Growth proposal opponents can now choose to take appeal to court

by: KATIE WILSON - As seen from a plane, Scappoose has hundreds of vacant acres around its airport, which officials say is ready for presumed future industrial expansion.The state last week stood by its earlier decision and denied an appeal by two Scappoose residents challenging the city's urban growth boundary expansion plans.

The Sept. 20 Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) hearing was set after Pat Zimmerman and Mike Sheehan appealed an earlier decision by the commission's director to allow Scappoose to proceed with plans to grow its UGB by nearly 380 acres, mostly vacant industrial land around the airport.

If they choose, Zimmerman and Sheehan now have 21 days after the commission's decision is filed to take their case to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

For nearly three years, Scappoose officials have been working toward their eventual goal of growing the UGB to accommodate presumed future industrial growth. But throughout the lengthy process, a handful of vocal opponents have lobbed criticisms, mainly focused on the city's justification for expanding its boundaries.

Opponents of the UGB proposal — who say they are not “anti-growth” — believe those who would likely see the most financial gain from the expansion, including prominent developers Ed Freeman and Joe Weston who own much of the land near the Scappoose Industrial Airpark, helped guide the city's UGB process for personal gain. Zimmerman and Sheehan appealed to the LCDC that lofty population and job statistics used by Scappoose to validate its growth goals rang false.

City Manager Jon Hanken said he feels great that the appeal was denied, putting the city one step further toward its larger future.

At the hearing, commission members discussed the merits of the amount of acres the city wanted to bring into its urban growth boundary as well as the justification for its future employment projections.

Hanken said the city projected its future job growth rate based on an analysis that estimated capturing 2 percent of the 400,000 jobs expected to hit the Portland area in the coming decades.

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