Springfield explores expanding urban growth boundary

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The City of Springfield is weighing expansion of the city's urban growth boundary.

The City Council is considering five areas to expand the boundary: North Gateway, Seavey Loop, South Millrace, Mahogany Lane and North Highway 126 - a total of 614 acres.

A lack of space comes up a lot in Springfield.

"That's something that we have heard consistently from regional economic partners," said Jeff Towery, the assistant city manager.

That's why the City Council plans to expand their urban growth boundary.

By law, Springfield is required to have enough land for projected growth over a period of 20 years.

"If you look at that North Gateway area right now, there is nothing out there," Towery said. Adding the area to the urban growth boundary could pave the way for commercial and industrial development.

There is reason to proceed with caution.

"Once a land is incorporated into the urban growth boundary, that reduces for fish and wildlife," said Jeff Ziller, the district fish biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

He said there are a number of species that live around the Springfield area, from chinook salmon to Oregon chub.

"The habitats they occupy will be impacted by any change in the urban growth boundary," Ziller said.

ODFW has reached out to the city and communicated their concern.