State officials are close to finalizing acceptance of the region's urban and rural reserve designations, nearly a year after regulators from the Land Conservation and Development Commission verbally approved the plan.
The commission approved reserves on Aug. 19, 2011, but its decision isn't final until attorneys with the Oregon Department of Justice issue a written order.
Jim Rue, acting director of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, said the justice department has been coping with budget cuts, and that's slowed down the issuance of the written order.
"It has been frustrating for everybody," he said.
Rue said he expects the order to be ready by the end of the day Tuesday.
Several regional leaders have expressed frustration with the delay. Earlier this month, Metro Council President Tom Hughes and Washington County Chair Andy Duyck wrote to LCDC chair Marilyn Worrix asking for her help in getting an order issued.
"We respectfully request assurance that DLCD will issue the reserves and UGB orders very soon," they said.
The commission, LCDC, is staffed by the department, DLCD. The delays have real consequences – without the issuance of the order, the urban and rural reserves don't exist in law. That means they can't be used as a basis for a urban growth boundary expansion, and litigation likely to follow the order can't proceed.
Reserves were designated by Metro and Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties in 2010 (with a minor change in 2011) after years of negotiations on a new way to decide where to grow in the Portland region. Urban reserves will be targeted first for UGB expansions; rural reserves are to be protected from expansions until 2060.
Metro expanded the urban growth boundary onto urban reserves in 2011, expecting the reserves order would be issued shortly. Once the reserves order has been issued, DLCD staff can issue a order on the UGB decision, which the commission approved in June.
(June 14, 2012)
(Aug. 19, 2011)