Deschutes County received two Technical Assistance Grants from the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) in 2010 to evaluate Central Oregon’s opportunities, competitiveness, and ability to recruit new and locally grown firms requiring new large scale development models. Johnson-Reid, LLC was selected from a pool of consultants to develop a Regional Economic Opportunity Analysis (REOA). Over the course of eleven months, the REOA went through several iterations with the assistance of a Regional Advisory Committee (RAC). The RAC consisted of Central Oregon cities and counties, Johnson-Reid LLC, Business Oregon, DLCD, Department of State Lands, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), 1,000 Friends of Oregon (1,000 Friends), Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), Central Oregon Association of Realtors and private area developers. The RAC met officially six times before the REOA was finalized on May 31, 2011.

The REOA project aimed to determine if such an industrial land demand exists in Central Oregon and, if so, to identify the deficiency. The study attempted to document an unmet twenty year land need for large lot industrial sites in the region. It also concluded that competing as a cohesive region can allow Central Oregon to market a larger available work force, the size of which is often a key location criterion for firms. While geographically separate, the jurisdictions in the region function in a manner similar to other metropolitan areas like Reno and Salt Lake City, which often share boundaries. According to the REOA, the shared economic function within Central Oregon supports a regional approach to economic development, particularly with respect to large traded sector industries.

Deschutes County exercised its statutory coordinating authority (ORS 195.025) to address this unmet regional need for large-lot industrial sites through Ordinance 2011-017. New comprehensive plan policies and the REOA provided the policy framework for designating lands among coordinating jurisdictions in a mutually agreed proportion. Ordinance 2011-017 attempted to integrate comprehensive plans between the County and its respective cities by encouraging them to address a short and long-term specialized employment land need. Ordinance 2011-017 was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on November 30 2011, but was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals by 1,000 Friends. The appeal however, was stayed in early 2012 to allow Deschutes County, the Governor’s Office, and 1,000 Friends to explore a settlement. Spanning three months, a general settlement was reached in April 2012. The settlement consisted of an agreement that the technical document produced would not be called an Economic Opportunity Analysis (EOA) as that term is understood in Oregon land use law. 1000 Friends agreed to not oppose a regional declaration of a need for up to six large industrial sites in Central Oregon with the ability to add three more as those six sites are allocated to the cities within the tri-county region. The parties also agreed upon policy principles guiding how those sites could be incorporated into existing urban growth boundaries. The settlement consisted of policy concepts focusing entirely on Central Oregon’s short-term need for large-lot industrial sites as well as a commitment from the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to initiate rule-making later in the summer.

LCDC Rulemaking

Because of the unique nature of the agreement, DLCD agreed to memorialize the agreement in rule. OAR 660-024-0040(1) and (5) and 660-024-0045 were narrowly crafted to implement the intent of the agreement so it still complies with Goals 9 and 14. The amendments are applicable in only Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. After receiving a recommendation from a Central Oregon Large Industrial Lot Rules Committee, which met four times over the summer, a draft rule was forwarded to the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) for their consideration. A public hearing conducted by a LCDC hearings officer was held in Redmond on September 27, 2012, followed by a hearing with the full commission on November 15, 2012. At the November 15 hearing, LCDC took public testimony, considered a staff recommendation and adopted the rules to Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) Chapter 660-024. They became effective on December 10, 2012.

County Ordinances

On January 7, 2013, the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) adopted the Central Oregon Large Lot Industrial Land Need Analysis (Analysis) and regional large lot industrial lands policies into the Comprehensive Plan. Building on Deschutes County’s model ordinance, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) collaborated with Crook and Jefferson counties to adopt the Central Oregon Large Lot Industrial Land Need Analysis (Analysis) and regional large lot industrial lands policies into their respective Comprehensive Plans.  These three county ordinances now provide a policy framework to coordinate as a single entity promoting large-lot industrial employments sites that best serve the region as a whole to create family wage jobs, economic diversification and place Central Oregon on the map for regional, national and international industrial recruitment. Cities in the region can now rely on the Analysis to address the short-term need for up to nine competitive and diverse vacant, developable large lot industrial sites.

COIC/Regional Governance Authority

In Spring 2013, the COIC Board coordinated with cities and counties in Central Oregon to sign an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), recognizing it as the regional governance authority.

City of Redmond

In 2013, the City of Redmond identified a site owned by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) adjoining its Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) as a plausible location for a regional large-lot industrial campus.  Redmond and DSL completed a Reconnaissance Level Public Facility Analysis to hone in on the site’s serviceability issues, size, and marketability for accommodating a large-lot industrial user. Redmond also drafted a regional large lot industrial zone. The public facility analysis, coupled with the IGAs and tri-county ordinances represent extraordinary accomplishments for Central Oregon. These deliverables, working in tandem, identify a site owned by DSL adjoining Redmond’s UGB as a plausible location for a regional large-lot industrial campus. 

What's Next?

In May 2015, COIC as the regional governance authority, supported a 200+ acre large lot candidate site in Redmond. Deschutes County is now collaborating with the City to prepare a UGB amendment application.