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History of Oregon's Land Use Planning
1899Oregon legislature declares 30 miles of Oregon beach as a public highway from the Columbia River to the south line of Clatsop County.
City of Portland establishes Oregon’s first land use ordinances.
Oregon legislature permits cities to zone private land.
Oregon legislature amends 1899 Act and declares all Oregon beaches as a public highway.
Oregon Supreme Court upholds city zoning in Kroner v. City of Portland.
Oregon legislature permits counties to zone private land.
Oregon legislature adopts comprehensive law to regulate subdivisions and partitions of land.
Oregon legislature provides for farm use property assessment for land being farmed and zoned exclusively for farm use.
Oregon legislature establishes the Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) zone (ORS chapter 215 ) and the uses it allows.
Oregon legislature passes the “Beach Bill,” affirming the public’s rights to Oregon’s dry-sand beaches.
Oregon Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of the Beach Bill in Thornton v. Hay.
Oregon legislature adopts Senate Bill 10, which requires every city and county in the state to have a comprehensive land use plan that meets state standards. The law was weak, however, because it failed to establish an effective enforcement mechanism or a program of technical assistance from the state. Most cities and counties refuse to develop plans.
Oregon legislature creates the Oregon Coastal Conservation and Development Commission (OCC&DC) to address concerns in the context of an overall plan for the Oregon coast. (The work of the commission became the foundation for the creating of the coastal planning goals in 1976.)
1973Governor Tom McCall makes famous speech to the legislature (audio file), castigating “sagebrush subdivisions, coastal condomania, and the ravenous rampages of suburbia.” He requests legislation establishing a statewide program for land use planning. Senator Hector MacPherson, a Republican farmer from Linn County, and Senator Ted Hallock, a Democrat from Portland, are the chief sponsors of what became Senate Bill 100. McCall campaigns across the state, gaining public and media support to counter the opposition. 
Oregon Supreme Court determines that certain land use decisions are the exercise of “judicial,” rather than “legislative” authority, and requires certain procedural and substantive safeguards in Fasano v. Washington County.


On May 29, SB 100 is approved after much negotiation and compromise, and is signed by Gov. McCall. The bill creates the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).  Senate Bill 101 creates statewide protections for farmland by further amendments to the EFU zone (ORS 215). LCDC’s first major task is to adopt the Statewide Planning Goals to govern the development of local comprehensive land use plans.
1973In October, LCDC, appointed by Gov. McCall, holds its first meeting.
Portland-area jurisdictions abandon the “Mt. Hood Freeway” idea and instead decide to construct a light rail line along the Banfield (I-84). This was a transformational event that marks the end of freeway construction and the beginning of serious efforts to integrate land use and transportation planning. At the time, it was a revolutionary change; it adopted an entirely untried solution and led to subsequent efforts to use transportation investments to achieve land use objectives, including subsequent extensions of the Max light rail system in concert with land use planning for development around station areas.
On Dec. 27, LCDC adopts first 14 Statewide Planning Goals. (Newsprint version )
Oregon Supreme Court determines that the local comprehensive plan is the controlling land use document and all other zoning and land use regulations must be consistent with it (Baker v. City of Milwaukie).
On Dec. 6, LCDC adopts Goal 15 (Willamette River Greenway).
1976On Oct. 8, Medford and Central Point become the first cities to have LCDC approve, or "acknowledge," their comprehensive plans.
On Nov. 2, by a vote of 57% to 43%, the first ballot measure to repeal SB 100 and the Statewide Planning Program is defeated.
On Dec. 18, LCDC adopts goals 16-19, protecting coastal resources. Those goals became effective in 1977.
1977On July 8, Gilliam County is the first county of have its comprehensive plan acknowledged.
On Nov. 7, another initiative to eliminate state oversight of local land use plans is defeated (61%-39%).
Portland-area voters create “Metro,” the first elective metropolitan council in the United States. Once again, Oregon is leading the nation in progressive policies that look forward to future development.


Despite a deep recession that is blamed on planning, the third effort to repeal the SB 100 is defeated (55%-45%). The following year, the legislature creates a process for the “periodic review” and update of local land use plans.
Oregon legislature adopts major reforms to Oregon Land Use Law (ORS chapters 197 and 215), including revisions to the “exceptions process” and the EFU zone, and permitting the designation of marginal lands.
1986Congress enacts the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act.
On Aug. 7, LCDC acknowledges the Grant County and City of Granite comprehensive plans. All Oregon cities and counties now have approved comprehensive plans, meaning the plans meet the Statewide Planning Goals.
Oregon legislature grants jurisdiction over the management of forest lands exclusively to the Oregon Board of Forestry, while leaving the protection of forest lands subject to Goal 4 (HB 3396).
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act leads to the creation of the bi-state Columbia River Gorge Commission. The mission of the CRGC is to: “Establish, implement and enforce policies and programs that protect and enhance the scenic, natural, recreational and cultural resources of the Columbia River Gorge, and to support the economy of the area by encouraging growth to occur in existing urban areas and allowing economic development consistent with resource protection.”


LCDC, with support from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), adopts the Transportation Planning Rule. The rule creates a partnership program between DLCD and ODOT to enable the integration of land use and transportation planning.
LCDC adopts amendments to Goals 3 and 4, permitting the identification and designation of high-value and important farm lands, and small scale resource (secondary) lands. Becomes effective August 7, 1993.
Oregon legislature adopts a comprehensive bill to revise Oregon land use provisions for the protection of farm and forest lands, to permit lot-of-record dwellings on such lands, and directs LCDC to repeal its rules providing for the designation of small-scale resource lands (HB 3661).
LCDC adopts rules to implement HB 3661 and to provide additional protections for high-value farmland.
Metro adopts 2040 plan, charting a long-term regional vision and framework for future land use plans. The plan designates a series of regional centers, town centers and other land use designations. The 2040 plan provides direction to local governments to change local plans and redirects regional planning and investments emphasizing more compact, pedestrian and transit friendly development within existing urban areas, rather than continued expansions of the Metro urban growth boundary.
Oregon Supreme Court upholds LCDC rules that protect high-value farmland adopted to implement HB 3661. (Lane County v. LCDC)
The 25th anniversary of SB 100.


Oregon voters pass Ballot Measure 7  (54%-46%) to compensate property owners when a government land use regulation causes a devaluation of private property. The Oregon Supreme Court overturns the measure because it would have changed more than one part of the Constitution.
On Nov. 2, Oregon voters pass Ballot Measure 37  (61%-39%). The measure provides that the owner of private real property is entitled to receive just compensation when a land use regulation is enacted after the owner or a family member became the owner of the property if the regulation restricts the use of the property and reduces its fair market value. In lieu of compensation, the measure also provides that the government responsible for the regulation may choose to “remove, modify or not apply” the regulation.
2005Oregon legislature passes Senate Bill 82 (The Big Look), creating the Oregon Task Force on Land Use Planning. The task force is charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the Statewide Planning Program and making recommendations to the 2009 Legislature for any needed changes to land-use policy.
On Oct. 14, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mertens James finds Measure 37 to be unconstitutional on several grounds. (MacPherson, et al vs. Department of Administrative Services, et al)
On Feb. 21, the Oregon Supreme Court overturns Judge James' decision and reinstates Measure 37.
On Nov. 6, Oregon voters pass Ballot Measure 49  (62%-38%). Measure 49 modifies Measure 37 (2004) to give landowners with Measure 37 claims the right to build homes as compensation for land use restrictions imposed after they acquired their properties. Claimants may build up to three homes if previously allowed when they acquired their properties, four to 10 homes if they can document reductions in property values that justify additional homes, but may not build more than three homes on high-value farmlands, forestlands and groundwater-restricted lands. Allows claimants to transfer homebuilding rights upon sale or transfer of properties; extends rights to surviving spouses. Authorizes future claims based on regulations that restrict residential uses of property or farm, forest practices. Disallows claims for strip malls, mines, other commercial, industrial uses.

Historical Documents

DLCD's Honors and Awards

University of Oregon's Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management: Community Partner of the Year ("For working for many years with our students and faculty and for serving as a model of exemplary public administration and planning.”)
Oregon Chapter, APA: Distinguished Leadership by a Professional Planner (DLCD Rural Division Manager, James Knight)
Oregon Chapter, APA: Professional Achievement in Planning Award (Main Street ... When a Highway Runs Through It: A Handbook for Oregon Communities)
American Planning Association and ASPC: Smart Growth - Sustainability Award (Model Development Code and User´s Guide for Small Cities)
American Planning Association: Planning Landmark Award (Landmarks/Pioneer Jury to the Oregon Statewide Land Use Planning Program. Award Presented to Director Richard Benner at the 1999 APA National Planning Conference)
Local Government Commission's Center for Livable Communities: Ahwahnee Award of Honor
Oregon Chapter APA: Special Achievement in Planning Award (Smart Development Code Handbook and Appendix)
1997Livable Oregon, Inc.: Livable City Center Award
American Planning Association: Outstanding Planning Award (Oregon´s Transportation Planning Rule)
1989Renew America: State of the States Growth and Environment Award
1988Renew America: State of the States Land Use Planning Award
1982American Planning Association: Outstanding Planning Program Honor Award
1980U.S. Government Printing Office, National Agricultural Lands Study: Elements of Oregon's land use program recognized as "the most fully integrated and comprehensive in the county."
1973American Institute of Certified Planners recognizing Oregon's statewide program for land use planning as a NATIONAL HISTORIC PLANNING LANDMARK.