Columbia River Gorge Urban Area Legal Description Process

Oregon Consensus and the William D. Ruckelshaus Center assisted the Columbia River Gorge Commission in designing and convening a stakeholder engagement process to develop legal descriptions for the thirteen urban area boundaries established in the gorge by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act of 1986.

As part of the Act, Congress provided a general depiction of the urban area boundaries on relatively small-scale maps without additional clarification. Since that time, there have been several attempts to describe all or part of the urban areas in more detail, but no comprehensive legal descriptions have been developed.

In 2012, the Commission hired surveyors to begin drafting legal descriptions of the urban areas. Although the surveyors were able to identify some of the mapped boundaries, other areas left questions that will require analysis beyond what professional surveying methods can provide.

The stakeholder group completed its work in February 2015 when it presented recommendations to the Columbia River Gorge Commission.