Opening up the Statesman-Journal today, I was deeply impressed with the wisdom of a letter to the editor about Measure 37. Then I saw the letter writer’s name and exclaimed, “I know that guy!” In fact, he was me.
Just to give the conspiracy theorists over at Oregonians in Action something to chew on while they’re waiting for the next check from the Asphalt Manufacturers of America to roll in, yes, 1000 Friends of Oregon put me up to this.
I got a phone call from a 1000 Friends staffer who said that Laurel or I should write a letter to the editor because we’re familiar with the nasty effects a Measure 37 claim near us would have on our neighborhood. I was happy to comply.
1000 Friends of Oregon is near and dear to my heart right now, as it should be for everyone who wants to keep our state from being southern Californiaized.
Still, I’ll agree that Oregon’s land use laws have become somewhat unbalanced. For example, there are too many restrictions on property owners who want to build a home on marginal farmland. But the solution to this lack of balance isn’t to tilt way in the opposite direction, as Measure 37 does.
In the course of looking for a Statesman-Journal online link to my letter, I noted some comments from people about the judge’s decision to strike down Measure 37. One made particularly good sense to me because it focuses on the theme of fairness that I also emphasized:
To all that are aghast at the recent ruling regarding Measure 37, consider the following. You own an upscale resort, one in which you have spent time and money to develop. You are heavily in debt to start the operation but business is good. The natural beauty of Oregon is available to all through your resort. You are booked solid through the high season and able to stay busy when others are slowing down.
With the changes allowed by measure 37, a neighbor of adjoining property comes along and knows that everyone loves his favorite style of bacon and ham. He has always wanted to become an agricultural giant but the right conditions have not been present. Suddenly, his financial status, property ownership and market conditions are perfect for him to start a huge pig farm next door to your resort.
This operation will be total, from birth of the piglet, to shipping packaged first class meat products to the worlds market. It will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Someone has to feed and care for the critters. If you have never smelled a pig farm, it would be best to say you would enjoy being downwind from any paper plant in the Northwest compared to the odor from a hog production facility.
The only solution under measure 37 is for the local government to stop the farm and pay for the value of the property. After all, your resort was there first. Will this ever happen? Not in Oregon, not in this century, not in our grandkids lifetime. So we have serious questions of compatibility.
We have a system of government in which problems are solved. When a solution is reached some are happy, some are not. Our government and the Constitution from which it functions allow for fairness of issues. Because the majority thinks it is right has many times been proven to be unconstitutional. I for one applaud judges who study the law and can keep our society focused regardless of the ideas that some develop.
After all, it sounds neat to allow everyone to do what they want, when they want. And if government does not like it, it can pay me. Forgotten is the fact that the government is the people, ALL THE PEOPLE, of this state. The law has to be fair to all.
--Clint, 60, Retired, Medford