Friday Fun Post

February 15, 2013 3:02 pm

I attended the dinner for the conference by the  International Academic Association on Planning, Law and Property Rights held here in Portland, Oregon last evening.  As any land use geek might imagine, I had a fabulous time talking about land use systems throughout the world.  But the most interesting thing to me was that some of our international guests had come to the conference with preconceived notions about how planning is done in this country, thinking it was more like Houston without zoning, rather than the complex systems we have in Oregon and Washington.

In speaking with one gentlemen from Belgium, I remarked that at one point there was an attempt (although admittedly a weak attempt) to create a National Land Use Policy Act.  Here is an interesting law review article discussing that attempt.  He seemed shocked that the US had even contemplated this, much less almost 40 years ago.  Furthermore, he seemed stunned that the experiments with urban growth boundaries in Washington and Oregon seemed to parallel planning efforts in Europe where population densities are much denser and land for resources is precious.

I had a lot of fun.  So to celebrate the international flavor of this conference I thought I would share a favorite new discovery of mine which is a local music blog Ghost Capital which highlights a lot of obscure off-the-beaten-path music from around the world.  Just as the conference helped bring ideas from around the world together to create new discoveries, this blog does this by exposing us to sounds from around the world.

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Beware! Builders Targeted by Patent Trolling Company

February 19, 2014 0 comments

Last week, several Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area home builders received a demand letter from Savannah IP, Inc (“Savannah”) asserting patent rights over certain commonly used moisture removal processes.  The letter references what appears to be a validly issued patent number (Patent No. 8,567,688, linked here at and bombards the recipient with a number of requests, including a ten day response deadline, the signing of a very overbearing patent license, and, of course, payment for the privilege of using the license. Savannah appears […]

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Local Government Update: Clark County

June 20, 2014 0 comments

The County is moving forward with several projects. First comments were due last month on the draft stormwater code and new stormwater manual. The BIA submitted several comments and have met with staff to address our concerns, especially those related to the modifications that resulted from the Phase I stormwater appeal. Recently, several developer and builder members expressed concerns in regard to the speed of the final plat process. The GAC engaged the County through DEAB to address the process […]

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A Little Relief from the Storm(water)

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Washington’s legislature finally adjourned early Wednesday morning.  With the passage of the budget came a bill critically important to local jurisdictions and the business community.  Senate Bill 6406 passed both houses and it has been delivered to Governor Gregoire for signature. As this is a lengthy bill that does many things, it warrants more than one post.  What is critically important in this post is to note what the law does for the requirements of the forthcoming NPDES municipal stormwater […]

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Would Washington Benefit from a New Statutory Takings Initiative Given Oregon’s Experience?

July 7, 2014 0 comments

James Howsley presented in Seattle on this topic. Here are the three key points to take away: 1) A cumbersome land use system can lead to initiatives such as Measure 7 and Measure 37. 2) Washinton has not had an experience long enough with it’s Growth Management Act and other land use controls for a takings initiative to be successful. 3) However, Washington maintains stricter land use regulations dealing with environmental issues such as stormwater and critical areas, which could […]

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