1000 Friends Celebrates Decision Protecting Marion County Farmland

January 2, 2014

Contact: Mary Kyle McCurdy, Policy Director, mkm@friends.org

Along with local farmers and concerned residents, 1000 Friends of Oregon celebrates the Oregon Court of Appeals’ reversal of an unjustified urban growth boundary expansion by the City of Woodburn. The proposed Woodburn expansion would have needlessly opened over 400 acres of Oregon’s best farmland to speculative and uncertain development.

In an opinion released this morning, the Court, agreeing with 1000 Friends of Oregon, Friends of Marion County, the Marion County Farm Bureau, and several local residents and farmers, rules that the City and the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) did not provide adequate justification that the expansion was necessary.

1000 Friends of Oregon Policy Director and Staff Attorney Mary Kyle McCurdy, who argued the case on behalf of 1000 Friends and the other petitioners, issued the following statement:

“1000 Friends stood with local farmers in this case because once our best farmland is gone, it’s never coming back. Agriculture is Marion County’s top industry, and the second-largest in the state. When a city proposes to open some of the world’s best farmland to development, they must be held to the highest standard. In this ruling, the Court agrees that this standard was not met by the City of Woodburn.”

McCurdy continued: “One local farmer who participated in this case from the beginning was Lolita Carl, whose family has farmed in Marion County for over a century. Lolita and her family members put countless hours of energy and work into protecting Marion County’s farmland. Though Lolita passed away before this ruling was issued, this decision helps ensure this land stays productive for future generations. It is bittersweet that she cannot celebrate this victory with us, but we know it will honor Lolita’s legacy.”

1000 Friends of Oregon stands ready to work with the City of Woodburn and state officials, as we have successfully done with other cities, to find more responsible ways to provide capacity for all industries -  including Marion County’s most important industry, agriculture.  

Read the court opinion here: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148592.pdf