You are here

State and Local Regulatory Considerations

The future of the Highway 43/Willamette Falls Drive Corridor will also be shaped by a number of State, regional, and local policies and regulations regarding land use and urban form, transportation, and impacts to the environment and other natural and scenic resources. A summary of these key regulatory considerations is included below. 

Land Use and Urban Form

Metro. The success of Metro’s 2040 Growth Concept depends on the success of the region’s Centers, Corridors, Station Communities and Main Streets. The most intensive development and regional investment is expected to occur in these areas.  The Highway 43/Willamette Falls Drive Corridor includes three Metro target areas: the Highway 43 Corridor, the Bolton Town Center, and the Historic Willamette Main Street.

  • Town Centers are intended to provide local retail and services with compact development and transit service. Metro recommends a minimum density of 40 persons per acre in these areas.
  • Main Streets will provide neighborhoods with retail and service developments served by transit. Metro recommends a minimum density of 39 persons per acre in these areas.
  • Corridors are intended to feature high-quality pedestrian environments, convenient access to transit and higher than current densities (recommended density of 45 persons per acre).

The 2040 Growth Concept encourages cities to develop policies for these target areas that promote and facilitate infill and redevelopment in a way that: uses land and urban services efficiently, supports public transit, promotes pedestrian and bicycle use, provides employment opportunities and creates vibrant communities.  To implement these priorities, regional investments in these areas will correspond with local efforts to implement Metro goals and policies (i.e., improve access within and between target areas, allow a wide range of employment uses and building types, allow a mix of employment and residential uses, and allow a wide range of floor-to-area ratios). Additional target area priorities include:

  • Encourage pedestrian- and transit-supportive building patterns that minimize the need for automobile trips,
  • Address opportunities for and obstacles to development and redevelopment of urban land so that the prospect of living, working and doing business in these locations remains attractive to a wide range of households and employers,
  • Promote compact urban form as a key climate action strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

State. Oregon Administrative Rules 660-007-0035(2) and 660-007-0030, require West Linn to provide new residential development at an overall density of at least 8 dwelling units per net buildable acre (the City currently provides for about 5 units per acre on these lands).  Furthermore, the City must provide the opportunity for at least 50 percent of new residential units as attached single-family housing or multi-family housing.

Imagine West Linn. West Linn’s City-wide Vision Plan also establishes policy for land use in the Corridor. Imagine West Linn emphasizes the City’s desire for:

  • Mixed-use development and transit supportive density
  • Services and public meeting places within walking distance of residences
  • An appropriate supply of land zoned for employment
  • Residential infill development that complements surrounding residences
  • Identifying needs for low-income housing
  • Improved streetscaping and pedestrian amenities that include benches, flowerpots, sculptures and fountains and banners to promote civic events. 

West Linn Comprehensive Plan. The West Linn Comprehensive Plan also states a community desire for improved connectivity, convenient employment and retail services, transit-oriented development and efficient land use. Some of the key policies from the Comprehensive Plan include:

  • Locating transit-oriented development near transit and in designated town centers
  • Reducing pollution from vehicle emissions by pursuing energy efficient urban form; encouraging alternative forms of transportation; encouraging employment, mixed-use and home occupations to reduce commuting
  • Commercial uses shall be designed and located in a manner that protects natural areas and significant stands of trees and is aesthetically pleasing while encouraging the use of non-single occupancy vehicle travel
  • Providing connections between mixed-use/commercial centers via transit, pedestrian pathways and other means
  • Encouraging compatible mixed-commercial and industrial land uses near the river
  • Developing/redeveloping commercial areas as mixed use/commercial districts that blend housing and commercial uses
  • Medium-high density residential lands should be located in areas that have existing infrastructure capacity to serve new development and that do not have severe physical development limitations. These areas should also have convenient access to transit and general retail opportunities.
  • New construction shall complement existing neighborhood character 

Robinwood Neighborhood Plan. Applicable polices from the Robinwood Neighborhood Plan encourage the preservation of neighborhood character and appearance:

  • Orient commercial development toward Willamette Drive
  • Beautify Willamette Drive with a comprehensive and consistent streetscape
  • Maintain the residential character north of the Robinwood commercial area
  • Rezone areas inappropriately zoned for multi-family residential uses to more appropriate residential zoning districts
  • Maintain and enhance affordable housing opportunities
  • Encourage additional commercial and mixed-use development with small parks and meeting places
  • Develop a common architectural theme for commercial and mixed-use development 

Bolton Neighborhood Plan. The Bolton Neighborhood Plan includes policies that encourage affordable housing, ensure new development that is complementary to established structures, and that encourage high quality and aesthetically pleasing commercial and residential architecture:

  • Maintain and enhance affordable housing as well as community serving uses
  • Protect existing single-family neighborhoods from incompatible commercial and residential development
  • Insist on high-quality design for new and redeveloped structures
  • Restore the historic heart of West Linn near the Willamette Locks to make it a center for the entire City
  • Bolton’s Central Village shall serve the neighborhood’s commercial needs with accessible, friendly, and sustainable commercial development
  • Willamette Drive shall unite, rather than divide the Bolton Neighborhood
  • The City shall encourage the redevelopment of the area north of Willamette Falls Drive and West of Willamette Drive 

Sunset Neighborhood Plan. The Sunset Neighborhood aspires to remain a quaint and attractive residential neighborhood with a range of housing options for the neighborhood’s diverse population. The Sunset Plan encourages the rehabilitation of old homes to preserve neighborhood character and seeks to work with other neighborhoods to planning for the future of the Willamette River waterfront. 

Willamette Neighborhood Plan. The Willamette Neighborhood Plan incorporates transition zones between historic and other business districts and the surrounding residential neighborhood to preserve the unique character of each of these areas. 

Sustainable West Linn Strategic Plan. Land use and urban form policies from the Sustainable West Linn Strategic Plan applicable to the Highway 43/Willamette Falls Drive Vision include policies that encourage clustering highest density housing zones near public transportation and removing barriers to sustainable development that exist within the City zoning and development ordinance.


Metro. Metro’s transportation-related policies call for cities to improve residential neighborhoods by providing community services that are accessible to residents on foot, by bike and transit through the promotion of an efficient network of streets, pathways and transit-oriented developments in all neighborhoods. Metro’s transportation policies further direct cities to develop performance targets and evaluation tools to assess the effectiveness of various local strategies aimed at meeting Metro goals.

Imagine West Linn. The Imagine West Linn vision recommends a grid pattern of street development and a local circulator bus service to improve connectivity between the City’s neighborhoods. 

West Linn Comprehensive Plan. Applicable transportation-related policies from the Comprehensive Plan call for expanded public transit between residential and employment areas within West Linn and throughout the region. The Comprehensive Plan also suggests the implementation of a City-wide trails plan to safely and conveniently connect neighborhoods with schools, city parks and local destinations. 

Robinwood Neighborhood Plan. The Robinwood Neighborhood Plan envisions Willamette Drive as a multi-modal corridor served by convenient and comfortable public transit with ample pedestrian facilities and amenities and green street elements.

Bolton Neighborhood Plan. The Bolton Neighborhood Plan includes policies that seek to improve safety and convenience for pedestrians by encouraging the use of pedestrian short-cuts between streets, improving the safety of pedestrian crossings along Highway 43, implementing traffic calming techniques along Highway 43 and other neighborhood streets, and promoting walking and biking to schools. 

Sunset Neighborhood Plan. The Sunset Neighborhood Plan focuses heavily on improved connections for pedestrians and bicyclists through the provision of safe and accessible paths and trails that connect the neighborhood with the rest of the City and by using traffic calming techniques to improve roadway safety. It also identifies access to convenient public transit, including options for seniors and persons with disabilities, as a high priority. 

Willamette Neighborhood Plan. Policies in the Willamette Neighborhood Plan seek to ensure that freeway, neighborhood, and business access is effective, efficient, and safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Impacts to the Environment and Scenic Resources

West Linn Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan includes policies to ensure the protection of sensitive environmental features (steep slopes, wetlands and riparian areas). It calls for site design standards that enhance the urban landscape and prevent obscuring views that are enjoyed by the community. 

Bolton Neighborhood Plan. Similar policies in the Bolton Neighborhood Plan seek to maintain the natural scenic quality of the neighborhood and to preserve, acquire and maintain natural areas for public access. 

Sunset Neighborhood Plan. Policies in the Sunset Neighborhood Plan prioritize the preservation of public viewpoints of Mt. Hood and the Willamette Valley and promote the long-term maintenance and preservation of natural and scenic areas.