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Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013


Urban livestock production systems -- Oregon -- Portland, Urban agriculture -- Oregon --Portland, Urban livestock production systems -- Public opinion


After a 2010 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference bus erupted into chatter from a tour guide’s passing comment about a new ordinance allowing chickens into Minneapolis backyards, I wondered about the magnitude of the urban chicken movement. Legalizing urban chickens is, in fact, occurring more often. A Lexus-Nexus Power Search of the term ‘chicken ordinance’ does not even register a hit in 2000. Yet in 2010, 141 articles discussed potential changes to urban chicken ordinances. Such an explosion of national news coverage suggests urban chicken keeping reaches beyond Portland’s borders.

What is driving this interest in urban chicken keeping? What is the media reporting as arguments for and against chickens in the urban context? With the help of my students, I reviewed over 200 newspaper articles from 2009 and 2010 to better understand the public discourse surrounding urban chicken ordinances.


Originally appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of Metroscape®, published by the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, Portland State University.

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