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Land-use commission tours development projects

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Key sites in tour include St. Helens waterfront, Scappoose Industrial Airpark

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Members of the Land Conservation and Development Commission held their bi-monthly meeting in St. Helens Wednesday through Friday this week, Jan. 25-27. The commission has not meet in Columbia County since at least 2001.State officials from the Land Conservation and Development Commission visited St. Helens this week for their bi-monthly meeting held over a three-day period from Wednesday to Friday, Jan. 25 to 27.

The meeting, which the LCDC normally hosts at revolving locations throughout the state, was dedicated to reviewing statewide land-use policies, getting updates on potential legislative measures, and receiving regional updates. It also gave commission members a chance to observe several major development projects in Columbia County.

The LCDC serves as an all-volunteer advisory commission that works with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development to adopt state land-use goals, coordinate planning efforts and ensure compliance with state regulations. Members of the commission are appointed by the governor and confirmed by state senate.

This week's meeting was the first to be held in the county since at least 2001, records from the state show.

On Thursday afternoon, officials were invited to tour the St. Helens waterfront, including 200 acres of property formerly belonging to Boise Inc. and a wastewater treatment facility the city is considering repurposing into a landfill.

City of St. Helens officials are currently developing plans to repurpose the wastewater lagoon by potentially filling it with dredge spoils from the Portland Superfund cleanup of the Willamette River.

Other sites in the tour included visiting the future site of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center near the Scappoose airport. The center has backing from Portland Community College, Boeing, Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State University and Oregon State University.

"They will be visiting the OMIC and we'll also show them some of the new residential development around the city," Scappoose City Manager Michael Sykes told the Scappoose City Council during a meeting Monday evening.

The St. Helens tour was expected to include a brief presentation to the commission about the planning efforts and processes St. Helens has undergone in the past two years to plan for its waterfront redevelopment.

Patrick Wingard, the northwest county regional representative, also gave a presentation to the commission on developments in Port Westward and McNulty Creek Industrial Park.

Carrie MacLaren, deputy director the Department of Land Conservation and Development, said the commission enjoys getting to see how land-use planning decisions made at the state level truly affect counties at a local level. Coming out of the recession, she added, the members are also interested in seeing how different cities are redeveloping their economic centers and downtown areas.