December 2018 CPO News
December CPO meeting
Tuesday, December 11, 6:45 social, 7 pm program, Leedy Grange Hall, 835 NW Saltzman
7:30 pm Japanese Beetle update
Chris Hedstrom, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, will let us know how the project to eradicate this destructive pest is progressing. This was the second year of a five-year effort.
8 pm Adelante Mujeres
Evelyn Cantoral, Director of Development, will let us know about the work of this organization, and how we can help.
8:30 pm Research Study information
Ruti Cogan, OHSU Research Assistant, will present information about an "opt-out" study to allow research.
We plan to live-stream the meeting on our Facebook page, tune in if you can’t attend, or watch it later.
Code Group requests for the 2019 “Ordinance Season”
A subcommittee of Committee for Community Involvement (CCI), which is the leadership group for all Washington County Community Participation Organizations (CPOs), has been working to influence county policy for several years. We meet during the year to discuss and respond to current policy matters, and we gather input from CPO members and present a list of issues that we wish to see studied or acted on during the next year.
County staff compiles a Work Plan that is presented to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) each spring. Many requests never make it into the Plan, and even if they do, unless they are “Tier 1” items, it’s unlikely that they’ll receive much attention. Tier 1 items are assigned “FTEs:” the suggested amount of staff time allocated to each priority. Some requests become Issue Papers examining an issue and possible actions. Some become Ordinances, the county equivalent of laws.
This year we have compiled an ambitious list of things we’d like to see, from sidewalks and natural resources to public access to information. The letter was approved by the full CCI group in late November, and we’ll work with staff to get at least some of our issues adopted into the Work Plan.
For example, we have been requesting for a couple of years that developers be required to post responsible-party contact information on all active development sites. Many of us have experienced impacts from nearby development, whether it is traffic or noise, disruption of utilities, or impacts to vegetation on neighboring properties. Unless you find workers on site, it’s hard to get a response. And often the onsite people can’t correct problems. We are now told that this request will go to the BCC after the first of the year, when three new commissioners take their seats. It’s unclear if this will require an Ordinance or just be accomplished administratively.
In 2017, Ordinance 820 was brought forward to moderate the effects of infill development on existing neighborhoods. We worked hard to provide input to protect neighborhoods. In the end, however, it passed with very little relief for affected neighbors—only requiring a six-foot fence, with no limitations on height or placement of new homes. So we’re requesting an Issue Paper to look at better ways to allow infill without making the existing neighbors suffer so much disruption, loss of privacy, and neighborhood character.
Tree codes seek to protect some trees when development is permitted. Long-time County Chair Duyck had blocked any efforts, basically saying there would never be a Washington County Tree Code while he was in charge. Kathryn Harrington is our new Chair-elect, and so we’re hopeful that some progress can be made. We’re requesting a dialog among staff and the development community to find a way to protect more trees.
The Code Group meets monthly at 4 pm at a local restaurant, enjoying Happy Hour while attempting to change policy. We’re looking for new members who have the time and interest to study and follow issues, from Work Plan to final adoption. If you’d like to learn more about how county government works and have a voice in its outcome, contact Mary Manseau by email at email@example.com. Our next regular meeting will be January 30, after that we’ll return to our normal second-Wednesday schedule.