Land Area Classifications
Rural centers: areas with concentrated rural residential development combined with limited rural commercial and industrial development and limited public services.
Rural residential: areas not primarily suited to agriculture or forestry and where limited large lot development is not detrimental to the resource base.
Agricultural: Lands with predominantly class i-iv soils and identified by the agricultural capability classification system of the U. S. Soil Conservation Service, and where existing uses, the parcelization pattern and service levels are supportive of full-time commercial agricultural activities.
Multiple use-farm: lands with predominantly class i, ii or iii soils as identified by the agricultural capability classification system of the U. S. Soil Conservation Service, but where the existing uses, topography and parcelization pattern are not supportive of full time commercial agriculture but where small commercial and hobby farming can take place on parcels of 20 acres or less.
Commercial forest: lands with predominantly Douglas Fir cubic foot site class i, ii or iii, as identified by the woodlands groupings of the U. S. Soil Conservation Service, and where the primary activity is the raising and harvesting of timber for commercial purposes.
Multiple use-forest: land with predominantly Douglas Fir cubic foot site class i, ii or iii, as identified by the woodlands groupings of the U. S. Soil Conservation Service, but where the development influences preclude the raising and harvesting of timber as the only permitted principal use but where physical limitations exist for more intensive development.
Additional protection is given to natural resources under the overlay called "Significant Environmental Concern" which includes water resources and wetlands, open space, mineral and aggregate resources, fish and wildlife habitat, scenic views and sites, historic resources, cultural areas, wild and scenic waterways, and recreation trails.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
In 1986 Congress passed the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act which designated 292,600 acres in six counties in the states of Oregon and Washington as a National Scenic Area. Approximately 33,280 acres of that area are within Multnomah County beginning at the Sandy River and extending east to the County line. Generally, areas inside the National Scenic Area include lands adjacent to the Columbia River, along the dramatic gorge cliffs and on the plateau above the gorge. Construction and new uses proposed in this plan area are carefully reviewed to evaluate potential impacts to scenic, natural, historic, and cultural resources unique to the National Scenic Area.
In order to determine the effect of the land designations on individual parcels of land or on proposals for development, the following steps can be followed:
- Determine the Land Area Classification that applies to the parcel of land and read the related plan text and policies.
- Call the County Land Development Section and ask for the zoning designation on the property by providing them with the legal description (i.e., the Section Township Range and Lot Number).
- If the plan and zoning accord with what you want to do, check with the Land Development Section to determine if there are any other applicable regulations.
- If the plan or zoning prohibits the proposed use, request a pre-application conference with the Land Development Section staff for assistance in determining all of the alternative courses of action.