No double tax for Happy Valley, court decides

(KATU Photo)

Happy Valley taxpayers are back in control of their own tax money after a court decision.

It means they won’t have to pay park taxes to both the city and Clackamas County – at least for now. Residents were concerned they could be paying double to keep their local parks going.

The city approved getting out of the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, but the Oregon Department of Revenue overruled that move, and then this week the Oregon tax court overruled the revenue department.

But the county is filing a lawsuit that could reverse it yet again.

"We'll be watching for that, but I have high hopes that we can continue to work together and they will drop that lawsuit. That's what we're hoping for," said Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-Deremer.

The tax court didn’t address whether the city used the correct statute to get out of the parks district. The county court will take that on in October.

In a statement, Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard said the county was surprised by the ruling and is assessing its effects.

"Including making a decision on how or whether we will manage our assets within Happy Valley, given that we will no longer have a funding source," he said.

That tax source is at 22,000 people and growing fast.

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