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Oregon Plans

The Making of an Unquiet Land

Sy Adler

Publication Year: 2012

Oregon Plans provides a rich, detailed, and nuanced analysis of the origins and early evolution of Oregon’s nationally renowned land use planning program.

Drawing primarily on archival sources, Sy Adler explores the dynamics of passing the key state laws that set the statewide program into motion, establishing the agency charged with implementing those laws, adopting the land use planning goals that are the heart of the Oregon system, and monitoring and enforcing the implementation of those goals through a unique citizen organization.

Adler brings to life the key actors associated with Oregon’s land use planning activities and organizations, highlighting the significant roles played by environmental activists, industry groups including homebuilders and realtors, local governments, and state officials. He reveals the conflicts and compromises that these parties with competing interests negotiated.

Oregon Plans both informs those new to Oregon and reminds long-time residents about controversial historic issues and the consequential choices that were made to address them during the mid-1970s. The book will interest anyone involved in land use, conservation, and environmental issues—from citizens to officials to developers—in Oregon and beyond.

Published by: Oregon State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vi

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pp. 7-8

It’s a great pleasure for me to acknowledge the many people who were actively involved in the events discussed in this book who spoke with me, made materials available, and read and gave me invaluable comments on chapter drafts. Arnold Cogan, Edward Sullivan, Ron Eber, and Jim Knight...

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Series Editor's Preface

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pp. 9-11

In January 1971, on the eve of his second term as governor of Oregon, Tom McCall responded to an interviewer’s question with an iconic quotation that proclaimed Oregon’s distinctive take on population growth and defending the state’s livability. Almost rhetorically, the national television...

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Introduction: Oregon Plans

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pp. 13-24

Oregon’s Senate Bill 100—commonly called simply SB 100—and the statewide land-use planning program it initiated were controversial from the start. Passed by the legislature in 1973, the program would affect in various ways the daily lives of everyone in the state, and would earn Oregon a...

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Chapter 1: The Laws, 1961-1969: The Path to Farmland Preservation

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pp. 26-37

The Oregon legislature first identified the loss of farmland on the fringes of growing urban areas as a problem in 1959. Two years later, legislators began to address the issue with the Greenbelt Law, a novel approach that linked a county’s creation of exclusive farm-use zones to property tax...

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Chapter 2: The Laws: The Path from SB 10

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pp. 39-58

While local governments struggled to produce and adopt comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances to implement them, development pressures continued to build on resource lands in the Willamette Valley and on the Oregon coast. The Governor’s Office initiated a wide-ranging process to...

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Chapter 3: SB 100 in the 1973 Legislative Session

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pp. 59-82

Democrat Ted Hallock, a flamboyant legislator who was highly regarded for his intelligence and his oratorical skills, had represented his Portland district in the state Senate since 1963. Hallock had been a broadcast journalist, as had Tom McCall, and he owned a public relations firm. He chaired the...

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Chapter 4: The Agency: Starting Up LCDC and DLCD

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pp. 83-102

The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and its staff agency, the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), immediately confronted many challenges, not the least of which was a deteriorating economic situation. The stock market declined sharply in...

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Chapter 5: Adopting Statewide Planning Goals: The Grassroots Phase and a New Approach

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pp. 103-118

LCDC had until January 1, 1975, to develop and adopt a set of statewide planning goals and guidelines. It also had to decide whether or not to regulate the activities of statewide significance that the legislature had specified and to recommend the designation of areas of critical statewide concern...

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Chapter 6: Adopting Statewide Planning Goals: LCDC, Stakeholders, and the Politics of Conflict Resolution

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pp. 119-149

Local government and industry representatives argued during goal development that the Land Conservation and Development Commission’s proposals permitted local governments to exercise far less discretion to tailor their planning processes to particular circumstances and to...

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Chapter 7: Watchdog Emerging: 1000 Friends of Oregon

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pp. 151-168

1000 Friends of Oregon was unique among public interest organizations. A group of full-time attorneys, it was created to watchdog the implementation of a singular piece of land-use planning legislation in one state. The organization and the state’s planning program evolved together...

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Chapter 8: Governor Straub, the 1975 Legislature, and LCDC

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pp. 169-189

Adopting the statewide planning goals was a remarkable achievement—a first in the nation—but implementing the commission’s program depended on the legislature’s willingness to provide adequate funds to the Department of Land Conservation and Development. In 1975, the Land Conservation...

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Chapter 9: The Agency, the Watchdog, and the Dynamics of Local Planning

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pp. 191-207

With the Department of Land Conservation and Development budget approved, much of the agency’s attention for the remainder of 1975 was focused on putting in place a process to give state money to local governments. Proposed plans and ordinances had to be submitted to Land...

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Chapter 10: The Coastal Goals

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pp. 209-217

The four coastal goals that the Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted in December 1976 were shaped by the requirements of a federal law as well as the availability of federal money. LCDC leaned heavily on planning grants from the federal Office...

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Epilogue: Oregon's Unquiet Land-Use Revolution Unfolds

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pp. 219-228

Ironic twists abound along the winding path to Land Conservation and Development Commission approval of the first generation of local comprehensive plans by the mid-1980s and the evolution of the statewide program beyond that phase through 2009. Some of the ironies evolve from the...


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pp. 229-247


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pp. 248-256

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780870716522
E-ISBN-10: 0870716522
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870716515
Print-ISBN-10: 0870716514

Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Zoning law -- Oregon.
  • Land use -- Law and legislation -- Oregon.
  • Land subdivision -- Law and legislation -- Oregon.
  • City planning and redevelopment law -- Oregon.
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