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

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Google office building in Virginia.

Virginia Data Centers Draining State’s Water Supply

Being the world’s largest data center hub is having a severe impact on local water resources.

May 9, 2024 - Grist

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state.

Northwest Power Demand Could Surge as Data Centers, Transportation Electrification Ramps Up

New estimates project a steady increase in electricity demand due to population growth, data centers, and the shift to electric power in homes, buildings, and transportation.

May 17 - Governing

Blurred traffic speeding by on freeway with Los Angeles skyline in background.

California Testing Per-Mile Gas Tax Alternatives

A summer pilot program will test the fairness and efficacy of collection mechanisms for mileage-based fee options.

May 17 - Newsweek

Close-up of 'Pay rent' note in red marker on day 1 of monthly calendar.

After Months of Decreases, Rents Nationwide Are Going Up

Average rents rose by $12 around the country so far this year.

May 17 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.