Woodburn City Attorney files petition with Oregon Supreme Court on UGB case

By Bob Shields, Woodburn City Attorney

Last week, at the direction of the Woodburn City Council, I filed a petition in the Oregon Supreme Court for review of the recent court ruling in Woodburn’s long-running urban growth boundary (UGB) expansion case. 

The City is requesting the Supreme Court to review a January opinion of the Court of Appeals in which the Appeals Court refused to address the merits of the case. Specifically, the Court of Appeals ruled that because it believed that the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) did not adequately explain its approval of Woodburn’s UGB expansion, the case was incapable of judicial review. In a prior statement about the court’s ruling, City Administrator Scott Derickson stated:

“After many years and a significant investment of taxpayer dollars, the City is disappointed that the Oregon Court of Appeals was again unable to resolve the issues and affirm the decision of the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) this second time around. Hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, local jobs, improved streets, public safety resources and an overall improved economic climate for our community continue to be in limbo.  The City, Marion County and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) have been working together on this effort for more than 10 years.”

On March 16, 2011, LCDC approved, for a second time, Woodburn’s UGB expansion. LCDC’s decision was appealed, for a second time, to the Court of Appeals by the land use activist group, 1000 Friends of Oregon.  On Jan. 27, 2014, the Woodburn City Council unanimously authorized me to petition the Oregon Supreme Court to review the case.

For the Supreme Court to hear this matter, at least three justices must vote to grant the City’s petition. The  petition argues that the Court of Appeals:  (1) applied the wrong standard of judicial review;  (2) incorrectly applied a judicial doctrine for the review of UGB cases; and (3) should have deferred to LCDC’s plausible interpretation of the statewide land use goals relevant to UGB expansions.

Granting the City’s review petition in this case is completely discretionary with the Supreme Court. Of all discretionary review petitions filed, only about 10 percent are granted.

I estimate we should hear something back from the Supreme Court in the next three to four months.

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