Why 1000 Friends Supports Senate Bill 766

1000 Friends of Oregon supports SB 766, which will protect areas currently zoned for industrial use from being converted to other uses, and streamline permitting new industrial projects "of statewide significance" within urban growth boundaries. We believe that SB 766 will create economic development opportunity while protecting the integrity of UGBs and the viability of agriculture throughout the state.

There's been some misunderstanding by some about the purpose of the bill and what it does.

The bill requires the state to designate between 5-15 regionally significant industrial areas around the state.

These areas are already planned and zoned for industrial development and already have a significant amount of public investment in infrastructure (freeway and/or railway access, airport, port, etc) in them that makes them uniquely valuable and irreplaceable.

Below are some of the reasons why 1000 Friends of Oregon supports SB 766:

  • It promotes industrial use of lands already zoned and planned for industrial use. A key element of the Oregon land use program is its predictability and certainty. 
  • It promotes efficient use of public and private investment in the infrastructure that already exists to serve these sites; infrastructure that is often impossible to replace or replicate in any practical sense.  That is sensible use of public monies.
  • Efficient use of existing public investments enables jurisdictions to spend limited infrastructure dollars on other public needs, whether that is transit, green infrastructure, road repair, seismic upgrades, etc...
  • It puts jobs near where people already live.
  • Working nearer to where one lives reduces driving and air pollution, supports transit use in those jurisdictions with transit, makes walking and bicycling to work more viable options, and reduces household expenses on gasoline.  The cost of commuting to and from work consumes, on average, 20% of household income, a percentage that will undoubtedly increase as gasoline prices continue to climb. 
  • The very real alternative of mitigating for lost industrial lands on an acre-for-acre basis is to put jobs farther from where people live, and to cost workers more to get there. 
  • A new EPA study shows that the largest contributor to toxic air pollution in Oregon is driving; more than the contribution of industrial uses.
  • Successfully addressing climate change requires reducing the amount of driving we all do.  Over 1/3 of Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector. Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to accomplish that reduction is by people working near where they live.

Click here to read the testimony of Mary Kyle McCurdy, Policy Director and Staff Attorney.