Return of the LUFO

The next public vote on the Columbia River Crossing will occur on April 12th at Metro.

Metro will take up an amendment to their Land Use Final Order (LUFO) required because of the appeal filed by project opponents.

The LUFO, you may recall, is the magical bit of authority the Legislature gave to Metro that allows them to approve a freeway as part of a light rail project.

The only point on which the appellants prevailed was that Metro attempted to approve a project outside its district boundaries, in this case the stretch of river between the edge of Hayden Island (where Metro’s authority ends) and the middle of the river where the boundary between the states is.

Perhaps the most interesting assertion in the documents for the amendment is that for this little gap of river (which IS within the City of Portland city limits) the City of Portland has already provided land use approval by adoption of the Regional Transportation Plan and city Transportation System Plan (you can find that assertion in a letter from TriMet at the very end of the staff report [PDF, 1.7M]), italics mine:

To respond to LUBA’s remand, the Council must amend the 2011 CRC LUFO to elminate those light rail and highway improvements located outside the UGB. This letter requests that the Council do so. (As the Council has noted, those improvements had previously received land use approval when the Council and the City of Portland, respectively, adopted the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan and the Portland Transportation System Plan.)

That strikes me as a considerable reach, and I hope some smart lawyer is looking at it.

One response to “Return of the LUFO”

  1. The interesting question:

    Will the City of Portland object to this procedural sleight-of-hand? Could the City throw a wrench in the works of the CRC, if it and it alone–rather than through Metro–is the municipal approver of record for the short stretch of river between the north shore of Hayden Island and the state line?

    And given that the mayoral election is next month, and Sam Adams will be out of office within the year, could the race to replace him take on a great deal more urgency than previously thought?

    Approving a document as broad and shallow as an RTP should not be construed, under any circumstances, to imply approval of the final design for any project contained or referenced therein.

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