Services Departments Government

Land to grow jobs

Long-term priorities focused on job growth

Employment lands

The future prosperity of Clackamas County’s residents will be built on good-paying jobs that support families, housing affordability, and capital investments that support the growth of businesses. That prosperity also requires a 20-year supply of industrial land to ensure that the region is able to meet future employment needs. Read our strategic plan to grow jobs.

Currently, the Portland metropolitan area faces a critical shortage of industrial lands now and projected over the next 20 years.  In Clackamas County alone, our 20-year supply of industrial land is short by approximately 1,100 acres. This shortage means our county lacks sufficient land for long-term employment needs, which threatens the well-being of our future residents.

Finding land to create new, long-term job growth will be challenging when regional land use goals are at odds.

“Collectively this means that over 11,000 acres of the original 28,000 acres Urban Reserves are either unavailable, or of limited usefulness. We believe it would be irresponsible to ignore this fact.”

Clackamas County to Metro
Nov. 10, 2015

Need for employment lands

From 2008 to 2010, Metro and three counties— Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington—worked with the public to identify urban reserve lands and rural reserve lands that will serve the region for the next 50 years.  Each county designated its own rural reserve lands. Metro designated urban reserve lands throughout the metropolitan area.

Since 2010, the amount of urban reserves land has declined by nearly 3,200 acres because of the State Legislature's action to incorporate 1,178 acres of Washington County urban reserves into the urban growth boundary (UGB) and to convert another 2,016 acres of Washington County urban reserves to rural reserve or undesignated.

Reviewing the reserves

Clackamas County is preparing to review three rural reserve areas to determine if it would be more beneficial for the economic growth and the creation of jobs to change all or part of these areas to “undesignated” land.  The county will review the following areas:

“The facts on the ground have changed dramatically since the original reserves adoption, prompting the need for corresponding changes to reserve designations. We cannot pretend that those changes didn't happen, or allow the matter to be dismissed as simply a change in leadership.”

Clackamas County to Metro
Nov. 10, 2015

A safety valve for future generations

The rural reserve areas the county is considering for undesignated status cannot be developed until the following occur:

These undesignated areas should be considered as a possible safety valve for future generations and not as land for near term development.

“Accordingly, we are compelled to, and will, take the steps necessary to ensure that Clackamas County's interests are met before signing off on any reserves designations. That may be as simple as removing rural reserves designations in some areas to create a safety valve in the event that existing reserves prove inadequate.”

Clackamas County to Metro
Nov. 10, 2015

Next steps

There are issues that are yet to be resolved. Public outreach is planned throughout 2016, including community meetings focusing on the following:

Stafford urban reserve area remand

The Stafford Triangle is a 4,200-acre area in rural unincorporated Clackamas County. It is located between the cities of West Linn, Tualatin and Lake Oswego, with Interstate 205 running east-west through the southern part of the area.

In 2010, Stafford was designated as an urban reserve.

This designation was appealed to the courts, which remanded the designation back to Metro and Clackamas County to show "substantial evidence" supporting the urban reserve designation. In January 2015, the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) affirmed the court’s request.

Our goal is to ensure that any resolution of issues in Stafford provides the best possible options—now and in the future—for current and future county residents and businesses.

Correspondence

“ I am writing on behalf of the Metro Council to propose that we establish a joint work plan between Metro and Clackamas County to address the issues raised by the Court of Appeals’ remand of Metro’s designation of urban reserves in Clackamas County.”

Metro to Clackamas County
April 2, 2015
Read the letter

“The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners (BCC) agreed on June 30, 2014 there is presently a deficit of 1,100 acres of non-retail employment land in Clackamas County, including a need for additional large lot industrial lands.”

Clackamas County to City and Regional Leaders of Clackamas County
July 13, 2015
Read the letter

“The County shares Metro's desire to put the Urban and Rural Reserves process behind us. However, we have to balance that desire with our duties to County residents.”

Clackamas County to Metro
July 15, 2015
Read the letter

“Metro intends to fully participate in the facilitated dialogue that we have agreed to jointly fund with Clackamas County to attempt to resolve the concerns of cities in the Stafford area regarding future development there. However, we see no reason not to begin our work to respond to the remand while that dialogue is advancing.”

Metro to Clackamas County
Aug. 28, 2015
Read the letter

“We believe it is premature to begin holding hearings on October 8th. Beginning a hearings process now could force the cities of Tualatin and West Linn to devote their energies to building a record for another appeal. This seems inconsistent with the notion of the parties entering into good faith negotiations to resolve the appeals.”

Clackamas County to Metro
Sept. 16, 2015
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“It is our view that, by working together in good faith, we can build trust and may find solutions to the issues in Stafford. However, beginning the hearings process before the facilitated discussion has even begun forces the parties to devote limited public resources to building the record for a possible appeal.”

Clackamas County, West Linn, Tualatin, Lake Oswego to Metro
Sept. 24, 2015
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“We recognize that jobs in other counties can serve Clackamas County residents. However, we believe our 395,000 residents, the region and the transportation system are better served if we also pay attention to our sub-regional needs.”

Clackamas County to Metro
Oct. 6, 2015
Read the letter

"Collectively this means that over 11,000 acres of the original 28,000 acres Urban Reserves are either unavailable, or of limited usefulness. We believe it would be irresponsible to ignore this fact."

Clackamas County to Metro
Nov. 10, 2015
Read the letter

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