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|Articles - September 2013|
|Monday, August 19, 2013|
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Whether one supports or is skeptical of Oregon’s land-use system, it remains unique. “It’s truly radical in the national picture,” says David Oates, author of the 2006 book City Limits: Walking Portland’s Boundary. The best evidence, of course, is how Portland differs substantially from virtually any other large American city west of the Mississippi. It’s what enticed Oates to move here two decades ago from Los Angeles. “The contrast” between dense, pedestrian-friendly Portland and the sprawling car culture of Southern California, he says, “is in front of your eyes every single day.”
Oates cites a wave of urban-infill projects that have turned vacant lots and destitute inner-city neighborhoods into a metropolis the New York Times and countless other media — not to mention thousands of educated creative-class workers for a range of industries — can’t get enough of.
Rural land benefits just as much, supporters argue. “When you look at the health and vitality of cities in Oregon and its farmland, from Ashland to Portland, Senate Bill 100 had a lot to do with that,” says Ryan Deckert, president of the Oregon Business Association. “A well-planned city you can enjoy and appreciate makes a huge difference to a corporation. We see both sides of it, be it the health of a vineyard or a burgeoning software industry.”
Deckert cites a recent private dinner in Portland with the American head of a major foreign automaker who was scouting the state for future development. “They like Oregon because we seem to have thought ahead.”
The thinking ahead got its start in the 1960s, when Gov. McCall led a growing bipartisan and urban-rural consensus against what he called “sagebrush subdivisions” and “coastal condo-mania.” Senate Bill 100 was passed on May 29, 1973, after a long public-outreach process, culminating in the creation of the state Land Conservation and Development Commission to oversee creation of local urban-growth boundaries. And once ballot measures calling for repeal of Senate Bill 100 were defeated in 1976 and 1978, every Oregon municipality was required to have comprehensive plans and growth boundaries in place by 1986.
The desire for middle ground struck again in 2000, when disgruntled private-property owners, many of whom had seen their land devalued and its development restricted, struck back again. Voters approved Ballot Measure 7, calling for landowners to be compensated when government regulation caused devaluation. The Oregon Supreme Court overturned the measure on a constitutional technicality, but in 2004, voters approved Ballot Measure 37, which not only called for property owners to receive compensation when a land-use regulation was enacted after their purchase, but also allowed local governments to instead roll back zoning regulations.
Then came a compromise that seems to have held. As local governments became overwhelmed with Measure 37 claims, the legislature referred Measure 49 to voters with successful passage in 2007. Measure 49 terminated Measure 37 claims but provided an allowance of up to three additional housing units per claim.
“I think 49 has settled [those problems],” says David Hunnicutt, president of Oregonians In Action, the property-rights group that spearheaded Measure 37. The larger problem, he says, is a one-size-fits-all approach that favors urban needs over rural ones. “The idea of Senate Bill 100 was we were going to create a state system and a state agency to oversee local planning, but the bulk of the planning would be done at the local level, so counties would have flexibility,” he says. “But that really hasn’t come to pass. In a state as big and diverse as Oregon, planning and zoning needs really should be driven at the local level. You have to understand, despite 40 years of centralized planning, we’re still the only state that’s doing it this way.”
Hunnicutt cites Oregon’s northern neighbor, Washington, where local jurisdictions have a greater say in their own planning, and the smallest rural towns can opt out altogether. “Out of the 39 counties, 10 aren’t subject to Washington’s statewide land-use laws, basically because there isn’t any growth to manage,” Hunnicutt explains. “We could take a page from that and allow some of our struggling, rural, nongrowing counties the opportunity to exercise some creativity, and try to kick-start their economy without the weight of 19 state land-use planning goals weighing over their heads.”
Monday, July 06, 2015
Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone.
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS
Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK
The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge in an attempt to prevent a ship from heading to the Arctic.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GARY THILL | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A storied institution climbs down from the ivory tower.
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Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Every once in a while we receive a letter in the (fictional) mailbag that is tough to describe and quite compelling. This week, Isabel, the new HR manager at LabCo (and someone who is new to HR), wants to know whether she may fire the owner’s son for having an Oregon medical marijuana card. In passing, Isabel also makes a number of alarming admissions about her motivation. Here is Isabel’s nerve-racking question and our response to it.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.