New approach needed to plan for growth

Portland, OR (June 13, 2007)- Over the past few years, expansions of the Portland-area urban growth boundary have added more than 20,000 acres for future housing, public services and jobs. The list of those who have concerns about these urban expansions is long and varied. That’s why we support Senate Bill 1011, which would allow Metro and local counties the authority to designate lands that over the next 40 to 50 years would be protected as “urban reserves” for jobs and housing, and designate other lands to be protected as rural reserves for agriculture, forestry or environmental needs.

Some city and county officials say future growth is being focused in areas where cities will be hard-pressed, if not unwilling and unable, to provide urban public services.
School districts in high-growth areas, such as Cornelius and Forest Grove, are constrained by Oregon’s property tax cap, but don’t get any money from lawmakers or developers, for buildings to accommodate new students.
Farm groups are concerned that past urban-growth decisions foretell that even more farmland will be lost in the future.
Business and industry groups aren’t happy. Some say the large urban expansion in Clackamas County is years away from being ready for development and is too far removed from existing job growth that is centered in Washington County.
Environmental groups have said recent urban expansions have not sufficiently protected environmentally sensitive landscapes and wildlife habitat areas.
Given such a track record, it may be reasonable to try something different. Senate Bill 1011 is not the complete fix for a 30-year-old statewide land-use system that is in need of an overhaul.
For the full article, visit the Forest Grove News-Times.