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C.O. LandWatch hails LCDC passage of ‘climate-friendly and equitable communities’ rules

Central Oregon LandWatch

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- More climate-friendly and equitable communities are ahead for Oregon’s eight largest metropolitan areas, including Bend, Central Oregon LandWatch said Friday as it hailed passage of new state land-use rules.

On Thursday, the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) unanimously adopted new rules that will guide future development in Oregon’s largest urban areas; these rules place tackling climate change, providing more affordable housing options, and creating more equitable transportation choices at the center of how Oregon’s cities are planned, built, and funded.

LCDC, which oversees the Department of Land Conservation and Development, initiated the Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC) Rulemaking in September 2020 in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the land use and transportation sector. LCDC adopted temporary CFEC rules on May 19 and permanently adopted these rules with minor adjustments on Thursday.

The Central Oregon LandWatch news release issued Friday continues in full below:

The CFEC Rulemaking will significantly strengthen the state’s rules about transportation and land use planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase equity. Today’s biggest contributors to climate change are tied to our built environment: where and how we live, work, play, and travel. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are the biggest contributor to climate change nationally. In Oregon, transportation accounts for 40% of statewide emissions.

The rules require that communities update their local transportation and land use plans to ensure Oregonians have safer and more comfortable ways to get around that do not require driving long distances to meet daily needs. The rules also aim to improve equity by directing community transportation, housing, and planning to serve all Oregonians, particularly those from under-resourced communities and underserved areas. When implemented, these rules will:

  • Increase development in climate-friendly locations, including city centers, town centers, and transit corridors, where housing, jobs, and services are located and the need to drive is reduced;
  • Improve facilities for walking, bicycling, carpooling, and transit so people can reach destinations without depending on single-occupancy vehicles;
  • Manage parking to avoid over-building parking, which uses land needed for housing and services, increases housing costs, and pushes housing and services further apart, making it harder to access destinations without a vehicle;
  • Refocus transportation planning towards a system that provides a broader range of equitable and climate-friendly transportation options rather than emphasizes motor vehicle congestion.

“Oregon’s land use system was created to channel growth and development within cities to prevent sprawl onto our surrounding farmland and open space. This land use system is also one of our best tools for tackling climate change. By thoughtfully guiding growth with these CFEC rules, Oregon will build the great neighborhoods of the future that reduce major carbon emitters and make them accessible to more people,” said Ben Gordon, Central Oregon LandWatch’s Executive Director.

Gordon added, “As we see meaningful action on the climate crisis stall at the federal level, it makes it more important than ever for states like Oregon to lead and take on the responsibility. At its heart, the Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities Rulemaking should add up to one necessary outcome: everyone should have the opportunity to thrive here in Central Oregon while we protect the environment around us.”

Central Oregon LandWatch worked to establish a statewide Climate Action Coalition for the CFEC rulemaking process and is excited to see LCDC lead Oregon in a positive direction for a more climate-friendly and equitable future.

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