The North Clackamas Citizens Association last week joined forces with the Clackamas CPO in an effort to provide stronger recommendations on issues north of the Clackamas River and south of Harmony Road to the Board of County Commissioners.

In a Nov. 29 joint meeting in the Clackamas River Water Commission’s boardroom, both neighborhood boards acknowledged and approved the organizations’ separate decisions from earlier this autumn. The two community planning organizations have for the past few months been looking at the issue of joining together (“County planning groups mull merger,” Sept. 12).

“Our two areas are so close geographically, and we just believe we have so many interests in common, so I think this is a really good move,” said Barbara Kemper, chairwoman of the Clackamas CPO. “If you look at the map of the Clackamas CPO, it was more industrial, and North Clackamas was mostly residential, so we decided if they joined, they’ll both be strengthened and balanced.”

Construction of Interstate 205 halved the neighborhood in 1982. Clackamas Elementary and McLoughlin Junior High School, now both closed, had crossed over the boundaries. But the Clackamas River Water District covers both sides of the highway, and the shopping district of 82nd Drive still serves both areas.

“This is our attempt to bring a closer connection and make sure that the impact of developments are well-vetted by citizens and understood to be of great regional importance by county commissioners,” said Cyndi Lewis-Wolfram, president of the North Clackamas Citizens Association.

This week, the boards will send in the necessary paperwork to Clackamas County, which established Community Planning Organizations in 1973, and commissioners are expected to finalize their decision to merge early next year. Barbara Smolak, head of Clackamas County’s Citizen Involvement department, has visited with the community leaders and is helping them guide the process.

In the interim, the now-larger Clackamas CPO will continue having joint meetings with two sets of leaders. Among their ongoing discussions are recommendations on the McLoughlin Area Plan and prioritizing urban-renewal projects in the Clackamas Regional Center.

Their next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, with meeting location to be announced. People with questions should contact Kemper, 503-380-3544, or Lewis-Wolfram, 503-756-1966.

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