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February 17, 2011


For your readers who are interested, this is the testimony I submitted:

Nearly a century ago, Governor Oswald West stated that “No selfish local interest should be permitted, by politics or otherwise, to destroy or even impair this great birthright of our people.”

To implement Oregon's land use principles, we the people adopted a series of statewide planning goals. The first principle, Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 1 - Citizen Involvement provides: "To develop a citizen involvement program that insures the opportunity for citizens to be involved in all phases of the planning process."

These bills strike at the very heart of this goal by removing the ability of the citizen to participate in decisions that affect the well being of Oregonians. I accept the principles of comprehensive land use planning and of zoning. I do so because I accept that property owners living within the system of governance that we have, have reciprocal responsibilities. For all of us to benefit we must all give up something.

We have the right to hold and to own property. With that right comes a duty – as with each and every Constitutional guarantee – not to exercise that right in a way that harms neighbors or the general public. More than a century ago, the United States Supreme Court said "We think it a settled principle, growing out of the nature of a well-ordered civil society, that every holder of property, however absolute and unqualified may be his title, holds it under the implied liability that use of it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious . . . to the rights of the community." Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Alger, 1851

The people have the power to adopt laws and regulations that protect and enhance our quality of life. That is what we did when we enacted SB 100 and adopted the land use goals which added flesh to the values adopted as public policy. the purpose of land use planning and regulation is intended to enhance our quality of life. By so doing it requires that we all have the ability to participate in decisions which affect our quality of life.

The sightline for land use is not limited to the immediate neighbors; land use affects all of us and we all have an interest when the underlying principles of land use are challenged, which is what these bills intend to accomplish through the back door.

These three bills represent the "selfish local interests" that Governor West had in mind when he spoke of threats to impair "this great birthright of our people."

I urge you to oppose these three bills.

Veeper, nicely said. I like the Supreme Court quotation.

In fairness, you should hoist Mike Schaufler from the same petard that you are hanging Krieger. he is, after all, a co-sponsor of the legislation, which will pass 6-4 in committee thanks to Schaufler's support. Pity that Democratic leadership didn't put him on a committee where he wouldn't be able to harm Oregon as much by his presence.

USS Jefferson, great point. Schaufler was almost equally annoying. I didn't single him out, I guess, because he wasn't in charge of the hearing. But I agree: he's dangerous on environmental and land use issues. I'll never forget, or forgive, how he almost scuttled Measure 49 being referred to the voters.

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