Citizen testimony at the Washington County Reserves Coordinating Committee meeting
July 6th, 2009
Meeting notes are below.
Video of citizen testimony
US Representative from District 1, 1993-1999
Select any image below to access the video.
Notes by Catherine Keith
Note: This is a brief summary of the meeting from my notes on Monday. The full OECDD report and Jim Johnson’s report are online (http://www.co.washington.or.us/LUT/PlanningProjects/reserves/reserves-coordinating-committee-meeting-materials.cfm) as are copies of some of the public comments.
Tom Brian was not attending; Andy Duyck chaired the meeting in his place.
Mike Dahlstrom described increased efforts to increase public awareness:
August 20 th Public Hearing
Info boxes in public places (he asked for committee members to take these and leave them at coffee houses, libraries, etc.)
Mike noted that when you provide a comment you should try to incorporate how the reserve factors support your perspective.
Oregon Economic and Community Development Department (OECDD)
Mike Williams, Mark Clemons and Karen ____________
In this presentation 2005 data was used to evaluate land within the existing UGB up in the NW corner around the Hillsboro airport and up to W. Union Road. Market Value, payroll and property taxes of this area were used to estimate the “projected economic productivity” of a new urban area outside of the existing UGB in the same area. The data was focused on revenue generated and the infrastructure costs are currently “unknown”.
Washington County Farm Bureau
The farm bureau presentation was composed of a number of different speakers:
Jim Johnson, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture
In 2008 Washington County was 5 th in the state in agricultural production ($302.1 Million). Other recent years Wa. Co. has been 3 rd. The county is normally in the top five. Agriculture is second only to electronics in products produced in the county. 80% of the production goes out of state. 40% goes out of the country. Exports are the second largest in $ but first in volume. At a national level, Wa. Co. is 151 st out of 3,000 counties in agricultural production. Not counting livestock production, Wa. Co. is 46 th of all US counties. Wa. Co. produces 220 commodities, most of which are not Federal commodity products.
Wa. Co. has the right soil, water and climate for excellent agricultural capability, plus good infrastructure, and large blocks of land with good edges. Urban growth will be a problem for the county when it loses the critical mass required for farmers and farm service providers to stay in business.
Brian Clem, State representative
We need to factor in agriculture as an economic industry. What are the potential losses to agriculture? How does the model include global issues (global warming, etc.)? Why are there only two agricultural representatives at the table?
Laura Masterson, CSA owner
Laura has 40 farms in several different counties and hundreds of CSA clients. This is a quality of life issue. Farmers markets and CSAs help to provide a high quality of life. If there is a loss in the quality of life then there won’t be any workers for the companies that come to the county. Infrastucture is critical in Wa. Co. If the large farms go under, then even if the land is available the small farms will go too because of the lack of infrastructure. Once land is in an Urban reserve it is no longer possible to get long term leases and then it is not possible to make investments in the land or plant long-lived crops.
Jim Richards, service provider with 25-30 employees, seed cleaning?
If there are fewer farms in Wa. Co. then his company will have to close.
Ron Dobbin, Ron Dobbin Farms, owns 20,000 acres in Wa. Co.
Mr. Dobbin described the problems with moving farm equipment along county roads that have car and bicycle traffic. County roads have stayed the same for 40 years but the population has increased, causing problems. Drivers need to be educated about driving in farm areas. Road improvements need to allow for farm equipment.
Bob Vanderzanden, Vanderzanden Farms on Jackson School Road
There are five generations of Vanderzandens farming in Wa. Co. including Bob’s son. He grows 1,500 acres of grass seed and cut flowers. He has a grass seed cleaning plant that cleans for 15 growers. Changing rural land to urban uses is a problem. He tried to buy land next door which went off the market as soon as it was on the map for potential urban development. The county has harmed his farm in the planning process. Don’t ask for so much more land than you actually need.
Public Comment (see video above):
John Platt, Helvetia Winery
Greg Mecklem, Pacific Crest Alpacas
Elizabeth Furse, US Representative from District 1, 1993-1999
Shirley Malcolm, age 81
Mason Beinlich, age 10
Ed Pothetes, Fisher Implements
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