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Title: Land use planning ballot initiatives in the Pacific Northwest

Author: Kline, Jeffrey D.; White, Eric M.;

Date: 2010

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-829. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 55 p.

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

Description: Sustaining farm and forest land has been an important goal in the United States because of the role these lands play in the livelihoods of rural residents while also providing desired open space benefits. However, land use policies to protect rural lands often involve a tension between balancing public interests regarding economic and open space goals with the private interests and property rights of farm and forest land owners. This tension is especially prevalent when policies involve the regulation of private land such as through land use planning. In the Pacific Northwest, where statewide planning has been enacted in both Oregon and Washington, that tension is manifested in periodic voting on ballot initiatives and referenda seeking to either strengthen or weaken existing planning policies. The voting outcomes of these initiatives and referenda provide insights into how and why voters value farm and forest lands, and how voters feel about the degree to which private landowners should contribute to their protection. In this report, we present two studies of voting patterns from ballot measures in Oregon and Washington intended to modify land use planning regulations in those states. The studies portray the complex nature of voters’ perceptions and preferences of the advantages and disadvantages of regulating land use. The picture that emerges may help policymakers, government officials, and organizations interested in land use policies reconcile the seemingly contradictory nature of voter behavior in land use planning ballot initiatives.

Keywords: Land use planning and policy, development, voting, referenda, and ballot initiatives.

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Kline, Jeffrey D.; White, Eric M., tech. eds. 2010. Land use planning ballot initiatives in the Pacific Northwest. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-829. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 55 p.


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