to the Board of Commissioners, Metro, cities, Community Planning Organizations and others with great care and effort (which has sometimes gone unappreciated, disregarded or ignored completely).

We are still seeking equitable representation of the interests of our community members. But one town hall meeting to present our compromise (scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Athey Creek Middle School in West Linn; see story on Page A8) is not equitable when compared to the Board of Commissioners' involvement with other stakeholders, including the Stafford Land Owners Association, cities, Metro and the State of Oregon.

Stafford Hamlet, it seems, is "not at the table, but always on the menu."

The Stafford Compromise is the only document that addresses the livability, sustainability and functionality of the Stafford community and surrounding region. It will let the region work out its long-range governance issues, with recommendations that help solve the remand issues. All stakeholders get something, but not everything they want.

Are we as smart as Washington County was in forming a coalition to address development issues — in our case, one that includes Clackamas County, the cities of Tualatin, West Linn and Lake Oswego, along with the Stafford Hamlet community — to come up with a plan that we can move forward?

The County should not bow to Metro's pressure. Our hope is that commissioners will instead consider joining our coalition and

working with us for the betterment of the entire region. We have a formative movement that is gaining momentum and can make this happen as we want it, not as Metro sees fit. Sometimes, the "hard" yes is more advantageous than the "easy" no.

To county commissioners, we say: Please join us. We look forward to having you work with us, rather than against the wishes of so many. Please take us off the menu and let us join you at the table.

Rick Cook submitted this Citizen's View on behalf of the J.P. and Susie Cook family, which has lived in the Hazelia area for six generations.