Mission & History
Rogue Advocates is dedicated to cultivating livable and sustainable communities in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley region. Through advocacy, education, and outreach around local land use issues, we work to preserve productive rural lands and promote vibrant urban centers.
Oregon’s Land Use System
Oregon has a strongly revered land use system, which began in the 1970s through a bi-partisan effort to think long-term about how Oregonians wanted their state to look. The response was a comprehensive land use system which prioritized protecting farmlands, forestlands, and open space. In addition, one priority of Oregon’s land use law was to ensure that when cities and towns inevitably grew, that they grew “smart,” assessing transportation needs, affordable housing, and other important issues that make communities vibrant places to live. It also made citizen participation a critical to the land use process, making it “Goal 1” of Oregon’s Land Use Law, which calls for “the opportunity for citizens to be involved in all phases of the planning process.”
Rogue Advocates began as a response to Measure 37, a ballot initiative that authorized previously prohibited urbanization of farmlands and other valuable resource lands in Oregon. We saw that Oregon’s land use laws were being eroded, and that the Rogue Valley, with its explosive population growth, was in need of help to ensure that its rural character and vibrant communities stayed in tact.
Fortunately, Measure 37 has now been repealed and no longer threatens valuable resource lands across Oregon. However, urbanization pressures have not disappeared, but are growing stronger all the time as the population continues to grow. The Rogue Valley has limited amount of arable farmland and other valuable resource lands. It is more important than ever that we make sure that we don’t convert this land through inefficient urban planning.
What We Do
Rogue Advocates monitors the decision-making processes of both Jackson and Josephine counties’ planning departments for any land use proposals that could have a damaging effect on the livability and sustainability of the Rogue Valley. We educate the public about any project that has the potential to negatively affect the quality of life in the valley. We conduct outreach out to community residents to encourage them to engage in the land use planning process, as state law authorizes and invites them to do. When necessary, we resort to litigation to make sure the counties comply with state law.
Rogue Advocates recognizes that endless growth threatens the preservation of farmland, forestland, open space, wildlife habitat and livability that we treasure in the Rogue Valley.