STATEWIDE The Big Look task force plans to hold 27 separate meetings in June. It’s a frenetic pace that the group — which has been stymied by an eight-month enforced hiatus in 2007 and limited funding — will maintain for rest of the year as it takes on what has been called the most important business issue in Oregon: recommending changes to the state’s dated land-use planning system to the 2009 legislative session.
Members of the task force — such as Jill Gelineau, a land-use lawyer at Portland’s Schwabe, Williamson and Wyatt, and Gretchen Palmer with Bend’s Palmer Home Sales — are optimistic they can complete their monumental task in the final six months of this year. But they also acknowledge the process — primarily public input — will suffer due to the limited time and funding.
Big Look was created by Gov. Ted Kulongoski in 2006. Its funding was yanked early last year until voters had a chance to weigh in on Measure 49. It was refunded — albeit with $200,000 less than the group requested — in the special legislative session. Now the clock is ticking.
But the compressed time frame might not be all bad. Task force member Ken Bailey, vice president and shareholder in Orchard View Farms in The Dalles, says they won’t be able to do as much with limited resources, but it will force them to be more focused.
“We can’t bring in too many new issues,” he says. “I still think we can get the basics done.”
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