Clackamas County, Oregon, is located southwest of Portland and is the third most populous county in the state. It has a problem. A major problem.
Clackamas County has a critical shortage of land.
Now I know what you're saying: How can a county with a population density of 20 people per square mile be short of land, let alone be critically short. Well, it's not just any land they are short of. They are short of industrial land. From their website:
Currently, the Portland metropolitan area faces a critical shortage of industrial lands now and projected over the next 20 years. In Clackamas County alone, our 20-year supply of industrial land is short by approximately 1,100 acres. This shortage means our county lacks sufficient land for long-term employment needs, which threatens the well-being of our future residents.
Widespread panic has yet set in, but Clackamas County wants you to know that they are fighting for those jobs. They're willing to throw elbows and, if need be, spend whatever it takes to make sure there is a 20-year supply of industrial land, because nothing says Open for Business like a local government willing to spend tax money like a sailor on leave.
And this, my friends, is the downside of urban growth boundaries. They create an artificial battle over how quickly a place can build the most expensive and wasteful stuff on the menu. Sure, it's planned, so if you think having a plan (or paying planners) is the greatest goal in life, then you love it. But if you actually don't think this kind of development should be perpetuated -- if you think putting thousands of acres of industrial land in the middle of nowhere and then building all the expensive public infrastructure to serve it is a financial loser (Spoiler alert: It is) -- then creating a government program focused on its perpetuation is kinda silly. And self-defeating.
So let's help Clackamas County. They're obviously very proud of that photo of the back of a building, a perfectly vegetated buffer, a strangely configured sidewalk and an empty three-lane stroad with nothing to turn to. Let's help them reach their target audience by providing them a tweetable caption for that photo.
Here's a couple from over the weekend to get us started.