Land-use debate highlights growth conference
Metro's Burton and Oregonians In Action offer opposing views
A two-day conference exploring how the Portland area will grow in the years ahead begins today at the Oregon Convention Center.
Metro will play host to the event that will include debates, community forums, workshops, speeches and a live town-hall broadcast tonight on KGW (8).
The conference, called 'Where Do We Grow From Here? Let's Talk,' will explore transportation, housing, open spaces and other issues associated with growth management. Metro, the regional government, provides transportation and land-use planning for 24 cities and three counties in the Portland area.
The conference gets under way this morning with a discussion of land-use issues between Metro Executive Mike Burton and Larry George of Oregonians in Action. The two have sharply different opinions about the importance of Oregon's land-use laws.
Burton, Metro executive since 1995, is a strong advocate of land-use planning and Metro's role as the guiding force in the region. Oregonians in Action promoted Ballot Measure 7, approved by voters in 2000. The measure would force governments to compensate property owners for any changes in their land values and is under appeal in the Oregon courts.
In addition, OIA has proposed a May ballot measure that would limit Metro's ability to increase density inside or outside of the region's current urban growth boundary.
'This is the most important discussion we can have in this region,' Burton said. 'How we choose to grow in the next several decades will impact clean water, clean air, transportation and our economy. We now face the tough decisions and we need all views at the table.'
On Saturday afternoon, Metro will conduct community workshops and take participants on a firsthand look at the region's plan for managing growth. The tours will visit redevelopment projects, natural areas and
transit-oriented development projects.
For more information and a complete schedule see Metro's Web site, www.metro-region.org.