Their task is large, and they've been given substantial time - about three years - to undertake it. Not such a bad idea, then, that the Big Lookers take their time and move cautiously, even if there's some short-term downside to be had.
The immediate concern would have to do results - not many yet, and not a lot to talk about either - and bogging down. A state committee to look at the land use picture in Oregon over the next three years; you can understand where some skepticism might arise since, half a year into its existence, it is still working out the question of how to go about its work. Matters of substance have barely entered the room yet.
For the moment, though, we'll place our bets on some actual results emerging from the Oregon Task Force on Land Use Planning - "Big Look." The group met in Salem Friday, and a review of their minutes to date and their actions at the meeting suggest, rather than a bogging down, a steady pace toward clarification and working out a path to an answer.
These committee members aren't for the most part political people, and the conversations they're having - to judge from the Friday meeting - sound informal, thoughtful and searching toward ideas, for all that they're being recorded and closely watched by an audience. These people aren't staking out positions, as legislators might. Their process seems an evolution.
As such, it's not roaring ahead, but it's not glacial, either. In the course of a couple of meetings they've worked out six areas of intersecting concern with land use: the economy; the role of state and local governments; citizen involvement; infrastructure and finance; growth management; and benefits and burdens. You could split the subject in other ways too, presumably, but these seem a reasonable start. Most of the concerns most people have about the subject of land use regulation in Oregon could fit in those areas. And there's early recongition that they will overlap, repeatedly.
At this stage, they're working in considerable part on information gathering and figuring out how to handle the flood of information they are sure to get. While they're holding their meetings this year around the state - the last was in Lincoln City, and upcoming in Pendleton, Medford and Gresham - they're not seeking lots of opinions, yet. They will later. But first they're trying to develop a base of knowledge and a framework to hang it on, and their moves toward developing it to date seem almost stately.
Given enough time, and the 2009 delivery date may be enough, these guys could produce something interesting.