public affairs

Regional Land-Use System Unravels

This November, Sherwood voters turned down a proposed annexation for a third time. The 104 acres of land were brought into the Portland metro urban growth boundary in 2002. 

This November, Sherwood voters turned down a proposed annexation for a third time. The 104 acres of land were brought into the Portland metro urban growth boundary in 2002. 

Portland's regional land-use policy may be unraveling by the unwillingness of local communities to carry it out, says CFM partner Norm Eder in an op-ed published on page A7 last week in the Portland Tribune.

"Today, the metro area is less the cohesive region planners envisioned," Eder wrote, "and more an ever-expanding network of smaller, often self-defined villages."

"And it's just another irony that many of those who reject the consequences of land-use decisions in their villages," he added, "are the most committed to the system's growth management principles."

Eder's comments came after Sherwood residents defeated for the third time a proposal to annex 104 acres, which were part of a larger parcel added to the Portland metro urban growth boundary in 2002. [CFM Strategic Communications managed the most recent unsuccessful annexation campaign.]

"Whether we're talking about land-use, transportation or economic development, our region faces an existential threat to its way of doing things," Eder said. "We continue onward pretending the ground under our feet has not shifted. We create plan, conduct public process and make decisions that it the letter of the law, but with less and less real meaning in the world as it really exists."

"Ultimately, the Sherwood vote matters," Eder concluded, "because it tells those of us who worry about the region's future that somethings gotta give and soon."

Norm Eder is part of CFM's public affairs team. Eder works extensively with and for local governments, tackling major projects. You can reach him at

Eder Named Chair of Westside Economic Alliance

CFM Partner Norm EderOne of Oregon’s most influential business groups, the Westside Economic Alliance (WEA) has elected CFM Partner Norm Eder to serve as president and board chair for 2012. WEA advocates for a healthy economic environment on the westside of the Portland metropolitan region.

A partner since he joined the firm in 1998, Eder helps lead CFM’s Public Affairs practice. He specializes in issues management, assisting organizations to work through complex challenges.

“The Alliance has been an important stage for launching regional economic development programs, as well as a forum for policy makers to voice their views,” says Eder. “It will be a more significant force as we work our way out of this economic downturn.”

Adds CFM President Gary Conkling, a longtime observer of Washington County: “Norm is a terrific choice for the job. He possesses a rare blend of vision, leadership and problem solving, which he exhibits in his work for CFM’s clients.”

Eder replaces Mike Grant, a vice president of Kaiser Permanente, who was reassigned to a post in Los Angeles. In addition, Eder will serve a full 12-month term during the Alliance's 2012 membership year. He brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to his new role, having served on WEA's Board of Directors since the Alliance was formed in 1998. Eder also served on the Board of Directors of Sunset Corridor Association, which later merged with the Tualatin Valley Economic Development Corporation to create WEA.

Photo of Julie Strange at the 2011 Waterfront Blues Festival taken by Eder.

In his spare time, Eder has built a boat and a ukelele while tending an extensive garden that surrounds his Raleigh Hills home and produces a wide range of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Each summer Norm donates his time as the lead photographer for the Waterfront Blues Festival, documenting all performances and creating a rich archive of images.