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Columbia Insight: Environmental News for the Pacific Northwest

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Land use -- Government policy -- Oregon, State governments -- United States -- History, Cities and towns -- Growth


In the years following World War II, suburban growth began consuming Willamette Valley farmland. Increasingly affluent families were snapping up vacation properties with mountain and ocean views. Oregonians in the latter half of the 1960s responded with conferences, reports and finger-wagging at the bad example of California. In 1969, the legislature acted with Senate Bill 10. The legislation established land-use regulation as a state concern, requiring local governments to develop land-use plans in line with 10 statewide goals. The intention was good, but the measure lacked teeth for monitoring and enforcement. McCall promised to fix the problems when he ran for reelection in 1972. Adopted in 1973, Senate Bill 100 filled the gaps left by Senate Bill 10. Crucially, it created a Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) with the mandate to write revised land-use goals; and a Department of Land Conservation and Development to ensure compliance. Counties and municipalities would study the goals and write plans that the new state agency would review, acknowledge as satisfactory or send back for more work. As we approach the 50th anniversary of SB100, the state land-use system is still visionary …and well-embedded in the apparatus of state and local government.


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