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Land use bill heads to House floor

Mateusz Perkowski

Capital Press

A legislative fix that seeks to resolve a land use dispute in the Portland area will likely come up for a vote in the Oregon House after winning the support of a key committee and a variety of stakeholders.

Legislation aimed at fixing a land use dispute in Oregon appears headed for a vote in the state House.

The bill, HB 4078, was approved by the House Rules Committee with a “do pass” recommendation on Feb. 27.

Its progress in the legislature may resolve disputes that have stalled land use planning in the Portland metropolitan region for several years.

“I can’t remember the last time as diverse a group as this supported anything on land use,” said Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, chair of the House Rules Committee. 

The Oregon Court of Appeals recently overturned a land use plan for the Portland region that was approved in 2012 by the state’s Land Development and Conservation Commission.

The plan laid out “rural reserves,” within which farmland would be protected, and “urban reserves” that would be available for development.

The boundaries of the reserves were opposed by some nonprofits, property owners and cities.

Metro, a regional government for the Portland area, initially opposed legislative action to change the boundaries.

Once the court ruling made it clear the planning process would be greatly delayed, however, Metro signed onto an amended version of the bill.

The major boundary revisions are within Washington County:

• Two tracts north of Hillsboro that were previously designated as rural reserves were switched to urban reserves.

• Two tracts to the northwest of that city previously designated as urban reserves were turned into rural reserves, but Hillsboro’s urban growth boundary was expanded onto one of those tracts.

• A tract north of Cornelius was changed from an urban reserve to a rural reserve.

• Roughly half of an urban reserve north of Forest Grove was switched to a rural reserve, while the remaining part was included in that city’s urban growth boundary.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, and Rep. John Davis, R-Wilsonville.

The amended version has won support from an array of stakeholders, including the Oregon Farm Bureau, the 1,000 Friends of Oregon conservation group and the Oregonians In Action property rights group.


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