The Clackamas County urban and rural reserves debate may finally be put to rest as Clackamas Commissioners agree to re-enter talks with Portland Metro on finalizing urban and rural reserve designations.
Metro Council president Tom Hughes contacted the new board of Clackamas County Commissioners in a letter dated January 3rd, laying out the two approaches to responding to the remand order from the Court of Appeals regarding Clackamas land reserve designations. One option is to move forward with the changes to reserve designations sought by the previous Board of Commissioners to three rural reserve areas in Clackamas County; or adopt Metro’s revised findings on the Stafford Urban Reserve land.
In much plainer language, the first option would continue to drag out the fight the previous Board of Commissioners had taken on to change several pieces of land in Clackamas County to undesignated rather than rural reserve. The second option would meet all requests of Clackamas County and Portland Metro by the Court of Appeals to “show their work” and adopt Portland Metro Council’s findings that the Stafford area is correctly identified as urban reserve, and complete the reserve designations required by state law. Finalizing the reserve designations in Clackamas County would also remove a potential barrier to any possible expansion of the Portland Metro Region’s UGB.
On January 17th, the Board of Clackamas Commissioners took up consideration of President Hughes request to adopt Portland Metro Council’s findings regarding the reserve designations in Clackamas County. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Savas as the lone dissenter. The Commissioners directed staff to resolve the remand with Portland Metro Council and to work on a memorandum of understanding between the county and Metro Council that Clackamas County will work to take into account the concerns of Stafford residents and the nearby cities about how future development would occur. The HBA will continue to be engaged on this issue and the discussions between local jurisdictions and the county on what development in the region will look like.