I'll be really happy when November 6 rolls around and I learn that Oregon's Measure 49 has passed by a resounding margin in the special election.
Because fighting a Measure 37 subdivision on groundwater limited high-value farmland is taking up an awful lot of my time lately.
In my last post I wrote about how Leroy Laack and his co-claimants jumped the gun on road construction and started trashing some beautiful Oregon countryside without a permit.
This morning I learned that the stop work order that I'd been told had been issued, actually hadn't. Laack only had agreed to temporarily stop his illegal road construction, but he was still hoping to get a sweetheart permit deal from Marion County that would allow him to fire up the D8 Caterpillars soon.
Fortunately, he won't be able to. The Public Works Department is going to make Laack get in line for his Major Construction Permit along with everyone else, which will take at least four to five weeks.
This afternoon I drove by the work area and saw a welcome sight. May the rest of the equipment soon follow.
What's crazy about all this is that it took almost a week to get Marion County to enforce its own final order approving the subdivision (which we and our neighbors are in the process of appealing) and require a Major Construction Permit.
Since my wife and I have become land use activists we've found that almost every interaction we have with Marion County officialdom is like swimming upstream – the bureaucratic current is tilted in favor of well-heeled developers and Measure 37 claimants, while ordinary people like us who are simply trying to protect their wells and property rights have to go through a lot more effort to make our voices heard.
This afternoon I learned that Laack and North Santiam Paving also didn't have a DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) permit before they started construction.
Supposedly they'd applied for a permit and figured that applying was as good as actually having one. I'll have to remember this lame excuse if I'm ever stopped for an expired car registration and tell the officer, "Oh, it's OK. I applied for the stickers and just haven't gotten them yet."
We're dubious that Laack has jumped through all the DEQ hoops that he's supposed to. A guy who is fine with illegally building roads likely isn't going to worry much about complying with environmental rules.
Well, this is what Measure 37 has brought us. A mess. (Yes, that's my photo of the un-permitted construction work, right on top of the page).
Vote for Measure 49. Put an end to the craziness in our neighborhood by limiting this Measure 37 claim to three home sites.
The rest of the 217 acres will make a great winery. And still make the owners a lot of money. I'll buy the first case. That's a promise.