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Oregon House passes land-use compromise

The Oregon House of Representatives unanimously passed the so-called land-use grand bargain on Thursday.

House Bill 4078 goes to the State Senate where passage is expected before the 2014 Legislature adjourns by March 9.

The bill is intended to restore certainty to land use planning in Washington County after the Oregon Court of Appeals rejected a 50-year development and conservation plan approved by Metro and the state Land Conservation and Development Commission on Feb. 20.

Metro is considering how to deal with the situations in Clackamas and Multnomah counties.

The bill was supported by a broad coalition, including elected officials, farmers, developers and land use watch dogs. The negotiations that produced the agreement were led by state Rep. Brian Clem (D-Salem).

“We had a choice as Oregonians — division or unity,” said Clem. “I’m proud to say we chose unity.”

The bill was endorsed by 1000 Friends of Oregon, the Oregon Homebuilders Association, the Oregon Association of Realtors, Oregonians In Action, the Oregon Farm Bureau, the Oregon Nursery Association, Metro Council, Save Helvetia, Washington County Commission Chair Andy Duyck, and the mayors of impacted cities.

“This bill gives us the balance between farm jobs, small business jobs, and industrial jobs that represents Washington County’s values,” said Rep. Ben Unger (D–Hillsboro), who was also a leader in brokering the deal.

The bill establishes new urban and rural reserves and expands the urban growth boundary in several areas of Washington County. It also direct the Metro to review the boundary every six years. Metro is the elected regional government in the tri-county area that manages the growth boundary.