Washington County and Metro To Hold Hearing on New Reserves Proposal Tuesday

Craig Beebe, 1000 Friends Communications Intern

 

As the Washington County Commissioners and Metro Council prepare for a rare joint public hearing this Tuesday, March 15, the Washington County urban and rural reserves process is far from settled. Yet the most recent proposal still contains several areas of significant concern to 1000 Friends of Oregon and other advocates in Washington County.

After being rejected by the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission in October, the Board of Commissioners approved a very slightly revised map with little public involvement in December, only to be rebuffed by Metro Council. Following this, County Commission Chair Andy Duyck and Metro President Tom Hughes began work on a new map. Three weeks ago, they unveiled that map, which excludes a controversial 624-acre area of prime farmland north of Cornelius, but includes several areas of high value farmland north of Highway 26. It is a significant change from the previous maps. More details on the new proposal are available here.

Discontent with the new map remains high. The Washington County Planning Commission, in a somewhat surprising move, voted against the new proposal in early March, choosing instead to include the Cornelius-area farmland as an urban reserve and to reject the inclusion of farmland in the Helvetia area. Citizen advocacy groups like Save Helvetia have been strenuously fighting to protect the high-quality farmland north of 26.

1000 Friends of Oregon opposes the designation of valuable farmland north of Cornelius and in the Helvetia area as urban reserves. We urge Washington County residents to make their voices heard at the County and Metro.

Send comments via email to reserves@oregonmetro.gov by 5 pm on Friday, March 11, call 503-813-7577 to leave a voice mail message, or call or write directly to the Metro Councilors and Washington County Commissioners (click here and here, respectively, for contact information).

We also urge residents to attend the joint public hearing on Tuesday, March 15, at 10:00am at the Washington County Public Services Building, 155 N. First Avenue in Hillsboro. More information is available here.