Cool Communities

Healthier Neighborhoods, Better Choices

For more than 40 years, 1000 Friends has worked to support vibrant communities for all Oregonians to live, work, and play.

Hood River Oregon's population has certainly grown since 1000 Friends was formed in 1975, but we don't have to lose our cherished quality of life as the state continues to grow. Oregon's innovative land use planning system provides the tools to keep our communities vibrant, livable and healthy while accommodating future growth.

That toolkit starts with an urban growth boundary (UGB), a line that defines where the city ends and the countryside begins. Every small town and large city in Oregon has an approved urban growth boundary.

But the UGB is only the beginning. We also need to consider the patterns of our communities, and how they impact our lives. Where we live, how we get to work and run errands matters. If we build communities in a low density, auto-oriented pattern, with jobs separated from where people live, the sprawling development that results puts pressure on the UGB to expand, and contributes to an unhealthy environment. That's bad for our cities and towns, as well as the nearby landscape impacted by new development.

Instead, 1000 Friends advocates for compact communities that don't depend on the automobile and that foster innovative investments in vacant and underused lands inside existing UGBs.  We call these "Cool Communities," and we work with local governments around Oregon to help make them a reality across the state's cities and towns.

This kind of commitment will help Oregon communities achieve many goals, including:

  • Saving precious taxpayer dollars on costly infrastructure like roads, sewers and utilities (For more on this, read our 2013 report, More Extensive Is More Expensive);
  • More transportation choices, giving residents more options to get around without having to drive, like walking, biking or taking transit;
  • Catalyzing small business investment, and attracting new employers who seek a livable community for their employees;
  • Healthier communities and a cleaner environment, reducing air pollution and water usage, and fighting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Affordable housing options for all Oregonians;
  • Increased protection for critical farmland. When we create Cool Communities, we decrease the pressure to expand urban areas onto nearby farmland, keeping agriculture a major source of livelihoods and jobs for the economy.

Click here to visit our page about our work to build healthy communities: http://www.friends.org/vibrant/healthy

Click here to visit our page on how investing inside our existing cities and preventing urban expansion saves communities money: http://www.friends.org/vibrant/infrastructure.