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VANCOUVER, WA-Clark County will need 3,000 acres of prime, developable industrial in order to generate the 66,000 new jobs that will be needed to keep up with population growth over the next 22 years, according to a new report by the Columbia River Economic Development Council. County planners will use the report as reference material in their continuing effort to update the county’s land-use plan. The update includes a potential revision in the region’s urban growth boundary, and is not expected to be complete until early 2002.

According to the report, which can be viewed at http://www.credc.org/, Clark County will likely see across-the-board 2.5 percent average annual job growth over the next 20 years, or less than the county’s annual growth through most of the 1990s. The job projections in the report stem from calculations that drew on statistics from the state Office of Financial Management. By 2022, Clark County’s resident labor force will total an estimated 272,408, according to the report. That total includes 182,577 people with jobs in the county, an additional 70,000 residents expected to commute to Oregon and about 19,800 unemployed.

Of the 3,000 acres needed, the county currently has only about 807 acres of such land, much of it spread out among many smaller parcels. Current absorption trends show Clark County using up between 220 and 280 net acres per year since 1994. Some of the extra land may have to come from the county’s 1,717 acres of “secondary land,” or industrially-zoned land that lacks basic utility services or has wetlands or other issues that make the property less desirable for development than unconstrained properties.

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