Finding the balance between protecting neighborhoods and managing growth

Central Oregon LandWatch recognizes the urgent need to increase housing choices for people across the income spectrum. We also believe that existing Bend residents should be considered in the planning process as much as developers and potential new residents.

Central Oregon LandWatch Files Comprehensive Challenge to Defend the Ochoco Mountains

Today, Central Oregon LandWatch filed a detailed challenge to a Forest Service decision to carve up the Ochoco National Forest by creating a 137-miles off-road vehicle (ORV) route system.

Victory for Wildlife Habitat & Ranchers

This spring, Central Oregon LandWatch won a significant victory for threatened mule deer herds and ranchers in Crook County. When the County approved construction of a proposed nonfarm dwelling in the Post-Paulina Valley east of Prineville, LandWatch appealed the decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). LUBA agreed with LandWatch and reversed the County's decision.

Mule Deer and Ranching Families both depend on connected landscapes (photo: Blue Mountain Ranch)

Mule Deer and Ranching Families both depend on connected landscapes (photo: Blue Mountain Ranch)

Mule deer are prized by Oregon wildlife watchers and hunters alike, but in recent decades their population has plummeted in large part due to increased development which fragments their habitat. Since ranchers also need connected tracts of open space, in many respects wildlife and ranchers need the same kind of landscape. Crook County is to protect these vulnerable landscapes by limiting residential density in mule deer winter range.

In this recent decision, LUBA found that the County’s approval of a nonfarm dwelling was inconsistent with the County's own protections for critical deer winter range in the Post-Paulina region. LUBA also agreed with LandWatch that the approval was inconsistent with the County's protections for farmland and ranchland.

LandWatch's win for ranchers and wildlife sets an important precedent for protecting winter range while also protecting family ranches and the landscapes that both ranchers and wildlife need to survive.