Here’s what Oregon’s Measure 37 looks like. An 82 lot subdivision next to our Spring Lake Estates neighborhood. This is a map of the first phase, 43 lots. Which means 43 homes, with 43 wells, on land intended for exclusive farm use that already has limited groundwater.
If you voted for Measure 37, which exempted some property owners from complying with the state’s land use laws, you probably thought the face of Measure 37 was Dorothy English—a 92 year-old who, ads in favor of the measure said, just wanted the right to develop her land so she could give some property to her children and fund her retirement.
The reality is much different. It’s subdivisions on land that can’t sustain such dense development. My wife and I know that, because we’re experts on the groundwater problems here in the south Salem hills.
And a licensed hydrogeologist, Larry Eaton, also knows that. He’s prepared a report for our neighborhood association that concludes the Spring Lake Estates water rights likely will be adversely impacted by the Laack subdivision.
There will be lots of other adverse impacts also. This map shows the AR (acreage residential) properties that border the proposed cross-hatched subdivision on two sides. The Laack property currently is zoned EFU, exclusive farm use.
Those who bought property next to that farm land figured that either it would stay zoned that way, or there would be a fair and open governmental process if a change in the zoning were to be considered.
But Measure 37 isn’t fair. Or open. It created a privileged class of landowners in Oregon. These people can do what they want with their property, even if it hurts the value of adjacent properties that still have to comply with land use laws.
Currently Marion County requires that if land is re-zoned from EFU to AR, the lot sizes in the residential development have to be at least ten acres. Yet Laack and his three co-owners (none of whom qualify for Measure 37 other than him) are planning to sell lots that mostly are two to three acres. Again, special treatment for a few at the expense of the many.
Ron Saxton, the Republican candidate for governor, wants to continue the unfairness. Ted Kulongoski has been pretty wishy-washy on Measure 37, but he and his fellow Democratic office-seekers still deserve your vote if you want to restore equity to Oregon’s land use laws.
Environmentally they aren’t as Green as I’d like. However, these days Oregon Republicans love the prospect of putting an open-pit mine in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument south of Bend.
Their vision of Oregon is to Californicate it. If I wanted to be surrounded by subdivisions that devoured farm land, I’d be living in the L.A. area. Help stop the Measure 37 madness. Vote for Oregon Democrats in November.