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Land Use Planning | Natural Resources
Clackamas County

Long Range Comprehensive Planning (1973)
Support long-range planning as essential for orderly growth.

Long-range comprehensive Planning:

  • Defines, with citizen participation, goals and objectives. Identifies desired community characteristics such as: plan area, population density, open space, appearance, accessibility to outside, circulation within, commercial and industrial facilities, conservation, employment, public services, and facilities. Establishes goals for: representative citizen participation, public awareness of planning decisions, and amendment procedure.
  • Is based on thorough research, including studies of present and projected factors, such as: natural environment and geological characteristics and conservation needs, environmental impact of alternatives, economic realities, cost-benefit studies of alternative land uses, land use and zoning, population trends, community characteristics, methods of citizen involvement, and plans of other governmental jurisdictions.
  • Includes specific plans to carry out the goals and objectives, such as: land use map ( mapping use and density), and plans for circulation (streets, bikeways, greenbelts, walkways, mass transit), water, storm drains, sanitary sewers, parks and open spaces, public buildings, utilities, libraries, fire and police, health, schools, solid waste disposal, environmental protection, conservation (Agriculture, historic, unique, etc.), and citizen involvement.
  • Includes means for implementation, such as: zoning ordinances and map (regulating density and impact), subdivision controls, building and housing codes, pollution control program, capital improvement program, close cooperation and coordination among various levels of government, special ordinances (PUD, tree, sign, design review, etc.), and citizen committees, town meetings, neighborhood associations, etc.
  • Includes schedule for periodic review: on-going re-evaluation with citizen participation.

Land Use (1974)
We endorse a series of well-publicized hearings through the county before adoption of the Clackamas County Comprehensive Plan. We endorse citizen participation both in the development of land use goals and in communication and evaluation. Citizen participation, education, communication and on-going re-evaluation are essential elements in the comprehensive planning process.

We support strict enforcement of Department of Environmental Quality regulations regarding subsurface sewage disposal, such regulations being necessary to insure no pollution of ground waters, or natural or man-made water courses, will occur as a result of the development of any area of the county. We strongly support providing for orderly development by limited development to areas that can provide adequate sewer treatment facilities. We favor preservation of prime agricultural lands for agricultural use.

Parks and Open Space (1975)
Support provisions for Parks and Open Space as contained in the Goals and Guidelines of the Clackamas County Comprehensive Plan.

  1. High priority should be given provisions to broaden representation and responsibilities of the Park
  2. Advisory Board. The Park Advisory Board should be broadened to include the proposed Open Space Committee.
  3. High priority should be given to site acquisition.
  4. Support of provisions to retain greenways, utilities easements and rights-of-way along rivers, streams, and lakes.
  5. Support of increased use of school facilities and other public land, buildings, and public works.
  6. Support preservation of open space through tax incentives and encouraging gifts of open space.
  7. Support of citizen involvement at all stages of planning for parks and open space.


Economic Impact of Growth (1979)
In order to provide the capital facilities needed to accommodate the expected growth in Clackamas County, local governments require adequate financing.

  • Support a system of financing that:
  • utilizes a variety of revenue sources;
  • is dependable so that local governments can provide facilities in a planned manner and avoid critical deficiencies; and
  • shares costs as fairly as possible between new and existing residents.

Developers should provide improvements (such as streets, lighting, sidewalks, signalization, etc.) serving the immediate neighborhood of the development. In addition, we support the use of systems development fees on new development to help finance facilities serving a wider area.

Use of these charges will insure that:

  • those who create the need for new or expanded facilities will pay a reasonable share of the costs; and
  • local governments will have adequate predictable revenue to provide facilities when needed.

These charges should be large enough to reflect costs of serving new development but should take into account contributions made by new residents through property taxes and user fees and benefits of new or expanded facilities to existing development. Legislation should be considered to extend the power to levy systems development fees to school districts.

Water (2004)
The League of Women VotersĀ® of Clackamas County (LWVCC) believes that the availability of high quality drinking water is essential for the health an safety of consumers. It further believes that water policy decisions should be based on the principle that water belongs to the public and should be managed for its benefit. In keeping with this philosophy, the LWVCC supports the following statements:

  1. The LWVCC feels that Clackamas County municipal drinking water providers should acknowledge that drinking water standards evolve over time and that it is necessary to exceed standards wherever possible in an effort to eliminate undesirable elements from water supplies. The process used by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Oregon Health Division of the Department of Human Resources and by theOregon Water Resources Department provides a sound approach towards ensuring suficient water and high standards for drinking water systems. Processes should be monitored vigorously to guarantee compliance with laws.
  2. Municipal water providers should maintain possession of sufficient water rights to adequately serve maximum estimated future needs. They should support state efforts to review and improve existing methods of allocating water including unperfected (unsused) municipal water rights, now that water is viewed as a limited resource and the public interest is viewed as an interested party in the allocation process.
  3. Regional water providers should continue to plan for regional municipal water needs, but the development and operation of water systems should remain under local jurisdiction. Cooperative long-term planning by the metropolitan region's water providers should be encouraged to help assure a continuous, sufficient supply of highest available quality drinking water.
  4. Clackamas County water providers should actively promote reduction of in-system water wastage, including leaks and unmetered use. They should actively promote conservation by a mix of education, conservation credits, pricing, dual metering systems and other applicable methods.
  5. Clackamas County water providers should continue to participate in groups like the Clackamas River Basin Council that are trying to maintain and improve the Clackamas watershed and to maintain the high water quality of the Clackamas River. Similarly, where appropriate, water providers should participate in bodies trying to maintain and improve Willamette River water quality and the quality of groundwater. These concerns should include controls to protect watersheds from man-made and natural features that could adversely affect water quality and quantity shuch as excessive timber harvest, agricultural chemical pollution, over-development, polluted urban and industrial run-off, and contamination of underground aquifers.
  6. Expenditures for short-term capital improvements are necessary to a well-prepared master plan for municipal water.
  7. Municipal water providers' master plans should be updated on a timely basis. Providers should be encouraged to provide ample, well publicized time for public input.
  8. The governing bodies of municipal water providers should recognize that treatment and delivery of drinking water involves considerable operating and capital expense. Water rates and Systems Development Charges (SDCs) should reflect costs and should be updated frequently. A sizeable reserve fund is very desirable.
  9. The LWVCC supports Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) as a cost-effective, low-visibility environmentally safe means of storing treated water where it is technically feasible. Before increasing the capability to store surface water by creating reservoirs or increasing dam heights, the LWVCC supports careful examination of regional needs, relative costs, environmental impact and the concerns of surrounding propery owners, with attention paid to maintaining due process and to obtaining maximum public input.
  10. The LWVCC supports the provision for a minimum one-day back-up water supply, or more if so recommended by the state. It supports the development of substantial emergency water supply sources from outside the normal intake area, particularly for those with intakes on the Clackamas River.
  11. The LWVCC does not support increasing sales of water outside of the Clackamas Basin other than the historic sales to west Clackamas County rights holders.

West Clackamas County

Growth and Infill (1991, 1992)
In order to insure a balance between growth and existing neighborhood character, the League of Women Voters supports development standards that increase present setback requirements, reduce present building heights, set limits on floor area in relation to lot size, and limit amount of impervious surfaces. In addition, the city should establish standards for neighborhood compatibility to balance what is allowed by code and what exists in the area.

Background: Consensus on Growth and Infill in Lake Oswego and West Linn - The 1990-91 local study focused on growth issues that are within cities' control. Members identified major concerns as visual impacts, traffic, noise, provision of services (roads, sewers, etc) and focused on infill (flag lots, minor partitions) on land zoned for, and developed as, single family in Lake Oswego's and West Linn's established neighborhoods. Development requirements for Planned Unit Developments were not studied. (See III-4.)

The consensus on "Neighborhood Compatibility" applies to small areas in established neighborhoods where existing development is less intense than codes allow. Approval of new homes should require balance between development allowed by codes (maximum heights and lot coverage, minimum setbacks) and the existing heights, lot cover and setbacks of adjacent or nearby development.

Stafford Area (1993)
The League of Women Voters of Clackamas County supports the Stafford Area remaining outside the Urban Growth Boundary. Because of the costs of providing services to the area and the topography, the area should remain rural in nature with growth to occur as currently planned by the County. Restrictions should be placed on conditional uses to guard against their negative impacts.

The following factors should be considered when development is allowed: water availability, waste disposal, surface water management, transportation, air quality, geological hazards and soil stability, the preservation of open spaces and natural area, schools, costs and who pays, and the interest of current residents in the area.

Planning should be done for the area as a whole, and it should be coordinated among the jurisdictions involved.

Tree Ordinance (2001)
The League of Women Voters of Clackamas County supports tree ordinances and/or tree preservation for West Clackamas County and municipalities to protect trees on all public land, rights-of-way, and undeveloped and developed property. The League supports a definition of a tree as it is defined by either the West Linn or Lake Oswego tree ordinance, as of March 2001.

To cut a tree, a permit should be required. Specific criteria should be applied to grant a permit. These criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • disease or significant structural damage;
  • demonstrable danger or damage to structures, people or vehicles;
  • building requirements or clear design reasons where there is no viable alternative;
  • environmental impact;
  • aesthetic and property value impact on neighborhood;
  • mitigation, and
  • solar access.

The League of Women Voters supports community forestry programs that include an appeals process with professional arborists. An appeals board should evaluate contested permits. The appeals board should receive a regular report of tree cutting permits.

Persons cutting trees without a permit should be subject to fines and required to replant.

The League of Women Voters supports methods of tree preservation, including, but not limited to:

re-evaluating and updating identified tree inventories at regular intervals through citizen and staff participation;

  • giving protection to identified groves of trees;
  • educating the public about the tree ordinance through multifaceted education programs;
  • protecting trees during construction;
  • developing street tree plans; and
  • maintaining a heritage tree program.

The local government should exercise control over utility line rights-of-way in determining removal and trimming of trees.
Note: This position excludes any treed land that is managed for commercial harvest.


Parks and Recreation - Lake Oswego (1967)
Support of a City parks and recreation program which includes:

  • Continuous long-range planning and cooperation with other governmental units, preferable through an appointed Parks and Recreation Board.
  • Acquisition and development of parklands in anticipation of future population growth and including community parks and neighborhood parks adjacent to schools.
  • A swimming pool on a site that will provide adequate parking and maximum school use. It need not be Olympic-size but should provide facilities for racing, diving, wading, etc.

Planned Unit Development - Lake Oswego (1970)
A planned unit development usually involves a large area that could not otherwise be efficiently developed as an integrated whole. It provides flexibility necessary to conserve natural land features, provides aesthetic public and private open spaces, and encourages creative development otherwise not allowed by standard zoning requirements.

Support of the planned unit development concept in general, since it can preserve open spaces, and can also provide aesthetically pleasing architectural variety.

  • A PUD ordinance should place a specific limit on density.
  • A projection of school population should be included in the final plan.
  • Accommodation of additional school population in the community without undue burden on the taxpayers is a vital consideration.
  • Homeowner's Association should be required upon acceptance of final development plan.
  • Streets and off-street parking should be considered carefully in the planning stage. Parking should not be considered "open space."
  • Descriptions of all structure types should be included in the PUD ordinance and the building code.
  • Open space in the PUD should be adequate not only to serve needs of residents but should fit into the overall plan which relates to the open space of the entire community. Existing property deserves compatible surroundings.

The Lake Oswego PUD Ordinance, because it is an important concept in city planning, should be subject to frequent review and amendment by both the governing officials and the citizenry.

Implementation and enforcement of this PUD Ordinance needs improvement both in the letter and spirit of the ordinance at both preliminary and construction stages.

Comprehensive Plan - West Linn
Support of the West Linn Comprehensive Plan because it meets the League's criteria for effective planning. Active citizen participation at public meetings is needed to insure and further its implementation, with particular concern for traffic patterns.

Local Improvement Districts (1977)
FORMATION - The formation process of a Local Improvement District must include all individuals and groups who will be involved; established residents, developers, schools, City Council, and the broader community affected.

An attitude of working together constructively should permeate relationships of City Council, City staff, and citizens from the inception of the process.

Early notification and participation are essential:

  • Communication between City staff and property owners should be promoted through informal meetings.
  • Legal notices in the newspaper should indicate the area not only by legal description but also by streets involved so that everyone in the City will recognize the area.
  • Public notice of the proposed project should be given prior to the Resolution of Intent.
  • The first mailed notification to the property owners should include the proposed method of assessment and the estimated amount of the owner's assessment.

Before the construction begins, citizens must be informed of the exact engineering specifications and final cost estimate. Opportunity for continued citizen participation should be ensured through a second notification, informal meetings and public hearings at this time.

The impact statement as proposed by the City LID Committee should demonstrate the need for the LID and its effect on the community and the environment. It must assure that the LID is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Staff and affected property owners - inside and outside the district - should prepare the statement jointly.

Remonstrance by the owners of 51% of the property should be sufficient to defeat an LID.

BENEFIT - Valid factors to be weighed in determining benefit are usage, livability and aesthetics, change in property value, health and safety. Following careful consideration, true benefit to the property owners within the districts and to the community at large must be determined for each LID.

COST ALLOCATION - those involved in the formation process should determine the method of assessment jointly. Each LID must be assessed on an individual basis rather than on the basis of a routine formula.

Land use should be considered in determining the allocation of costs. Multi-family, industrial and commercial property should be assessed according to greater benefit received. For example, in sewer LIDs, multi-family dwellings should be assessed on the basis of two apartments to one single-family residence.

Developers should pay a larger share of the cost in situations where a new subdivision forces established residents into an LID. One method of accomplishing this is a Systems Development Fee. Deferred assessments should be possible for large parcels of land, which the owner chooses not to develop. In such situations, the community benefits from the preservation of open space.

Where there is citywide benefit derived, there should be citywide financing according to benefits received. Urban services should be financed by tax funds where justified, because such payments are deductible for income tax purposes. (Note: This study did not include LIDs in new subdivisions.)

East End Redevelopment - Lake Oswego (1981)
Support the revitalization of Lake Oswego's east end business district. Strongly support city action to acquire the lakefront promenade property as soon as possible. The League also favors the prospect of street beautification with innovative methods to finance and implement the project. Support and encourage other projects in the redevelopment plan that do not involve public financing and that will increase tax revenue to the City.

Comprehensive Plan - Lake Oswego (1987)
Support of the Lake Oswego Comprehensive Plan because it meets the League's criteria for effective long-range comprehensive planning as listed in the 1973 position on Planning and Zoning.

Lake Oswego Water System (1992)
The League of Women Voters of Clackamas County believes that the availability of high-quality drinking water is essential for the health and safety of Lake Oswego citizens. It further believes that water-policy decisions should be based on the principle that water belongs to the public and should be managed for its benefit. In keeping with this philosophy, the League of Women Voters of Clackamas County supports the following statements:

  1. The process used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and by the Oregon Health Division of the Department of Human Resources provides a sound approach toward ensuring high standards for drinking water systems. This process should be monitored vigorously to guarantee compliance with the law. In addition, the Lake Oswego Water System should continue to go beyond the law in its efforts to eliminate undesirable elements from the city's water supply.
  2. The policy of selling surplus water generates income and should be continued; however, regular reviews of rate structures should be conducted to assure fair pricing.
  3. The Lake Oswego Water System should maintain sole possession of its water rights and continue to provide water to other water districts in a customer relationship.
  4. The Metropolitan Service District (METRO) has legislative authority over water. As yet, this authority has not been assumed. METRO should be responsible for regional water planning in cooperation with the region's purveyors but the development and operation of water systems should remain under the control of local jurisdictions.
  5. Cooperative long-term planning by the region's water purveyors is necessary to assure continued high quality and a sufficient quantity of drinking water in the future. The Lake Oswego Water System should participate in the development of a regional plan for the delivery of drinking water.
  6. The Lake Oswego Water System should actively participate in conservation programs that include incentives to reduce water consumption and waste.
  7. The Lake Oswego Water System should participate in the coordination of management plans of groups striving to maintain and improve the Clackamas Watershed. These plans should include controls to protect the watershed from man-made and natural features that could adversely affect water quality and quantity, such as excessive timber harvest, over development and pollution.