First Advisor

Ronald C. Cease

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Political science, Portland Metropolitan Area Local Government Boundary Commission



Physical Description

3, ix, 243 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


By the late 1960s, the literature of state and local government had been long dominated by what might now be termed a "traditional" approach, although the "public choice" paradigm was challenging it successfully. Those who took the traditional approach saw America's metropolitan areas to be in a crisis state, to be suffering from a variety of social, cultural and economic ills which were making these areas virtually uninhabitable. Exacerbating these difficulties was a system of local governmental organization which the traditionalists characterized as fragmented, overlapping, and duplicative, a system incapable of providing an areawide governmental structure to respond to areawide problems. A number of ameliorating steps to deal with this situation were recommended to the states by such institutions as the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, The Council of state Governments, and the Committee for Economic Development. These included recommendations to establish state boundary review agencies to apply state policy to local government boundary changes. Oregon was one of a number of states to adopt these recommendations when in 1969, after a twelve year gestation period, it created local government boundary commissions in the Portland, Salem, and Eugene metropolitan areas. This dissertation is an exploratory evaluation of the Portland Boundary Commission and hopefUlly makes a contribution to the meager body of knowledge on boundary commissions in Oregon. Data necessary to such purposes include published and unpublished materials from the Portland State University library; the joint Columbia Region Association of Governments--Portland Boundary Commission library; the files of the former Tri-County Local Government Commission; the Bureau of Governmental Research, and others. The resources of the state of Oregon Archives, including minutes, tapes, exhibits, and reports of interim and regular committees were also utilized. A major source of information, of course, was the records of the Portland Boundary Commission. These included correspondence, tapes of public hearings, summarized minutes of public hearings and meetings, and files on each proposal (maps, staff reports, final orders, and other written materials). In addition, personal interviews were carried out with nearly all persons who have played important roles in all phases of the Commission's development and operation. Findings and conclusions were reached with respect to a number of aspects of the Commission, including: the bill's development by local institutions (the Portland Metropolitan Study Commission) and individuals (Ronald Cease, A. McKay Rich, Frank Roberts, John W. Anunsen, and others) and interim committees of the state legislature, and Legislative Counsel; the bill's legislative history and development, what factors affected the bill's passage and the major policy issues which concerned it; critical decisions made in the earliest stages of the Commission's operation with respect to leadership and staff; revisions in the Law made since the original statute became operative and how those changes related to Commission operations; the intergovernmental relations in which the Commission engages and case studies illustrating a taxonomy of those changes; the difficulties in the 1977 Legislature and an analysis of the structural and functional components of the Commission's political vulnerability which draws upon the work of the Joint Interim Task Force on Boundary Commissions and Annexations; the relationships among the commissioners, their perceptions of the Commission's operation and the relationship between the Commission and its staff; and comments by the author on the general operation of the Commission, the major problems presently facing the Commission and some informed speculations and recommendations with respect to the functional and political future of the Commission.


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Portland State University. School of Urban Affairs.

Persistent Identifier