To voluntarily comply with Oregon State Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) directives, as far as the periodic review process goes, Wallowa County's Board of Commissioners has approved new recreational, economic and industrial measures.
Until recently the county had a history of compliance with what until 1999 had been an ongoing mandate, being the first county in the state to approve a comprehensive land use plan in 1975. In the mid-1980s it was the first county in Oregon to complete the first periodic review process, said County Commissioner Ben Boswell who, along with commissioners Mike Hayward and Dan DeBoie, approved the Task 6 directives Wednesday, May 21.
The Task 6 measures were adopted into the comprehensive land use plan as presented to them by the Wallowa County Planning Commission.
Periodic review comes due every seven or eight years, said Boswell, and often takes a number of years to complete the following cycle. The economic and recreational aspects of Task 6, Goal 8 and Goal 9 of the periodic review process, were updated to comply with 2003 standards. Boswell said that Goal 8 had not been updated in some places since 1984. He said that the most recent visitor count for a county that professes to derive substantial benefit from tourism was in 1984.
New statistics plugged into the periodic review process listed the county's income coming equally from natural resources; government, tourism and construction; and the services venue of wholesale and retail sales. Boswell said that 12 percent of the county's economy comes from construction and 11 percent from tourism.
"You can see how important it is to have good information to work off of. If we don't have good information, we don't have good policy," said Boswell.
The industrial measures which were updated came in the form of amendments to Article 22 of the comprehensive land use plan. Included in those updates were the listing of medical facilities and public safety facilities as outright uses in the county's industrial zone.
Both a new hospital and a new public safety building are currently being planned in Wallowa County.
Boswell said that the county is only part way into the industrial zone planning process, that much more work under a program he calls Target Wallowa County, in conjunction with Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) intern Paige McClellen's efforts, are underway. The goal is not only to define the zones, but to identify industries that might be interested in locating in them.
The new measures are wholly as presented to the board of commissioners by the planning commission, but radically different from the land use plan as it existed before Wednesday. What had been included in five pages for the recreational Goal 8 element prior to the update was expanded to nine pages this week. Narratives of the past, present and future status of recreation in Wallowa County were coupled with new information on elk and deer success rates, angling information at Wallowa Lake and chinook angling data at the Imnaha River. Also included was new information about lodging in the county.
Wallowa County no longer is mandated to undergo the periodic review process. They are covered by 1999 Oregon legislation that states that counties with less than 10,000 population are exempted from the process. Wallowa County is doing so voluntarily and Boswell says that much more periodic review work will be done in the future. Amendments to the land use plan can be conducted under the Post Acknowledgment Plan Amendment (PAPA) procedure.