A response to my WA-OR sprawl post: urban growth boundaries aren’t necessarily enough

Brock Howell, King County Program Director, for Futurewise(the group was formerly named “1000 Friends of Washington” and is a smart growth advocacy group) writes:

Your recent blog post doesn’t mention that Washington State also has a state land use system and requires the setting of urban growth areas set based on 20-year population projections.

Oregon is fairly lenient when it comes to setting the boundaries (although both states could be better in this regard). Washington falls short in the allowable density in rural areas and agricultural resource lands (max 1du/5ac or 1du/10).

Most of the sprawl over the last two decades in Clark County hasn’t been in contradiction of WA’s GMA. It’s been in the rural area.

Consider the Columbia River Crossing project. The EIS basically says that there will be no sprawl in Clark County because they have a UGA and rural/resource land protections. What the EIS fails to mention is that the expanded bridge would induce more development of Clark County rural lands.

The CRC is a project that Metro has control over. It’s unfortunate that the Metro council isn’t thinking about the sustainability for the whole region, even though they clearly could, and would actually be of economic benefit to Portland.

Also, I don’t think its fair to pick on this recent location if the investment firm to Camas. I bet if it located in Hillsboro, Beaverton, or Gresham or even Salem or Corvallis you wouldn’t find cause to decry the move.