The Price Effects of Urban Growth Boundaries in Metropolitan Portland, Oregon
The late 1960s and early 1970s brought increasing public concern over environmental issues such as rising population growth, resource depletion, and the overall quality of life. The State of Oregon, nationally recognized as a leader in environmental legislation, expressed its environmental concerns with a bold, innovative approach to land-use planning. The 1973 legislature, which created the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC), conceived a system with local participation yet central control. As the state’s central planning authority, LCDC directs the planning process through enforcement of statewide goals and guidelines. The plans themselves, however, are drafted, reviewed, redrafted, and enforced at the local level. Once LCDC coordinates and approves all the city, county, and special district plans, the use of all Oregon lands will be closely regulated. The cornerstone of the land-use program, the urban growth boundary (UGB), represents a planning tool qualitatively different from traditional land-use regulations. The qualitative difference lies in the addition of a new dimension-the dimension of timing. Whereas traditional land-use regulations specify what, where, and how one can improve land, the UGB specifies when one can improve land. In Oregon, current land usage both inside and outside UGBs is regulated by traditional land-use controls-e.g., zoning, tax incentives, fee simple, and building codes-future land usage is regulated by UGBs. Specifically, only land inside a UGB can be converted to urban use before a specified date; land outside a UGB is preserved for nonurban use until after the same specified date.