Yesterday I attended my first Salem City Club meeting, because the program was on Measure 49. It was called "SB 100, Measure 37, Measure 49: Where does Oregon Land?" (nice play on words)
State Representative Brian Clem got in the best line of the noon hour. Referring to the November 6 special election on Measure 49, which will fix many Measure 37 flaws, he said:
This is a future altering event in Oregon's history.
Absolutely. Lane Shetterly, who until recently headed up the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), started off with a review of how Oregon's land use system evolved to its current state.
I moved to Oregon in 1971. By that time the state already had passed a beach bill that guaranteed public access to Oregon's ocean shore (1967) and had celebrated the nation's first Earth Day (1970).
In 1973 Senate Bill 100 further established Oregon's green credentials. This legislation established urban growth boundaries and protected farm and forest land from sprawl.
Numerous times Oregonians affirmed SB 100. But eventually Oregonians in Action brought out Dorothy English and made her the poster child for the deceptions of Measure 37. Voters thought they were allowing people to build a home or two on land that had been rezoned after they bought it.
But Shetterly said that of the 7500 Measure 37 claims, 58% are for subdivisions (defined as four or more homes). There are 2854 claims on farmland and 944 on forestland.
Measure 49 will limit developments to 10 homes, and prohibit commercial/industrial uses like gravel pits and WalMart stores. Unfortunately, some Measure 37 claimants who have building permits may have done enough construction to be "vested."
In that case, they could continue development under the provisions of Measure 37 even if Measure 49 passes. Shetterly was asked who will decide whether a claim is vested under Oregon's common law.
He said this is in the purview of courts. After Measure 49 is approved by voters, Shetterly said that vesting will be decided on a case by case basis using common law precedents.
The good news for people like us who are fighting to protect their neighborhood from being harmed by Measure 37 subdivisions is that the common law has a key "good faith" criterion. Any Measure 37 claimant who started construction after June 15 (when Measure 49 was referred to the voters) likely is acting in bad faith and can't become vested.
Brian Clem said that this is Oregon's one chance to rein in Measure 37. There won't be anything better than Measure 49 coming from the legislature.
So vote "Yes" on Measure 49. And be sure you know the truth about Measure 49 opponents.
(Here's a Salem Statesman Journal story about the City Club program.)