LULI comes to Southern Oregon

Greg Holmes
Tue, 09/25/2018 (All day)

Since 2012, 1000 Friends' Land Use Leadership Initiative (LULI) has equipped advocates and activists with the tools they need to knowledgably engage with issues in their communities. Dozens of alumni have graduated from six cohorts in the Metro area around Portland. Thanks to the generosity of multiple partners, this fall we began the first ever non-Metro cohort in the Rogue Valley of Jackson and Josephine counties.

The Rogue Valley, like much of the state, is facing numerous land use challenges. In response to the housing affordability crisis that has plagued communities nation-wide, many southern Oregon cities are revising older housing policies. With growing populations and challenges around climate change, cities and the counties are taking a new look at their transportation plans and better integration of transportation and land use planning. Many cities are contemplating revisions of their urban growth boundaries. And with myriad pressures coming from energy development to wildfires to political squeezes to make more “rural lifestyle” options available, our family farm and forest lands are under constant threat. In short, there is a lot of land use planning activity happening in southern Oregon.

The good news is that a lot of people are paying attention and are eager to be effective participants in planning for their communities’ futures. That was clear when we started talking with local partner organizations in the region, and was confirmed late this past summer when more than 40 people applied for the 22 available slots for our seventh LULI cohort.

The cohort is as energetic as it is energizing. It includes everything from an 18 year-old recent high-school graduate to retirees; from professional planners to planning commissioners to current and future city councilors, and from agency staff to healthcare representatives to volunteer activists. Eight different cities and the rural areas within Jackson and Josephine Counties are represented.

This September our cohort met for their first two training sessions. Meetings are in the evening, with dinner and childcare available to ensure that everyone who wants to participate can do so effectively. In our first two trainings, LULI lessons included the origins, elements and outcomes of Oregon’s land use planning program and some basic land use know-how. LULI participants also learned about the 19 statewide planning goals and, most importantly, how to get involved in the public process to influence and implement land use policies at a local level,

Cohort member Sam Engel is enthusiastic about the experience. “I really appreciate this opportunity.  LULI facilitates connection with other people passionate about building strong communities and teaches how to understand and advocate for land use issues.  This initiative goes way beyond fundamentals; we’re building a regional network and learning to effectively communicate with decision and policy makers and planners.”

This version of LULI would not be possible without the support of the following partners: