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Fate of the area's urban reserve designation has still not been settled

BERNARDThe public is invited to a meeting next week at which the status of the Stafford area as an urban reserve will be reviewed.

The meeting is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, at Athey Creek Middle School, 2900 S.W. Borland Road, West Linn.

No official action is planned at the meeting. Instead, the Clackamas County planning staff will make a presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session and public comments.

Stafford — actually four designated areas between Tualatin, Lake Oswego and West Linn totaling 6,230 acres — has been designated as an urban reserve that would be open to development in 50 years.

However, its status has been in limbo for three years, ever since the Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Metro and Clackamas County needed to offer more justification for the designation, particularly on transportation findings. (Cities had challenged the findings as insufficient and assert that much of the area's hilly terrain makes it difficult to extend roads and other utilities.)

Although the Metro Council adopted revised findings about a year ago, a majority of county commissioners decided in 2015 against any action until the county evaluated three other sites for potential inclusion within the Portland regional urban growth boundary.

After the Nov. 8 election, however, a new majority on the county board — led by new Chairman Jim Bernard, the only dissenter from the former board — shelved the study and directed the staff to move ahead with resolving the Stafford issue.

During the board discussion Jan. 17, commissioners agreed to consult with the cities and the Stafford Hamlet in drawing up a memo with Metro about how to proceed.

The Metro Council has scheduled hearings on revised findings for March 2 and March 16. The county board has planned a hearing for April 12.

The urban reserves process dates back to 2007 legislation. The plan was completed in 2011 and affirmed by the state Land Conservation and Development Commission the following year, but has been tied up in lawsuits and follow-up action after the 2014 court decision.

Contact Pamplin Media Group reporter Peter Wong at 503- 580-0266 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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