Southern Oregon Update
Southern Oregon: Current Issues
Regional Problem Solving in Jackson County
On November 15, 2012, after more than 12 years of work by literally hundreds of city and county employees, policy-makers, consultants and concerned citizens, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) gave its final blessing and acknowledged the Greater Bear Creek Regional Problem Solving (RPS) Plan. This milestone came almost exactly 10 years to the day after 1000 Friends of Oregon’s Southern Oregon Advocate Greg Holmes attended the first of many, many meetings on the plan. In March 2013, the decision was finalized. Cities can now begin implementing the plan, and we will continue to be involved as this is done. Read a brief summary of the project and get more information about the pros and cons of the final plan.
Grants Pass Urban Growth Boundary expansion
Grants Pass is in the process of a comprehensive expansion of its Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) for the first time since it was created. We have been working with local citizens and the city and provided input as the plan has developed. The process stalled in late 2012 when the City Council and Board of Commissioners failed to reach agreement after two joint hearings. The city and county plan to resume talks in January, 2013. More information is available at the city’s web site. Related to this effort, Grants Pass is looking into developing at least two “Neighborhood Centers” in the expansion areas. Information about the concept can be found here.
Regional Redefinition of Farm and Forest Land
At the very end of the 2012 legislative session an item was placed in the budget to set aside $550,000 for a “pilot project” to allow three counties the opportunity to re-define farm and forest land and to rezone land that no longer meets those definitions. The counties selected for the project are Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas. Despite the budget crisis the state is facing, this project was funded largely to appease critics of the land use program who would like to see it broken up, or “regionalized.” Euphemistically entitled the “Pilot Project for Regional Farm and Forest Land Conservation,” the project has the potential to do anything but conserve Oregon’s working landscapes. Read more about its implications and process here.
On the Horizon
Several other major land use processes are just beginning to take shape in Southern Oregon. We are monitoring their status closely, and will keep you apprised of how to participate as they progress. Among these are:
- Jackson County: Medford and Central Point are beginning the process of expanding their UGBs. More information on Medford can be found here; Central Point has not yet established a web page for this work.
- Joesphine County: Consideration of the Rogue River Reserve Park, a proposed 249-acre Grants Pass city park located two miles outside the UGB. This project is on hold at least until after the UGB is settled.
- Douglas County: Roseburg is in the process of analyzing the needs for its own UGB, but has been hampered by repeated attempts by Douglas County to adopt a significantly flawed Population Forecast. We are monitoring both processes.
- Rogue Advocates is moving into implementation phase of Envision the Rogue Valley. Click here to see the report or get more information.