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Know the West

Land-use story gave Oregon a bad rap

  Dear HCN,
I was greatly disappointed with Rebecca Clarren’s recent article on Oregon’s land-use legacy (HCN, 11/25/02: Planning's poster child grows up). Her basic premise — using a handful of anecdotes and personal beliefs from interviewees to argue there is sweeping discontent with Oregon’s land-use system — is shoddy. Poll after poll shows that support for our land use laws has remained relatively constant — about two-thirds of Oregonians support them. Not too shabby, for a landmark set of laws.

Instead of becoming more "arbitrary" over the years, the Oregon system has come into sharper focus and become more fair. That is, the system has continually been adjusted to deal with local conditions and issues. The system has not been stagnant, but rather it has grown up over 30 years — to become a full-fledged adult.

Ms. Clarren’s article truly gives credence to the cynical adage about journalists not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.
Evan Manvel
Portland, Oregon

The writer is director of education and research for 1,000 Friends of Oregon.