A small globe with trees in the hands of a child.

When Gov. Kate Brown couldn’t get what she wanted through the Legislature in 2020, she issued an executive order directing state agencies to take climate action.

Last week the state’s Land Conservation and Development Commission approved new rules. They shift Oregon on to a more climate friendly path in transportation and housing.

Some argue it is what needed to happen, no matter how it was done. That does not mean there are not questions about how it happened and what some trade-offs may be.

The changes were made in a two-year public process. Very few Oregonians participated. There was little media coverage.

More than 160 meetings were held. The decisions were not made by elected officials that voters can hold accountable. Gov. Brown will be gone.

The direction was shaped by executive order, not by the Legislature. An executive order can be undone by a future governor more easily than legislative action and the rules unwound.

Business groups argue these changes will make it more challenging to build the kinds of housing Oregonians want, let alone for the state to build its way out of a housing crisis. The city of Bend also estimates it may need as much as $10 million from the state to enable it to fulfill new planning requirements.

But with these rules, Oregon has moved closer toward its climate change goals. That will be what matters most for some.

Under the new rules, the car will no longer guide transportation planning. It will be supplanted by the pedestrian, the bicyclist and transit. The rules will make it harder to find a place to park and easier to charge an electric vehicle. Transportation projects won’t be built around reducing congestion for cars. Transportation projects will be designed to make the network safer and swifter for pedestrians, bikes and transit.

Under the new rules, housing will change. The state’s largest cities, including Bend, must be more compact. More taller buildings. Expanding urban growth boundaries will be more difficult to justify.

And under the new rules, any transportation or housing plan must be reviewed with careful consideration of equity. Projects will be put to the test of how well they ensure they are fair to minorities and people with low incomes.

Are these the changes Oregon needs and you want? Written comment is still accepted on the most recent version of the rules through July 1. The rules are here: tinyurl.com/ORnewrules. The email to send in comments is here: esther.johnson@dlcd.oregon.gov.

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(2) comments

Transitory Inflation

'The rules will make it harder to find a place to park and easier to charge an electric vehicle'

lol. gawd, that's a good one!


No mention of the disfunction in the legislature? Elected officials are expected lead and take action, so good for the Governor.

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