Oppose House Bill 2255
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This bill is written to provide ways in which cities can urbanize farm land for speculative industrial development through the creation of “industrial reserves,” and is flawed in the following ways:
1. Section 2 of the Bill authorizes LCDC to adopt rules allowing cities to designate land for “industrial reserves” outside their current urban growth boundaries (UGBs) based on a forecast of industrial land need for 25 years from the date the industrial reserve evaluation is commenced. The current law establishes a priority of lands for urban reserves, in which partially developed lands are designated first and farm and forests lands last. There is no need to put ag land, which is a large and critical economic sector in many parts of the State, especially the Willamette Valley, in this vulnerable position.
2. The premise underlying industrial reserves is flawed – that more raw land at the edge of urban areas will grow jobs by attracting new, large employers. It ignores the far more important elements of job growth – serviced land, a work force with appropriate education, financial incentives, and the fact that the overwhelming number of new jobs in Oregon and nationally come from smaller and existing businesses.
3. This Bill would also perpetuate the focus on development at the edge of urban areas, contrary to the state’s goals to reduce greenhouse gases from the transportation sector. Oregon should be growing jobs close-in, where people already live and where transit is often available.
4. Finally, the current urban reserve law is not an impediment for cities that show a need to designate urban reserves on farm land. HB 2255 will simply make it easier to designate farm land as an industrial reserve, and then bring that land into a UGB allegedly for industrial use, and then convert the land to another use if the political and financial pressure is great enough. It will lead to the unnecessary and expensive extension of urban infrastructure and the skipping over of existing urban lands for those that are outside the UGB and therefore cheaper.
Agricultural land in Oregon, and specifically within the Willamette Valley, is a valuable resource that must be protected for agricultural production, not subject to speculative development.
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