Daily Astorian Editorial: Protect Planning's Integrity, Reject Senate Bill 845

A strong April 11 editorial in the Daily Astorian urges lawmakers: don't usurp the integrity of Oregon planning for a single company's location preferences. 

"Some legislators want the the Legislature to become the state's planning commission as well as its judiciary," writes the Daily Astorian. "That very bad idea is embodied in Senate Bill 845."

The bill is one of the worst to emerge this session. It would negate all current appeals of Metro and Washington County's proposed urban and rural reserves map in order to accommodate the rumored "Azalea" project, which officials say may come to Washington County. Those appeals have been brought by a wide range of parties, including 1000 Friends and local farmers, because the Metro map needlessly opens some of the region's best farmland to sprawling industrial and residential development. (Read our Director's letter to supporters from September 2012, explaining why we are appealing this proposal.)

Senate 845 goes further, however, making it easier for industrial employers to sidestep the public's right to appeal land use decisions in their community if they are on industrially-zoned, large-lot land in the Metro UGB and companies say they intend to create a certain number of jobs on these sites. The Governor could enter into an agreement with such companies that would protect them from public appeal.

The Astorian quotes 1000 Friends Policy Director Mary Kyle McCurdy, calling such moves "decision-making by anonymity and anecodote, not planning." It also quotes Senator Betsy Johnson, who observes "the propensity of the Legislature to overreach."

"For the integrity of Oregon's planning process, it is best to let this case play itself out in court," the Astorian concludes.

Read the full editorial here.

To learn more about our legislative work this session, please visit our Legislature page. 

Or read this update from our April 2013 Oregon Stories newsletter.