More Extensive Is More Expensive: Sprawl, Infrastructure, and Oregon's Burden

Oregon’s physical infrastructure is an investment in the future of its residents and communities. Unfortunately, many Oregon communities are making the wrong bets. They’re falling behind on maintenance, taking on debt, and raising taxes to pay for it all.

In our 2013 report, More Extensive Is More Expensive, 1000 Friends of Oregon assesses the causes of this problem, and what we can do about it.

Why is this happening? A big part of the answer is the shape of communities. Some development patterns create much higher public costs than others. Land-extensive sprawl costs a lot more for infrastructure than more efficient development, especially when total lifecycle costs are included. 

But there is an alternative. Quality growth directs development into existing communities and creates walkable neighborhoods with mixed land uses and transportation options. At the same time, it saves communities millions. In these difficult fiscal times, quality growth is the best fiscal bet for Oregon’s future. 

Unfortunately, current Oregon law does not require cities to consider the full lifecycle costs of infrastructure when making growth decisions. It’s time to change this. By considering the full costs of infrastructure, we can hold leaders accountable and help communities step back from sprawl’s fiscal edge.

In our follow-up 2015 report, Fiscal Impact Analysis, we outline a series of analytical tools that communities can use to assess the financial impact of a proposed or theoretical project.  

It’s time to make a choice to transform how we make choices. We can begin today.

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Spread the Word

We need your help to get the word out about these reports and their implications. Here's what you can do to get involved.

  • Your local leaders and elected officials need to hear the message in this report. Consider sending them the four-page summary above, or either of the full reports.
  • Contact our policy staff around the state to share examples of out-of-control infrastructure spending in your community. This will help us build an inventory of places where better decisions could save taxpayers millions. Learn about our regional offices and contact info here.
  • Get involved with our work in your area. Sign up for action alerts, volunteering, and more at our Take Action page.

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