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Portland Inches Growth Boundary Outward

October 24, 2011

From OPB News – After years of analysis and dozens of land-use meetings, the Metro Council has inched the Portland area’s growth boundary outward by less than 1 percent.

Urban growth boundaries separate developed areas from farms and forests in Oregon. But the intense controversy around Portland’s boundary was muted this time around.

Even members of the Metro Council who’ve been in the thick of the hearings and map-making leading up to the urban growth boundary expansion admit that the final decision was, well …

“Perhaps it’s somewhat anti-climactic for those of you who are still sitting before us, but we’ve been talking about this, and talking about this,” said Katherine Harrington.

She was the lead Metro Councilor in a two-year process that created “rural and urban reserves.” That process designated hundreds of thousands of acres for either future growth, or long-term protection. Perhaps after that, expanding two-thousand acres might seem underwhelming.

But Harrington might agree with her colleague, Carl Hosticka, that the small expansion was still significant.

“I think we’re at sort of watershed moment for the Metro Council,” Hosticka said.

This is the first time the council is choosing expansion areas based on where urban reserves are. And, it’s the first time councilors’ hands weren’t tied by Oregon’s traditional land-use mandate: that the places to be urbanized are determined by where the lowest quality soils are.

Under the new system, councilors could evaluate transportation infrastructure and how prepared local cities are to extend services.

The Portland area’s last major boundary change was nine years ago, when Metro pushed future growth onto…to read the rest of this story, please click here.


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