It's been 40 years since Oregon set up an ambitious program for smart growth, protection of farmland and forestland, and community participation in planning with the passing of Senate Bill 100.
To commemorate the law's anniversary, the advocacy group 1000 Friends of Oregon has created a list of 40 places, including Ashland, that have benefited from environmentally sensitive planning.
"This list is a way to celebrate how land policy works to keep our cities and towns healthy, while protecting values of productivity, beauty and livability that have always set Oregon apart," said Jason Miner, 1000 Friends executive director.
Ashland was selected because it tightened its urban growth borders, resisted sprawl and maintains a downtown area that attracts residents and tourists.
The advocacy group also recognizes Ashland for protecting open space on the east side of Interstate 5 and reviving underutilized areas.
Ashland represents Jackson County on the list, called the Oregon Land Use Trail.
Also chosen in the Great Communities category were Portland's design oriented Pearl District, Pendleton's "Real West" ambience, Astoria's attraction to film crews, Hillsboro's pedestrian friendly Orenco Station neighborhood and the city of Newport's Nye Beach.
The complete list, a map and an opportunity to suggest other places are at www.friends.org/trail.
Noted on the 1000 Friends of Oregon website are development plans that were defeated by federal and state land-use planning and community activism.
"Land use planning and policy are crucial to the qualities that make Oregon thrive today," said Miner. "But some of our most celebrated places were nearly destroyed or severely damaged through poor planning. This trail reminds Oregonians it takes conscious effort to protect these places we often take for granted."
Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.