City of Joseph has partnered with REV & DLCD to conduct a Buildable Lands Inventory, Policy analysis and Code Review

November 6, 2023

The Rural Engagement & Vitality (REV) Center, an initiative of Eastern Oregon University (EOU) and Wallowa Resources, is proud to announce its inaugural program to provide city and urban planning support to rural eastern Oregon communities lacking full-time or dedicated planning staff with funding from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). The REV Center stands uniquely positioned to offer vital technical assistance to rural communities by leveraging the talent of university faculty and students and providing professional development opportunities for future rural leaders. 

\ The Rural Planning Program aims to ensure easier access to regional professional planning services for the areas in need. Eastern Oregon faces a significant shortage of dedicated planners. Out of 59 cities spanning 10 counties in eastern Oregon, only seven have access to professional planning staff. This shortage has placed rural communities in a challenging position, hampering their ability to capitalize on funding and grant opportunities, particularly when it comes to addressing the pressing need for workforce housing. 


Inspired by the University of Oregon’s Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE) Community Planning Workshop, the Rural Planning Program aspires to support small cities in eastern Oregon in capturing state planning funds. It also seeks to leverage the expertise of EOU faculty and students while simultaneously creating meaningful career pathways for college graduates interested in public service. The REV Center and its Rural Planning Program represent a crucial step towards building a stronger and more sustainable future for eastern Oregon’s rural communities. 

\ The REV Center reached an agreement with the City of Joseph to participate in this inaugural program and will be supported by consulting firms ECO Northwest, Kearns and West, and EOU faculty to involve students in research, land use policy assessment, and public engagement. In Joseph, planning efforts are primarily carried out by City Administrator Dan Larman, with the invaluable support of a dedicated volunteer Planning Commission, Mayor Lisa Collier and a dedicated, progressive city council. The city frequently receives inquiries from prospective residents looking to relocate to Joseph, highlighting the demand for workforce housing and the need to analyze how planning documents can support housing production and choice.\ \ The City of Joseph has 45 acres of land within its Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), six available lots for development, and stakeholders prepared to invest in workforce housing projects. To facilitate the city’s comprehensive planning efforts, Joseph is seeking support from the REV Center to conduct a Buildable Lands Inventory (BLI), policy analysis, and code review. These assessments will serve as the foundation for updating the city’s comprehensive plan.


This project has been funded with a grant from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation 

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