Gov. Kulongoski reportedly has pronounced SB 505 dead. Which means, subdivisions would be free to sprout on irreplaceable Oregon farmland while the legislature takes its time considering Measure 37 reforms.
That'd be a disaster. I hope today's Statesman Journal story is a premature burial of SB 505. If I learn more about the fate of the bill, I'll post an update. If anyone can cast more light on the prospects for SB 505, comment away.
Here's the brief piece by reporter Steve Law:
In comments to reporters on Thursday, Gov. Ted Kulongoski said that his proposal to put a freeze on many Measure 37 claims -- contained in Senate Bill 505 -- appeared to be off the table.
"I thought that was an easy push, and I was mistaken," he said.
Instead, a joint legislative committee on land use likely will consider bills that combine "substantive" changes to Measure 37 with proposals to streamline smaller claims and extend the deadline for processing claims, Kulongoski said.
Addressing Measure 37 likely will take all session, he said, making it one of the thorniest issues before lawmakers this year.
Speaking as someone who lives near a proposed 217 acre Measure 37 subdivision, the governor's comment about his mistaken notion that SB 505 would be an easy push is disturbing.
A neighborhood group that my wife chairs has spent $15,000 and many hours fighting the Measure 37 claim that threatens our groundwater. That hasn't been easy. We've been looking for some support from the governor and legislature.
It'd be unfair and unwise to allow Measure 37 subdivisions to go forward while the legislature ponders changes that would prevent such large-scale developments on farmland in the future. Hopefully the governor and Land Use Fairness Committee realize that.
This isn't the time to back off on SB 505 just because progress on passing the bill hasn't been easy. Kulongoski has a reputation for being wishy-washy. Just yesterday I was telling someone, "I think he's changed."
Prove me right. Let's see some backbone, governor.
[Update: Loaded Orygun got a response from Rep. Greg Macpherson, co-chair of the Land Use Fairness Committee. At first reading I thought this was good news about SB 505, but on closer inspection I agree with Loaded Orygun: it sounds like SB 505 is being shelved in favor of tackling Measure 37 directly.
Problem is, while the legislature fiddles around, Oregon's rural landscape is beginning to burn with subdivisions. A temporary hold on most Measure 37 claims is needed, while allowing claimants to build a single home on their property.
As noted in "Ted Spills, Mac Confirms: M37 'Time-out' Bill on Life Support," the Land Use Fairness Committee is going to end up with a complicated mess when it tries to distinguish between claims in various stages: applied for but not approved, approved but not under development, under development but not with a building permit.
It'd make a lot more sense to freeze the larger claims until the legislature figures out what to do with the disaster that this law has become.]
Maybe GovK figured out M37 is still just a leeeetle bit more popular than all the Left's anti-property rights propaganda would have us believe.
Posted by: Kim Watson | March 02, 2007 at 02:44 PM
Can someone please take a picture of the "burning with subdivisions"?
I know of not ONE SINGLE house that has been built with a M37 claim.
Posted by: THartill | March 02, 2007 at 11:38 PM
Follow the money is usually the answer. Greed trumps higher purposes. Lobbyists usually can convince enough people with money that long range planning is meaningless while short range is proftable. Disillusioning but then a lot of what our country has done in the last 6 years has been too...
Posted by: Rain | March 03, 2007 at 05:55 AM
THartill, I said Oregon's landscape "is beginning to burn with subdivisions." That's absolutely true. Here's a picture of the beginning:
When you see a match and crumpled paper with kindling piled on top, it isn't a stretch to say that burning is poised to occur.
We happen to live near one of the first Measure 37 subdivisions that has passed Planning Commission approval in Marion County. So I'm more aware than most of what is about to sprout across Oregon.
Asphalt and concrete. On land beautifully suited for grapes and Christmas trees.
Posted by: Brian | March 03, 2007 at 09:47 AM
The problem here is definitely NOT the Governor lacking backbone. The problem is there just aren't 31 votes to pass SB 505 in the House right now. The Governor has tried twisting arms.
You have to remember there are still 29 R's in the House, and the number of them willing to even consider such a vote is very low given they will be risk being "primaried" by OIA if they do. Holding all 31 D's on what is a politically risky vote (and it IS a political risk for some of them) isn't easy.
It may be easier to do that on the substantive reform than it is on SB 505. At least with the substantive reform, they'll be taking a risk for a permanent change in 37. With SB 505, they're taking a risk without any guarantee that it will matter, since SB 505 won't mean squat in the long run unless the substantive reform subsequently happens.
Posted by: Anonymous Salem Staffer | March 03, 2007 at 12:57 PM
Anonymous Salem Staffer, you make good sense. I'd had vague thoughts along the same lines, but you crystallized them.
Guess I'll take back my "lacking backbone" comment in regard to our governor. Spending political capital on going for a permanent Measure 37 fix does seem preferable to blowing the wad on SB 505, if a choice has to be made.
Posted by: Brian | March 03, 2007 at 01:36 PM
One of the best analyses of M37 impacts can be found in a short article written by OSU economists at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/em/em8925.pdf
Regarding "burning with subdivisions," take a look at the map in this article: Oregon will burn if this nonsense is not stopped.
Posted by: Hopmere | March 04, 2007 at 09:22 AM