Millersburg renews efforts to expand UGB into critical farmland area

After the Linn County community successfully advocated for the preservation of 163 acres of prime farmland back in March, saving it from becoming industrial land as part of a land swap proposed by the City of Millersburg, the city is renewing its effort, now planning to take their application directly to the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). This is despite local testimony that led the Linn County Board of Commissioners to deny the application in the first place, and it ignores the existing availability of land inside the urban growth boundary (UGB) for this use.

1000 Friends of Oregon continues to work with Friends of Linn County and the local farming community to oppose the renewed application.

Local farmers have testified that the land Millersburg wants to bring into the UGB has been actively farmed by their families for decades and has supported at least 51 different crops over the years – including the five-year old hazelnut orchard currently producing on the site. The land is tiled and irrigated and constitutes an integral part of the area’s commercial agricultural enterprise. Local farmers have also testified how allowing the conversion of this tract of world-class farmland – proposed for siting a tissue paper company – would destabilize the area’s agricultural land base.

The local Millersburg and wider Linn County community fought hard to defeat this attempt the first time, and this resurgence is an example of how land use advocacy is never done. The pressure to expand our urban growth boundaries into industrial farm zones is ever present and shows no signs of slacking. Such pressure requires the vigilance of our local partners and the agricultural community to guard against unnecessary urbanization of farmland.

Fortunately, our partner Friends of Linn County and the local agricultural community are up to the task. 1000 Friends will continue to work with our allies to uphold state land use policies that are designed to prevent exactly this kind of unnecessary conversion of critical agricultural land.