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1st Statewide Planning Commission Will Be Created This Year

By Charles E. Beggs
Statesman Capitol Reporter

The passage of Senate bill 100 will create the first statewide planning commission in Oregon history.

What its role will be in determining the best land uses for the state probably will not be clear for several years. It is a complex measure, filled with balances and checks to satisfy vocal opponents of the legislation who fear that it will lead to state domination of their property by a faceless bureaucracy.

AN ESSENTIAL part of the plan still awaits action. SB 100 sets up the machinery to formulate a statewide land use plan, but how much money the state will put into this effort still is to be decided by the ways & Means Committee.

Gov. Tom McCall will sign SB 100 with special ceremonies in his office at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. McCall, who also favored the bill in its much stronger original version, has called it the second highest priority item before the legislature, next to school tax reform.

Here is what the major features of SB 100 will do:


The bill creates a new State Department of Land Conservation and Development, which will be run by a seven-member land Conservation and Development Commission. The commissioners will be appointed by the governor and subject to the confirmation by the Senate.

Each commission member will serve a four-year term, and will be limited to two terms.

The governor must choose one member from each of the four Congressional districts and of the three at-large members, no more than two may be from Multnomah County.

The commission will appoint a director of the department.

Atop these structures will be a permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Land Use.

This committee will be made up of four House members and three senators. The committee will function both during the legislative session and between sessions.

The committee will oversee the state commission, and make recommended changes in the laws to the legislature.


The main job of the Land Conservation and Development Commission over the next two years is to adopt statewide goals and guidelines for all comprehensive land use plans.

It must adopt these by Jan. 1, 1975. All local land use plans and regulations must conform to these statewide goals and guidelines within one year after that.

THE BILL DOES not spell out specific goals and guidelines, but it outlines in great detail how the guidelines are to be formulated.

It says that the commission must "give priority consideration" to the following things when drawing up guidelines: lands adjacent to freeway interchanges, estuaries, tidal lands, lakes and lakeshores, wilderness and recreation areas, beaches and coastal headlands, scenic and wild rivers, flood plains, unique wildlife habitats and farm lands.

The department will have to hold at least 10 public hearings around the state in preparing the proposed goals and guidelines.

THERE WILL be a State Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee named by the commission. The job of this committee will be to oversee plans by each county to encourage public involvement in the planning.

Each county will have to submit a plan within 90 days after the legislature adjourns for public involvement through local advisory committees.

After all this is done and the 10 public hearings are held, the commission then will take the department's recommendations and form a proposed set of goals. The commission then must hold a public hearing on those goals before they can be adopted.

EACH TIME the over-all plan is revised after that, the hearings procedure must be gone through again.

The counties are given the main job of coordinating all local plans, including those of cities and special service districts.


The state commission is given authority to regulate "activities of statewide significance" under the bill.

The commission is given the power to designate the following things as such activities:

- Planning and siting of public transportation facilities.
- Planning and siting of public sewage, water supply and solid waste disposal systems.
- Planning and siting of public schools.

After the commission has adopted statewide goals and guidelines, no later than Jan. 1, 1975, no one would be allowed to undertake activities of statewide significance without a state permit from the commission.

FOR EXAMPLE, if a city wanted to open a new garbage dump or build an airport after that date, it would have a (sic) seek a state permit. A proposed project would have to comply with the statewide planning goals and guidelines in order to qualify for a permit.

Anyone who started a project without a permit could be stopped by a court order.

Additional activities of statewide significance could be recommended to the legislature, which will make the decision on whether to adopt them.

THE LEGISLATURE also could designate "areas of critical state concern." No such areas are set out under the bill, and this was a highly controversial provision in the original SB 100. The bill originally, for example, would have allowed the state to control all development along the coast or near freeway interchanges.

But these "areas of critical state concern" were deleted from the bill, and now it will be up to the future legislative sessions whether to put such areas under state control. The new state commission can recommend regulation of such areas, but only the legislature will have the power to officially bring them under state control.


The intention of this feature of the bill is to provide a way to solve local disputes that may come up over whether a local zoning plan, for example, conforms to state guidelines.

Counties are given over-all charge of developing the state land use plan under state guidelines.

If the officials of a city and county cannot agree on a feature of their plans, for example, either party could appeal the decision to the state commission.

The commission also would hear appeals from any person "whose interests are substantially affected" by a planning regulation.


Here are the key features of SB 100, the statewide land use planning bill adopted by the legislature:

- Creates seven-member State Land Conservation & Development Commission appointed by governor.
- Creates State Department of Land Conservation & Development to administer commission policies.
- Creates Permanent Legislative Committee on Land Use to oversee the department and commission, and to report to legislature.
- Requires adoption of statewide planning goals and guidelines by commission by Jan. 1, 1975.
- Requires all local land use plans to conform to state planning guidelines by Jan. 1, 1976.
- Requires state permit for "activities of statewide significance" by 1975, which can include planning and siting of public schools, transportation systems, water and sewer systems and solid waste disposal facilities.
- Provides appeal procedure to state commission to resolve local disputes over whether local plans conform to state goals and guidelines.

Beggs, C.E. (May 28, 1973). "1st statewide planning commission will be created this year." Oregon Statesman. Salem, Oregon. Section 1:6.