A lesson in the common ground beneath their feet.

Carla Axtman

Yesterday, a coalition of groups that generally find themselves at odds came together to propose an alternative map for urban and rural reserves in Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas Counties.

The coalition includes Washington County Farm Bureau, Tualatin Riverkeepers, Friends of French Prairie, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Save Helvetia ,Audubon Society of Portland, Coalition for a Livable Future, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Portland Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited, Friends of Family Farmers, Oregon Tilth and Slow Food. These generally divergent groups forged this coalition to, in their view, achieve, " a balance of protection for agriculture and natural resources while providing for common sense future growth in the region.”

One of the coalition members said they believe this is the first time this type of coalition has come together since Senate Bill 100, almost 40 years ago.

There are certain values that have come to embody Oregon: love of the land, conserving important places and saving them for future generations and an emphasis on protecting our heritage. These folks appear to have come together in that spirit.

Currently, Metro is considering this map for the reserves, and is holding a public comment period, including public meetings, for this proposal.

This map identifies about 28,500 acres in urban reserves for the three county area.

The coalition map is here. It identifies about 15,000 acres of urban reserves with an additional 6,000 acres for possible future development.

Below is the coalition's press conference from yesterday.

  • BW (unverified)

    Let me see... rather than designate the portion of the Stafford Triangle south of Lake Oswego as an urban reserve, the coalition labels it "discussion area." Way to take a firm stand on the most obvious urban reserve in the region. Now, which group are the politicians?

  • Pink (unverified)

    Yeah right....rather than designate the portion of the Stafford Triangle south of Lake Oswego as an urban reserve, the coalition labels it "discussion area

  • ScaryTail (unverified)

    "These generally divergent groups?" Really? Am I missing something? Which of those groups have been fighting for loosening Oregon's land use system?

  • Theresa Kohlhoff (unverified)

    Where can you get better maps? I can't really distinguish much on these electronic ones from my computer screen.

    Question: regardless of the issue of whether there has been a coming together of various groups, because really this is minor in my eyes, why would we ever want to loosen the land use system in Oregon? It seems very clear to me that when you put a developer in charger, down go the trees. When mom and dad die, the family farm gets sold for a housing development. The politicians raise their hands---this farm land is worth two migrant workers jobs per acre or two Intel workers, which is better. Langdon Farms which became a golf course is now in jeopardy of becoming a Klamath Falls Indian casino. Etc... The whole free market concept in land turns out to be free to the exploiters and a total loss for the citizens of Oregon---oh, maybe not total, we will probably get some trivial bauble just to keep us thinking we really did get something in all that. I say, if anything, land use laws need to be extremely protective of farm land: spare me the faux and cynical economic analysis.

  • jaybeat (unverified)

    Urbanizing the Stafford Triangle makes no sense. Even more ridiculous is the apparent "consensus" for urbanizing the strip along I-205 between Tualatin and West Linn. Supposedly this area (where I live) is supposed to be "ideal" for mixed jobs/housing/commercial. Oh really? In 40 or 50 years, how the heck are people supposed to get here? The freeway? Bwahahaha!

    If a proposed urban reserve doesn't have a viable plan (including financing) for non-automotive transportation then what sane person can say it should be included??

    Do you really think that in 2050 we're going to need more suburbs at the edge of the already urbanized area? The suburbs we already have are going to be ghost towns anyway and every plot of open space near urban areas is going to be needed to raise food. But instead these geniuses think we need to make way for development as if the next 50 years is going to look like the last fifty.

    Business as usual as we all march off the cliff...incredible.

  • rfd97230 (unverified)

    How much of the reserved area around Bull Run is solid hydromanagement and how much is post 9/11 hysteria? Not saying it should be developed, but it could contribute to public greenspace, say, in a corridor to Larch Mtn.

  • Richard (unverified)

    "The suburbs we already have are going to be ghost towns anyway and every plot of open space near urban areas is going to be needed to raise food."

    Now that's funny.

    But not as funny as Carla's take or the Metro process.

    What's going on here is the same status quo of obstruction and manipulation that ushered along land use and transportation in the last 25 years.

    The urban and rural reserves designation will ba as meaningless as the last several UGB expansions.

    Enough obstackles will be deliberately maintained to make it essentially impossible to develop these areas.

    Meanwhile Metro spends $6 million for a parcel 6 miles from the UGB and tells the public it will be a future park? Yeah right. After we're all dead and only a park for animals.

    Even if the Stafford Triangle were brought into the UGB today the rest of the process would, by design, take decades to facilitate. The first thing Metro does with UGB expansions is label all of the land 20 acre minimums to lock up potential development of smaller parcels. At the same time, the "Master Planning" requirements kick in. This makes it impossible for anything to happened without the costly and time devouring bureaucrat busy work of stuffing every smart growth, politically correct, lefty, mixed use, ped/bike, enviro utopia scheme into a plan
    that is impossible to fund or implement.

    Then as 10 and 20 years pass it can be said no one wanted to develope these areas. Yeah sure.

    Bottom line is, the only development that gets the skids greased are the heavily subsidized schemes like SoWa, Beaverton Round and Villebois.

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    Sorry about the maps. I wanted to post side by side photos of the two maps to make it easier to compare, but I couldn't get a jpeg file of the current Metro proposal before publication.

    I'll see if I can get one and post the two side-by-side so you can hopefully see the difference. I did try to aid this by providing the acreage, but it really doesn't give a proper perspective without viewing the two maps.

  • Ricky (unverified)

    This is a good post from Ms. Axtman. I will comment further after reading all the links she's provided.

  • ws (unverified)

    I'm glad to see this coalition working together to present a different perspective on land use and development but I'd prefer that no more rural lands were designated as urban reserves at present. Already designated and developed lands in Washington county cover a large area, but it remains to be demonstrated that within this area, infrastructure can be devised that will effectively minimize congestion.

    <h2>Adding more urban reserves before making what's already been developed work well sounds like a formula for failure and senseless destruction of open land.</h2>

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