Our Work in the Portland Metro Region

In addition to working on statewide issues, 1000 Friends' Portland office covers local land use issues in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, and Hood River counties. Deputy Director Mary Kyle McCurdy leads our efforts in these counties. Below are a sampling of issues we are working on in the Portland Metro area.

Planning for Cool Communities

For over a year, 1000 Friends has been actively involved in Metro’s Climate Smart Communities initiative. This initiative considers how communities can develop in ways that support local businesses, are equitable, and are more cost-efficient – keeping money in each resident’s pocket and saving public dollars.  The first phase evaluated numerous strategies to see whether these shared goals of a better community and reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be met. These tools included providing more bicycle routes, increasing bus and light rail service, providing more housing and shopping opportunities around light rail and bus routes, providing incentives to carpool, using pricing mechanisms to manage traffic and parking, increasing electric vehicle usage, and more.  Click here to learn more about how Cool Communities will accomplish these goals.

The results we’ve seen so far are very exciting: The region’s current land use and transportation policies provide a strong foundation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and they support livable neighborhoods.  These results are described in Metro’s Understanding our Land Use and Transportation Choices. Here are some of the priorities that Metro is considering:

  • Make sure everyone has the opportunity to walk safely to where they need to go:  whether it is to the library, grocery store, bus stop, or school, our neighborhoods should have sidewalks, and they should feel safe.
  • Make sure everyone has the opportunity to bicycle safely where they need to go.  Studies show that many more people of all ages would ride their bikes for many trips they now do in a car if more bicycle routes were separated from car traffic, and if shopping and other opportunities were located closer together.
  • Increase transit service.  After you walk to the bus stop, you would like a bus to come!  Reliable and frequent transit service in areas where more people live and work means more people will chose the bus.
  • Give people more options to live closer to where they work. 

Urban and Rural Reserves

In April 2011, the Washington County Urban and Rural Reserves process entered a new phase, as a new reserves map was approved by Metro Council and the Washington County Board of Commissioners. Unfortunately, the plan continued to rely on criteria that led to thousands of acres of high quality farmland targeted for urban development. Still, in August 2011, LCDC gave its approval to the new plan. 

After DLCD issued its final written approval in Summer 2012, 1000 Friends decided to appeal the plan to the Oregon Court of Appeals. Click here to read a letter from our Director explaining why we made this choice.  

In February 2014, the Court of Appeals agreed with 1000 Friends and reversed the reserves plan based on Washington County's use of "pseudo factors" to choose rural reserves. Read our statement here. As of March 2014, the legislature was completing a so-called "land use grand bargain" to finalize the map.

Want more info on what's happening in the region and around the state? "Like" our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter, to stay informed about issues of interest and how you can participate. Or sign up for email updates.