Tuesday, February 10, 2004
DALLAS -- State Rep. Lane Shetterly (R-Dallas) won't finish up any of his law firm's cases as he starts his new state job.
In fact, when he takes over Feb. 23 as director of the Department of Land Conservation and Development, he will be prohibited from private law practice.
He also will end his role as legal counsel to the Dallas and Monroe school districts.
Shetterly announced Jan. 6 he would not seek a fifth legislative term. At the time, he said he wanted to stop living in two worlds -- both a lawmaker and a lawyer.
The low pay for legislators helped Shetterly choose the lawyer's world, he said. He'll earn around $98,000 in his new job.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski nominated Shetterly for the job less than one month after Shetterly's announcement. The overseeing Land Conservation and Development Commission confirmed the nomination Feb. 6.
Shetterly joins an improving agency, he said. The department, which reviews local governments' comprehensive plans, had gotten bogged down in the past.
"They have reduced an awful backlog in periodic review approval to a manageable level," Shetterly said.
Still, he sees room for improvement. Shetterly wants department workers across the state to get out of the office and develop better relationships with community members.
He feels outreach would change the department's image from a regulatory agency to one that helps people comply with land use laws. "Rather than being `us versus them,' it becomes a collaborative process."
Shetterly also wants to energize the department's citizen involvement committee, a group formed to get more voices into the land use process. "It has been a fairly quiet function of the department," he said.
Oregon's pioneering land use planning laws passed in 1973. Shetterly thinks the time has come to re-examine them -- in essence, giving his own department its periodic review.
"We need to look at where Oregon is today to see if we're out of synch with policies and priorities from 30 years ago."
Shetterly said he expects controversy to arise from the review, but feels its time has come. "Any time you start asking those questions and are honest with where those are leading, that threatens the status quo," he said.
Shetterly wants to continue some efforts as director that the Legislature and governor started. That includes looking at the availability of industrial land, and whether Oregon should make more available for development.
The department needs to look at the delicate tension between conservation and development, Shetterly said. "It's always going to be a matter of trying to maintain an equilibrium for the two -- not be so focused on conservation that development becomes secondary."
That doesn't necessarily mean tilting the department away from conservation, he said. "It's not a tilt, just an evaluation of the balance.
"That balance is in the name of the agency."