The longstanding system for managing the Metro region’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) has been contentious and limits the factors used in determining which land is better suited to differing purposes. It also doesn’t provide long-term protection for important landscape features or the region’s most productive agricultural lands which, in the three affected counties, contributed nearly $715 million to the state’s economy in 2005.
This new process will use factors from the agricultural lands study that identify what farm land is suitable and capable of supporting long term commercial agriculture, factors from the Great Communities Report that describe essential characteristics needed to create them, and the Natural Landscape Features map that shows landscapes that help define the region.
In 2007, the Oregon Legislature approved Senate Bill 1011, and Administrative Rules were approved by the Land Conservation and Development Commission in January 2008. These laws list the factors and provide a process for Metro and the counties of the region to establish urban and rural reserves.
Urban reserves are lands outside of the UGB that, based on a balance of factors, are determined to be better suited to accommodate population and job growth over 40 to 50 years. Rural reserves are areas outside the UGB needed to protect valuable farm and forestland for the same period.
A Reserves Steering Committee has been established to identify potential urban and rural reserve study areas and advise the Metro Council and the commissions of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties on the eventual designation of reserves. Reserve designation will be a two-step process that results in agreements between Metro and the counties, followed by formal adoption by the counties and Metro in late 2009.