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Scappoose expansion plans plow ahead


A decision by the Land Conservation and Development Commission approving Scappoose’s urban growth boundary expansion is just another step in a long process, say Scappoose city officials.

Columbia County resident Pat Zimmerman says she plans to appeal the decision — just as she has appealed prior decisions in favor of the UGB expansion. Resident Michael Sheehan also has a history of appealing the UGB expansion decisions ever since 2011 when a majority of Scappoose voters cast ballots in support of the city’s plan. These appeals have been denied in the past.

The expansion would add 365 acres to the urban growth boundary. The city sees this as a prime opportunity to encourage development, but opponents have challenged the city’s justification for the expansion, saying it would only benefit a few developers who already own land near the Scappoose Industrial Airpark.

Zimmerman and Sheehan appealed to the LCDC, saying the job and population statistics Scappoose has used to validate its growth goals are false.

“There’s a legal process and we’ll follow it through to the end,” Zimmerman said.

Meanwhile, Portland Community College and other developers have expressed strong interest in developing facilities in Scappoose if the UGB expansion is successful. Though the LCDC’s most recent decision will likely be appealed, Scappoose City Manager Jon Hanken said the delay will not hurt any developer’s plans.

“It helps them knowing the process is still moving forward,” he said. “We just see this as, ‘OK, let’s go to the next step.’”

Mayor Scott Burge sees the debate as one of emotion versus law. Currently, he says, the law appears to uphold the city’s proposal.

“We did our homework,” he said. “It went through a vote of the people. We’re looking forward to having it finally approved by the courts.”

Sheehan and Zimmerman have until March 22 to file an appeal of the LCDC’s March 1 decision.