Willamette Week: Bill Could "Bust the Boundary"

Nigel Jaquiss
Willamette Week
Wed, 01/22/2014 - 9:00am

Willamette Week's Nigel Jaquiss reports on an unprecedented bill that could nuke Oregon's established local process for land use planning and force the implementation of Metro's 2011 urban growth boundary expansion.

1000 Friends and other parties have appealed that expansion proposal, which was based on Metro's previous adoption of urban and rural reserves that are also under appeal. Jaquiss writes:

The unprecedented move to wrest authority from Metro and the courts and put it in lawmakers’ hands is coming from Rep. John Davis (R-Wilsonville). He wants legislators in the February session to declare Metro’s 2011 decisions sufficient under state law, nullifying the legal challenges.

Oregon's land use program depends on the public having full trust in its processes, including the right to appeal land use decisions. By threatening to remove that key part of the program, legislators would take unprecedented steps to override local control and erode public trust, notes Metro Councilor Bob Stacey:

Stacey argues once the Legislature starts meddling with Metro’s decisions, no local land-use decisions are safe from lawmakers. “It is entirely inappropriate for the Oregon Legislature to make a land-use decision,” Stacey tells WW. “That authority has been delegated to local governments.”

1000 Friends Executive Director Jason Miner told Jaquiss that the legislature essentially intends to change the rules mid-game by not letting it reach its full conclusion: "That would be essentially declaring a baseball game over at the end of the eighth inning."

1000 Friends will work in the February legislative session to ensure that the legislature doesn't arbitrarily override local control, protecting the public's right to fully engage in land use processes.

Read the full Willamette Week story here.

Keep up with the legislative session on our Legislature page.


Photo: Flickr user "TheRogue". Creative Commons.