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State board OKs reserve lands plan

Unanimous vote puts opponents efforts to thwart plan in the hands of the courts

The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission approved a regional plan to establish urban and rural reserves that will guide the Portland area's growth patterns for the next 40 years Friday.

The unanimous vote gave the controversial plan the state's mark of approval, sending opponents to their lawyers and city planners and developers to their drawing boards.

Now, Metro, the regional government that manages growth and waste management, can use the plan in its review of the Urban Growth Boundary this year.

And the city of Forest Grove got a boost from the LCDC decision.

The city has been lobbying Metro to consider adding about 115 acres of land slated for industrial development north of Forest Grove's city limits. Both parcels are designated urban reserves under the tri-county plan approved by the state last week.

'We think that there needs to be more land that is shovel-ready and is close to the services, such as sewer light and water,' said Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax.

And the city got an early vote of confidence from Metro's policy advisory committee two weeks ago. The group, made up of mayors and representatives from the three counties that make up Metro, voted 8-5 to recommend the inclusion of the industrial land in the UGB consideration the Metro Council will hear in October.

The land was left off the list of recommended areas for consideration by Metro's interim chief operating officer, but the seven-member elected council can side with MPAC, their staff's recommendation, or they can go their own way.