Azalea Project "On Hold"

One of our biggest threats in the 2013 legislative session was Senate Bill 846, the so-called "Azalea" bill--named for an anonymous industrial project rumored to be considering Oregon, to whom the bill proposed giving over 300 acres of high-quality farmland with little to no public process.

We fought hard to defeat that bill, which did not officially "die" until the closing moments of the legislative session.

Now, The Oregonian reports, the project is "on hold" anyway, and not because of a lack of land. "They've kind of put everything on hold because of marked conditions right now," a Business Oregon executive tells The Oregonian's reporter.

Azalea's hiatus is a reminder that claims of urgency requiring drastic superseding of Oregon land use laws should be treated with great skepticism. Many factors determine how, when, and where corporations decide to locate facilities. As The Oregonian has reported elsewhere, tax policy is typically foremost among them--often involving extensive tax breaks for unclear numbers of employees. When we give land away and override local plans, we pay tremendous costs, literal and symbolic. 

In future legislative sessions, 1000 Friends will continue to challenge super-siting proposals that waive local land use law for special interests or the mere whisper of jobs. We will defend the homegrown jobs provided by local farming and forestry, and the right of Oregonians to participate in deciding how their communities should look and feel.