Oregon land use law turns 40

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013

BY BRIAN LIBBY

0913 LandFutures 01From the outdoor patio at Cooper Mountain Vineyards on the outskirts of Beaverton, one can look west at grapevines and, in the distance beyond, miles of fertile Willamette Valley farmland. But a few feet in the other direction is the edge of a housing subdivision. And with this property officially designated as future urban land within the growth boundary of Beaverton, the winery will eventually have to give up its namesake property and plant vineyards elsewhere.

“We just have to accept the path of progress,” says Cooper Mountain owner Robert Gross, who not only doubles as a physician but also served on Washington County’s planning commission in the early 1980s. “Having urban or rural reserves makes sense. If you’re an owner in this group, particularly if you’re in urban reserves, you’re kind of locked in to somebody else’s plans. And yet I think there are good reasons for that, so the land doesn’t get subdivided in a way that would not meet the overall goals of land-use planning.” Cooper Mountain already owns two parcels far outside Portland’s urban-growth boundary and is looking for more.

The winery’s move comes amid this year’s 40th anniversary of Senate Bill 100, the 1973 legislation spearheaded by legendary governor Tom McCall that established Oregon’s first statewide land-use laws. Along the way, the system has continued to evolve, be it through ballot measures, the legislature or the courts.

Today supporters say Oregon’s unique state-controlled land-use system (most other states have local control) has prevented sprawl while preserving farmland, which in turn has allowed both rural industries, such as wineries, and urban businesses, from high tech to athletic apparel to restaurants, to thrive and enjoy international renown.

Yet critics abound too. Growth boundaries have been routinely criticized over the years by property-rights advocates, be it residents of Damascus looking to unincorporate their town rather than acquiesce to urban-growth boundary annexation, or a range of industry leaders who believe the recovery has been stymied by an overprescriptive and top-heavy land-use system with few ties between planning and economic development. In the middle are businesses, which have their own multifaceted perspectives.

There isn’t universal agreement from Oregon entrepreneurs and corporations, but there is a desire for balance and middle-ground solutions that allow as many as possible to thrive and prosper — without costly, polarized or protracted political battles. And as we map out the next generation of growth-boundary policy, the future of Oregon’s business and economic development is at stake. With the population rising, there is more pressure than ever on urban lands to be expanded for development. After years of recession, business leaders are eager to create jobs and increase profits. How best to manage conservation and commerce is a more delicate equation than ever.



 

More Articles

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

LEED for weed

Linda Baker
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
012815-potcarbon-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

What is the impact of the legal pot industry on carbon emissions?


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

Chronicling Gov. Kitzhaber's march to resignation

The Latest
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
021115-kitzhaber-jekaplan14-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Recapping a wild week featuring plenty of will he or won't he resign drama.


Read more...

How a Utah-based essential oils company cornered the Oregon market

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Multilevel marketing, health claims and zyto scanner biofeedback machines: How dōTERRA thrives in Oregon. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS