Senate Bill 716 Threatens Rural and Urban Lands Statewide

UPDATE: Thank you for helping defeat SB 716!

SB 716 is dead! Thank you all for the persistent, fact-based, polite-but-firm messages you  sent to legislators and the Governor that SB 716 is a deeply flawed bill and should not go forward. Thank you to those who came to the hearing and testified, and made personal visits to your legislators. You are the reason SB 716 did not pass the Committee.

SB 716 was up for a work session today in the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee. The Committee accepted the "-5" amendments, which would have removed Washington and Multnomah counties from the bill and added Columbia County. Clackamas county would remain in the bill. The Committee then voted on the amended bill. It failed, 3-2. Voting against the bill were Senators Prozanski, Olsen, and Dembrow. Voting for the bill were Senators Edwards and Thomsen.

Please send an email to those Senators who voted against SB 716, thanking them for supporting certainty in the land use system, for recognizing that true economic development takes investment in the industrial lands we already have inside our urban growth boundaries, and for supporting Oregon's #2 industry, agriculture.  

Senator Olsen: Sen.AlanOlsen@state.or.us  
Senator Prozanski: Sen.FloydProzanski@state.or.us
Senator Dembrow: Sen.MichaelDembrow@state.or.us

Of course, there are ways that SB 716 could come back to life as long as the legislature is in session, and we will be watching out for any such attempts and let you know.  But YOU have already sent a very strong message to the legislature, and that will be a deterrent to any attempts to resurrect this bill.

Thank you for all your efforts on behalf of Oregon,

Mary Kyle

For more information on SB 716, please see our fact sheet below:

Throughout the 2015 legislative session, 1000 Friends of Oregon has actively supported a number of bills that protect and strengthen the statewide land use planning program. Unfortunately, certain legislative measures seek to undermine the program, threatening rural and urban communities across Oregon. Senate Bill 716 is one of these measures.

Essentially, the bill would allow lands designated as urban and rural reserves to be turned into immediate large-lot industrial sites. While SB 716 is focused on the Portland Metro area, if it's allowed there, it could impact communities statewide. Furthermore, the current urban and rural reserves provide certainty to cities, farmers, neighborhoods, infrastructure providers, the agricultural industry, and other businesses as to where and when the Metro urban growth boundary (UGB) could be expanded and where it will not expand. SB 716 throws that all into chaos and uncertainty for an indefinite period of time. There will be a public hearing for this bill on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 3 pm in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. 

We intend to defeat this bill, and we need your help. Start by reading the SB 716 Fact Sheet below. Then: 

  1. Call your Senator and the Governor. You can find your Senator by inputting your address into the Legislator Lookup here. The Governor's office can be reached by calling (503) 378-4582. The message is simple: Do not support SB 716. This is NOT how to best support industrial development in Oregon. It detracts from what is actually needed. 
     
  2. Testify in person or submit written testimony. If you've never done this before, this guide is a good resource for knowing what to do and what to expect. Remember that personal stories are an effective way to persuade the committee to vote a certain way. Written testimony can be submitted to Beth Reiley via email at Beth.Reiley@state.or.us.
     
  3. Attend the hearing and show your support. A room filled with people sporting "Defeat SB 716" stickers sends a message to the committee about where their constituents stand on the issue. 
     

The SB 716 Fact Sheet

Summary of the Bill

Senate Bill 716 allows each Metro county to turn 150-500 acres of farmland outside the urban growth boundary (UGB) — currently designated as urban reserves or rural reserves — and turn them into immediate large-lot industrial sites. Simply put, this bill will allow certain areas to be opened-up for development, including the French Prairie farm lands south of the Willamette River, the Helvetia area in Washington County, and other valuable farm and natural resource areas in all three counties. This would break every deal that citizens, farmers, local governments, and organizations entered into when the reserves process was developed. 

SB 716 also harms industrial areas throughout the Willamette Valley that are already inside UGBs. There are more than 10,000 acres of these areas up and down the I-5 corridor, and much public and private investment has been made to get them development-ready. SB 716 would unfairly detract from those. Oregon’s industries do not need more land — they need better investments in infrastructure, workforce development, policy, and research and development.

Why SB 716 is Unnecessary

The Metro Area has plenty of large-lot industrial sites            

Some claim the bill is needed because there is a need for more large lots for industrial development in the Portland Metro area.  There are no facts to support this claim.

  • Metro estimates a demand for 8-34 large lots for industrial, flex, and warehouse needs over the next 20 years.[1]  A study done by McKenzie group for the Portland Business Alliance, NAIOP, the Port of Portland, Metro, and other development interests found that the Metro area has 54 large lots industrial sites inside the UGB.  14 are ready to go, the remainder needs some investment.[2]
  • Metro has over 8000 acres of land zoned for industrial use, inside the UGB, in parcels over 25 acres.  Economic development does not require more land; it needs investments in infrastructure, work force development, research and development, and other business development actions.
     
  • The region should focus its policy and investments in getting all sites “development ready," as they are located where people already live, and they need far less in investment to make development-ready than greenfield sites currently outside the UGB that have no infrastructure.
  • Metro expanded the UGB in 2002, 2004, and 2005 and added 53 large lots designated for regionally significant industrial use.  As of 2009, only 1 of those sites had actually developed.[3]
  • The vast majority of new jobs in Oregon and in the United States come from small businesses and start-ups. [4]   Metro’s data shows this is true in the Metro region as well. These employers do not use large lots, and those businesses needing capacity to grow are not looking for sites over 150 acres. 
  • Only 60 existing businesses in the metro region are located on parcels over 25 acres in size.  Those 60 large lot users account for only 8.1% of the total employees in the region.  If one takes out the institutional employers — all of which are medical centers — that drops to 5.7%.[5]
  • Fewer than 2 large employers per decade locating in the Portland Metro area from elsewhere.  Even in the booming 1990s, only 2 large employers located in the Metro region from outside Oregon.[6]
  • Existing large lot industrial parcels inside UGBs around Oregon — including in the Hillsboro high tech cluster — are being and have been converted to small lot industrial sites, and even to non-industrial uses.[7]
  • SB 716 would take land that is already supporting the state’s #2 industry - agriculture - for some speculative future industry.  Production value of Oregon agriculture is at an all-time high at $5.4 billion.  Value-added processing contributes up to $2 billion in additional revenue to Oregon's economy.  The state’s top county in food processing is Multnomah County. Agriculture accounts for 15% of Oregon's gross state product.  One in every eight Oregonians, or about 12%, is engaged in an occupation related to agriculture.  And finally, Oregon agriculture is a key traded sector, ranking first in volume of exported products and third in value of exported products.[8] 

Why continue to attack the land base of Oregon’s #2 industry?

The Metro-area sites will complete with existing shovel-ready sites in the Willamette Valley 

Mill Creek

Mill Creek is a master planned 548-acre developable industrial site in Salem with immediate access to the I-5 corridor at the intersection of Highway 22. [9]  It is less than 5 miles from Salem Municipal Airport and 60 miles from Portland International Airport. Land uses include industrial and warehouse and distribution. 

The City of Salem and the State of Oregon have made substantial investments to plan the site and provide needed infrastructure.[10] All needed infrastructure is in place, properties are shovel ready, and expedited and concurrent permitting is available where construction could occur in less than 180 days.[11]

Godsey Road Site

The Godsey Rd. site is a 42 acre state-certified shovel-ready site in Dallas. The property is flat, cleared, zoned industrial, and ready to build. The site is located off of SE Godsey Road, an improved local street .3 miles from Monmouth Cutoff an arterial road system. It is located 14 miles from Interstate 5, 13 miles from a commercial airport and 1.5 miles from a major connecting highway. It is served by both rail and fiber optics.[12]

Corvallis Airport Industrial Park

The Corvallis Airport Industrial Park is located near the Corvallis Municipal Airport on Highway 99W, 3.5 miles south of downtown Corvallis and four miles from Oregon State University.[13] Up to 190 acres are available, of which 40 acres are state-certified as shovel-ready.[14] In addition to airport proximity, there is a rail spur to site. Corvallis is the home of Oregon State University, a land grant university and research institution. Natural gas and fiber optics are available on site. Flat ready to build land. Direct access to OR 99W and 12 miles to interstate I-5.[15]

Coburg Large-Lot Industrial UGB expansion
Coburg has adopted a 115-acre large-lot UGB expansion along I-5. 

Eugene Large-Lot Industrial UGB expansion
Eugene is in the process of adding about 500 acres of large-lot industrial land near the airport. The city will be making substantial financial commitments to provide infrastructure to this site.
 
Springfield Large-Lot Industrial UGB expansion
Springfield is considering a proposal to add up to 450 acres of large-lot industrial land. The city will be making substantial financial commitments (up to $500,000 per acre) to provide infrastructure to this site.
 
Goshen Regionally Significant Industrial Area
Lane County is in the process of developing about 200 acres of large lot industrial land in the Goshen area (intersection of State Highway 58 and I-5). Major public infrastructure investments are anticipated.
 
The Business Oregon Prospector website lists other large industrial sites in the Willamette Valley that are shovel ready.


[1] Metro 2014 Draft Urban Growth report, Appendix 7

[2] Mackenzie Group, REGIONAL INDUSTRIAL SITE READINESS 2014 Inventory Update, p. 2.  Included in Metro 2014 Draft Urban Growth Report, Appendix 13, p. 5.

[3] Metro, Development on large lots added to the UGB (2002-2009)

[4]    "It turns out that start-ups, companies that are in their first five years of life, account for virtually all net job growth in the United States economy."  Robert Litan, Kauffman Foundation, as reported on NPR on 11/22/10:See   http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/11/22/pm-can-startups-help-the-economy/  ; see also http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/12/27/startups-key-to-job-growth/ ;   International Economic Development Council, See http://www.iedconline.org/?p=Guide_BRE.

[5]   Metro,  2009 – 2030 Urban Growth Report.  The UGR’s “definition of a large employer recognizes these differences by varying employment minimums for each building type.”  2009 – 2030 Urban Growth Report; APPENDIX 4, A4-2.  p. 6.

[6] Id., Table 2.

[7] A 74-acre parcel known as the "Nike" site, located at NW Brookwood & NW Huffman in Hillsboro, was zoned for industrial use and on the state's certified shovel-ready list.  After sitting vacant for years, in 2014 Hillsboro divided the site into 9 "industrial" lots, ranging in size from 4.5-15 acres.  The site is now being developed and marketed as the Majestic Brookwood Business Park, which includes a building that is being developed for an indoor golf facility.  http://www.colliersinternational.com/portland/thomas/Majestic/MajesticBrookwood_EMAIL.pdf

[8] Oregon Department of Agriculture, news release in Honor of National Agriculture Week, March 17, 2015