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Urban & Rural Issues
Urban Issues
View of Portland from the West Hills

During the 1990s, urban planning issues took on increased importance in Oregon. An accelerating growth rate and reduced local taxing authority have put the squeeze on local governments to provide adequate services for a growing population.
Most of the urban issues generally fall into one of two categories: the Transportation and Growth Management program (TGM) and the Periodic Review process (see Periodic Review section below). 
Transportation Planning

Form more information on the Transportation Planning Rule (TPR), including Multimodal Mixed-Use areas (MMAs), see Transportation Planning.

Transportation and Growth Management
The Transportation and Growth Management Program was founded in 1990 by DLCD and the Department of Transportation in order to focus resources on the problems of urban growth and transportation.
Through the TGM grant program, millions of dollars have been provided to communities to assist them in solving local problems. Several publications have been produced to give planners around the state an idea of the tools and techniques that are available to assist urban planners. They can be found on the Publications page.

Rural Issues
Pronghorn near Lake Abert
Oregon is widely known for its rural landscape and abundant natural resources. From the very first day of our statewide planning program, DLCD has been working to protect those landscapes and resources through sound land use planning.
Protection of farmlands, forestlands, coastal beaches, and other rural resources continue to be one of DLCD´s most important missions.
DLCD carries out that mission through a variety of programs and activities summarized below.
Farmland protection  
Agriculture in Oregon is a vibrant, diverse industry with about $3.8 billion in gross sales each year. That’s one reason why farmland protection is a cornerstone of the statewide planning program and has been for 30 years.

Some 15.5 million acres of Oregon’s rural lands are zoned Exclusive Farm Use. That zoning keeps farmland from being overrun by subdivisions and urban sprawl. Much of the Rural Division’s work is directed toward monitoring, maintaining, and refining that farmland zoning. The key statewide planning goal for such work is Goal 3, Agricultural Lands.
Forest Land Protection 
Ask someone from another state for the first word that comes to their mind about Oregon, and they’re likely to say trees. There’s a good reason for that: Oregon has some of the most beautiful and productive forests in the world, and it has exported its wood products to national and international markets for more than a century.

Oregon forests also are home to many forms of wildlife and fish, and are prized for their recreational opportunities. Today, about nine million acres of rural lands in Oregon are planned and zoned for forest uses. DLCD maintains a strong Forestland Protection Program to maintain that forestland base. The key statewide planning goal here is Goal 4, Forest Lands.
Rural Development 
Development in rural areas -- be it residential, commercial or industrial -- is permitted by the Statewide Planning Program in order to allow for a variety of lifestyles and community needs.

The program, however, includes provisions encouraging separation of development from resource lands to minimize conflicts, and containment of urban-scale development within Urban Growth Boundaries to help maintain efficient delivery of services.
Natural Resource Protection 
Natural resource protection is another important goal of the program. Statewide planning goals and administrative rules require local jurisdictions to address a variety of resources such as wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, and water availability when making land use decisions.

Periodic Review
Periodic Review is a term used in Oregon law to describe the periodic evaluation and revision of a local comprehensive plan. Since 1981, state law (ORS 197.628 - 636) has called for cities and counties to review their comprehensive plans according to a periodic schedule established by the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC).
In 2007, the Oregon Legislature enacted a bill that revised the scope of Periodic Review to include only those cities with a population greater than 10,000. While Statewide Planning Goal 2, Land Use Planning, requires that all local governments’ comprehensive plans be maintained and updated, counties and smaller cities are no longer legally obligated to complete the formal statutory requirements for Periodic Review. As part of the 2007 legislative amendments, the scope of Periodic Review was also scaled back to include only the fundamental building blocks of local planning: housing, economic development, transportation, public facilities and services, and urban land supply.
Although the legal requirements have changed, the fundamental purpose of Periodic Review is to ensure that local comprehensive plans are:
  • Updated to respond to changes in local, regional and state conditions,
  • Coordinated with other comprehensive plans and investments; and
  • In compliance with the statewide planning goals, statutes and rules.
DLCD works with several cities to evaluate their unique planning and development needs and develop a Periodic Review work program to meet those needs. Once a city’s work program is approved, the city submits specific planning tasks for review and approval by the department or the commission.
In order to help with these community planning efforts, DLCD also offers grants to local governments. Recent DLCD decisions on work programs and work task submittals can be found at the bottom of this section.
For more information on Periodic Review and its role in Oregon’s statewide planning program, please contact Rob Hallyburton or 503-373-0050 ext. 40018.

Farm and Forest Reports
Corn field north of Keizer
The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) regularly adopts reports of land use activities in the state's farm and forest zones.
The reports provide data regarding approvals of dwellings, land divisions, and other land uses, by county, for the period of time from January through December.
Rural Reports (2004-09)