Click here to see our 2012 Legislative page for updates and priorities from this session.

2011 Legislative Recap

1000 Friends began the 2011 session tracking over 140 bills. To say it was a tough session for land use is an understatement. Several bills that 1000 Friends had been fighting died in committee. Others made it to the floor, and a few passed. Stay tuned for updates on ways to support our work in the 2012 legislative session. 

>>Read a detailed recap of the 2011 Legislative Session from Executive Director Jason Miner.

The following is a partial list of bills and issues that 1000 Friends worked on in the last session. Now that the session is over, we are busily preparing to fight for improving Oregon's land use system in the 2012 session, while protecting it from attacks.

Urban Land for Urban Uses

Industrial Development Within Urban Growth Boundaries (SB 766)

We worked with a variety of interests, legislative leaders, and the Governor's office to ensure that key areas already planned and zoned for industrial use, and that have significant infrastructure investments - such as rails and highway access - are protected for industrial uses, with a streamlined process for siting those uses. This promotes more efficient use of lands communities have already agreed should be for industrial use and it provides employment opportunities close to where people already live, thereby allowing for transportation choice and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to read our blog-post about this issue: http://www.friends.org/news/sb766.

1000 Friends testimony in support of SB 766: Mary Kyle McCurdy explains why 1000 Friends 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. This will create economic development opportunity while protecting the integrity of UGBs and the viability of agriculture throughout the state. Passed by the House and Senate in mid-June. Signed by Governor Kitzhaber on June 29.

Revising Oregon’s Transportation Planning Rule (SB 795)

The Transportation Planning Rule should be revised to support local community goals that encourage mixed use and higher density development. The bill, as amended, directs the Oregon Department of Transportation and Department of Land Conservation and Development to reform the TPR during the interim between the end of this legislative session and the beginning of the next. 1000 Friends will be working on that effort. 1000 Friends of Oregon position: Support. Passed unanimously by House and Senate. Signed by Governor Kitzhaber on June 17.

Prioritizing Urban Reserves for Metro Development (HB 2871)

Metro, the Portland-area regional government, has a 20-year urban growth boundary (UGB). After a multi-year process, Metro is about to adopt 28,000 acres of urban reserves for a 30-year time period beyond the UGB. Urban reserves are where the Metro UGB will expand if a need is shown. HB 2871 ensures that Metro will prioritize urban reserves when there is a UGB expansion, rather than expanding to farm and forest land and natural resource areas, as some developers and landowners would pressure Metro to do. Died in committee.

Prevent Attacks on Land Use Planning

Allowing Regional Definitions of Agricultural and Forest Land (HB 3615)
HB 3615 would have given counties the opportunity to ask LCDC to allow them to redefine agricultural and forest land. The primary purpose of this bill was to open up more farm and forest land for development. The bill also would dedicate money from the state’s general fund to assist Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties to begin this process to redefine agricultural land. 1000 Friends of Oregon position: Oppose. Died in committee.

Read Steve McCoy's May 16 testimony to the Ways & Means Committee's Natural Resources Subcommittee, regarding HB 3615. (pdf)

New Roads In Urban Reserves With Little Public Process (HB 3225)

HB 3225 would allow the three metro-area counties to create new roads in urban reserve areas with little public process. Originally intended to apply only to a single road extension in the Tualatin area, it was expanded during amendments to cover all counties. 1000 Friends opposed this bill. Passed the House (narrowly) and Senate in June.

Exempting Industrial Sites From Land Use Laws (SB 792)
SB 792 would have created a process to allow local governments to designate new so-called “high value” employment sites without having to show that any need exists and it would override Oregon’s land use planning goals, including those establishing urban growth boundaries and protecting farm and forest lands from urbanization. The bill was contrary to the current balancing of needs that the land use system provides.

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to SB 771/792: Mary Kyle McCurdy argues that these identical bills would weaken Oregon's land use planning system by allowing new employment lands "to be sited without complying with Oregon’s land use laws, without a showing of need, without tying the employment sites to any population or employment trend, and they can be sited on farm and forest lands, or anywhere else." SB 792 failed to make it out of the Rules Committee.

Restrictions on Participation in Community Planning (HB 2181, HB 2182, HB 2610, SB 186)

1000 Friends fought and helped defeat four bills that would have drastically reduced citizens' ability to appeal bad land use decisions to the Land Use Board of Appeals. All of these bills died in committee.

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to HB 2181: Steve McCoy, 1000 Friends Farm and Forest Attorney, explains why HB 2181, which would hold ordinary citizens responsible for paying their opponent's attorney fees when they lose a case for the Land Use Board of Appeals, is both unfair (since it protects only one side) and punitive (since it punishes even cases that are not found to be frivolous).

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to HB 2182: Steve McCoy argues that HB 2182's attempt to limit land use appeals to adjacent landowners would unfairly exclude people with a legitimate interest in land use issues that go far beyond property lines.

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to HB 2610: Mary Kyle McCurdy, 1000 Friends Policy Director, argues that HB 2610 would seriously hamper citizen participation in the land use system, by limiting appeals and unnecessarily speeding up the appeals process.

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to SB 186: Steve McCoy argues that SB 186, which would limit land use appeals to landowners within a certain distance of a disputed land use decision, unnecessarily limits citizen involvement in Oregon's land use planning system, especially renters.

Farm Land for Farm Uses

1000 Friends contact: Steve McCoy, steve@friends.org

Non-Farm Events on Farmland (HB 2344)

1000 Friends believes agricultural land should stay in agricultural use. Non-farm, commercial activities (such as weddings) on farmland can provide supplemental income for farmers, but can create traffic and other conflicts for neighboring farmers. 

1000 Friends has been working with the counties, the Farm Bureau, the Oregon Winery Association, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Land Conservation & Development to craft a law that would permit some commercial uses on Exclusive Farm Use land under carefully defined circumstances, but also protect the integrity of agricultural regions. Commercial events that take place on EFU land would have to be secondary and necessary to support existing commercial agriculture on the property. 

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to HB 2344: Steve McCoy explains why this bill, which would limit commercial activities on areas zoned Exclusive Farm Use, is a step in the right direction, but is not protective enough of the right of farmers to farm. 1000 Friends is working with stakeholders to create a bill that will protect EFU areas more thoroughly. HB 2344 died in committee.

Increased Housing on Agricultural Land (HB 2595)
Under current law, on Exclusive Farm Use-zoned land, the land must be farmed at a profit before an owner is allowed to build a house. This protection keeps valuable resource land in agriculture and prevents the building of McMansions on every parcel of agricultural land. HB 2595 would eliminate this protection. Homes on farm land not only take land out of production, but they increase the cost to buy or lease the land for farming, and if occupied by a non-farmer, result in conflicts between farm practices and those not accustomed to living in a farming area. HB 2595 died in committee.

Fast-tracking Sprawl (SB 476)

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to SB 476: Steve McCoy explains why SB 476 would weaken Oregon's statewide planning goals by allowing cities and counties to create exceptions for projects that will employ a certain number of people, creating sprawl and harming agriculture, Oregon's second largest industry. SB 476 died in committee.

Irrigation Reservoirs on Exclusive Farm Use (HB 3408)

1000 Friends testimony in opposition to HB 3408: HB 3408 would include irrigation reservoirs as "outright permitted uses" in Exclusive Farm Use zones. 1000 Friends Farm and Forest Policy Analyst Jim Just explains that DLCD, 1000 Friends, and many stakeholders in the environmental and agricultural communities are already working on a rulemaking effort to clarify this as an acceptable use. HB 3408 was thus unnecessary, and additionally it inadequately protected reservoirs from non-agricultural encroachment. HB 3408 failed to  make it out of committee.

Events and Activites at Wineries (HB 3280)

HB 3280 allows events and activities including food service at wineries sited on lands zoned for exclusive farm use subject primarily to an unclear and unenforceable limit on the percentage of revenue a winery can derive from such events and activities.  This will tax rural infrastructure, cause conflicts with agriculture and neighbors, and result in increased greenhouse gas emissions.  It will also encourage "vineyard" operations to get approved as "wineries" so that they can become event centers. 1000 Friends strongly opposed this bill.  HB 3280 was passed by both the Oregon House and Senate on Monday, June 27. Governor Kitzhaber is expected to sign.

Utility-Scale Solar Generating Facilities on EFU Land (HB 3595)

1000 Friends supports a vibrant clean energy economy and development of renewable energy in Oregon. While large, utility-scale solar energy facilities will be a part of that emerging industry, it’s important that we exercise caution when determining where those facilities should be built. 

Oregon should create incentives to ensure that large solar facilities are efficiently designed and built on the least productive agricultural land and/or wildlife habitat. 1000 Friends participated in a LCDC Solar Resource advisory group that came close to creating balanced recommendations. HB 3595 would have overridden much of that work.  Failed to make it out of committee.

Destination Resort Siting (HB 3467)

Destination resorts were originally designed to bring economic development to rural communities and highlight recreational opportunities across Oregon. Too often, destination resorts have become gated subdivisions with adverse impacts on the neighboring communities. Destination resort siting law should be reformed so these resorts achieve their original mission of promoting sustainable tourism in rural Oregon. 

HB 3467 started out as general changes to the destination resort statutes.  Sen. Whisnant ;ater publicly announced that he wanted to keep it alive so that it could be changed to a special entitlement for the Pine Forest subdivision in Central Oregon. Failed to make it out of Rules Committee.

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