Regional Problem Solving

The Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving (RPS) Plan

Update, April 2013

On November 15, 2012, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) approved (or “acknowledged”) the Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving (RPS) Plan. The plan took over 12 years to complete, with hundreds of people spending many thousands of hours on the effort. That approval became final at the end of March 2013.

During the 10 years he worked on this project, Southern Oregon Advocate Greg Holmes participated in literally hundreds of meetings and hearings, gave numerous presentations to organizations, citizen groups, and the public at large, and testified before every city, the county, and LCDC on several occasions. Hundreds of people attended these hearings, giving testimony, writing letters, and advocating for changes that would result in more efficient use of urban land, remove some of the more valuable and viable agricultural land from the plan, and provide additional protections for agricultural land that was not included in the urban reserves. Because of that participation, many of those changes were made.

This project was a great example of how concerned citizens can participate in a process and can make a difference in the outcome. As recently as 2008 the proposed plan included urbanizing several thousand more acres of total land and hundreds more acres of agricultural land. In 2010, when the Jackson County hearings began, the proposed densities for the cities were still below what the Rogue Valley Transportation District deemed necessary to support moderate bus service, there were hundreds more acres of critical farmland slated for urbanization, and there was no mechanism in place to prevent cities from expanding outside of the urban reserves in the future. With encouragement from citizens, Jackson County and LCDC made changes to address these and other concerns during their hearings processes. (Read more about those changes here.)

Although the final plan is not perfect, in the end 1000 Friends, Rogue Advocates, and many of the citizens we worked with were able to agree that it provides a good framework for future planning and should therefore be supported.

We at 1000 Friends want to thank all of those people who participated in the process or gave their support in other ways. The changes made during the process were significant, and would not have happened without either the participation of citizens or the work of 1000 Friends.

You can read more about the plan in general here, read about specific elements of the plan here, or look to the right for links that will lead to the final adopted plan. If you have more questions or comments, please contact Southern Oregon Advocate Greg Holmes at greg@friends.org or 541.474.1155.