A hamlet is a voluntary grassroots organization formed by citizens to benefit the local community. It is a nationally recognized program that gives unincorporated areas a greater identity with more influence than a non-organized area. Beavercreek was the first hamlet to be established in Oregon in 2006 with over 200 citizens participating in its inception.
The Hamlet is run by a board of directors that are elected by the community. Board members review land use applications, assist residents with questions, and represent the interests of members in private and public meetings with local officials. Each year, they issue a report to the Board of County Commissioners that includes the Hamlet’s strategic plan and budget. Board members also participate in several Committees that are open to all, and any Hamlet member can be on or chair any committee.
Board elections take place at every October Town Hall meeting. Any member of the Hamlet may run for any office. Directors serve two-year appointments, meeting monthly and attending local government meetings to stay apprised of issues that are impacting or may impact the Hamlet.
Why We Exist
When statewide land use planning started in the 1970s, it enumerated several goals. Its primary goal was citizen involvement — that citizens control how land is used in their area based on the statewide goals. To implement those goals, Clackamas County develops and maintains a Comprehensive Plan that becomes actionable through Zoning and Development Ordinances (ZDO).
To ensure that the primary goal of citizen involvement could be met, Clackamas County divided itself into almost 40 specific areas led by Community Planning Organizations (CPO). Everyone in unincorporated Clackamas County is in a CPO, which is run by citizen volunteers. Over half are recognized by the County, while the remaining CPOs are inactive due to lack of interest or volunteers.
In 2016, several Clackamas County CPOs banded together to create the CPO Summit, a consortium of CPOs outside of the County’s control. The CPO Summit successfully lobbied the Board of County Commissioners in 2017 to provide liability and general liability insurance that protects directors and officers of CPOs against SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) suits, as well as general liability for public meetings. Now all citizen volunteers of Hamlets, Villages, and CPOs are protected in the course of their activities.
The County has a Committee for Citizen Involvement (CCI) comprised of County staff and five to nine representatives appointed by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). Its purpose is to provide guidance, oversight, and direction to CPOs, Hamlets, and Villages, as well as to advise, assist, and inform the BCC.
The Beavercreek CPO was very active before Clackamas County wrote the ordinance that created Hamlets and Villages in 2005. Shortly after Clacakamas County Code Chapter 2.10 was written, over 250 residents of the Beavercreek CPO organized to form Oregon’s first hamlet, The Hamlet of Beavercreek, in 2006.
After The Hamlet of Beavercreek was recognized by the BCC, the Beavercreek CPO entered into an agreement with the The Hamlet of Beavercreek for the Hamlet to assume the Community Planning function of the CPO. When it’s boundary was expanded in 2020 with the inclusion of the former Carus CPO, The Hamlet of Beavercreek assumed land use planning for that area. If the Hamlet ceases to exist, for whatever reason, the Beavercreek CPO and Carus CPO are automatically revived, with the boundaries that they had prior to the Hamlet’s formation.
Bylaws were established to govern the Hamlet’s activities including its purpose:
- To promote community identity.
- To provide members with a forum for dealing with a broad range of issues.
- To represent the community and be its voice.
- To enhance livability, sustainability, and functioning of the community, and to direct community planning.
- To handle other community issues.
The Bylaws & Rules committee proposes amendments to the Bylaws and develops rules for implementing them. Download the complete Bylaws of the Hamlet of Beavercreek (last amended April 25, 2018) to understand key Hamlet activities.