The 2014 Oregon Legislature dramatically reduced the size (1800 acres) and scope of the North Hillsboro (NH) Urban Reserve (UR). The land taken out of the NH UR south of Sunset Highway and east of McKay Creek (referred to here as "Northwest Hillsboro") was designated “rural”, which provides virtually no flexibility for urban considerations for years to come. This action was taken with little vetting of the planning implications (such as infrastructure provision to land added to the UGB in NH); nor, the impact this action might have on the long term adequacy of urban land supply. Additionally, the Legislature left considerable amounts of “undesignated” land around the cities of North Plains and Banks making it easier to meet urban land needs outside Metro than inside Metro. During the three plus year effort of implementing SB 1011 the primary controversy regarding NH was the area included in the UR located north of the Sunset Highway. The area north of the Sunset Highway was an unmistakable encroachment into a viable agricultural area with no definitive borders and it seemed unnecessary to meet the 50 year demand requirements. When the Legislature removed the area north of the Sunset Highway, and a very large portion of the UR south of the Sunset Highway (Northwest Hillsboro), it disregarded much of the spirit of SB 1011 and the vast amount of planning and analysis included in the regional planning process. Northwest Hillsboro's scale and location offered the Region and the State perhaps the best opportunity to create a compact “great community” immediately adjacent to one of the State’s largest and most promising industrial areas.
In making the decision to remove much of NH from the UR, the legislature provided virtually no opportunity for affected parties to provide important information that might have changed the Legislature’s direction. Their decision will have large unintended consequences that will almost for certain negate their attempt to preserve agricultural land. Demand for urban space will not go away but will be met, at least in part, by rapid growth in nearby cities (North Plains and Banks) that are surrounded by agricultural land.
The 2014 legislation that forced the re-designation of NWH, known as the "Grand Bargain", or House Bill 4078 (HB4078), was written with language that intentionally eliminated Metro's authority to change the bill's land use designations through its local process. As a result, it is only possible to change the designation of any land effected by HB4078 by passing a bill amending the statute. Evidence of this reality can be found in the opinion of the Legislative Counsel Committee in response to an inquiry regarding "Methods to Change Land Use Designations Established by House Bill 4078".
The Northwest Hillsboro Alliance (NWHA) members consist of area land owners and citizens that are advocating for: