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Happy Valley bans marijuana, considers Climate Smart plans

Tuesday night meeting begins with discussion of Damascus property owners who may want to leave their city -


Happy Valley City Council reached an informal consensus at its Tuesday evening work session to have city staffers continue to meet with property owners who are looking to de-annex from the city of Damascus and become part of Happy Valley.

By passing House Bill 4029 this year, the state legislature recognized that Damascus property owners are caught in a limbo due to Damascus’ failure to adopt a comprehensive plan. Those property owners now can opt out, or de-annex from Damascus, and join another jurisdiction, like Happy Valley to the west or Gresham to the north, and Damascus set its first de-annexation hearing May 1.

If a large portion of Damascus residents in the area bordering Happy Valley seeks annexation, Happy Valley plans to work toward creating approximately a half-mile expansion of its eastern boundary, based on a second version of the East Happy Valley Comprehensive Plan. Happy Valley city councilors said Tuesday that the decision will be based primarily on mapping and serving the people of Happy Valley.

“The area we plan will be based upon the properties seeking annexation and factors related to public services,” City Manager Jason Tuck said.

Also on Tuesday night, Happy Valley city councilors, by a 4-0 vote, unanimously passed an emergency ban of medical marijuana facilities until May 1, 2015. The decision comes after Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 1531, allowing governing bodies to pass moratoriums on these facilities.

Happy Valley staff presented Metro’s MPAC and JPACT Climate Smart Communities plan to city councilors at the meeting. The plan’s goals include creating land-use and transportation measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, providing better transportation, especially for rural areas, and lessening gentrification and displacement. The plan illustrates scenarios A, B and C, which increase in scope and cost in descending order.

Happy Valley’s elected officials didn’t make a decision on how to move forward with a Climate Smart plan, but Mayor Lori DeRemer and others on council expressed deep concern with the plan.

“We decided last month, if we are collecting taxes or fees, we are going to do it for roads. We can’t afford new bike lines,” DeRemer said.

DeRemer talked about how Portland is trying to be forward thinking, but that the plans might not benefit the city of Happy Valley.

“Please don’t make us Portland, because we don’t all think the same,” she said.

When a member of City Council asked about penalties inflicted by the state of Oregon if Happy Valley doesn’t meet the plan’s goals, Tuck responded, “It would be difficult to compete for a grant if we aren’t moving forward with these policies.”

However, DeRemer urged her fellow City Council members to think about the plan before they reconvene later to discuss future decisions.

“We need to weigh in. I don’t think it’s a good idea to stay quiet,” she said.

On May 30, MPAC/JPACT will hold a meeting for the approval of a draft of their preferred approach. Afterward, the public will review the draft, and the draft will be given a final evaluation.