Local Heroes - Friends of Yamhill County

A former Willamette Valley Advocate for 1000 Friends, Sid Friedman now lends his talents to one of the organization’s affiliates, Friends of Yamhill County.

Newberg Fall

“I’ve always been politically active on social issues since my late teens,” Friedman recalls. “I wanted to make my community a better place, and realized that land use advocacy has an impact in a way that I couldn’t make elsewhere.”

Friends of Yamhill County was created in 1995 in part to oppose a proposed expansion of the McMinnville urban growth boundary .  With an increased presence and clout working together, the group’s members found an effectiveness in working with county commissioners that they lacked when working solo.

“The best way to engage new activists does not involve a philosophical discussion—people get involved because something hits them personally, something is happening in their backyard,” Friedman explains. “They begin to see the wider picture, come to us for assistance, and some eventually become members.”

*Photo by Stuart Seeger, 2008.


Measure 37 continues to create headaches for those concerned about sensible land use in the county. However, the passage of Measure 49 has limited somewhat the damage to the county’s rich farmland . Now, claimants are allowed to continue building on lands only if they were far enough in the process to have a legally vested interest in the completion.  Friends of Yamhill County was one of many groups around the state that worked diligently for the passage of Measure 49.

Sid Friedman“In Yamhill County, they approved every vested claimant no matter what,” Friedman said. “There really is a never ending multitude of cases to rezone farm and forestland into rural residential.”

The group currently focuses its efforts on issues of urban containment, and has been heavily involved in both Newberg’s and McMinnville’s urban growth boundary expansions. In McMinnville, the group recently saw success when the Oregon Court of Appeals remanded the city's proposed urban growth boundary, which the court said did not adequately demonstrate a need to develop prime farmland. The ruling was in response to a case brought by Friends of Yamhill County and 1000 Friends. (Click here for more information.)

Friends of Yamhill County usually becomes involved when neighbors object to a new, non-farm  development on farmland, but don’t have the time or in depth knowledge to advocate on their own behalf. For this growing and important county in the state, the organization’s voice is a continually needed one.