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Phoenix city councilman named to land use commission

Phoenix City Councilman Stuart Warren has been confirmed as a commissioner for the state’s Land Conservation and Development Commission. He will fill the unexpired term of Sherman Lamb of Talent, who died in November.

“I would consider (the commission) as both conserving our wonderful rivers and streams and basins while also working with developers to create greater incentives and opportunities for development in Southern Oregon,” said Warren. “This is a chance to work on these things.”

The Oregon Senate confirmed Warren’s appointment, which was made Feb. 5 by Gov. Kate Brown. His service began Feb. 14 and will end Sept. 30. Warren could be reappointed to a full, four-year term at that time. He represents Jackson and Josephine counties and portions of Douglas County east of the Coast Range summit.

Local LCDC official Josh Lombard suggested to Warren that he might seek the appointment.

“I took a long time to think about it. Being a small-business owner and being on the council, I was concerned about the time,” said Warren.

After speaking with other commissioners and agency Director Jim Rue, Warren decided it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

Warren was elected to Phoenix City Council in November 2016, his first involvement with local government. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Phoenix in November 2018. He is uncertain whether he will run for another council term this fall but hopes to be reappointed to the commission.

People who understand land use planning realize how important it is, Warren said.

“For those people who don’t understand the concept of land use planning, it seems like such a mass of red tape to get around,” he said. “If you work within the law, it’s the opposite. It can be a great way to get new development and conserve the things we love.”

Owner of a fly-fishing guide business, Warren says the seasonal nature of that work and being his own boss will allow him to set aside blocks of time to deal with business that comes before the commission. Members are unpaid. The body meets every other month, sometimes in Salem and sometimes in other locations throughout the state.

Warren is chair of the Phoenix Urban Renewal Agency board, which is composed of council members. He is also council vice president and the council liaison to the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and environmental studies from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

Lamb was a Talent city councilman when he was appointed to the commission in February 2012. He had previously served on the city’s Planning Commission and was a former vineyard owner. He died Nov. 17 of a heart attack.

Oregon’s statewide land use planning program protects working lands, conserves natural resources and promotes vibrant, livable communities. The Department of Land Conservation and Development administers the program.

The seven-member board guides the agency’s work. The commission consists of representatives of regions of the state, along with a current or former elected official of a city and a county. LCDC adopts state land-use goals and rules, ensures community plan compliance with the goals, coordinates state and local planning, and manages the coastal zone program.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

The Phoenix Plaza opened last summer on Highway 99. Photo fromo phoenixciviccenter.org.