Growing Oregon

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Illustration of a person with a hat and backpack overlooking a city with a bus, pedestrians and a cyclist, while another person with brown hair and a red shirt overlooks a forest.

Oregon’s unique growth rules have preserved open space but also led to new fights

Anyeley Hallovà chairs the commission that oversees Oregon's growth management system. She's passionate about developing compact neighborhoods that provide equitable and affordable housing — and that help combat climate change. But not everyone is happy about moving in this direction.


Illustration of pedestrians, cyclists, a car and a light rail train underneath looming freeway overpasses congested with traffic.

How freeway builders collided with Oregon’s growth management system

The proposed Westside Bypass freeway in Washington County had a lot of momentum — until critics said it ran afoul of Oregon's growth management system. The freeway fight in the early 1990s wound up affecting transportation policies throughout the state.

Illustration of a deer standing in a forest on a south facing hill, overlooking the Oregon and California border. Dense suburbs populated the California side of the border.

Inside the fight between Oregon leaders to create a revolutionary growth management system

In the 1970s, Oregonians looked to California and didn't want the same fate for their state A new crop of young legislators in Salem saw an opportunity to advance an ambitious agenda. It took nearly a decade to put in place a system that has some of the strongest protections in the U.S. for farms, forests and other open spaces.

Behind the story of ‘Growing Oregon’

OPB is digging deep into the evolution of Oregon's unique approach to growth and the impact it has on our lives today. Here's how the story came about, and how you play a role in supporting this work.

Illustration of a hand holding Willamette Valley soil with suburban construction, farmland and the face of Governor Tom McCall in the background.

Oregonians once feared their state would be wrecked by out-of-control sprawling development

Fifty years ago, Oregonians feared their farmlands and other open spaces would be overrun with urban sprawl. This eventually led to the state's unique land-use system. This is part one in a six-part series describing how this happened and explaining why it affects so many things you might not have thought about.

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