Oregon Communities

For a Voice In Annexations

Promoting and Protecting Citizen Involvement in Land Use Issues

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Voting on Annexations:
Restoring fairness to ORS 195 annexations

As we keep saying, it's all about citizen involvement.

In the 1993 session, Oregon's legislature passed Senate Bill 122, which was later codified in ORS 195. A key purpose of this law was to provide a mechanism by which cities could annex some, most or all of their urban growth boundaries (UGBs) in one fell swoop.

Portions of SB 122 were basically sound.  A detailed annexation plan was required.  Local government, all special districts, and every provider of urban services were to take part in developing the plan and had to agree on the final plan. Public hearings, with ample notice, were to be held so that interested citizens could attend and have input into the process.  The timeframe for implementation of the plan was not limited by the law, and could be any period agreed to by the parties involved.

This would all seem to be sound policy from a planning standpoint - but all sense of fairness and equity in the ORS-195 process was destroyed by its final step: a vote of the city residents and those in the area(s) targeted for annexation to approve or deny the plan.  Although the language is unclear, most cities interpreted it to mean a "combined" vote.

The terrible flaw in this provision is obvious: In most cases, the population of the city dwarfs that in the targeted area(s). THEREFORE, THOSE MOST IMPACTED BY THE PROPOSED ANNEXATION EFFECTIVELY HAVE LITTLE OR NO VOICE IN THE FINAL DECISION. The plan, if approved, is therefore a shotgun wedding -- a Hostile Takeover.

Follow the story of OCVA's efforts to reform ORS 195, starting from its roots in SB 122 through its reform in 2005 via HB 2484, which restored the voice of the citizens in ORS 195 annexation elections, and our subsequent successful 2007 effort to reform ORS 222.750, Oregon’s “Island Annexation” statute.

PDF icon Download or read "Hostile Takeover", OCVA's updated history of ORS 195 and its reform.  (PDF, 106KB)

newAnd now there's a sequel to "Hostile Takeover":

PDF icon Download or read "Islands In The Storm", The history of OCVA’s involvement in the successful effort to reform ORS 222.750, Oregon’s “Island Annexation” statute.  (PDF, 60KB)

The effort to reform island annexation is a critical part of OCVA’s ongoing campaign to make all of Oregon’s annexation statutes fair and democratic, where those most impacted have a meaningful voice in these decisions.

This page last modified on 2013-02-21 14:34.