Examining Oregon’s Unique Land Use Laws

Since the 1970s, the state has taken a comprehensive approach to development, regulating land use and urban growth at the state level.

1 minute read

June 13, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of Bend, Oregon with river and old mill district

Bend, Oregon | Ahturner / Bend, Oregon

In an article in Bend Source, Jack Harvel describes the unique land use policies that have shaped Oregon development for the past half a century. According to Harvel, “No other state regulates land use to the extent Oregon does, creating a framework for land-use planning that every city and county must adhere to, and is subject to review by the DLCD [Department of Land Conservation and Development].” 

Senate Bills 100 and 101, passed in 1973, established the DLCD and seek to preserve open space and farmland and encourage density in cities, in part by establishing urban growth boundaries (UGB) for Oregon cities that promote infill development.

The article details the fraught history of the statewide framework, which have encountered opposition since the beginning, with critics saying that limiting growth drives up housing prices. But according to executive director of Central Oregon LandWatch Ben Gordon, the policy requires the state to build necessary housing and prevents sprawl and “takes into account a number of factors, not just profit.” Harvel writes that the framework “ensures an adequate supply of developable land to meet housing needs while prioritizing the majority of development within the urban growth boundaries.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Bend Source

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