The Urban Growth Boundary surrounding the Portland metropolitan area

The Urban Growth Boundary surrounding the Portland metropolitan area

Metro

Metro councilors voted unanimously Thursday to keep the region’s urban growth boundary in place. That’s the regulatory line that separates urban development from protected farmland.
 
The vote marks the first time in the boundary’s history that it was not moved outward to allow for more development.

Decisions to move the boundary in years past have drawn strong opinions on both sides. Farmland preservationists and smart growth proponents have pushed for a tight boundary, while home builders and business groups tend to favor expansion.

Metro Council President Tom Hughes said moving the boundary wouldn’t help address some issues the region faces — like a lack of affordable housing.
 
“The challenge today is how do we figure out how to invest in the places we already have,” Hughes said.

“Adding more industrial land, for example, outside the urban growth boundary simply dilutes our ability to find the revenues we need to make this stuff inside the urban growth boundary more shovel-ready,” he said, “and it winds up costing us more in the long run.”
 
In recent months, advisory committees have supported keeping the boundary in place — with the understanding that Metro could move the boundary ahead of schedule, in a few years.