July 15 Deadline to Give Feedback to County on French Prairie Rural Reserve

Clackamas County is conducting an online comment opportunity until July 15 for a proposal by members of the Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) to remove the “Rural Reserves” protection of 800 acres of the French Prairie Rural Reserve immediately south of Wilsonville to facilitate damaging, inappropriate development. At a June 28 County open-house event in Wilsonville, 300-350 area residents and business owners attended who generally expressed opposition to the BCC proposal and supported continued protection of the French Prairie Rural Reserve.

Clackamas County public online comment opportunity:

Until July 15:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2879184/New-standard-survey
Flyer Summarizing Key Issues for County Online Comment
County Reserves Information Webpage: 

French-Prairie-Reserves---Wv-Area-MapWilsonville supports the original 2010 French Prairie “Rural Reserve” designation. Wilsonville opposes efforts to overturn a thorough, two-year-long public-input process that resulted in reserves agreements with Clackamas County, Metro and the City of Wilsonville to protect the high-value farmlands of French Prairie.


Clackamas County: Martha Fritzie, Senior Planner, 503-742-4529

City of Wilsonville: City Councilor Charlotte Lehan, 503-313-8040


Why conserve the French Prairie Rural Reserve area?

Top-5 Talking Points to Protect French Prairie Rural Reserve

  1. Preserve the farmland and economy of French Prairie, Oregon’s best agricultural lands.
  2. Our region has more than 8,000 acres of industrial employment lands just sitting idle – develop what we already have.
  3. Developing south of the Willamette River will cost at least $600 million for new roads alone and make traffic on I-5/Boone Bridge area much more congested.
  4. Don’t reward land-speculators who want the public to underwrite their costs, so they can personally reap the profits.
  5. Respect the thorough, two-year-long public-process that produced both urban and rural reserves, by committing to those designations and providing certainty for investment.
Wilsonville is focused on working with Tualatin, Metro and others to develop 1,000 acres of employment lands already in the designated urban growth boundary to the north, including the Coffee Creek industrial area and Basalt Creek area. 

In 2009, seven state agencies unanimously supported the protection of “lands south of the Willamette River (French Prairie) as a rural reserve."

"The reasons for a rural reserve designation include: threat of urbanization, high suitability for agriculture, very significant transportation limitations (Boone Bridge capacity and no alternate river crossing, poor multimodal connectivity), poor suitability for urbanization (services and distance to existing population), and concerns about encouraging urban development moving south along I-5 into prime agricultural lands.”

The Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) indicated that the South Metro I-5 corridor and Boone Bridge are at maximum traffic-handling capacity, and that the cost to increase capacity is “huge,” or “over $500 million” for development south of the Willamette River.

While members of the Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners claim a “need” for “employment lands,” data shows that the greater three-county Metro region is awash in over 8,000 acres of vacant “greenfield” and redevelopable industrial sites that are sitting idle and awaiting capital investment. We do not need more raw land that is high-value farmland to be used for non-agricultural purposes; we need to develop the thousands of acres already designated for industrial development. Wilsonville is focused on developing employment lands to the north, including the Coffee Creek industrial area.

For more information:

City of Wilsonville Legislative Testimony/Position PaperWilsonville’s Public-Policy Concerns over Proposals to Supersite Langdon Farms Rural Reserve EFU Land to Urban Reserve or Undesignated Status: Harms Public/Private Investments in Industrial Lands, Upsets Metro Reserves Process, Fails to Remedy Key Development Obstacles, Externalizes Negative Costs and Hurts Ag Industry, By Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp, May 29, 2015, on several proposed bills, including Senate Bill 716 and House Bill 3313.
Supporting Material:
• Industrial Lands Inventories:
• Metro 2015 Urban Growth Report (UGR), Appendix 3: Buildable Land Inventory - 9/23/14; Group MacKenzie Study: Regional Large-Lot Industrial Site Inventories: Recent studies of vacant and buildable industrial lands in the greater three-county Portland metro area
• Urban/Rural Reserves Process:
• Joint State Agencies Letters’ Excerpts to Reserves Steering Committee, aka "Core 4": January 22, 2010; October 14, 2009; April 6, 2009: Excepted pages from state agencies’ letters commenting on positive and negative elements of proposed urban and rural reserves, with a focus on French Prairie farmland, 2009.
• Selected Excerpts: Identification and Assessment of the Long-Term Commercial Viability of Metro Region Agricultural Lands: Report documenting key issues and reviewing general Reserves factors and specific French Prairie area review, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, Jan. 2007
• Maps / Aerial Images:
• French Prairie region of North Willamette Valley; Wilsonville Vicinity Showing Langdon Farms, EFU Ag Lands; Regional Industrial and Employment Lands; Sewer Serviceability for the Reserves Study Area
• Wilsonville Planned Regionally Significant Industrial Area (RSIA):
• City of Wilsonville Coffee Creek Industrial Area Development Overview, 2011
• City of Wilsonville Coffee Creek Master Plan, 2007

Clackamas County Rural Reserves Review, 2016:  Description of county planning process and comment form for unprotecting over 1600 acres of Rural Reserves.

Friends of French Prairie Website - Current Issues on Urban & Rural Reserves:  Friends of French Prairie is a nonprofit organization that works to conserve the prime farmlands of the North Willamette Valley and to help farmers market their products as part of the “French Prairie Branding Initiative.”

Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development — Metro Urban and Rural Reserves:  Information on current processes and background on Senate Bill 1011 (2007) and the Metro-area reserves.

Metro regional government — Urban and rural reserves:  In the Portland metropolitan region, urban and rural reserves, along with the urban growth boundary, are the underpinnings of the region’s land use and protection planning.