These past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and not just because of protests and the pandemic. Since our last newsletter, the May ballot measures we supported in the Portland Metro have been overwhelmingly approved, our land use legal cases are proceeding, we've published a new farmland report and 10-point action plan, our Farmer Advisory Committee continues to grow, we are actively addressing the housing crisis, our Founders Circle is up and running, and we have 2 interns working with us this summer. Also, a special session of the State Legislature is slated for next week. We're hopeful that it will include passage of legislation to address the housing crisis as well as a major forest health agreement between the conservation community and the timber industry. We'll keep you posted as the agenda develops.
Last month, we talked about demonstrating "all the ways that land use planning contributes to Oregon's overall exceptional quality of life, and to our state's resiliency." With the events of recent weeks, and in support of Black Lives Matter, I want to take a moment to re-affirm this point. In the words of our co-founder, former Governor Tom McCall himself:
Finally, then, I want to draw your attention to another facet of these critical conversations. Racial and social injustice has many sources. One of the clearest is patterns of large-scale investment—or disinvestment—in local communities. These patterns, in turn, are often driven by systems of taxation and finance that generally don't receive much in the way of public attention or action until the damage is already being done. This has had terrible consequences for communities of color across America for decades, even centuries. One particular version of it is also now having terrible consequences for Oregon's timber-reliant communities, as this ongoing joint investigation by ProPublica, OPB, and The Oregonian explains. I am already in deep discussion with my staff as well as with industry and community leaders in search of collaborative solutions. I urge you to learn more, and to unite with as we work side-by-side with these communities to find a path forward.
So many of you have taken the time to talk with us, to express your concerns for Oregon and support for our work. Your interest and commitment means the world to us, and keeps us focused on what's ahead and how we'll get there together.
Thank you, Friend, for all you do, and thank you for being a Friend.
P.S. Please note that our offices remain closed while my staff and I remain fully accessible by phone and email from our home offices. Please feel free to reach out at any time.
Our New Farmland Report
Sprawl isn't the only big threat to Oregon's farmland. Exceptions to our state's EFU (exclusive farm use) zone are growing. Learn more about this complex issue, and see our 10-point plan handle the problem.
Oregon's Land Use Planning Goal 12 calls for the creation of transportation systems that are safe, effective, and affordable. See how we're pushing Portland's public transit agency to reinvest its budget to meet that goal.
We're following this ongoing special report—a joint investigation from The Oregonian, OPB, and ProPublica on the rise of Wall Street's control of timber in Oregon—very closely, and working to find solutions.