Gunderson, LLC, v. City of Portland, et al.,

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 11-08-2012
  • Case #: S059735
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Landau, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Requiring industrial landowners in the "North Reach" area of the Willamette River to submit development plans for approval by a River Review process to ensure the goals of the 1973 Willamette River Greenway plan is within the power of the City of Portland.

Gunderson, LLC, representing the industrial interests of businesses in the "North Reach" area of the Willamette River, appealed the Land Use Board of Appeals and the Court of Appeal's decision that the city of Portland can impose restrictive land use regulations on industries in the "North Reach" area pursuant to the 1973 Willamette River Greenway Plan. The Plan was originally adopted to regulate the industrial use of land along the Willamette River for the purpose of protecting the land for scenic and recreational uses in ORS 390.314(1). In 2004, the city initiated a process to impose a "river environmental" overlay zone over the "North Reach" area which does not change the allowed land uses, but changes the manner in which development can occur by requiring it to comply with the "River Review" process. Gunderson, argued first that the Greenway legislation and Goal 15 of the original Willamette River Greenway Plan protect existing land uses. Second, Gunderson argued that if industrial land owners demonstrate they are not "intensifying" or "changing" their land use, they are not subject to the River Review process. Lastly, Gunderson argued that the River Review's vegetation requirement prohibits maintaining the existing urban uses of the land. The Oregon Supreme Court disagreed with Gunderson's interpretation of the Greenway legislation, concluding that the city was able to require a River Review process for any development. The Court also precluded discussion on Gunderson's third argument because it was unpreserved for appeal. Affirmed.

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