It might be premature to raise questions about the impact of Portland's land use policies, were it not that
proponents of Portland's new urbanist approach are already claiming success.
Some of the land use policies by which Portland hopes to achieve near Los Angeles population densities over the
next 50 years have only recently taken effect. However, Portland's "urban growth boundary" (UGB)
has been in effect
for nearly 20 years and is only now being reached. Within the UGB, Portland's population density has
a rate barely above the national average for urbanized areas --- and last among the 10 western urbanized areas of more than one million population in
Nonetheless, Portland officials and others often claim that Portland's policies have resulted in a much more
dense urban area --- with infilling, "smart" development, etc. Portland's land use policies have only begun to
take effect, and it is by no means certain that they will achieve their objectives.
Meanwhile, three suburban city councilors have been recalled (expelled from office) over the plan and
a voter referendum could dismantle the regional government that adopted the plan (November 1998).
Urbanized area data is compiled only as a part of the decennial census. No estimates are available for intervening
or later years. The next data will be compiled from the 2000 census, with availability expected in 2002 or