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Urban and Rural Reserves

How should the region grow?
Next steps in the urban and rural reserves designation process

Across the region, civic leaders are engaged in a collaborative planning process for designating urban and rural reserves that will determine the shape of our region over the next several decades. Learn more about urban and rural reserves

Metro and Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties are leading this process to identify land for future urban development and to protect farms, forests and natural areas for the next half century. After almost two years of working with residents, organizations and businesses to identify areas as urban and rural reserves, the Metro Council on Dec. 17 voted 7-0 to adopt an intergovernmental agreement recommended by Metro and the three counties. Within the agreement is a draft map of approximately 24,000 acres of proposed urban reserves and 224,000 acres of proposed rural reserves throughout the region. View a map of proposed urban and rural reserves

Proposed map of urban and rural reserves adopted – with reservations
While much of the proposed map reflects a consensus on which areas should be considered, unresolved issues remain on some areas including Sherwood, Stafford, Oregon City, Boring and the West Hills. In response, the Metro Council unanimously adopted a resolution of guiding principles, objectives and concerns to the public and the three counties. The principles confirm the end goal of the process as quality reserves that are the right size, in the right location, and with the potential to successfully accommodate future growth.

Public comment welcome
The reserves map is by no means final and public input continues to be important to the reserves process. Attend an open house, testify at a hearing or comment online from Jan. 11 to 22, 2010. Feedback will be collected on all areas of the proposal but is especially sought in areas where unresolved issues remain. Metro and the three counties will continue to discuss possible designations on the map in an effort to reach agreement by the last week of February 2010. Share your views at open houses and hearings

Instead of starting from scratch every five years to consider whether and how to expand the urban footprint, the reserves process provides a common sense approach that presents the opportunity for a comprehensive look at regional growth for the next 40 to 50 years. It offers long-term protection of farms and forests, continuity for property owners in both urban and rural reserve areas, and preservation of the natural features that give communities their unique character.

Where do we grow from here?
Today the region is at a defining moment in determining the shape and size of cities, towns and rural landscapes. Residents and those actively following the urban and rural reserves process are strongly encouraged to continue to participate in public comment opportunities and help shape the future of the region.

Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties and Metro are collaborating on a regional effort to help determine the shape of this region over the next 40 to 50 years. Urban reserves will be areas outside of the current Metro UGB that will be designated to accomodate future expansions of the UGB over the next 40 to 50 years.

These areas, before coming into the UGB, will need to provide for public facilities and services in a cost-effective manner. Rural reserves will be areas outside of the current Metro UGB that will be excluded from UGB expansions and provide long-term protection for agriculture, forestry or important natural landscape features that limit urban development or help define appropriate natural boundaries of urbanization. The process for designating these reserves offers the region greater flexibility in determining which areas are more suitable for accommodating growth than others.

Urban and Rural Reserves are one of four regional tracks to address future growth. Metro has developed "Making the Greatest Place" as the umbrella for these four tracks. In addition to the Urban and Rural Reserves effort, the other three are: Investing in Communities (to address funding), Regional Transportation Plan, and Performance-based Growth Management (to establish benchmarks and monitor progress).

For more detailed information on meetings and how to get involved, go to:


Clackamas County

Steering Committee Information

Making the Greatest Place

West Linn Analysis of Natural Areas Within the Stafford Basin