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.]