Congratulations to Southern Oregon’s 2018 LULI Fellows!

This past December, 19 emerging land use leaders from communities across Southern Oregon joined the ranks of the more than 100 other Fellows who have graduated from our Land Use Leadership Initiative (LULI) since 2012.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

As we reported in September, 2018 saw the formation of the first-ever LULI cohort outside of the Portland Metro area. Last summer, an initial cohort of 22 participants was drawn from a pool of 45 applicants, all of them community advocates from Jackson and Josephine counties, and representing an overall level of diversity that exceeded the regional average. We were thrilled to see such interest in our program!

LULIs (as we fondly call them; LULI rhymes with “Julie”) attended six 3-hour sessions between September and December. Topics included:

  • the foundation of Oregon’s land use program,

  • how cities manage their urban grown boundaries,

  • providing housing choices and transportation options, and

  • rural issues in the state and both counties.

Along the way, LULI participants spent time with local and statewide leaders who are working the front lines to bring sensible planning to Oregon’s communities. Guest presenters included District 5 State Representative Pam Marsh, Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) Commissioner Sherman Lamb, the director of the regional Housing Authority. We also heard from planners from several regional cities, the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD), the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).

Additionally, Fellows learned practical advocacy skills, such as how to identify and get more information about issues, and how to present effective testimony at hearings. Plus, they had plenty of opportunity to get to know more about each other and the issues faced by communities across the region.

LULI fellows were so happy with the experience that, at the sixth and final session, they asked us to schedule an additional, seventh session so that they could spend more time with each other and talk more with presenters about what is happening in the region and how they can get involved. That session has been scheduled for later this month.

We think that’s a pretty wonderful endorsement of the program, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Here are more of the things our Southern Oregon participants had to say:

This educational series was wonderfully organized—top-notch speakers, great food, and a convivial atmosphere. The best part was that the information and examples were local and relevant. As leaders, we now have knowledge and contacts we can leverage for the benefit of our communities.

–Eleanor Ponomareff​

All elected officials in Oregon should be required to take a course like this. I learned more in a few weeks than I did in four years as a Medford City Council member.
–John Statler​
It is just wonderful that you are doing this. Classes like this will be what preserves Oregon’s land use system for the long term.
–State Representative Pam Marsh, District 5

Our newly-minted graduates are already putting their knowledge and skills to work throughout Southern Oregon. Several have stepped up their participation or leadership in committees and work groups in the region. Others are convening conversations in their own communities about housing and transportation options. Many are preparing to testify about issues they care about before planning commissions and city councils in their home cities.

Our Land Use Leadership Initiative deepens advocacy skills for current public officials, and also prepares Oregonians for their first foray into public service. When this cohort began in September, 4 of the cohort members were sitting planning commissioners, and 3 others were city council members. By December, 3 more had been elected to city council positions and another had applied to be a Planning Commissioner in her city.

We are so very proud of all of you!













The success of our first Southern Oregon LULI means that we are looking for opportunities to do more like it. In 2019, we’ll be back in the Portland area with a LULI that focuses on Climate Smart Communities (look for the application window to open in February). Then, in 2020, we’re hoping to return to the field for a regional LULI—location to be determined. Let us know where you’d like to see us next by emailing Sam Diaz, and stay tuned to our website and social media for updates.

Thank you to the sponsors of the 2018 Southern Oregon Land Use Leadership Initiative: