Good legal news for those who love the naturalness of Oregon, rather than unneeded subdivisions on prime farm and forest land. Last Thursday the state Supreme Court ruled on the Corey case.
The decision affirmed that Measure 49, voted in last November by a wide margin, trumps Measure 37 – which Measure 49 fixed. Oregonians in Action, plus others who favor the rights of a few Measure 37 claimants over the property rights of the many, had been hoping that Corey v. DLCD would overturn Measure 49 in some fashion.
But the position of the Department of Land Conservation and Development was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
In the end, we hold only that plaintiffs' contention that Measure 49 does not affect the rights of persons who already have obtained Measure 37 waivers is incorrect. In fact, Measure 49 by its terms deprives Measure 37 waivers -- and all orders disposing of Measure 37 claims -- of any continuing viability, with a single exception that does not apply to plaintiffs' claim.
Thus, after December 6, 2007 (the effective date of Measure 49), the final order at issue in the present case had no legal effect. It follows that resolution of the issue that the Court of Appeals decided in Corey and as to which we allowed review -- whether the Court of Appeals or the circuit court has jurisdiction to review DLCD's final order respecting plaintiffs' Measure 37 claim -- can have no practical effect upon the parties: If the order at issue has no continuing legal effect, then neither party can gain anything from review in either forum. The case is moot.
It's sort of strange that Oregon's largest newspapers didn't cover this story. I learned about it through the Medford Mail Tribune ("Ruling backs Measure 49 over 37") and the Albany Democrat Herald ("Supreme Court ruling backs county's actions on land use").
The latest issue of the Oregonians in Action newsletter had a dream…that somehow the pave it over advocates would wake up and find that a court had ruled that Measure 37 was still the law of the land.
It could be argued that the Court of Appeals' decision in Corey makes Measure 37 waivers a property right that cannot be taken from property owners without some form of compensation.
Fortunately for Oregon, the Supreme Court disagreed.