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One Suburban County's Search for Land to Support Employment

Amid concerns about lackluster growth, Oregon's Clackamas County plans to create 10,000 new family wage jobs by 2019. But the county lacks the zoned land it needs to accomplish its goals.
May 13, 2015, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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David Herrera

To the east of Portland along the Washington border, Clackamas County will need "39,800 to 51,600 jobs over the next 20-year planning period, translating into a needed 1,649 to 2,728 acres of non-retail employment land." Defined as land capable of housing businesses and jobs, employment land is in short supply while the total count of jobless residents stands at 21,000.

The root of the problem lies with hesitancy to transition properties to a "market-ready" state, free from environmental constraints and with access to necessary transportation infrastructure. Municipalities like Damascus, along the Portland Metro area urban growth boundary, have been slow or reluctant to pass the comprehensive plans needed to permit industrial zoning and economic development. 

"Counties need to consider their individual land supplies, not just to look at the region as a whole, [county strategic policy administrator Dan] Chandler said.  Assessed value and added jobs help pay for services the county provides." 

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Published on Monday, April 27, 2015 in OregonLive
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