Population: 3,243,000
Counties: 35
Governor John A. Kitzhaber, M.D. (D)

Key Laws/Administrative Actions/Court Decisions/Organizations/Regional/Readings/Calendar/Media

Click here for the amount of protected land in Oregon, and click here to review Oregon's federal transportation spending.
Source:  Pew Center on the States & Changing Direction:  Federal Transportation Spending in the 1990s. Surface Transportation Policy Project

Current Statewide Campaigns:
1000 Friends of Oregon spearheaded the creation of the Coalition for a Livable Future, an alliance of community groups in the Portland area dedicated to addressing the links among a variety of issues, from housing to water quality, food security to urban design, economic inequality to transportation choices.  The purpose of the Coalition for a Livable Future is to protect, restore, and maintain healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities, both human and natural, for the benefit of present and future residents of the greater metropolitan region.
Land use planning, affordable housing strategies, transportation reform, equitable distribution of government finances for schools and social services, inner city revitalization, economic vitality, enlightened urban design, preservation of open spaces, and economic and social justice are all interconnected determinants of metropolitan livability. The Coalition for a Livable Future represents an attempt to bring together activists and experts from all of these areas to speak with a common voice in their efforts to influence public policy on regional issues like tax base sharing, the proposed South/North light rail, and the responsibility of all communities in the region to provide their fair share of affordable housing. 

1000 Friends of Oregon also provides a useful "Q&A" on affordable housing in Oregon. 

Contact Information:
Coalition for a Livable Future
1220 SW Morrison, Suite 535
Portland, OR  97205
(503) 294-2889

For an overview of Oregon's planning and zoning statutes, see a summary provided by the American Planning Association.

Land Use Planning Act of 1973 (Codified as amended at OR. REV. STAT. §197.005-.860 (1991))  Oregon's statewide planning program is widely considered this country's pre-eminent growth management model.  Adopted in 1973, the Act contains significant features that other states have come to emulate.

  The Act sets forth 19 planning goals to guide cities and counties as they plan new growth and development:

  •  Goal 14 requires local governments to establish an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), a legally established  boundary that separates an urban area from rural land.  To determine the boundary, local governments calculate the amount of  land needed to accommodate new housing, economic development, open space and other needs for 20 years.
  • Goal 3, which requires that all land outside the urban growth boundary be zoned exclusively for farm use if it is classified as prime farmland by the Soil Conservation Service;.
  • Goal 4, which requires protection of land for timber production;
  • Goal 10, which requires land-use patterns that allow for adequate housing;
  • Goal 11, which calls for an orderly and efficient arrangement of public facilities to serve urban and rural development; and 
  • Goal 12, which requires local transportation plans to consider alternatives to the automobile and to avoid reliance upon any single transportation mode. 
The goals have the force of law and are not merely advisory.  (Source: Smart States, Better Communities, see Readings at end.) 

The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) is the state agency responsible for monitoring and implementing the land use planning program.  The department is overseen by a seven member citizen commission called the Land Conservation and Development Commission and supported by approximately sixty staff members. Contact: Richard P. Benner, Director of DLCD,  Dept. of Land Conservation & Development,  635 Capitol Street, NE,  Suite 150 Salem, OR 97301; 503-373-0050; Internet: http://www.lcd.state.or.us./

Planning disputes involving local governments, state agencies, developers and property owners are heard before the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). LUBA was created by legislation in 1979 (ORS Chapter 197) and has exclusive jurisdiction to review all governmental land use decisions, whether legislative or quasi-judicial in nature. Prior to LUBA's creation, land use appeals were heard by the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and the circuit courts. LUBA was created to simplify the appeal process, speed resolution of land use disputes and provide consistent interpretation of state and local land use laws. The tribunal is the first of its kind in the United States. The governor appoints the three member board to serve four-year terms. The appointments are confirmed by the Oregon Senate. The Administrative Law Judges serving on the Board must be members of the Oregon State Bar. Contact: 550 Capitol Street NE, Salem, Oregon 97310;  Telephone: 503-373-1265;  Fax: (503) 373-1580; Internet: http://luba.state.or.us/

Tax Incentives
Statewide Property Tax Abatement Program (1975).  This tax incentive program for owners of historic properties freezes assessments at the pre-rehab value of the property for 15 years.  In order to qualify, the property (residential or commercial) must be listed on the Historic Register and the owners must renovate the property. In 1994, the program was terminated but was reactivated with changes in Sept. 1995. Contact: State Parks & Recreation Department, State Historic Preservation Office, 1115 Commercial St NE Suite 2; Salem, OR 97301; (503) 378-5019; Fax: (503) 378-6447

For more detailed information about Oregon's growth management program, check out the the Land Conservation and Development Commission's site (www.lcdc.or.us) or University of Oregon's land use webpage: http://utopia.uoregon.edu/projects/landuse/land_use.html

The Land Conservation and Development Commission provides summaries of recently passed legislation athttp://www.lcd.state.or.us/backinfo/legispas.htm

Executive Order 94-07, "Siting State Offices in Oregon's Community Centers," issued June 7, 1994 by Governor Barbara Roberts.  In 1994, former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts issued an executive order directing state agencies to give preference to downtown locations when leasing office space.  By locating downtown, state agencies can ensure that their rental payments support urban centers, public transit, and communities. The executive order encourages livable cities rather than sprawl. 

Governor Robert's Executive Order
Oregon's Benchmarks for Livable Communities set targets for reducing communities' reliance on the single-occupant automobile, and encouraging the development of areas of mixed housing, employment and retail in which walking is convenient and pleasant.  The best examples of this kind of mixed use are in Oregon's downtowns. 

In addition to assisting local governments to plan for mixed use development, the state should support existing mixed use centers with its own business activity.  The rental payments for leased state office space, and the retail and service trade generated by state workers, represent significant economic stimulus for the communities in which they are located. 

Siting state facilities in downtowns and other central areas, particularly those well served by transit, assures that state services and programs are accessible to more Oregonians, particularly those who are dependent on transit.  Enabling and encouraging both state workers and clients of state offices to conduct business by transit, walking and other methods in addition to the single-occupancy vehicle aids communities in their efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled, traffic congestion and air pollution.  Siting and retaining state facilities in these central locations is in the long term best interest of the State of Oregon... 


1. State facilities, and state agencies' use of space, shall serve to strengthen Oregon's cities and their central districts by conserving existing urban resources, using existing infrastructure and services, and encouraging the development and redevelopment of central business districts and other mixed-use centers. 

2. The process for meeting state agency office needs and, where practical, other facility needs shall give preferential consideration to locations within the central business districts, but such offices shall be located conveniently close to transit in communities that have transit service.  Other areas of mixed use development that are highly accessible to the public, have a fully developed pedestrian circulation system, have high quality transit service (in those communities with transit service), and are designated as urban centers in the applicable comprehensive plan may also be given priority consideration.

3. Site selection shall take into account the need for co-location of agencies or activities in common or adjacent space in order to improve public service and accessibility, effect economies of operation... 

4. The director of the Department of Administrative Services shall develop policies to implement this order.  The directors of state agencies shall cooperate with the Department in implementing this order and give the Department early notice of changes which affect space requirements. 

5. No office space shall be located outside the areas described in paragraph 2 of this order without the direct approval of the director of the Department of Administrative Services. 

6. In assuring that office space is acquired in the most cost-effective manner feasible...the director of the Department of Administrative Services shall give due regard to the value of the accessibility and central location of the areas described in this policy. 

7. The director of the Department of Administrative Services shall submit a written report to the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the President of the Senate on July 1, 1995 and annually thereafter, detailing siting decisions and describing how those decisions conform to the requirements of this order. 

Oregon's Measure 7 Declared Unconstitutional 
An Oregon Circuit Court Judge has ruled that Ballot Measure 7 violates Oregon's Constitution. The measure, passed by a 53% to 47% margin last November, requires payments to landowners for reductions in property values caused by state or local government regulations.  The ruling is expected to be appealed.

"Developers build up, not out, to create denser neighborhoods," The Oregonian. April 25, 2001.

1000 Friends of Oregon
1000 Friends of Oregon is a statewide nonprofit, non-partisan land use watchdog organization working to protect Oregon's valuable farm and forest lands, the livability of its communities, and the  rights of citizens to play an active role in the land use planning process.  The group's Land Use, Transportation and Air Quality (LUTRAQ) project offers a new approach to combating sprawl while reducing air pollution and traffic congestion. 1000 Friends has served as a national model for similar land-use planning advocacy organizations in FL, WA, WI and elsewhere.  Its reports and newsletters are an excellent source of information on the OR programs. Address:  1000 Friends of Oregon, 300 Willamette Building, 534 Southwest Third Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97204
Telephone: (503) 497-1000, Email: info@friends.org 

1000 Friends of Oregon encourages everyone in Oregon to get involved.  If you live in an area served by a local or regional land use group, they suggest calling the following organizations: 

Friends of Eugene (541) 344-2543
Hood River Valley Residents Committee (541) 387-3383
Friends of Yamhill County (503) 472-3631
Friends of Linn County (541) 258-8990
Friends of Polk County (503) 623-8079
Citizens for Orderly Development (Curry County) (541) 765-2234
Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition (541) 765-2234
Alliance for Responsible Land Use in Deschutes County (541) 548-6544
Jackson County Citizens League (541) 776-0443
Coalition for a Livable Future (Metro Portland) (503) 497-1000 

Livable Oregon, Inc.
Livable Oregon, Inc. is a not-for-profit charitable organization of concerned citizens, businesses, and public officials that promotes vital community centers and other developments that will help Oregon's economy grow without jeopardizing the unique qualities of its communities and countryside. Address:  Livable Oregon, Inc., 921 SW Morrison, Suite 508, Portland, Oregon 97205, Telephone: (503) 222-2182, Fax: (503) 222-2359. 

The Historic Preservation League of Oregon(HPLO)
The HPLO is devoted to preserving and revitalizing historic communities throughout the state. The HPLO has recently increased its efforts to assist Oregon's rural communities, small towns and urban neighborhoods with technical training in community planning and design and historic rehabilitation.
Address:  HPLO, P.O. Box 40053, 322 NW Fifth Avenue, Suite 301, Portland, OR 97240-0053, Telephone: (503) 243-1923. 

Oregon Environmental Council
The Oregon Environmental Council advances equitable and sustainable approaches to reducing human impacts on Oregon's air, land, and water. Address:  OEC, 520 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204, Telephone: 503/222-1963, Fax: 503/222-1405, E-mail: oec@orednet.org. 

Oregon Community Protection Coalition (OCPC)
The OCPC was formed in response to the passage of Measure 7 in the November 2000 general election. Recognizing the need for the conservation community to create an organized and effective response, a group of about 20 organizations chartered the coalition in December 2000. 

Portland Audubon Society
Our staff and volunteers work diligently to make sure that local and statewide efforts to protect habitats, species and our quality of life get the attention and action they deserve. Our conservation work has been instrumental in the preservation of local and regional parks and Greenspaces. We make it easy for you to get involve, too, through the Audubon Conservation Team, our grassroots activist network.

Sensible Transportation Options for People (STOP)
STOP is a grassroots organization formed in 1989 to halt a proposed freeway project in rural Washington County.  STOP's mission today is to promote transportation systems that foster livable communities. Address:  STOP, 15405 SW 116th Avenue #2028, Tigard, OR 97224, Telephone: 503/624-6083, Fax:  503/620-5989. 

Portland Metro, the nation's only elected regional government, is responsible for a broad range of services, including responsibility for regional land-use and transportation planning, and is empowered to address any other issue of  "metropolitan concern." Metro covers approximately 460 square miles of the urban portions of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties in northwestern Oregon. There are 24 cities in the Metro service area, including Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego and Oregon City. 

Metro was formed in 1979, when voters approved the merger of a council of governments (Columbia Region Association of  Governments - CRAG) that had land-use and transportation planning responsibilities with the Metropolitan Service District,  which had been created to provide regional services that included the solid waste management plan and operation of a metropolitan zoo. The new Metropolitan Service District (MSD) was governed by an elected council and an elected executive officer.  It had the combined authority of the two predecessor agencies and other potential additional powers.  During the years, additional responsibilities were assigned to Metro by the state Legislature with concurrence of the jurisdictions within Metro's boundaries. 

Metro maintains an excellent, detailed website at: http://www.metro.dst.or.us/
or contact: (503) 797-1700. 

John M. DeGrove, Land, Growth and Politics, (Chicago: Planners Press/American Planning Assn., 1984), pp. 235-290.  An excellent case study on Oregon's program. 

Portland promotes ridesharing
Portlandís new Transportation Options Division is developing a Web site that will be one of the first in the nation to offer a fully automated system for organizing local carpools and vanpools. 
Tentatively called CarpoolMatchNW.org, the site will be beta tested during the summer with the participation of about 20 government agencies and nonprofit organizations, before an expected formal opening as a free site Sept. 1.