Mix Analysis of LUBA CRC Decision

The Land Use Board of Appeals ruled today on a collection of appeals filed by numerous parties related to the “LUFO” (Land Use Final Order) enacted by Metro providing the Oregon land use approvals for the Columbia River Crossing.

LUBA sustained one grounds for appeal, that Metro exceeded its authority by approving a portion of the Oregon side of the project that extends outside the urban growth boundary and rejected all the other grounds for appeal.

Willamette Week ran this under the headline “Columbia River Crossing Project is Rejected By State Land Use Board”.

But I think the Oregonian headline is more on point: “Columbia River Crossing opponents lose first ruling on bridge project”.

The key question of whether Metro could use a statute primarily written to authorize a light rail project to approve a whole freeway (the CRC is longer than the entire I-405 freeway) appears to have been decided in favor of the project.

Some analysts believe Metro could easily extend the UGB to include the portion of the Columbia River to the state line. Others believe the City of Portland might have jurisdiction.

It will be interesting to see if the appellants take their case to up the ladder to the Court of Appeals.

One response to “Mix Analysis of LUBA CRC Decision”

  1. One interesting wrinkle on this: Given that siting authority is upheld on the basis that the CRC is a “light rail project”–what does that say about the possibility of the Tappan Zee scenario happening here?

    One on hand, it could happen–if Washington DC, Salem, and Olympia decide to build a megafreewayonly bridge, and pass legislation to that effect, there’s little that Metro or Portland could do about it. Municipal governments are not sovereign, and only derive their powers from the state they are contained within–if that state decides to change the rules, so be it. OTOH, under current law, Portland and Metro have significant input into the process. (States, OTOH, are sovereign under our federal system, and Uncle Sam would likely be unable to force a new bridge that wasn’t desired by the respective state governments).

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