Saturday, May 5, 2007


Portland, Oregon was long held up as an example of how growth can be "managed". You know, the usual Sierra Club/progressive developer cant about densifying urban areas and containing people within those boundaries so as to preserve open green space. Sounds nice. After all, we don't want urban sprawl, do we? OK, so your lovely land-use restrictions and "smart-growth" strategy are in place.

But what happens when, over the following ten years, your state is flooded with 309,700 foreign-born migrants and the population grows by 20% from 1990-2000? It's pretty hard to keep people confined in these tight urban sheep pens when they are bursting at the seams and developers are chomping at the bit.

This is taken from "Immigration in Your Backyard", Federation for American Immigration Reform: Immigration Impact: Oregon:

"Disappearing open space: Each year, Oregon loses 20,800 acres of open space and farmland due to development.18 In December 2002, the Portland area’s regional government voted to allow development on 18,600 acres of rural land in and around its suburbs.19 Portland, once a model for limiting urban growth, has been forced by a growing population to repeatedly expand its urban boundary, most recently urbanizing 200 hundred acres in nearby Hillsboro, 370 acres in West Lynn, 520 acres bordering Forest Park, and 720 acres in Bethany (which is about half of its farmland).20 About eight acres in Portland were paved for development each day during the 1990s.21 Portland’s population increase has forced more and more development of the area within the growth boundary, crowding current residents and eating up any pastoral areas."

Oh dear me. It looks like another "smart-growth" cure went bad. Oregonians can now commiserate with the British, who are seeing their 60 year experiment with Greenbelt protection crumble because their towns and cities cannot hold the development pressures that build up from the population growth from annual injections of 170,000 immigrants or more. Perhaps folks in either of those localities could do us a service by telling the David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Environment critic of the British Columbia New Democratic Party--the developer with a green hat--that "smart growth" is a dumb option. It simply ain't what it's cracked up to be.

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