Today KATU's Salem bureau filmed an excellent story about Marion County's outrageous decision to approve a construction permit for a Measure 37 subdivision just nine days before Measure 49 will make it illegal.
Laurel and I were interviewed for the story.
Melica Johnson and Dino, her cameraman, had us stand outside on our deck – where we were pleased to talk about how crazy it is to let bulldozers tear up Oregon farmland for a large subdivision when 62% of Oregon voters said "No!" to this on November 6.
Here's my YouTube video of the two and a half minute story, which I titled "Marion County pretends Measure 49 doesn't exist."
One of the three Marion County commissioners, Janet Carlson, makes a lot of sense in her segment. She recognizes that just because Measure 49 doesn't take effect for eight more days, it's crazy to pretend that a big change in Oregon's land use laws isn't coming.
I told Melica that this is akin to a couple getting engaged.
Voters have decided that they're going to "marry" Measure 49 on December 6, when it goes into effect. Now we're in an "engagement" period, when government agencies should be working toward a smooth transition from Measure 37, which Measure 49 fixes.
Commissioners Patti Milne and Sam Brentano, however, prefer to keep on doing the same old thing: issue construction permits, even though the roads being constructed will be illegal on December 6.
So Marion County is spending taxpayer money approving and overseeing work that almost certainly will have to be undone. My understanding is that wiser counties, like Washington County, are only approving permits for Measure 37 uses that will be legal under Measure 49.
I got in a next-to-last word in the KATU story:
It just seems funny that we'd have to go to court to force the county to enforce the law.
Well, it isn't funny as in "humorous," but rather as in "ridiculous." But this is what our neighborhood's Keep Our Water Safe committee will have to do unless Marion County issues a stop work order on its own December 6, which we're hoping will happen.
Melica had the last word, quoting one of the commissioners as saying the situation is akin to a speed limit change. People don't drive at the new speed until it goes into effect.
This bad analogy reflects the poor understanding Milne and Brentano have about what's at stake here. Driving a car at either 60 mph or 70 mph doesn't produce any lasting effects. Bulldozing irreplaceable Oregon farmland for road construction does.
Voters have said that they don't want large subdivisions built on groundwater limited farmland, like the Laack subdivision property. They want this land protected by allowing only three home sites on six acres of it, not the 42 home sites on 125 acres that's been planned.
Approving a construction permit on November 28 to tear up ground that will be protected on December 6 – that's crazy. Hopefully Marion County voters will remember this when Milne and Brentano run for re-election.