Quick: What does “consolidation” mean?(OUR NEWEST STUDY)
APPROVED STUDY FOR 2021: Expansion of Klamath Falls City Limits to Coincide with Urban Growth Boundaries
At some point, as our community grows, the city limits of Klamath Falls will have to expand to include what is now defined as the UGB (urban growth boundary). This is a regional boundary, set in an attempt to control urban sprawl by, in its simplest form, mandating that the area inside the boundary be used for urban development and the area outside be preserved in its natural state or used for agriculture.
LWV Klamath has looked at previous unsuccessful efforts to expand city limits to the UGB in the last 15 years. Our question now is not “Should we expand” but rather our question is “when?”.
There are many factors to consider when looking at this question. We propose to educate ourselves regarding these factors and then share what we learn with the people who are affected by the answers.
The major factors we are considering include the following differences between the services offered in the city of Klamath Falls and those in the unincorporated areas within the UGB:
- Police work
- Water/Sewer services, pricing, long term issues
- Taxes: city and county; the services each covers and what is NOT covered
- Voter representation at decision making bodies (City Council, County Commissioners, South Suburban Sanitary District, County schools, city schools, other Boards that control services)
- School Districts (City and County)
- Other service differences for ambulance, 911, Fire District #1, airport, etc
While we all want to get the greatest number of services for the lowest tax dollar, it is our assumption that we are too frequently focused on the $1 we spend today rather than what it will cost if we wait to spend that $1. We propose to ask questions about what service delivery will look like as the population grows in the greater Klamath Falls area and what the projected costs are to deliver those services. We hope that the information we gather and share will assist our community members in being prepared for the changes that are bound to come.
Committee members: Karen Kunz, Diane Eastman-Shockey, Emily Strauss, Leslie Lowe, Jody Daniels
After some research by each committee member and much discussion about the Klamath Falls Urban Area Comprehensive Plan – Volume I – June 2020 which each of us reviewed, we decided that enough had already changed regarding the issues of consolidation of city boundaries and urban growth boundaries since Jeff Ball’s report in 2003 that further study of these issues by LWV Klamath was no longer useful to our community.
Another contributing factor to ceasing this study came from the interviews done with Mike Griffith, Board Member South Suburban Sanitary District on 6-3-2021, Klamath County School Superintendent Glen Szymoniak on 6-17-21, and Superintendent of Klamath Falls City Schools (since 2010 but now retiring) Dr. Paul Hilyer on 6-3-2021. Those interviews helped us see that the divisive community issues between the 2 school districts alone would overwhelm any possible financial or service benefits from boundary consolidation at this time.
Also, because there are numerous places throughout the Plan that refer to collaboration, cooperation, and consistency between City and County, we felt the trajectory was moving in a very positive direction. Following are a few of the specific changes as they relate to the unincorporated Urban Area or those parts of the County that fit between city boundaries and the UGB. The City and County must follow state land use laws and update their plans accordingly, which is the basis of this Plan.
Page 1: Since the mid-1990s, the city and county have cooperated on several planning and public facilities planning projects. The recent adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Transportation System Plan (TSP) is a great example of such a cooperative effort. The city and county have also adopted or amended intergovernmental agreements with each other and with special service districts with the goal of increased coordination and efficiency in providing public facilities to serve planned growth in the Urban Area.
In April of 2018, the Klamath Falls City Council and the Klamath Board of County Commissioners agreed in principle to move forward with the adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Plan (Urban Area Plan) that applies to the entire Urban Area.
Page 6: The city and county have entered into intergovernmental agreements with other partners in land use planning, including but not limited to the following:
- • Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)
- • Klamath County Fire District 1
- • South Suburban Sanitary District (SSSD)- 2003
- • Klamath County Drainage District
- • Wiard Park District
Page 41: In unincorporated areas within the Klamath Falls UGB, the City and County should collaborate to ensure that new development occurs at urban densities consistent with agreed on urban densities.
Page 46-47: Both the Klamath County and the Klamath Falls Comprehensive Plans recognize the critical importance of providing adequate public facilities to serve planned urban development. As documented in Volume III Public Facilities Masters of the Urban Area Plan, the city and special districts that provide services within the Urban Area have prepared a series master plans for sanitary sewer, water, transportation, parks and irrigation/drainage over the last 40 years. These plans include the following:
A. Klamath Falls Wastewater Collection System Master Plan (2006)
B. Klamath Falls Wastewater Collection System Master Plan Update (2014)
C. South Suburban Sanitary District Facilities Plan (2010)
D. Klamath Falls Water Master Plan (2010)
E. Klamath Falls Water Tank Vulnerability Assessment (2018)
F. Klamath Falls Urban Area Transportation System Plan (2012)
G. OR 66 Green Springs Highway Interchange Area Management Plan (2012)
H. Campus Sub-Area Transportation Master Plan (2008)
I. Klamath Falls Urban Trails Master Plan (2016)
J. Basin Transit Service Development Plan (2013)
K. Klamath Falls Safe Routes to School Master Plan (2018)
L. Klamath Falls Parks Master Plan (2019)
M. Wiard Park District Master Plan (2013)
N. Kingsley Field Joint Land Use Study and Background Report (2016)
O. Klamath Falls Airport Master Plan (2004)
Page 62: See OAR 660-024 to learn more about how UGBs are created and expanded. Each city in Oregon has an Urban Growth Boundary, or UGB. A UGB is used to designate where a city expects to grow over the next 20 years. Cities and counties may amend their UGB as needed to accommodate city growth. The use of UGB’s, and the review process for UGB expansion, helps to preserve Oregon’s agriculture, forest, and open space, and to help ensure compact urban growth.
Page 63: The urbanization element of Klamath Falls Comprehensive Plan has not changed since it was prepared in 1980. This information is not useful in evaluating 2040 land need and supply but does have some historical value; for this reason, the old comprehensive plan is included as a background document in Volume II of the Urban Area Plan. However, the Urban Area EOA includes revised employment land need and supply information. In late 2019, housing land need and supply estimates will be revised and available for public review.
The Klamath Falls Urban Area (Urban Area) has approximately 45,000 people, with roughly half living within the City Limits and half living within unincorporated urban areas – primarily the South Suburban Area. Klamath Falls provides the full range of urban services to support urban development within the City Limits. Except for water service (which is provided by the city), Klamath County, through special service districts, separately provides urban services within the unincorporated Urban Area.
Page 64: Since the mid-1990s, the city and county have cooperated on several planning and public facilities planning projects, including the Urban Area Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) and the Urban Area Transportation System Plan (TSP). The city and county have also adopted or amended intergovernmental agreements with each other and with special service districts with the goal of increased coordination and efficiency in providing public facilities to serve planned growth in the Urban Area.
In April of 2018, the Klamath Falls City Council and the Klamath Board of County Commissioners agreed in principle to move forward with the adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Plan (Urban Area Plan) and Public Facilities Plan that will apply to the entire Urban Area. These plans will be implemented primarily by the Klamath Falls CDO within the City Limits and the Klamath County LDC within the unincorporated Urban Area.
FINAL OUTCOME OF STUDY:
- This study was a good education for those involved, namely Leslie Lowe, chair; Diane Eastman-Shockey, LWV President; Karen Kunz, Secretary/V.P.; Emily Strauss, Board member; Jody Daniels, LWV member.
- We should monitor this Plan, as nothing in it is binding. This means attending Klamath Falls City Council meetings, Klamath County Commissioner meetings, and checking up on the progress of their collaborations, etc.
- More citizen awareness of this Plan would be useful. We will put this info on our website and Facebook page. We will write letters to the editor of the Herald and News about what we have learned and encourage citizen awareness of the Plan.
- We will invite Klamath County School Superintendent Glen Szymoniak to our September 16 Board/Member meeting to talk about:
a) How does Glen Szymoniak propose to decrease the hostility and increase the coordination between City and County schools, especially regarding curriculum differences and communication issues?
b) What “voice” does LWV Klamath have to share with our community regarding Klamath County Schools?