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Skyline_farm_city clipartThere were two failed efforts to expand Woodburn’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), initially begun in 2005 which would allow the city to plan, annex and develop lands around the existing city limits. UGB expansion in Oregon requires evaluation of two sets of factors: one relating to the need for expansion for the 20-year timeframe required by law, and the other relating to the location of the revised UGB. Based on city population projections, additional lands for residential use were anticipated. The rub was over the total amount of lands needed for future residential, commercial, industrial, and employment uses, as well as the location of the revised UGB. 

Urban growth OregonFollowing several LUBA and appellate court decisions that invalidated urban growth boundary (UGB) amendments in McMinnville and Woodburn (twice), the 2013 Oregon legislature enacted HB 2254, legislation that purported to “simplify” the UGB amendment process by creating an alternate path for local governments outside the Portland Metro Area. However, LCDC’s efforts at implementing that legislation to date make manifest the difference between aspiring to simplicity and achieving it.

The latest round of urban growth boundary (UGB) expansion in the Portland Metropolitan area is likely to go back to Metro for further justification.  On April 19, 2012, the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) issued a staff report to Land Conservation and Development C ommission (LCDC) recommending partial approval, but remanding most of the important elements of Metro’s most recent attempt to expand its UGB. 

Metro, the area’s regional government, is responsible for adopting a comprehensive UGB for the various jurisdictions within the Portland area.  Its decisions on UGB expansions are typically complex and lengthy and this decision was no exception.  The current round began several years ago, with Metro initially adopting a decision that it would expand its boundary in December 2010.  Subsequently, LCDC postponed consideration of that decision and then consolidated it with Metro’s October 2011 decision on where, exactly, to expand the UGB.

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