Urban growth boundary plans near Springfield farmland

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Farmers along Seavey Loop Road are challenging the City of Springfield on some changes that widen the urban growth boundary.

Springfield officials have two urban growth boundary areas on the table. City officials said the College View Industrial Area plan would not put farmland in the Seavey Loop Road area at risk.

Landowners like Tom Murray feel the proposed industrial zone is not compatible with agriculture and horse farm operations.

"When you lose farmland because of development it seems to be gone forever," said Murray.

He argues the wrong development could pollute nearby Oxley Slough and jeopardize their water wells.

"That's a big threat to my livelihood," Murray said.

Springfield Public Works Director Len Goodwin said the city is not targeting high value farmland for the urban growth boundary change.

Goodwin said the proposed zone has been cut from 360 to 249 acres to protect more farmland. He adds only one farm parcel (5 acres) is proposed to be included in the zone because it's surrounded by other industrial land.

They say they are looking for clean and green industries to inhabit the spaces.

"They've been given somehow some misinformation," Goodwin said. "We've been very careful to avoid Seavey Loop at all. All of the property north of that, which is close to Mt. Pisgah and Buford Park, is avoided."

The issue is important to Springfield government because state law requires cities to have enough commercial and industrial land to accommodate growth in the next 20 years.

The second zone in the proposal is the north gateway area.

City councilors will get the latest urban growth boundary report on Monday night.