By declining to take up the case, the Oregon Supreme Court has effectively upheld the Court of Appeals’ decision to reverse the state’s and county’s approval of Woodburn’s urban growth boundary.

Now, some proponents are so discouraged they’re thinking it might be more effective to get the Legislature involved and completely bypass the land-use process.

We support Woodburn in its pursuit of thoughtful UGB?expansion, because we believe we can be a hotbed of light industrial development while still embracing our agricultural roots. The main goal, as City Councilor Pete McCallum said, is to create jobs, jobs, jobs.

But Woodburn has been placed in an unfortunate position of being denied that expansion time after time. It’s disappointing to consider the years and dollars that have gone into making this happen, only to leave officials wondering if they should find an entirely new way.

McCallum’s suggestion of going to the Legislature is inspired by the land-use “grand bargain” in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties, which were able to implement a measure that addressed a similar situation — after these governments, too, were stymied by the courts.

How sad that we have such a broken system that local leaders — after years of frustration — feel compelled to seek an end-run around the process entirely.

Don’t get us wrong:?We don’t believe the land-use system should be a rubber stamp (and, for the record, we don’t believe the city thinks so, either). The process should be rigorous and exhaustive.

But if an applicant is denied, it should be informed as to where it went wrong, and how to fix it. This direction is what we feel is lacking in Woodburn’s case.

It’s a shame that it has come to this, and we hold out hope that the process may still work for the people of Woodburn. If, however, Salem is the only avenue that city leaders have for relief, we support their efforts.

Maybe after enough “grand bargains” are orchestrated, the state will finally wake up to the fact that its land-use system is sorely in need of an overhaul.

Contract Publishing

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