Like most legislative sessions, 2013 began and ended with a flurry of activity in Salem. Back in February, over 150 bills – good and bad – were introduced that pertained to land use planning, transportation, housing, agriculture, and other issues that 1000 Friends works on.
Though early deadlines left many of these bills on life support, and a few others were passed quickly, many remained in limbo until the final days of the session. Land use bills are often held back to be used in “trade” for votes on unrelated bills at the Capitol, meaning those who care about land use cannot really rest until the final gavel drops.
As in other sessions, 1000 Friends staff spent a lot of time in Salem this year: meeting with lawmakers, testifying, building partnerships, and monitoring proceedings right up until sine die on July 8. We worked to protect the core values of Oregon’s land use program and improve its outcomes. Overall, we had a largely successful session.
In short, here are the top 5 takeaways from this session:
We helped pass several bills that will make smart planning easier for Oregon cities of all sizes, and protect opportunities for good jobs in appropriate places.
We successfully fought off several attempts to override land use laws for speculative industrial development and other special interests, though one particularly bad bill did make it through.
We helped improve and pass several bills that will help farmers, including protecting farmland from gravel mining and enhancing connections between small farmers and consumers.
After a troubling start, our transportation outlook significantly improved by the end of the session with new revenue streams for active transportation and the failure of the Columbia River Crossing in Washington.
We defeated several attempts to weaken citizen participation in land use planning and the judicial process, and significantly improved one bill that will lead to better assessments of how our land use judicial process works.
Find even more in-depth coverage here.