- In 2008, the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) asked the Institute for Natural Resources (INR) to assess whether the Oregon Land Use Program, as designed, is helping the state meet its land use goals. More specifically, this intensive but highly time-limited research effort set out to answer the primary questions “Has the Oregon Land Use Program been effective in:
• fostering citizen participation in land use planning (Goal 1)?;
• preserving farm and forest lands for farm and forest use (Goals 3 and 4)?;
• managing growth (Goal 14)?; and,
• protecting and developing estuarine areas, as appropriate (Goal 16)?”
Since the State of Oregon does not have an institutionalized evaluation framework designed to measure the effectiveness of the land use program, each Goal Assessment Team refined its primary question by developing secondary questions that either (1) addressed elements of each goal, as currently written, and/or (2) were based on academic theory or literature that set criteria for effectiveness. Each team also examined existing state agency key performance measures (KPMs) to see how, and if, they might serve as proxies for evaluating the effectiveness of a particular goal.
To allow for cohesion across the goal assessments/reviews, each Goal Assessment Team followed a written protocol. The draft protocol included background on the review topic and laid out review objectives and methods, including details about the search strategy, plans for study summaries, and the narrative synthesis. Within each chapter of this report, the authors address the effectiveness of their studied goal, provide information on advantages and disadvantages of data sources, discuss existing data gaps, and make recommendations for narrowing those gaps.
The study does not answer questions about whether or how the system could be made less rigid and more responsive to regional and local needs. Nor does it make recommendations for land use policy changes. The study does, however, suggest that while recommended changes deserve full consideration, they need to be made with careful deliberation regarding how those changes might affect the state’s ability to maintain a system that, based on intensive, objective analysis, generally meets its goals.