Stafford Hamlet



Where are we today on Stafford Land-use Issues and the Reserve Process?

  • The Stafford Hamlet was formed in 2006 as part of Clackamas County’s Hamlets and Villages program. The hamlets came from unincorporated territory and were to be an Advisory Board to Clackamas County, giving voice as to how their residents wanted to see their area developed or not developed

  • In the 2009 reserves process, with citizen input (Oregon Goal 1), the County Policy Advisory Committee (PAC and staff concluded that the Stafford area north of the Tualatin River did not meet urban reserve criteria and recommended undesignated. In the last minutes of public testimony, one land developer demanded that all of Stafford be urban reserve. Following pressure from developers and Metro, the Board of County Commissioners designated all of Stafford as urban reserves.

  • The Stafford Hamlet is surrounded by Lake Oswego, West Linn, and Tualatin. It acts as a buffer among the cities, keeping their identities and characters separated. The cities have been against development for over 25 years.

  • When Stafford was declared “urban,” West Linn and Tualatin sued and won at the Oregon Court of Appeals level, citing incomplete traffic issues, and the urban decision was remanded back to the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC).

  • In 2009 the Stafford Hamlet approved a Values and Vision plan with an 87% voter approval.

  • In the Community Vision Plant (CVP) process, it appeared that 80% of the Borland landowners wanted to develop. The CVP is similar to the PAC recommendations that would make the land north of the Tualatin River undesignated and allow Borland to develop since it was close to the freeway.

  • In 2015, after several years of grassroots community involvement, and with County commissioners and planners in support, the Stafford Hamlet’s Community Vision Plan (CVP) passed with an 86% majority of both under and over 5-acre landowners.

  • When the County asked how Stafford Hamlet residents wanted their area to be like, a resident committee wrote the Stafford Hamlet Compromise. This Compromise asked that the part north of the Tualatin River be designated “undesignated” if Borland was designated urban. In a vote, 86% of the large and small landowners approved the Compromise.

Current County and Metro Plans on Urban Reserves for Stafford

  • Now, in 2017, the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners is agreeing with Metro to resolve and complete the reserves issue and bring all of the Stafford area into urban reserves. Metro and the County plan to hold public hearings on concerns for future urban development and they plan to hold meetings with the cities and to form Memorandas of Understanding (MOUs) or Inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) on densification should a city bring in an urban reserve area into the UGB. To date, no mention of the Stafford Hamlet Compromise solution has been considered, nor has Stafford been invited to be present for discussions that affect its very quality of life.

What does this really mean for the Stafford Hamlet and the Surrounding Cities?

  • The County and Metro won’t develop Stafford, but they will “facilitate” densification, and any densification will have to meet Metro’s density requirements. This would equate to 50,000 people and 200,000 car trips a day…through West Linn, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin.

  • Calculate it this way: Once development starts, State goals call for a minimum of 10 dwellings per acre. Metro planning calls for 15 per acre or even 30+ in concentrated areas. This would be the equivalent to city blocks of five-story apartment buildings. A recent Safford Land Owners Association (SLOA), a group of no more than 20-30 land speculators, has presented the County and Metro with plans for 2,000 acres of “unconstrained” (developable) land in Stafford. At 10 dwellings per acre, that’s 20,000 dwellings, 50,000 people (2.5 per household) and 200,000 car trips per day additional (county planning: 10 trips per day per dwelling).

  • Traffic issues that Metro says are being addressed for resolving the remand are related to the future widening of I-205 to a third lane and development of a light-rail line past 2040. This is misleading. Once the Stafford area is developed, obtaining a density of West Linn and Lake Oswego combined, the area becomes one, large, metro area with spill-over traffic onto the main arterial roads and Hwy 43 and other places unable to handle the additional traffic. Studies have shown light rail to reduce only one-third of a lane’s worth of traffic from a three-lane freeway. By the time light rail would be built, a third lane would already be filled, congesting Stafford access at Borland and Willamette interchanges.

  • What happens when land comes into the urban reserve is that it can be fast-tracked into the Urban Growth Boundary. Lands come into the UGB when regional growth “needs are determined. Metro council makes the determination, and cities are required by law to maintain a 20-year inventory of buildable land. The inventory is evaluated every five years during a periodic review, and the next review is in 2018. Only lands in the urban reserve are reviewed. IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE URBAN RESERVE, YOU CANNOT BE REVIEWED.

  • Generally, it takes a city to want a UGB expansion. Metro, however, has forced UGB expansions on cities in the past. While Chair Bernard has said that the county is not interested in urbanizing this area, the County has the power to do so. But a change in commissioners could see this happen IF Stafford were in the urban reserves.

  • The County can force a city to take property into its boundaries and provide services. In 2016 the legislature passed a law which disallows residents in a proposed annexation AND the city’s own residents for voting for or against the inclusion.

  • MOUs and IGAs are not set in stone. They can be changed.

  • Currently, none of the cities want densification in Stafford. But a change of a mayor or city council, supported by developer dollars, could put Stafford in the UGB. It can’t IF WE ARE NOT IN URBAN.

  • To be included, an area must have a Comprehensive Plan. There are developers waiting to dust off and submit a plan at a push of the button. A Comp Plan doesn’t affect Stafford IF WE ARE NOT IN URBAN.

  • Coming into Urban Reserves locks the Hamlet down zoning-wise. People locked into 80 acres, one house per 80 acres in Exclusive Farm Use Land, doesn’t allow them to have their children around them, and the children can’t sub-divide. The Stafford Compromise would allow Stafford to revamp the zoning so that, if it is 20 years before we’re brought into the UGB and eventually annexed and re-zoned, families with large acreage would have options. Most of the Hamlet is RRFF-5, and we’d like to be able to extend that to EFU owners. We can’t make these changes if we are in urban.

  • If we are locked into a maximum density based on Metro’s rules, we lose the values that brought us here. We don’t lose these values IF WE ARE NOT IN URBAN. To craft a different outcome from “urban” means that has to happen before going into the reserves.

What the Stafford Hamlet Wants

  • We want equitable representation of the interests of our community members.

  • We want to be at the table when discussions revolve around our future.

  • The Stafford Compromise is the only document addressing the livability, sustainability, and functionality of the Stafford community and the surrounding region.

  • The Stafford Compromise will let the region work out its long-range governance issues with recommendations that help solve the remand issues and where all stakeholders get something, but not everything they want.

What does the Stafford Hamlet have to offer the community and surrounding area?

  • We are preserving history with two farms that have achieved Century Farm status. Fiala farm provides fresh food and Halloween family fun. The Shipley-Cook farm on the Rosemont roundabout has one of the oldest barns in Oregon. The barn was restored last year by historical techniques so that it will stand for another 100 years.

  • More farming is being done in the area over the last decade. Six, new vineyards have been planted. There are more outlets for organic eggs. More young farmers have moved in and are finding their niche.

  • Many residents have protected their old-growth trees and pastures.

  • Five tracts of land, in partnership with METRO and Lake Oswego, have been turned into permanently protects open or park spaces, with other local plans in the works.

  • There is a new Hazelia Agri-Cultural Heritage Trail that will be unveiled this year, showcasing Native Americans’ agricultural and cultural practices, and the pioneers who came in the 1800s as part of the federal Donation Land Claim Act.

  • The space of the Stafford Hamlet keeps the uniqueness of the three cities separated.

  • And there is the special eco-system, which allows a great variety of animals and species of birds to live in one area where there is both food and habitat, and to be enjoyed by all.

What’s the Hurry?

  • Since the majority here doesn’t want to develop, why force the issue? Why not wait until I-205 is improved and work to keep a pocket of green space for future generations?

  • RRFF-5 allows us to raise horses, goats, sheep, hens and roosters, and steers. You can’t IF YOU ARE IN URBAN.

  • Density is not wildlife-friendly. It removes food and habitat and gives unique animals here (fox, bobcat, etc.) nowhere to go.

  • Density fouls the land, water, and air. We are part of the land, not separate from it and, if we allow it to be destroyed, our children will live shorter lives and in poor health.

  • The Stafford Compromise would not increase our schools, widen our roads, or require water and sewer systems. It would not increase taxes on residents or place additional financial burden on the cities to fund infrastructure.


  • Urban and Urban Growth Boundary status strips us of our quality of life and our ability to do a lot with our land under RRFF-5 designation, or create change for those owning Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) land.

  • The cities do not have the funds or resources to provide for new infrastructure or to deal with traffic congestion, which lessens the quality of life for city residents. This infrastructure would need to deal with roads, water, surface and wastewater, parks, etc. in an area where topography is already known to be challenging.

  • None of the cities can deal with traffic of 50,000 people on roads that cannot be expanded.

The Land in Stafford is Not Needed

Population projections show that Portland, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Wilsonville are willing and in a position to absorb most of the increased population between now and 2035.

You Can Help by Getting Involved!

  • Metro will hold hearings on March 2 and March 16, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., at their Metro address: Metro Regional Center, 600 N.E. Grand Ave; Portland, OR.

  • Attend the meeting and testify against urban designation of the north part of the Stafford Hamlet and support the Compromise. Information for testifying is on the Metro website.

  • Write a letter in support of the Stafford Hamlet Compromise and why you don’t want Stafford in urban reserves.

  • A hearing date for Clackamas County is scheduled for April 12, 2017. Testify or write a letter supporting the Stafford Compromise.

  • Stay informed by following the Stafford website – Metro and County hearing dates and times will be posted as well as where you can go to testify or send your letters in time to be entered into the record for each hearing.

Help keep Stafford Stafford.