Prior to LUBA's creation, land use appeals were heard by the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and the circuit courts. LUBA was created to simplify the appeal process, speed resolution of land use disputes and provide consistent interpretation of state and local land use laws. The tribunal is the first of its kind in the United States.
The governor appoints the three-member board to serve four-year terms. The appointments are confirmed by the Oregon Senate. The board members must be members of the Oregon State Bar.