Washington County Reserves Plan Passes County Commission, But It Has an Uncertain Future

Craig Beebe

Following the release of a widely criticized draft last week that was almost certain to be rejected by Metro Council, Washington County has once again revised its urban/rural reserves plan.  Although the newest draft was only publicly available for 24 hours, the Washington County Commission voted to accept it  Tuesday evening, despite stringent calls for more time to consider the new map's provisions..

The new map steps back considerably from the earlier proposals, especially the one remanded by the state Land Conservation and Development Commission in October. In particular, it does not include as urban reserves land north of the City of Cornelius which had been strenuously fought by several groups, including 1000 Friends of Oregon. But it does designate 585 acres of urban reserves north of Highway 26 in the Helvetia area, as well as another 290 undesignated acres. Washington County has apparently attempted to match the acres lost near Cornelius with acreage elsewhere, which the Washington County Farm Bureau, Save Helvetia, and other groups have argued is unnecessary. The entire map is available here in several different formats.

It is somewhat unclear how Metro Council, who must approve the proposal before it goes back to the state, will vote on the new map. It is clear, though, that the Council will not take up the matter until January 2011, as Metro news reporter Nick Christensen writes. The new map was approved too late to be added to the agenda for today's Metro Council meeting.