The Oregon land use front has been pretty quiet since Measure 49 was passed by voters in 2007, negating the most obnoxious provisions of Measure 37 -- which allowed some property owners to opt out of rules that everyone else has to live by.
However, legal issues relating to these measures continue to percolate in the coffee maker of state and federal courts (to use metaphorical language that I regretted as soon as the words dripped through the filter of my writing mind, but which I'm too lazy to change).
One of these issues is whether Oregon's "goal post statute" -- ORS 215.427(3)(a) -- applies to Measure 37 claims. I'm not exactly sure how the goal post metaphor is to be applied here, but since I'm into metaphors, I'll hazard a guess:
If a kicker in football attempts a field goal, it wouldn't be fair if the opposing team managed to move the goal posts while the ball was in mid-air.
Similarly, the intent of the goal post statute is to assure that the standards in effect at the time a land use application is submitted determine its approval or denial, even if those standards change after the submission date. (At least, that's my non-lawyerly understanding.)
This issue has come up in several Measure 37 cases, including some vested rights determinations in Yamhill County. A basic question is whether the passage of Measure 49 unfairly changed the goal posts, or whether this was a valid exercise of the public's voting will.
The Court's opinion said that specific statutes trump general statutes, and recent statutes trump older statutes. Here's key excerpts from the order that show the legal reasoning.