If you love Oregon, fire up your fury. Because Measure 37 is threatening to pave our state over with unregulated subdivisions. As the lead Oregonian editorial said yesterday, the true game behind Measure 37 now is evident.
It never was about letting little old ladies like Dorothy English build a home on family land that some bad bureaucrat said, “No!” to. That was just a ploy to con voters.
Timber companies supplied most of the money needed to pass the measure in 2004. Now we’re seeing why. Plum Creek Timber Company has filed a Measure 37 claim on 32,000 acres of coastal forestland. Many other similar claims are flooding in.
It’s all about greed, not striking a balance between private gain and the public good. These people don’t give a damn about Oregon. They won’t be living in the ticky-tacky developments that they want to plop down in the middle of forests and farmland. They just want to make money.
Folks in Umatilla County, not exactly a hotbed of liberalism, are fighting mad about Wyland Ranches’ scheme to convert 1,600 acres into home sites. The county commissioners have deferred approving this Measure 37 claim for as long as possible, hoping that the upcoming state legislature session will be able to fix Oregon’s land use nightmare.
Yesterday Laurel went up to Portland and took part in a 1000 Friends of Oregon press conference. She talked about how an adjacent claim threatens the groundwater supply in our Spring Lake Estates neighborhood.
People in our area are angry. They moved here expecting that either surrounding farmland would remain that way, or there would be a fair and deliberate process if someone wanted to change EFU (exclusive farm use) zoning.
Now they’re realizing that Measure 37 is neither fair nor deliberate. It’s a “make as much money as you can” free for all that pits neighbor against neighbor.
1000 Friends of Oregon says that it is time to suspend Measure 37 until the Oregon legislature is able to craft improvements to this seriously flawed law. Laurel and I agree. And so do the dozens of our neighbors who have contributed thousands of dollars to fight the subdivision whose 80 wells could turn our beautiful community lake into a dust bowl.
I took this photo today at sunset during a walk around the lake. Notice: No smokestacks. No McDonalds. No sidewalks. This is the Oregon almost everyone in this state loves, not the paved-over Oregon that Measure 37 is bringing us.
It’s time to get fired up. Pissed off. Righteously indignant. Our legislators and public officials need to hear from the people. Big corporations already have had their say through Oregonians in Action, the concrete industry’s best friend. Now the voices of those who care about Oregon need to be heard.
1000 Friends of Oregon makes it easy. Their web site tells you how to contact state and local officials and what to say. The game plan is to urge two things:
Temporarily suspend Measure 37, and development resulting from already-approved land use waivers, to allow the Legislative Assembly time to craft even-handed fairness legislation; and
Schedule hearings throughout Oregon so that citizens can voice their concerns about Measure 37 and help develop a comprehensive reform effort.
Do what you can. The bulldozers are starting to move. We’ve got to stop them. Now.
Would your homes have been approved under the current land use, or were they approved under them?
Posted by: Chuck Butcher | December 06, 2006 at 01:41 AM
Chuck, I believe all of the homes in our neighborhood were built after Oregon's stricter land use laws (SB 100) went into effect. Most lots were five acres or more; some were less.
We live in a groundwater limited area of the South Salem Hills. Five acres is considered to be the minimum needed for a well, unless special circumstances apply.
Some people were able to partition lots based on the "special circumstance" that the lot adjoined farm land that wasn't being irrigated. That land is now a Measure 37 claim and is proposed to be a 80 lot/well subdivision.
This shows how unfair and nonsensical Measure 37 is. If you buy property for an investment, you need to realize that land use laws may change--for the good of everybody. Similarly, if you buy a long-term bond, you need to realize that interest rates may/will change.
Why should the value of an investment in real estate be guaranteed by government? I don't see government guaranteeing my investment in stocks or bonds, even though government actions may diminish the value of what I own.
Real estate investors in Oregon shouldn't be allowed to get a free ride on the backs of the rest of us. Grow up, cry babies. Some investments make money; some don't. It isn't the job of government to protect you through Measure 37.
Posted by: Brian | December 06, 2006 at 10:43 AM
I am totally in agreement with you and hope that it can be stopped and some commonsense inserted into it. It shows the problem of our ballot measures where often citizens vote not on logic but emotionalism. It's been a disaster for landuse planning.
Posted by: Rain | December 07, 2006 at 09:32 AM