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Skyline_farm_city clipartThere were two failed efforts to expand Woodburn’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), initially begun in 2005 which would allow the city to plan, annex and develop lands around the existing city limits. UGB expansion in Oregon requires evaluation of two sets of factors: one relating to the need for expansion for the 20-year timeframe required by law, and the other relating to the location of the revised UGB. Based on city population projections, additional lands for residential use were anticipated. The rub was over the total amount of lands needed for future residential, commercial, industrial, and employment uses, as well as the location of the revised UGB. 

800px-Scappoose_Industrial_Airpark_OregonScappoose, Oregon, located right off Highway 30, has only 6,800 residents. Its motto is “A place to grow.” This expected growth was the subject of a recent court of appeals case, Zimmerman v LCDC, 274 Or App 512 (2015). In 2011, the city enacted an ordinance amending its comprehensive plan, hoping to add more land to its UGB designating much of it for industrial and commercial uses, particularly for airport employment uses. To expand a UGB pursuant a Goal 14, a local government must establish that land is needed to further future economic opportunities; determining such need requires compliance with Goal 9 and implementing administrative rules. In order to justify such expansion, a local government must compare the demand for industrial and employment lands against the existing supply, through a review of the “best available” information considering national, regional or local trends, site characteristics of expected uses and development potential. OAR 660-009-0015.

Urban growth OregonFollowing several LUBA and appellate court decisions that invalidated urban growth boundary (UGB) amendments in McMinnville and Woodburn (twice), the 2013 Oregon legislature enacted HB 2254, legislation that purported to “simplify” the UGB amendment process by creating an alternate path for local governments outside the Portland Metro Area. However, LCDC’s efforts at implementing that legislation to date make manifest the difference between aspiring to simplicity and achieving it.

iStock_000072430455_LargeWe are pleased to share Ed Sullivan’s latest publication – “Urbanization in Oregon: Goal 14 and the Urban Growth Boundary” that was just published in The Urban Lawyer. In this article, Oregon’s urbanization process is examined through the lens of Goal 14 – the state’s principal method of controlling urban growth through implementation of the Urban Growth Boundary (“UGB”). When you fly overhead or take those quick trips to the Gorge, it is that stark line at the urban edge that divides city life from nature, farm and open space that catches our eye. Not many other states have successfully limited sprawl and given way to urban escape as well as we have in Oregon.

This paper provides a historical perspective about Oregon’s planning system in the context of the national movement for planning and moves through a step-by-step analysis of the evolution of Goal 14 and its amendments in 1988 and 2000. The article discusses the important factors that influence urbanization and application of Oregon’s statutes and rules, including population forecasting and the urban reserves process. Next, the article covers the interplay of Goal 14 with other Oregon Statewide Planning Goals and administrative rules. Most importantly for planners, the article examines the Goal 14 case law development over the 40 years since its inception. The article explores the “need” cases, locational factors, and need v. location. In Ed Sullivan’s artful manner, he manages to summarize the McMinnville case (1000 Friends of Oregon v. LCDC) in two paragraphs!

Of course the article would not be complete without the final discussion of the Barkers Five, LLC v. LCDC, 323 decision and the Grand Bargain. The stakes are high for property holders on the edge of the UGB and every one of them is vying to be next in line for inclusion within the boundary. We are left with the question of whether a legislative fix will be required in every circumstance – politicizing the planning process to an even greater extent than already exists.

 

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