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As a lawyer, planner and elected official, Stacey helped shape how the state grew.

COURTESY PHOTO: METRO - Bob Stacey was a deeply influential figure in Oregon land use.Bob Stacey, one of Oregon's most influential figures in land use and transportation, died Thursday at the age of 72.

Stacey was one of the pioneering attorneys who helped lay the legal foundations for Oregon's unique growth management system, which limits suburban sprawl and protects farmlands and other open space. He helped wage one of those legal battles against the Rajneeshee cult, which attempted to build a city on farmland in Central Oregon's Wasco County in the 1980s.

As Portland's planning director in the early 1990s, Stacey helped bring denser housing development to the city as he sought to accommodate population growth without having to rely on ever-increasing suburban sprawl. He later held top policy roles for TriMet and in the administration of Gov. Barbara Roberts, where he sought to bolster transit and other alternatives to driving. He also served as a councilor for Metro, the Portland area's regional government, from 2012 until he stepped down in 2021 as he battled health problems.

"Oregon just lost the most important person that most people have never heard of," U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said in a statement announcing Stacey's death.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their full story can be found here.

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