The Land Use Leadership Initiative (LULI)


LULI, 1000 Friends of Oregon’s leadership training program, was established in 2012. LULI connects participants with leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors through monthly discussions in forums ranging from informational panels to site visits to field trips. The program showcases Oregon’s innovative land use planning, highlights the most-pressing land development issues, and equips participants with a land use toolkit to utilize in issues that matter to them.

LULI is about much more than land use. It harnesses the power of think-tanks by bringing together community members who form a wide range of perspectives. Instead of looking at land use in a narrow frame of reference, Fellows are encouraged to share stories in how planning decisions directly impact their community and the issues they care about. When meeting with officials who shape land and transportation decisions, Fellows raise issues like  public health and unequal access to services. The cohort instantly uses their toolkit, anticipating unintended consequences and brainstorming solutions. In this collaborative setting, Fellows not only learn about urban development, but also learn how to be effective advocates in the allocation of resources across the region and state. 

Climate Smart Communities: The 2014-2015 Land Use Leadership Initiative

In just twenty years, the Portland metro region is projected to reach 3 million residents. LULI 2015-2016 focused on how the region is preparing for this growth, shifting demographics and climate change.  Fellows learned techniques officials are using to address gentrification, housing issues, urban sprawl, and transportation. Fellows analyzed the benefits and burdens resulting from these approaches, considering the interrelated fields of public health, education, street safety, and conservation. Fellows also discussed the changing demographics of the region’s population as well as Oregon’s land use history.

Some LULI 2014-2015 Reflections

Lisa Frank

"After graduating college with a degree in Government and Spanish, I was thrilled to land at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and have the opportunity to put my advocacy skills to work, transforming the cities and suburbs of Washington County into a better place to live, work, play, and bike. It didn't take long for me to realize that the biggest challenges facing Washington County did not have their origin in misplaced transportation priorities, but rather in land use patterns and choices that dictated a car-dominant system. I turned to LULI and 1000 Friends of Oregon for help understanding land use and how it is interconnected with transportation, housing, the environment, racism, and more. One of the most valuable aspects of LULI for me was the ability to meet and learn from people working in all these fields, who also understood land use to be the fabric knitting Oregon together. We are lucky here to have an organization like 1000 Friends that is boldly venturing beyond farm and forest land protection into the heart of our cities, suburbs, and apartments to examine how we can best organize our communities and the services we rely on. LULI for me has been a key to enter that conversation and form lasting personal and professional bonds with other participants."

Stuart Campbell

"I went into the LULI program wanting to learn more about planning, housing, and the politics involved in these areas. I can definitely say that I learned about all of those things, and more. When we role-played a neighborhood association meeting in SW Portland, I realized the dynamic nature of planning and land use development within the small, but personal, context such as a neighborhood. It help bring to life arguments and dilemmas that are often heard about but not always experienced - I liked this simple but meaningful activity. I liked that the class followed a larger local issue, such as Metro's Climate Smart Strategy while learning about other planning issues. Being giving opportunities to speak out on Climate Smart Strategy was great, as I may not have been aware enough to send in a written statement.

One of the highlights for me was just hearing from professionals and leading voices. I really enjoy lectures from people who are 'in the field' and knowledgeable. This did not stop at guests who came to our classes either. The cohort was a wealth of knowledge, as well. 

LULI was important to me personally, along with my career efforts. Because of LULI, I realized more clearly that I wanted to pursue a career in planning, and I am now set to begin PSU's MURP program this fall! I also know that I have a solid network of LULI's that I can reach out to for questions or information – priceless!"


Heidi Guenin

"Being someone who works in this area a bit more than the other LULIs, it was always valuable to hear the kinds of questions they asked, the bits of information they were surprised about, the sheer lack of jadedness that envelops many of the professional advocates in this space.  I hope that everyone stays engaged in the efforts that you highlighted - it would invaluable to have even half of those voices continue to participate in and shape the many projects coming our way in the next few years!"


Omar Carrillo

"The LULI curriculum provided an excellent introduction to Oregon’s planning system, as well as the nuances of what this means for the Portland Metro area. It provided me with a more thorough understanding of Metro’s role in our planning processes and how to advocate for livability issues at the Metro level. It was also interesting to get to compare Oregon and Portland’s system to other metro areas and states and critically evaluate the benefits and burdens of our current system.One of the highlights was getting to hear from different people working in the field. Their perspective was incredibly valuable. The couple times we got out of the “classroom” were great too (there should be more in the future!). I now have a better sense of the diversity of regional planning programs and the pros and cons of each of these. I also have a better sense of how local jurisdictions and cities can work together to achieve livability and equity goals, even if the Portland Metro area is far from this."


Suburban Legends: The 2016 Land Use Leadership Initiative


In December 2014, the 2014-2015 Fellows submitted written and oral testimony on Climate Smart Communities, detailing the benefits of the strategy. The Metro Councilors unanimously approved the Climate Smart Strategy. Now, the work shifts into local transportation projects. This year's LULI focuses on the Southwest Corridor Plan, an estimated $1.9 billion investment in the Portland metro region, spanning from Sherwood to Southwest Portland. Equipped with advocacy skills, knowledge of land use planning tools and legal frameworks, and connections to decision makers, Fellows will find ways to create and preserve opportunity through housing, transit, pedestrian and bicycle improvements, and zoning. 

LULI 2016 will include two tiers for engagement: Fellows and Guests. 

Program Commitment

LULI 2016 sessions are held monthly, beginning this Summer. In addition, LULI Fellows will have many opportunities to attend outside events hosted by 1000 Friends of Oregon and partnering organizations.  Some events will have short reading assignments while others will require preparation for the SW Corridor Plan. The program does not have a firm attendance policy, but we strongly recommend that Fellows make as many events as possible because the curriculum builds upon each session. 


The Application Process

Applications are being accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.  Please don't wait, apply now!.

 Complete and submit the online application at your earliest convenience

  • Tier 1: Fellows
  • Tier 2: Guests

Note: Please select one of the three essay prompts included in the online application. The essay prompts include:

  • How do you define 'suburbia'?
  • How do you define 'equity'? 
  • Do you believe the Metro region should start preparing for climate change? Why or why not?

Program Sponsorship

1000 Friends of Oregon will provide field trip transportation costs for Fellows. We also provide snacks and refreshments when appropriate. Hard copies of handout materials will be provided upon request. Guests will need to pay $15.00 for a session. A link for safe and secured payment will be sent alongside the agenda for the upcoming session (sent two weeks before each session). Please ask us about financial assistance.

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