Development and Construction

Cities Gain Authority on Approving Land-Use Changes

Overview

Comprehensive plans are created by local jurisdictions, through extensive public process, to set city or county transportation, utility, recreation, land-use and housing goals. Comprehensive plans traditionally have two components; maps and text. The map shows the area and intentions geographically, while the text provides overarching themes and goals for the area.

Challenge

Comprehensive plans are typically created and maintained by the governing body. However, for decades, counties and cities in Oregon believed they had the right to delegate minor comprehensive plan map changes to their planning commissions or hearings officers. In 2015, in a ruling in Housing Land Advocates v. City of Happy Valley, the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) said counties have express authority to delegate decisions, but cities didn’t. A statutory change would be needed to give that authority to cities.

Salem and Happy Valley were two cities most severely impacted by the LUBA ruling. Both cities preferred to allow minor changes to the comprehensive plan map to be decided by the city’s planning commission, with authority from the council.

Approach

CFM helped Salem achieve a statutory fix in the 2017 legislative session. Prior to and at the beginning of the session, legislators in the Salem and Happy Valley areas, as well as legislators with a background in land-use, were educated on the issue and asked to sponsor legislation. House Bill 3245 attracted bicameral, bi-partisan support by the time of its introduction.

Stakeholders were identified early and consulted with frequently. The League of Oregon Cities and the Homebuilders Association were supportive of the bills and submitted testimony in support of HB 3245. Originally, land use and environmental advocates had concerns, but CFM worked with the advocates to find common ground and spent several weeks negotiating a solution all parties could accept.

Result

The compromise permitted cities to delegate decisions on comprehensive plan maps in a more limited capacity than counties currently can. The Senate passed the final version of the bill unanimously and the House strongly approved it on a concurrence vote. The Governor signed the bill June 22, 2017 and it will go into effect January 1, 2018.

Manufacturing 21: Suite of CFM Services Drives Coalition's Success

Manufacturing 21: Suite of CFM services drive Coalitions success

A CFM survey identified a serious problem for the region’s manufacturing industry: It had a Rodney Dangerfield challenge — no respect. Although manufacturing made up nearly 20 percent of the region’s economy and employed 14 percent of the workforce, its contributions were little appreciated. A handful of companies, working with the Portland Development Commission and Clackamas County, turned to CFM to create the Manufacturing 21 Coalition.

CFM services played a vital role:

  • Public Affairs: CFM organized the Coalition, which grew from a small core group to more than 80 members. CFM Partner Norm Eder has served as the Coalition’s executive director and the firm has provided support services.
  • Research: Early in the process, CFM assessed manpower, training and skill-set needs among Manufacturing 21 members to shape an agenda. Research consisted of one-on-one executive interviews and an online survey.
  • State and Federal lobbying: Once formed, the Coalition turned its attention to key industry concerns, such as encouraging public investments in industry-scale applied research and workforce training. CFM won local and federal appropriations to support the R&D and worker training agenda. State lobbying secured additional support.
  • Public Relations: To give the Coalition a voice and tell memorable stories, CFM created a website and conducted media relations.

Results: Since the Coalition was formed, it has raised millions of dollars in federal support, as well as creating partnerships with the region’s colleges, universities and worker training centers. The Coalition has become the go-to voice for the manufacturing.

SERA Architects & City of Portland: Helping Out City Hall

Overview

It is the only building to ever serve as Portland City Hall. As it approached its 100th year in 1995, City Hall was declared a dangerous building, in need of safety improvements and compliance with seismic rules. The question: Should the building be saved?

Challenge

Anticipating public skepticism about investing in the building, the architects given the job of renovating City Hall added CFM to their development team. CFM was asked to create a strategic plan on how to communicate the value of the project to the public – and even to some city officials. Criticism occurred as the project ran over budget, in part due to a tight labor market and unexpected costs associated with renovating a building with un-reinforced masonry walls.

Approach

With only a shoestring budget, CFM met the criticism head-on with a straight-talking fact sheet and other materials that established the relative value of renovation versus starting over with new construction. The materials talked candidly about cost overruns and explained why they occurred and what was being done to mitigate other costs. Working with the architects, CFM stressed visual dimensions of the newly renovated City Hall.

Result

Once City Hall was complete enough for tours, CFM pushed people into the building for sneak previews so they could experience the new look that included restored light corridors, which showered the previously dark interior of the building with rays of natural sunlight. Public opinion turned in favor of the project. Today, Portland City Hall is a point of architectural and civic pride.

Associated General Contractors: Preserving Workers' Compensation Benefits

Overview

Maneuvering under the cloak of trying to create a rainy day fund for Oregon, a coalition of interests set their sights on raiding the reserve account of the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF)

Challenge

Representing the Associated General Contractors in Oregon, CFM set to work to defend SAIF and protect its reserves, which accrue from premium dollars paid into the workers' compensation fund by employers such as AGC.

Approach

The battle turned out to be one of the major conflicts in the 2001 legislative session, with CFM leading the effort to bottle up anti-SAIF legislation in committee. Proponents didn't give up and mounted efforts to try to attach amendments to bills in other committees.

Result

CFM was involved in stopping each effort that put millions of dollars in premiums at risk. The SAIF funds were safe.