Update on Public Involvement

As staff and the Citizen Advisory Group continue to work on updates and prepare for another road show work session series, we wanted to take a moment to thank all those who have participated in Wasco County 2040 to date.

To celebrate all the wonderful engagement, we updated an infographic from last year to show current numbers on public participation.

outreach may2018

You can submit comments, suggestions or feedback at any time over the next several years.

Here are some easy ways to stay up to date on news or share comments:




You can also send us a letter:

Wasco County Planning Department
Attn: Wasco County 2040
2705 E 2nd St
The Dalles, OR 97058

Thank you for your continued participation in helping us craft a long term vision for Wasco County’s future!

Wasco County 2040 Update

Staff and the Citizen Advisory Group are tackling the first work tasks on our work plan, making updates to Goal 1 and 2 while simultaneously changing the look of the Comprehensive Plan.  Amendments are focused on two main objectives: to align current policy with current practice and to format of the Comprehensive Plan to make it more readable.  The new format of Wasco County 2040 will be focused around each land use planning goal.  Within each goal, there are specific policies and implementation points that help us to achieve our vision.

The proposed changes reflect feedback from the public and our Periodic Review Assistance Team, and are consistent with many current practices for citizen involvement and land use planning.

The first hearing was on April 3rd with the Wasco County Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend adoption of the amended Chapters 1 and 2 to the Wasco County Board of Commissioners.  You can review the packet to review the proposed amendments, read the staff report, and learn more about the proposed changes here: here for a pdf of the packet.

These first two amendments are tasks 1 and 2 of our State approved work plan for Wasco County 2040.  The work plan consists of over 19 work tasks that cover a range of topics related to land use planning including agriculture, natural resources, housing and economic development.  The anticipated completion date for all work tasks are 2020, so there is still time to submit a comment, participate in our work sessions and hearings, and follow the progress.

WorkTasks 1 & 2

The process for adopting the amendments, or changes, looks like this:

Work Task Process

Staff is currently planning a Spring/Summer roadshow to talk to the public about water conservation plans, agri-tourism, land use planning incentives and economic development policies.  This is a great opportunity to provide feedback and ideas about how land use planning and Wasco County 2040 can help us achieve the goals of prosperity 20 years into the future!

We will also be launching a new survey next month, and continue to post information and data about a variety of topics to help keep you informed and up to date on our progress.

Oregon Tourism and Wasco County

Planning staff participated in a series of events sponsored by Travel Oregon in 2016. This series was focused on rural tourism, and ways to improve outreach, coordination, marketing, and more in the Gorge and Eastern Oregon.

Wasco is split into two regions according to Travel Oregon.  The majority of the county is in the Central Oregon region, which connects us to counties to the South, including Deschutes County.  The Columbia River Gorge portion of our county is incorporated into the Mt. Hood/Gorge territory.  Tourism is identified as a strength and a potential opportunity for the region according to Mid Columbia Economic Development District’s recent Economic Development Strategy document.  This encapsulates not only recreational activities in our natural areas, but also visits to wineries, cideries, u-Pick farms, and historical sites.

Travel Oregon produced a series of documents that are available on their website here: http://industry.traveloregon.com/2016-industry-engagement-insights/.

We heard from the workshop series a lot of interest from residents and businesses in more opportunities for recreational and agricultural tourism in Wasco County.    As an existing strength and opportunity for future growth and development, the Planning Department wants to make sure regulations allow for uses and activities that support tourism.

You may see the term agri or agro tourism pop up quite a bit during the Wasco County 2040, and that is in response to the interest expressed by community members. Currently, Wasco County’s land use regulations allow for limited agro-tourism activities. One of the things staff is focused on understanding is how to enable agro-tourism activities and uses without creating conflict from other uses including large-scale commercial agriculture.

Similarly, new recreation demands have indicated to partners a need to develop new facilities or enhance existing parks, trails, and campgrounds.  We have heard from many residents that some activities, including biking and hiking, can have unintended impacts to emergency services, farming, and residences.  In exploring how to continue to support recreation, Planning staff wants to hear about existing conflicts and impacts, and concerns for future impacts to help us better plan.

We encourage you to share your stories and thoughts.  You can connect by attending upcoming events, take our survey, or send us an email.



Wasco County 2040: Look Ahead

Staff has prepared a two page information sheet to share some of the basic facts about Wasco County 2040 and the next steps including an overview of Comprehensive Plans, the process timeline, and how you can get involved.

We have copies available at our workshops, Planning Department office or you can download a pdf copy by clicking on the link here:  Wasco County 2040 Two Sheet NOV 2018

We encourage you to take a few moments to check out this project website, learn the FAQs, get involved, learn about upcoming meetings, check out workshop activities and agendas, and read our many different informational posts about economics, housing, recreation and more!

Our next series of public outreach events will be starting in Fall 2019 with work plan tasks on Environmental Protection Districts.  Specifically, we will be making several required updates to overlay zones, including the Wild and Scenic Rivers and Sensitive Wildlife.

The general purpose behind Wasco 2040, and Comprehensive Plans more generally, is to give us a 20 to 30 year long range or long term plan for land use policy and regulations.  This usually requires us to identify community goals and objectives, as well as challenges to development and growth, in order to best inform policy and implementation tools and strategies.

Feedback is welcome at any time during the process, and can submitted through the project website, sent via mail to:

Wasco County Planning Department
ATTN: Wasco County 2040
2705 E 2nd Street
The Dalles, OR 97058

We will also have opportunities for public feedback and comment at our many work sessions and hearings over the next two and a half years.