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Oregon LCDC rejects Washington County’s Designation of Urban/Rural Reserves

November 23, 2010

The Oregon Land Conservation & Development Commission recently sent Washington County’s designation of Urban and Rural Reserves back to the drawing board.  Rural Reserves are lands designated off-limits for inclusion within the Portland-area Urban Growth Boundary for the next 50 years; Urban Reserves are lands designated for such inclusion.

The controversy centered on a small area of farmland north of Cornelius that the county has designated for future growth.  However, because the package was evaluated as a whole, the County’s designation of 150,000 acres of Rural Reserves is also up in the air.  Indeed, because Washington County’s work was blessed by Metro, the fate of urban/rural reserves approved by Multnomah and Clackamas Counties is also uncertain.

Washington County now appears to have three options for responding to the State’s ruling:

·         Readopt the package without the north Cornelius property;

·         Challenge the decision in court; or

·         Walk away from the process.

The recent elections play into these options.  The County’s choices for responding will greet newly-elected commissioners Bob Terry and Greg Malinowski, both of whom have long been active in rural lands issues.  Furthermore, the County will in January, for the first time, send one of its own (former Hillsboro mayor Tom Hughes) to assume the Metro presidency.

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