Is Metro swallowing Salem?

By Tyler Smith, Salem.

No, not yet, but some Metro Members are planning for it. This spring a Portland Metro committee called “Reserves Steering Committee” is considering how they can set up their master plan and study areas including a move south all the way along I-5. The group is meeting to establish the boundaries for an initial study area for their 40-50 year master plan for controlling land uses. This process was approved last year by the Oregon Legislature in Senate Bill 1011 which authorizes Metro to establish urban reserves and rural reserves outside of their current UGB.

Part of the agenda for some members such as Greg Specht seems to be to figure out how the committee can coordinate the use all the flat land south along I-5 even if those counties are opposed to being included. Tom Brian, the chair of the committee and a number of members appear to support the expansion of the study area along I-5.

However some of the informed participants may have quelled Metro’s appetite for now by pointing out that currently Metro has no jurisdiction over Marion and Yamhill Counties. Apparently Metro is doing everything they can to attract Marion and Yamhill Counties, but so far the County Commissioners from Marion and Yamhill Counties have refused to participate.

If you, like me, want to retain local control, you can participate in this process and stop feeding the Metro appetite in two ways. First, you can express your opposition by attending the future meetings of this Reserve Steering Committee. They are open public meetings and the next two are July 9 and August 13. Second, you can thank your County Commissioners and encourage them to keep Marion and Yamhill Counties out of Metro.

Tyler Smith

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Posted by at 05:55 | Posted in Measure 37 | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Anonymous

    This latest urban and rural reserves process is a fraud IMO. All it is is the continuation of total failure to adequately provide genuine land supplies for the real and changing needs from growth.

    Oblivious to the past and current chaos these central planning comrades know no limits to their dysfunctional meddling and control.

    What could possibly be held up as evidence thes status quoers who delivered the chaos are the ones who will best sort out our future?

    The call for additional restrictive labels on land in Oregon is beyond irrational.

  • Not Metro’s Pal

    Has anyone else noticed that the Portland area is the only metro area in the USA stupid enough to put up with the nonsense foisted upon the citizens by Metro? The simple FACT that other nearby areas have looked at what Metro does and said “NO THANKS” speaks volumes about their popularity.
    Anyone want to bet that if a ballot initiative to disolve METRO came along, it would win easily?

  • Bunker Hill

    The Marion County Commissioners will NEVER let Metro set foot in Marion County. They’ll blow the Boone Bridge and stop them at the Willamette River before bending a knee to those leftists and their social engineering allies.

    Metro may be big and powerful and socially acceptable for the liberal Portland elite, but we in the valley will exact such a price from them that any move south would be an exercise in futility and abject public humiliation.

  • Bo

    Metro swallowed many cities already, and already they feel like they are in the lower bowels of government life.

  • Joanne Rigutto

    I agree with Tyler Smith that local control of land use is vitally important, especially in the rural areas. To that end, Clackamas county, in addition to being represented on the Steering Committee, and being a member of the Core4 which will ultimately be deciding on what areas will be designated as Urban Reserves, what will be designated as Rural Reserves, and what areas will remain as they are now, has formed a Urban/Rural Reserves Policy Advisory Committee (PAC). The PAC is made up of representatives of incorporated cities, CPOs, Hamlets and Villages, as well as industry and other stakeholder groups that will or may be impacted by reserves designations.

    I am a member of the PAC representing the Hamlet of Mulino. The PAC will be making recomendations to the Clackamas County Commissioners as to what areas to designate as reserves, if any, and we are looking at areas to study right now. The county commission will then decide to adopt our recomendations or not, and Martha Schrader, the Clackamas County Commissioner serving on the Core4, will use those recomendations to determine, with the other members of the Core4, the final designation of land areas in Clackamas county. The Core4 is made up of one representative from each of Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties and one representative from METRO. So, what the Reserves Steering Committee does is important, but the PAC and Core4 are very important too. Everyone interested in local control in land use regulation needs to pay close attention to what all three groups are doing, and I would advise everyone interested in Clackamas county to attend the PAC meetings as well as the Steering Committee meetings. Martha is not a member of the PAC, but she does attend the PAC meetings, at least she did the last two and she paid attention to the public comment as well as the comments and conclusions from the PAC.

    There are also open houses being held, which the public can attend. The other counties and METRO will be forming their own committees, at least that’s my understanding, and if you are in Multnomah or Washington counties, you might contact them or contact your CPO, Hamlet, Village, etc. to get more info or apply to be on one of those committees. A person could contact METRO and see how they can contribute also, if you’re inside METRO’s UGB, etc..

    As a member of the Clackamas County Urban and Rural Reserves PAC, representing the Hamlet of Mulino, I need to hear from as many people in Mulino as possible. I’ve been printing up flyers and posting them around the Mulino area, I’ve been mentioning it to anyone in Mulino that I run into at the store, feed store, etc.., and I give a report on the PAC’s activities at each monthly Hamlet meeting. This month in addition to my report, there will be a presentation from one of the coordinators from Clackamas county who is working for the reserves process.

    I have put up pages at the Mulino Hamlet’s website for the reserves process and there are links to a blog I started over at Blogspot so that people can comment on the reserves process, as well as links to the county and Metro websites for the reserves process. The roster for the PAC is available on Clackamas County’s website for the reserves process. The contact info for each PAC member is on the roster. The county’s website is here –

    The Hamlet of Mulino website is here –

    The PAC meets once a month at the Sunnybrook Service Center, on Sunnybrook Rd. (runs along the south backside of the Clackamas Promenade mall). The next meeting will be on the 24th of June, 6:30pm – 9:00pm at the Sunnybrook Service Center, WES Conference room, 4th floor. There is plenty of parking and I’d like to see more of the public at these meetings. There is time allowed for public comment at each meeting, at the last meeting there was time allowed for public comment at both the begining and the end of the meeting.

    At the last meeting we looked at maps and discussed the different criteria that might be used to determine the various study areas and what might determine what areas might ultimately be designated as Urban Reserves, Rural Reserves, or areas that would not be designated as either. We actually extended the study area to HWY 211 along the south/east side of Molalla. We recomended this as the highway is a major piece of the transportation infrastructure that supports both agricultural activities and housing in the original study area. The issue of Yamhill and Marion counties was brought up at the meeting, and was dismissed for the same reasons that Tyler mentioned above. Metro doesn’t have jurisdiction, the counties wouldn’t go for it, etc.

    At that meeting, in addition to having the opportunity to contribute during the public comment periods, the members of the public who attended the meeting were able to circulate between the breakout groups that the PAC members formed to look at the maps. The public took part in the discussions in the breakout groups while we were working. Some of the public attendees had very good comments and we listened to them, took them into consideration, and those comments did influence our decissions during the meeting. So you don’t have to be a member of the PAC to have an active role in shaping the process and the outcome.

    If you live in and/or own property in Mulino, I’d like to see you at a Hamlet meeting, 3rd Thursday of each month, 7:15pm – 9:00pm at the Oregon Pilot’s Association club house at the Mulino Airport. If you’ve ever been in Mulino, you know where the airport is on South Mulino Rd.. If you’re in another area, but can come to this month’s meeting and you’d like to hear about the reserves process, then by all means, come to this next meeting, which by the way is this Thursday, the 19th of June. You don’t have to be a Mulino resident to attend a Hamlet meeting.

    If you can’t come to a meeting, of the Hamlet, the PAC, or the Steering committee, then find out who is representing you, if there is one, and use the info on the roster to contact them and let them know what you think. If you’re in Mulino please contact me, come to a Hamlet meeting, etc. and let me know what you think, if there are any issues you’d like taken into consideration by the PAC, etc..

    If there is no one on the PAC representing you, then find the person representing the area closest to you and contact them. If you can’t get ahold of anyone else and you’re not represented and you’re in Clackamas county, call or email me I’ll talk to you and pass on any info to the PAC and to the Hamlet Board. If you know someone who doesn’t have a computer but would like to contact someone on the PAC, have them give me a call and I’ll look up the info and pass it on to them. I was contacted by a gal in Colton a couple weeks ago who wanted issues of concern regarding animal agriculture taken into consideration by the PAC. Colton isn’t represented on the PAC but I’ll listen to her and discuss her concerns with her and then pass them on to the PAC, and encourage her to come to the PAC meetings. There is another lady from the Beavercreek CPO, that one is not represented on the PAC, but she comes to the PAC meetings and contributes as a membe of the public. She is also able to take info back to her CPO on the PAC activities, etc. and then they can use her for foreward info that they would like taken into consideration by the PAC.

    So, if you like local control of land use regulations, and you’re willing to put just a little time in, your input can be very valuable and you can have an impact on the process. I garauntee you, you’re efforts won’t be wasted.

    By the way, I’ll be posting the agenda for the next PAC meeting on the Hamlet’s website this weekend, hopefully today if I get done with chores early enough. I didn’t see it on the county’s website yet, but if you like, just shoot me an email and I’ll send you the PDF.

    Joanne Rigutto
    Clackamas County Urban/Rural Reserves Policy Advisory Committee member Representing the Hamlet of Mulino
    email – [email protected]
    phone – (503) 535-9716 ~ 9:00am-8:00pm daily (weekends are better though)

    • dean

      Joanne…as a Clackamas County resident, I’m happy you volunteered to serve on that committee, and I thank you for donating your time. I hope wise decisions are made in the end. A lot rides on this project.

      One reason it makes sense to look at a bigger picture (Portland to Salem, Coast Range to the Cascades) is that this geography is becoming a more integrated economy. There are many who live in Estacada, Molalla, Salem, Silverton, Zigzag and McMinnville who either work or do business in Portland and visa versa. That is not saying Metro’s jurisdiction should extend way out there, but that discussions among communities in all these areas need to happen. If we are going to grow by another million or more (eek,) that is a lot of people. They are not likley all going to squeeze into inner Portland or Damascus for that matter.

  • Joanne Rigutto

    I agree with you Dean as far as how the different areas in the range you mentioned are integrated, and thanks for the thanks. The areas I see most likely to be developed as far as METRO goes are the areas closest to Portland and the Portland metropolitan area. Mulino is around 15 miles more or less south of Portland, and most of my work is in Portland. METRO’s 5 mile UGB expansion makes it more or less to the north edge of Mulino, which had the Hamlet Board a bit spooked, which is why it’s important that Mulino be represented on the PAC, along with Molalla and Canby. BTW, Damascus is represented on the PAC, and you can find that person on the PAC roster over at the county’s website.

    If people in Yamhill and Marion counties want to take a look at what goes on with the reserves process, that’s their business, but I know if I was in one of those two counties and I thought that METRO was sniffing around my turf, I’d be chasing them off with a stick, and if I thought the state legislature was trying to enable METRO to move into those counties, I’d be chasing the legislature around with a stick too. This whole reserves process was mandated by the legislature last year, and I don’t know who put the bur under their saddle, but I’d like to find out, I doubt that they did it all on their own. That’s easy enough to find out, I “jes’ ain’t got ’round to it yet…”.

    I know a lot of people in the area work in Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, etc. My own service range for tile/stone work goes from Portland to Salem and from Troutdale to Forest Grove. I have no doubt that the bulk of the people moving into the area will probably be moving into areas that are already incorporated. But there will still be a lot of people who will want to move into the outlying areas too, like we did 18 years ago. Especially if you want to homestead, it’s kind of hard to raise enought meat and vegitables to feed yourself through the year if you’re in the city.

    People in the three counties really, really, should pay attention to what’s going on with the reserves process and contribute any input they can, especially if you’re in an unincorporated area. What we on the PAC recomend as far as reserves designations, and what the counties have their Core4 members recomend and decide, will deffinately have an impact to a greater or lesser level on property in each county. If you want to develop property it’s going to affect you, if you want to farm it’s going to affect you, if you want to buy locally produced food it’s going to affect you, if you want to live on a small acreage it’s going to affect you, etc., etc.. Especially if you’re in Clackamas county, please stay aware of what’s going on and if you can contribute.

    Some of the things we’re looking at regarding what areas might be designated as urban reserves or rural reserves are transportation infrastructure, types of ag use, water availability, whether the land is divided up into small parcels or larger parcels, proximity to urban areas, etc. We’re looking at a wide range of issues that can/will effect whether or not an area could or should be designated as either type of reserve.

    One of the things that was brought up at the last meeting by a couple of people not on the PAC was the type of ag as far as food production that could help provide commodities being sought by consumers in the local foods movement. I think that the availability of local food will become more and more important as fuel prices keep going up. The closer to home the food is produced the less it costs to ship. And then CSAs are becoming more popular, as well as the Slow Foods Movement, making food production on smaller acreages more financially viable especially with niche marketing. On my farm, we’re looking at specialty and rare fruits. Things that you can’t find at the local store – Paw Paw, pick your own olives, tree ripened persimons, etc. These are things not available at the store either because there isn’t a large enough market developed (ever try to find unbrined olives at the store?), or because they don’t ship well, perfectly ripe Paw Paws are a great example of a fruit that won’t ship well commercially.

    One of the questions I had as far as supporting ag, was just what type of ag the county and METRO would be supporting through the reserves process, i.e. large production agriculture, small specialty producers, homesteaders, hobby farmers, and of those, animal agriculture or plant agriculture, food production, nursery, seed farming, etc.. Clackamas county is very diverse in the types of activities/living going on here, and many factors will need to be taken into consideration as far as what areas might be designated as urban reserve, rural reserve or should stay as they are now.

    One of the things I’m concerned about is how the increase in population density in METRO’s area will effect property values, especially in areas designated as rural reserves. As population numbers/density increases, the demand for land that is open will go up. Not everyone wants to live in a condo or appartment. As those prices go up, how will that effect peoples’ ability to buy land, either small acreages for small scale ag production or larger acreages for larger scale commercial production ag, or just to live on, homestead, etc.. As property prices go up that’s going to have a substantial impact on commercial agriculture as far as the ability to turn a proffit or even to break even, especially for those buying the land to farm commercially. On the other hand, it will also make it more difficult for people wanting to purchase land to homestead on or just to have some elbow room.

    Areas designated as rural reserves will be very restricted in how building is allowed, as the price of the land increases it’s increasingly difficult to find buyers if a person wanted to get out of farming, I think this could be especially true for large acreages. I know of a farm on Macksburg Rd. between HWY 213 and the Canby/Marquam highway. The farm is a bit over 300 acres. The owner of the property doesn’t farm himself anymore, but his son runs around 150 head of cattle, it’s a small cow/calf opperation, as well as producing hay, and the rest is rented out to people raising berries, ornamental trees, Christmas trees, etc.. The property owner filed a measure 37 claim to subdivide the property, was turned down and with measure 49 in effect now, I don’t think he’s going to try to develop the land. When he and his wife die, the property will go to the kids, of which there are 3 or 4. Because of it’s location and the size of the property, the kids will probably have to pay some inheritance taxes, even with the high level that an inheritance has to go to before taxes are owed, and I’m sure they won’t have the money to do so. As it is, I think the only kid who is actively farming or want’s to is the one with the cattle.

    If that property were part of an urban reserve, perhaps they could divide the property into smaller lots, or sell some existing lots to an investor who could afford to sit on it until it could be subdivided, remember, urban reserves will be land outside of a current urban growth boundary that will be designated as buildable in the future. Designation as an urban reserve is essentially a way to say that this is an area that a city will expand into beyond the UGB. It’s a way for people to have an idea of where growth will occur over the next 40-50 years. So, under the reserves system, this property owner may want to have his property designated as an urban reserve.

    But if that property were part of a rural reserve, I doubt that the property owner could sell some acreage for anything other than ag use or forestry, and given the way Oregon’s laws are regarding building a dwelling on land that’s being farmed, I doubt that someone buying the acreage for that purpose would be allowed to live on site. So if a portion of the property were to be sold to pay taxes, if the property were in a rural reserve, it would have to go to someone who would farm it commercially, and that might or might not be possible to find a buyer. Now, if this property owner were still supporting himself by farming, or his kids wanted to farm commercially full time and intended to do so for the forseeable future, perhaps they would like to see the farm be a part of a rural reserve to keep development from happening around it. Even if they had to pay extra in inheritance taxes, perhaps they could make enough in farm income that they could pay the taxes. If a person wanted to farm commercially, it’s much better, economically, to inherit property than to buy it.

    • dean

      Joanne…my understanding is that the urban and rural reserves process was initiated by Metro and taken to the state, which blessed the process and legislated the parameters. The idea was to come up with a longer term view instead of reinventing the wheel every 5 years.

      Many property owners who will prefer to be in an urban reserve will end up in a rural one, and visa versa, but many will get their wish. I hope the growth of small, local market oriented farms will be taken into account and balanced against conservation of larger farms.

      For full time farm families, the land is often their savings account, job, and IRA, so changes in land use to them or around them can have a big effect. For part-time farmers like ourselves, the consequences are less earth shattering but still important.

      • Joanne Rigutto

        To METRO’s involvement in innitiating the reserves process, that makes sense.

        I agree that some wanting to be in rural reserves will probably wind up in urban reserves and vise verse.

        I also understand the investment etc. for full time farm families in land, stock, etc. Many people around the world invest in land and stock as their savings. I do the same. Instead of the ‘stock’ market, I invest in the (live)stock market. At least if things go belly up I can eat my investment, except the horses of course – against federal law that…..

        BTW, if you have any questions, ideas, etc. that you’d like passed on the the PAC please let me know. And for anyone else reading this, the same goes for you.

        Thanks all,

  • pk2

    Metro is about getting local governments to cooperate and coordinate. It works for the cities in it today, it will work for Salem.

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