restricted access Chapter 7: Watchdog Emerging: 1000 Friends of Oregon

From: Oregon Plans

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151 Chapter 7 Watchdog Emerging: 1000 Friends of Oregon “We are convinced that Oregon now needs a statewide, full-time professionally staffed citizen organization whose sole purpose is to urge state and local bodies of government to make good land use planning decisions.”—Henry Richmond “Every public body needs a counter force and one specializing in land use is most needed at this time.”—Hector Macpherson 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, and understanding their inter-related development is critical to understanding Oregon’s land-use political history. The emergence of 1000 Friends from the mix of environmental groups active in Oregon at the time—especially OSPIRG, Oregon Environmental Council, Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC)—reflected concerns about the ability of existing organizations to sustain effective participation in the legislative, bureaucratic, and legal arenas that the new land-use laws were creating. Henry Richmond was a central actor in creating 1000 Friends, which would monitor and enforce the implementation of the new laws, educate the growing community of people involved in land-use issues, and promote Oregon’s program throughout the country. When he was hired as staff attorney, Richmond had hoped that OSPIRG would be at the center of and act as the clearinghouse for the Oregon environmental movement. The organization had significant budgetary re- 152 oregon plans sources that had enabled it to hire professional staff, but it was also the case that OSPIRG’s board of directors was composed entirely of students, which limited its political influence. For the time being, the less well-financed Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) was playing the role that Richmond had envisioned for OSPIRG. He thought that NEDC could be transformed into the sort of entity that neither OSPIRG nor OEC could become—the organization that eventually emerged as 1000 Friends of Oregon. NEDC was created in 1969, about a year after OEC and just before OSPIRG was incorporated. The initiators proposed an environmental defense fund for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest that would have a staff of full-time attorneys, complemented by attorneys in private practice and by law professors and their students. The organization would coordinate an environmental law clinic at Lewis and Clark College’s Northwestern School of Law in Portland and also would develop and promote legislative proposals. NEDC would have two directors: an attorney, and a scientist who would oversee work by medical and scientific personnel. Modeled on some of the national environmental defense organizations then emerging in the East, the first NEDC board included university-based scientists and several attorneys, among them Steve McCarthy and Steve Schell. With limited funds and a fragile organizational structure, NEDC struggled during its early years. To stabilize the group, its leading activists occasionally suggested collaborating with OEC. In early 1973, OEC began to show some interest, primarily to take advantage of the legal and technical resources the attorneys and scientists associated with NEDC could bring to bear on litigation and on legislative and administrative issues. However, OEC board members who were exploring possibilities heard that “NEDC is not a viable organization at this time.” If something with NEDC did not work out, they thought that OEC might develop a less formal pool of attorneys (Roy, 1973). Despite its struggles, NEDC engaged in litigation. Steve Schell was involved , for example, with a case in Milwaukie, a small city immediately south of Portland. Citizens there, led by Jean Baker, were appealing a decision made by the city government involving a conflict between the local comprehensive plan and a zoning ordinance, a case somewhat similar to Edward Sullivan’s Fasano case. Baker got in touch with both OEC and NEDC to ask for help. OEC Executive Director Larry Williams wrote Schell to “inquire whether you would be interested in putting together a law- Watchdog Emerging: 1000 Friends of Oregon 153 suit with OEC . . . regarding the Milwaukie Land Use Plan . . . We would certainly welcome working together with you on such a suit.” A few days earlier, NEDC had decided that since “Jean Baker was unable to retain a private attorney for this case . . . NEDC would allocate $75 for duplicating so that the suit might be brought up on appeal” (NEDC, 1973; Williams, 1973c). In 1975, Schell and Sullivan, who...


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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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