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April 22, 2007


I don't agree with the editorial that those claimants who are trying to "beat the clock" by developing their land via M37 will then vest their rights. It appears that this won't work as it violates the good faith standard when judging whether rights have successfully vested.

Thanks for including the link to the action alert web page at Onward Oregon.

I, like John Christensen, live in the Corbett, Oregon area, and folks in my neck of the woods are really upset about this lack of action and leadership.

To follow up on an issue brought up in letters to the Gresham Outlook - I think it is very clear that Rep. Smith has a serious conflict of interest in regards to two measure 37 claims in Corbett (Case Files T1-06-124 and T1-06-087). She claims that she has no ownership in the properties in question and so has no conflict of interest.

She may not currently have any ownership in the properties involved but she is married to the son of the claimant and, presumably, the son hasn't been cut out of his father's will. As a spouse, Rep. Smith generally would be considered to have half ownership in any inheritance and that means she stands to gain substantially from these two measure 37 claims (the claims specify amounts in the 10s of millions of dollars). That is as clear a conflict of interest as can be imagined. She needs to recuse herself from this issue immediately.

Secondly, I think that all these claims have a serious flaw - the amount of "damages" is set to be the change in value based on today's valuations. This is really broken. IF a damage was suffered by the claimant as the result of a change in zoning law, the damage occurred AT THE TIME the law was passed. The damages should be calculated on the loss in value AT THAT TIME.

The claimant could have sold the property at that time and thus limited their damages to that amount. They could have chosen to sell at the time the law passed and taken the proceeds and invested them in something else. It was their own free choice to hold onto the property after this time and they received no additional loss from the county/state as a result of doing so.

As a result, any damages should be calculated as the loss of the value of the property at the time the law in question was passed.

Additionally, in some cases, the property was made un-buildable and, as a result, received significant tax breaks (for forest instead of residential, for example). This financial benefit was the result of the passage of the law. Thus, any calculations of damages from the passage of said law should have this savings in property taxes subtracted from the loss amount calculated based on the date the law was passed to the present.

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