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Damascus voters eye Happy Valley plans

Happy Valley officials are not taking a position on Damascus’ November ballot measure that proposes disincorporation.

With the North Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce hosting a debate on Saturday, locals have been wondering whether Happy Valley could take over the area if Damascus residents voted to dissolve their city.

Mayor Lori DeRemer says it’s too early to promise anything to citizens of Damascus, as Happy Valley is now concentrating on areas to its west and south.

“I’m not encouraging anyone in Damascus to vote either way, because they need to take a stand, and then we’ll take our stand,” DeRemer said.

Although not related to Damascus’ vote, City Manager Jason Tuck noted that Happy Valley is interested in long-term planning for the North Clackamas area. In the event of Damascus disincorporation, Happy Valley will be asking for a seat at the table with Clackamas County and Metro on any planning that would occur along its boundary.

If Damascus votes to dissolve, then Clackamas County commissioners become responsible for the area’s future. On Oct. 24, county officials are scheduled to approve an Urban Growth Management Area that designates Interstate 205 as the ultimate boundary between Happy Valley and Milwaukie.

“We just don’t want any bordering areas to be planned without us,” Tuck said. “We’re starting to see development interests in the expansion area. The next steps in that will be to talk to those communities that are outside our boundaries but inside our ultimate interest area and talk with them about the benefits of incorporation.”