Avoiding Disaster: Lessons from the Washington Landslide

The recent landslide tragedy on Washington's Stillaguamish River, in which several dozen people perished, has many people concerned about landslide risks here in Oregon. Fortunately, land use planning can help avoid putting more homes in harm's way.

OPB's Think Out Loud program discussed the landslide tragedy on its April 1 program. One of the guests on the program was Clackamas County's Jay Wilson, who discussed efforts in that county between county planners, the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, and state land use policy to integrate science and planning. (Listen below.)

Oregon land use planning directly confronts risks like landslides. As Miller and Wilson discuss in this segment, Statewide Planning Goal 7 requires cities and counties to incorporate known hazards into their comprehensive plans.

Clackamas County is going further than many jurisdictions, along with Metro and three of its cities, to use specialized imaging and science to incorporate landslide risk into its future plans of where people will live and where infrastructure will be located. 

Goal 7 is a useful tool to avoid disaster. When applied, it can help avoid putting houses and people in harm's way--whether from landslide, flood, wildfire, or other natural disasters. With a changing climate, this tool's importance will likely grow.

Learn more about DOGAMI's landslide mapping here.
Learn more about Oregon's 19 statewide planning goals.

Learn more about the role of land use in your life and community at friends.org/landuseis.