A lawsuit and legislation to backtrack on Great Communities? Not on our watch.

For the past several years, 1000 Friends worked with partners across Oregon to research and advocate to streamline and improve land use regulations in Oregon’s 8 urban areas to address climate change and support more livable, equitable communities. And Oregonians took action, testifying in support of more housing, especially more affordable housing, more transportation options, and more vibrant, connected neighborhoods. 1000 Friends Deputy Director Mary Kyle McCurdy also pushed for strong land use policies to guide transportation, housing, and infrastructure dollars as one of the Rulemaking Advisory Committee members.

In response to thousands of Oregonians’ public testimony and input from a diverse the Rulemaking Advisory Committee, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) adopted a package of changes that apply to Oregon cities with populations larger than 49,999 over a structured, outcome-oriented timeline (to give cities and communities time to customize and adapt to these improvements).

The changes require these larger cities to create and identify Climate Friendly Areas (CFAs). These CFAs would signal where to invest in a network of sidewalks, bikepaths, and transit-ready infrastructure to accommodate this good growth. The CFAs would also bring focus on where to change local policy to enable developers to build up (instead of sprawling out) as part of a connected, walkable, bikeable, rollable neighborhood.

But the vision for an easier path for smart growth in our cities is under attack. Last winter, 13 Oregon cities and Marion County filed a lawsuit against LCDC alleging that the state agency does not have authority to adopt these changes and that the agency failed to follow due process. And, two bills have now been introduced to backtrack on these climate- and people- friendly improvements for our cities.

We know change can be difficult, but these changes, based on decades of research and investments, are the types of policies and investments that represent more housing choices for people of all incomes, more choices in how to get around, less congestion on our roads, a more stable and diverse workforce, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and public health issues like asthma and food insecurity. These changes also reduce the pressure for our cities and towns to sprawl, bringing relief for our farmers, ranchers, orchardists, and foresters who we work with and to the millions of Oregonians who enjoy local, nutritious food and drink and hiking, camping, and recreational sites. 

What’s Next? How can you help?

We’ll keep you to date about legislative advocacy opportunities. We’ll need legislators to understand how the state can encourage and support.

If you live in one of these jurisdictions suing LCDC using taxpayer dollars and staff time, call or email your elected official(s) to let them know that you support the Climate Friendly Areas and the vision for more housing in connected corridors: