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Monday, September 28, 2009


A Million More People, A Million More Portland Jobs

The growth projection for the Portland area, often summarized in news reports as "a million more people," has not been easy to track because some of the projected population, Portland jobs and housing increases mix different time periods and cover different geographical areas.

According to, the regional government's communications director tried to set things straight. They listed these details to keep in mind when calculating growth projection:

The projection of adding 1 million people applies to the seven-county Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton statistical area, which includes Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill and Columbia counties in Oregon, and Clark and Skamania counties across the river in Washington. The population increase is expected by 2040, a 30-year planning period.

It is actually traditional to use the seven county region. It's called the Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area. The U.S. Census Bureau's definition for the Portland MSA currently includes all of the following counties: Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clark and Skamania. The determination of the statistical area is based on the number of residents from each county with commuting ties to Portland.

Metro coordinates land-use and transportation planning in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties and is working on a 20-year planning period. About 62 percent of the seven-county area's residential growth has historically been captured by the three Metro counties.

Based on that, Metro projects that the urban growth boundary of the three counties will have to accommodate between 412,700 and 558,500 additional people in the next 20 years.

Most of that growth is expected to be handled by infill development, higher densities and redeveloping existing buildings. Michael Jordan, Metro's chief operating officer, said the region can get by with only minor expansions of the urban growth boundary.

Metro and its partner counties are working toward decisions on adopting a regional transportation plan, whether to expand the growth boundary, and which land to designate for urban and rural reserves. The latter will determine which land is developed and which is set aside for farming, forestry of natural areas for the next 40 to 50 years.

Metro calls the planning process, "Making the Greatest Place."


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