Portland State University’s Population Research Center (PRC) recently was awarded a $900,000 contract by the State of Oregon to produce population forecasts for the 242 cities and towns, and 36 counties across Oregon.
Gov. John Kitzhaber signed House Bill 2253 in early July, which directs the PRC to produce 50-year population forecasts at least every four years for each county and their respective cities and towns. The contract covers the first four years, and is renewable.
The new directive replaces an Oregon law requiring counties to prepare population forecasts of their cities for the purposes of land use- and urban planning. Only half of Oregon counties have been able to keep up with this ongoing requirement, making it difficult for cities to plan for their future, according to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.
The new law will simplify and standardize the state’s population forecasting, greatly reducing costs to local governments, and assuring that cities are using the best possible data for their land-use planning.
“It can be expensive for cities and counties to hire contractors to develop their population forecasts. Also, different methods have been used in the past, which often produce inconsistent results. The Oregon Population Forecast Program will encourage public engagement and provide the consistency the state needs,” said Jason Jurjevich, assistant director of the center.
The PRC began providing population data to the state in 1956. It moved to Portland State University campus in 1965, and is part of the University’s College of Urban and Public Affairs.