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Update: Urban Growth Boundaries in Washington County

An Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is an area on a map where urban and suburban development (housing, shopping, offices, etc.) is allowed. Areas outside a UGB are reserved for rural uses (farming and forestry.)

Urban Growth Boundaries (UGBs) in Washington County

UGBs in Washington County 2024
Urban Growth Boundaries in Washington County
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There has been a lot of discussion around Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansions, particularly those impacting the cities of North Plains, Tigard and King City. Those discussions have also generated a lot of questions about UGBs.

Washington County has four UGBs. The largest is part of the Metro UGB, which includes the cities of Beaverton, Cornelius, Durham, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, King City, Sherwood, Tigard and parts of Lake Oswego, Portland, Rivergrove, Tualatin and Wilsonville.

The remaining three UGBs surround the cities of Banks, Gaston and North Plains, which are not part of Metro. See UGBs in Washington County map below.

UGB Expansions: Acres per Year

Since 2000, Metro has expanded its UGB by 11,884 acres or 18.6 square miles. By comparison, the entire city of Beaverton is 12,650 acres or 19.8 square miles. North Plains has proposed an 855-acre UGB expansion currently under review. See Ordinances in Progress, Ordinance No. 899.

Most recent UGB expansions resulted in annexations into cities. County and regional policies intend for future additions to be annexed before they develop. North Bethany and Bonny Slope West are exceptions. They remain in unincorporated Washington County, though they developed as urban areas. See Maps of Expansions of Metro UGB.

What are reserves?

In 2014 the Oregon Legislature passed HB 4078 - after several years of discussion among Metro, Washington County and cities within Washington County. See Map of Washington County Urban and Rural Reserves .

Urban Reserves added to the UGB

HB 4078 created the following land designations:

  • Rural Reserves: Areas reserved for rural land uses only. They cannot be included in a UGB expansion.
  • Urban Reserves: Areas reserved for future urban development that can be included in a UGB expansion.
  • Undesignated: Areas designated as either an urban or rural reserve. These areas may be considered for addition to the Metro UGB once 75% of the original urban reserve area is added to the UGB.

Since 2014, more than 2,400 acres of Urban Reserves have been added to the UGB. This is 29.1% of the 8,354 acres originally designated in Washington County.

Total Area by Reserve Category:

  • Urban Reserves: 5,858 acres (9.2 square miles)
  • Rural Reserves: 154,018 acres (240.7 square miles)*
  • Undesignated Areas: 5,216 acres (8.2 square miles)

*Does not include the rural areas outside of the original scope of review.