Group aims to mend a ripped safety net

Nonprofit sees needs in unincorporated urban areas of county

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter



If you go

• What: Three Creeks Community Partners organizational meeting.

• When: 6:30 p.m. Monday.

• Where: iQ Credit Union, 305 N.E. 81st St.

• Information: If attending, email

Children, senior citizens and the 78th Street Heritage Farm are important elements of urban, unincorporated Clark County that aren’t getting their due.

That’s according to Three Creeks Community Partners, a new nonprofit organization that intends to fill in some of the human-service funding gaps that Clark County government can’t cover.

Its target area is the Three Creeks Special Planning District that was designated in 2007 by the Board of Clark County Commissioners: Hazel Dell, Felida, Lake Shore, Salmon Creek and the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Because these areas are highly urbanized but outside the boundary of any city, proponents argue, they never have received their fair share of funding from Olympia. Now add all the budget cuts that are eating into everything from public transit and Medicare for seniors to recreation opportunities for children to basic health services for the poor.

“The purpose of the organization is to provide monetary support for children’s and senior services, public projects, and events that enhance safety and the quality of life for citizens,” says a statement on the group’s website,

“Through meetings with local agencies, we have started to examine how we may be able to provide financial assistance to the elderly, in their own homes and in assisted living facilities, who are having difficulty paying for their prescriptions after Medicare and Medicaid cuts,” says a statement emailed from the group last week.

A couple of years ago, there was a movement afoot to start a Hazel Dell Community Foundation to fill such needs. It didn’t get far. Longtime Hazel Dell neighborhood organizer Doug Ballou said this is that same effort, reborn along with today’s even more acute social problems.

The new group received official 501(c)3 status as a charity in December.

“There are many needs that cannot be met by state and counties any longer,” says a statement from Three Creeks Community Partners. “Our goal is to see which of those areas we can fill and how best to do that.”

A one-hour organizational meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at iQ Credit Union, 305 N.E. 81st St. (off Hazel Dell Avenue).

The Three Creeks Community Partners Board of Directors already consists of members of the Northeast Hazel Dell and West Hazel Dell neighborhood associations as well as Fire District 6, the Human Services Council, local businesses and other key local organizations; the aim is to launch several subcommittees to tackle the work of finding the neediest people and figuring out how to help them.

If you’re interested in attending, please email group treasurer Ila Stanek at so there’s sufficient seating and refreshments.