Clackamas County Board approves moving forward with Metro to settle regional urban/rural reserves


The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners yesterday took action to work with Metro and other partners to resolve remaining issues related to urban and rural reserves land use designations in unincorporated areas of the county outside the Urban Growth Boundary.

The board directed staff to supplement and finalize the findings related to the four urban reserves in the Stafford area and to stop any further consideration of removing the “rural” designation from three rural reserve areas.

The action is in line with a statement made by new County Commission Chair Jim Bernard at his Jan. 9 inaugural ceremony, when he set resolution of the urban and rural reserves discussion as a top priority with a promise to “rebuild trust with three of our cities, a hamlet and Metro, and let them know that Clackamas County will work with them to arrive at an agreement that will give them control of the future of Stafford.”

In relation to the three rural reserve areas that were studied in 2016 (south of Wilsonville, east of Canby and near Springwater), Bernard said on Jan. 17 that, “Six years of community outreach and public comments is long enough. I do not want to continue to study this.”

The urban and rural reserves process, which started in 2008, was meant to create a 50-year roadmap for growth in the greater Portland urban area. Urban reserve areas will be the first candidates for urban growth boundary expansion through 2060. Rural reserve areas will be protected as farms and forests in that same time frame. The Metro Council, Clackamas County, and Washington and Multnomah counties agreed on an urban and rural reserve plan in 2010.

The Stafford area is unincorporated land located between the cities of West Linn, Lake Oswego and Tualatin. The reserves status of the area has been in limbo since the state Land Conservation and Development Commission remanded the designation of the area back to Clackamas County and Metro following the Oregon Court of Appeals decision in 2014.

The county will proceed to finalize the revised findings related to the four urban reserves in the Stafford area. 

In the coming weeks, county staff will move forward to develop an agreement with Metro in consultation with the surrounding three cities and the Stafford community, including the Stafford Hamlet, community planning organization, landowners and businesses. The process will include public outreach to the community and both county and Metro public hearings.

The action came at a board policy session Tuesday to talk about the status of urban and rural reserves land designations with county staff.

Details about the county’s process going forward will be available on the reserves page. More information about urban and rural reserves is available from Metro.

For more information, members of the media and public may contact Public Affairs Manager Tim Heider at 503-742-5911.