Up Close and Personal with Oregon's Land Use System

Chris Smith

Warning: blatant self-promotion (of a good cause) follows.

Blue Oregon readers will of course be aware that in the last legislative session, SB 82 established a "Big Look" task force to review Oregon's land use planning system.

Here's an opportunity to get personally involved with that process. Metro President David Bragdon and Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad, both members of the 10-person task force, will be guests at a City Club Citizens Salon on the topic of the task force's work.

The salon will be a brunch this Sunday (August 20th) and there are still a very few seats left at the table.

The guest list for the salon is pretty impressive as well: a candidate for Metro Council, the City of Portland's former Measure 37 coordinator and a co-founder of City Club's New Leaders Council. So we can look forward to some pretty lively conversation. I'm also told that David Bragdon will be bring a special guest from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C., so we'll get a cross-border perspective on the issues as well.

And you can be part of that conversation, by calling 503-228-7231, extension 103, ASAP. Tickets are $90 per person and benefit City Club.

And here's the big close: brunch will be cooked by this blogger! So you can see if I cook as well as I pontificate. Seriously, we'll be serving a fresh seasonal brunch assembled from Farmers Market ingredients representing the bounty of Oregon's agriculture. Ingredients so good I can't possibly ruin them.

Engaging policy discussion and fresh seasonal fare. What Blue Oregonian (or Oregonian of any political color) could refuse?

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    Perhaps, Chris, you might tell us a bit more about where things are with respect to the Big Look task force - some content to go with the self-promotional fare....

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    The task force has submitted their work plan to the Governor and should now be beginning analysis of key issues and identification of trade-offs.

    David and Judie can tell you more. I wouldn't want to spoil your appetite.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)


    Shouldn't your post say "Here's an opportunity for anyone with an extra $90 to get personally involved with that process?" I never cease to be amazed at the lack of sensitivity by "progressives" in this City toward low income people.

    John Mulvey

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    John, let's be clear. This is a fundraiser for City Club. There are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved, including the excellent Envision Oregon series of events that 1000 Friends and their partners are hosting.

    It's not like this is a public hearing and David and Judie will be taking testimony. This is a fun opportunity to discuss the issues with the folks charged with overseeing the process.

  • Out of Loop (unverified)

    I do not own any land. Why should I care about this?

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    You might care about your ability to access natural recreation opportunities. You might care about where your food comes from. You might care about the environmental health of your community.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)

    I'm quite clear, Chris.

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    John, it is quite clear that your point is orthogonal to what Chris is trying to say.

    City Club is hardly the first organization to charge $90 for a fundraiser. And they do plenty for the community that doesn't cost $90.

    If you have something to share about trends in this town, why not write your own guest column.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)


    It's inappropriate to question access by low-income people to this event??

    I understand Blue Oregon to be open to discussion and responses regarding the shaping of public policy. Exclusive events that feature only the well-to-do will produce policy skewed toward the views and interests of the well-to-do, and I believe it is acceptable (indeed essential) to raise this issue in order to arrive at fair and workable public policies.

    Apparently this is "orthogonal" to your preferred approach. I'm not interested in making this column a pisssing match over the irrelevant issues you raise --ie, that the City Club isn't the first group to ever charge $90; that the City Club doesn't always charge $90; that I should share my views on "trends" in Portland. But I won't accept that my concern is somehow out-of-bounds.


  • Chris McMullen (unverified)

    "You might care about your ability to access natural recreation opportunities."

    It always amazes me how the 1000 fiends and land use crowd use this same old canard. At what point will Oregon be in jeopardy of losing its "recreational opportunities?" When the state hits 50M people in the year 4500?

    Take a drive down Salem way and check out the thousands upon thousands of acres of undeveloped land. Thinking all that land is in danger of becoming strip malls and suburbs without the UGB is unbelievably foolish.

  • spicey (unverified)

    Chris McMullen: Take a drive down Salem way and check out the thousands upon thousands of acres of undeveloped land. Thinking all that land is in danger of becoming strip malls and suburbs without the UGB is unbelievably foolish

    Wow, you sure didn't grow up in New Jersey, like I did. Or, you're not familiar with what's going on around this country? Please visit Sacramento sometime, drive in just about any direction. You think it can't happen here? Check out Seattle's east side...

    The UGB is about all we have that prevents that from happening, and even with it, we get what's happening in Damascus, Happy Valley, and similarly around the State. Take head of out sand, please.

  • Betsy Wilson (unverified)

    Of course, Chris led the charge against a $30 fee for participating in a Metro workshop. So I think he's sensitive to fees-for-feedback set ups.

    That said, the City Club prices a lot of people out of its events and membership. If they wanted to shift to a larger group, I bet they could have four times the membership who paid one-third the fee.

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    I am generally sympathetic to the point you're trying to make, but your opportunistic and off-topic vandalism of this blog is pissing me off.

    If you're just looking for a place to vent, I guess I have no argument with you. But if you're interested in building agreement with your poit of view, you're doing a miserable job.

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    Setting UGBs is a lot like demanding slight improvements in fuel economy standards for cars and trucks.

    If you raise CAFE standards you may delay global warming by 10 or 15 years. The only true solution is a radical restructuring of our entire transportation system including fuel, methods of moving food and consumer goods, and the way that ordinary citizens travel and recreate.

    UGBs that allow anygrowth, will similarly result in zero non residential land available here on the west side of the Cascades at some point (probably sooner than 4500). Urban planning can slow this down, but the only thing that will stop it is zero population growth and laws prohibiting people from moving and building.

    As I've said before, the only pure play ecopreservation move is to confine all humans to giant Arcologies sited on current city footprints. Then prohibit everyone from interacting with "nature" in any way.

    Thus the forests and the little furry creatures will be preserved for..........well, I'm not sure why.........

  • Chris McMullen (unverified)


    Yes, AAMOF, I was born in Jersey...spent all of nine months there before living here in Oregon for 39 years.

    I've been to all four corners of this state: Hell's Canyon, the Steens Mountains, the Klamath and Malheur marshes, the Ochocos, Trout creek mountains, Christmas Valley and the John Day, Deschutes, Wilson, Imnaha, Umpqua and Rouge rivers to just to name a very few and I have yet to find any of those areas in danger of rampant development.

    And before you accuse me as some developer out to make a fast buck, I can assure you I am not. I've worked with Oregon Trout and the NW Steelheaders on streambed restoration on coastal rivers and streams. I've helped with ivy removal and trail maintenance projects. I've assisted in preserving sensitive riparian areas. There are few more committed than I to preserving natural areas.

    But I do take exception to those who think we are in danger of developing the 97.5% of natural land in this state. Losing an additional 1 to 2% of Oregon's land to development will not reduce "access to recreational opportunities."

    And BTW, New Jersey is 8,722 square miles, Oregon is 98,386... hardly a worthwhile comparison.

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    Betsy, I can tell you that there are folks at City Club thinking about that very question (lower price => larger membership).

    On the other, pretty much all City Club events are open to non-members, most of them at no charge. Even at a Friday Forum you can sit in back for $5. We try to be as accessible as possible.

    But it does take some money, thus the occassional fundraiser.

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    A more apt comparison might be between NJ and the Willamette Valley.

  • spicey (unverified)

    Chris: But I do take exception to those who think we are in danger of developing the 97.5% of natural land in this state. Losing an additional 1 to 2% of Oregon's land to development will not reduce "access to recreational opportunities."

    • how much of that is private land? I'd wager a fair amount, just like in ... New Jersey, except we have the Pine Barrons...

    anyway, the point is, more people, more sprawl, less access - more crowding, sky is falling. Myself? No kiddies. And that's my work int the world, too - population growth - making sure there are condoms for all. That funding to international family planning organizations flows freely. And, encouraging people to have small families - starting with me, and my family and friends and then branching out from there. My sense is if we keep adding 75 million people a year, no other species will be able to inhabit this planet with us except termites, and it's hard to pet termites...

    so, we probably wouldn't even need to be talking about M37 or M34 for that matter, if we could stablize our population. Do politicians want to discuss that issue? No, too personal.

    Luckily, I'm not really a politician :) Just a neighborhood, global... activist!

    <h2>Have a great lunch!</h2>

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