Values & Vision

We have seen the defining character of many Oregon communities be destroyed because they were unable to make their voices heard. So in 2006 we came together—as landowners and neighbors, as developers, conservationists, and people in the middle—to create a model of limited self-governance recognized by Clackamas County as The Stafford Hamlet.

The Hamlet community solidly supports preserving the Stafford Character, which includes open space, pastoral views, native trees and wildlife, and the Tualatin River and its tributaries. The community feels that growth and development, should it occur in Stafford, must be done thoughtfully, and in a fair and balanced manner that builds a strong, complete community and respects the rights of property owners. This statement expresses the essence of our desire to provide long-term stewardship of the Stafford Hamlet.

Our purpose is not to formulate a plan for development, nor to refuse one. Our purpose is simple but challenging: to unite in crafting meaningful recommendations for change that serve both individual interests and the common good in a manner that is just, fair, and reasonable for all.

Out of a mutual respect for a wide spectrum of opinions, and a firm commitment to finding common goals and interests, the Stafford Hamlet has crafted this Values and Vision Statement to serve as our road map to the future.

The Stafford Hamlet was born out of the idea that change is inevitable, including changing the way we develop.


Existing infrastructure, including transportation, water, sewer facilities, parks, and schools, is not adequate to accommodate a significant increase in density anywhere in the Hamlet. There are concerns that the Hamlet’s groundwater may be limited, so provision of new sources of drinking water may become a priority for further development here. Provision of adequate facilities must be addressed before significant development occurs.

Clustering, which concentrates development so that open land is preserved without sacrificing economic viability, is a desirable style of development for some parts of the Hamlet. Clustering appears to have the potential to preserve the Stafford Character while still allowing some development.

There are significant areas of the Hamlet that will not be developed or will have very limited development. These include: riparian zones, flood plains, wildlife habitat, steep slopes, and slide areas. These areas are shown on county and regional maps (see the attached map), and development options are determined by state, county, and regional statutes and policy. This is also consistent with the Hamlet’s Values Statement.
Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) land and other large parcels, currently limited to one house per 80 acres, should be permitted to divide into smaller parcels for the purposes of both development and preservation. We are committed to developing these lands in a thoughtful manner that allows economic viability while preserving their value as a resource for agriculture, wildlife habitat, and open space.
Already developed residential neighborhoods—Halcyon, Mossy Brae, Shadowwood, Tualatin Loop/Johnson Road south of I-205, and Ashdown Woods—should not be redeveloped to greater density. Existing lot sizes have already been established, are well accepted, and provide value to the community with their individuality and character.


The Stafford Hamlet is quiet and peaceful, and residents have a sense of privacy. The Hamlet offers open space, pastoral views, and freedom from city lights. Native trees and wildlife enhance the experience of living here. The Tualatin river and tributaries such as Wilson Creek are an essential part of the community’s character. Accessible natural areas keep people connected with the natural world. Our air is clean and our groundwater is of good quality, although limited. Old barns and farms are still visible and keep people in touch with Stafford’s history. Most neighborhoods contain a variety of residential styles and lifestyles, and sometimes include agriculture and livestock. Some parts of Stafford have quality agricultural soils. Residents feel secure and safe here.

The needs and desires of individuals, the Stafford community, and the surrounding region are sometimes in conflict. Similarly, economic, social, and environmental goals can be at odds. Our community decisions will strive for a balance between these competing interests, and we will work for common purposes. Competing interests can give rise to synergy and lead to creative solutions. New infrastructure and services should be efficient, costeffective, and installed with minimal disruption; the cost of new services and infrastructure should be apportioned fairly, and development should pay for itself. Different parts of Stafford are suited to different uses; these potential different uses afford us the opportunity to create a Complete Community where people can live, work, and play.

The Tualatin River is a peaceful and scenic stream with some public access. It is a natural corridor for wildlife. Riparian areas and tributaries are essential to river health and wildlife. The river needs to be protected from pollution and excess stormwater runoff. Existing flood plains and natural wetlands function as pollution filters and should not be disturbed.

We must be good stewards of the Stafford Character, not just for ourselves but for future generations. When change is planned and predictable it maintains a strong, stable community. Changes shall comply with state laws and seek to achieve state land-use goals, while maintaining the best of the Stafford Character. Planning should incorporate the best ideas from similar communities, both national and local, where appropriate. Building practices should reflect good stewardship.
A strong community is fostered by interaction around a set of common goals and values. We have chosen to be guided by transparent, consensus-based decision-making in order to best reflect community priorities. Every citizen’s voice is worth hearing. There is strength in unity and in maintaining the integrity of our community; fragmentation and divisiveness weaken our voice in regional decisions. Physical realities such as parks and public places provide gathering places, which help build a healthy, vibrant, and connected community. Quality education for young people is essential to the future of the community. We do not exist in isolation, and need to work with surrounding cities and jurisdictions
Property owners have legal rights for development or preservation, as well as other rights of usage. Fair compensation is due when private land is used for the public’s good.
Stafford’s proximity and access to urban services and resources should not be diminished through congestion or poor traffic planning. Accessibility and mobility within the Hamlet should be optimized, safe, and multi-modal (auto, public, bike, pedestrian).

This Values and Vision Statement declares the core community values of the Stafford Hamlet, as well as general principles for future development, if necessary. The Values and Vision Statement was developed through a consensus process that included 20 neighborhood meetings, several Town Halls, and surveys of the community. This process took place over two years and involved hundreds of community members. In March, 2009, this Values and Vision Statement was approved by 87% of the 225 community members who voted on it.