What is land use?

There’s a reason you love Oregon.

Before each legislative session, 1000 Friends of Oregon and our partners host a Land Use 101 conversation for legislators and their staff to educate lawmakers about what land use in Oregon looks like, and why it's important to protect and defend the statewide land use planning program.

Have you ever brought home fresh produce from one of Oregon’s 100+ farmers markets, or picked your own in places like Sauvie Island or the Hood River Valley? Shopped downtown in any of our 241 towns and cities? Rafted the wild Rogue or paddled a few of the 255 miles of the Willamette River Greenway? Sipped a fresh-hopped beer from one of our 281 breweries? Enjoyed the dunes and beaches along Oregon’s 362 miles of entirely public coastline? Hiked through the 800 species of wildflowers in the Columbia Gorge? Taken your kids to play in some of Portland’s 12,597 acres of park land?

Those are just a few of the benefits of Oregons land use planning system.

Oregon is naturally beautiful and bountiful – but you already knew that! What you might not know is that, if not for land use planning, many of Oregon’s fields and forests would long ago have been sold and paved over, and the unique character of each of our towns and cities diluted by the same kind of endless sprawl seen in so many other states.

Fortunately, that kind of sprawl cant happen here. Its literally the law.

The passage of Senate Bill 100 in 1973 created our innovative land use planning system. It’s one of Oregon’s greatest bipartisan political achievements. Explore our website to learn more. Then, when people ask you what makes Oregon such a unique place to live, work, and play, you can let them in on the secret ingredient:

Its our land use planning system!


Timeline history of land use planning

Land use planning in the Oregon Encyclopedia