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July 15, 2018


Uhh, wouldn't a large vineyard threaten your water supply: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrigation_in_viticulture?

Oregon's Land Use Planning is better than most states. Senate Bill 100 was enacted in 1973, and was based on the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 in the U.K. After World War there was a huge need for additional housing when the troops came home, got married, and needed family housing. The Act was intended to preserve the countryside, and created strict Urban Growth Boundaries around all towns and cities. So when you take a train ride out of a British city you go from urban to rural with no transition. It is quite dramatic. In Oregon we slipped up and we allowed acreage estates around the edges of cities. This proposed subdivision is an example of that. It would have been a lot better if we could have prevented "the estates for the rich". It is ironic that many of the land use attorneys and proponents of high density living (for the rest of us) actually live in large homes on acreage lots around cities.

I am glad we preserve farm land but there is a downside to what has happened-- higher and higher prices for homes and homesites. This is not just happening because of people wanting to move here but because there are less homes to buy than in states where development has been encouraged. I live part of the year in Arizona and see the different view there and how it has kept housing costs down.

You view yourself as some kind of crusader, an "activist" who battled some injustice. In reality you are self-centered, a person with no empathy for others or the ability to sense true justice. You and your wife live next door to this property only because the owner was able to subdivide it before the land use laws restricted it. It was identical land to the neighboring property. You got your homesite and the ability to live in a rural setting, but you don't want anyone else to have the same right.

My father and his three partners purchased the property you speak of in the early 70's with the hope that over the years Salem would grow out that way and it would become more valuable and a good investment. The planning laws which changed their zoning came after they had owned it, and classifying it as farm land when it is very marginal property for growing most anything. Dad and his partners held onto the property for decades. He passed away many years ago, as have some of his partners, without seeing their investment hopes realized. The Measure 37 claim was a good one and exactly what Measure 37 intended. It would have been nice for the elderly remaining partner to see the dream he and his partners had envisioned become a reality. Instead, because of the political climate and governmental bias against Meadure 37, and yes, partially because of your efforts to keep any others from having what you and your wife have, the claim was denied and the land has remained vacant, denying the property rights the deceased and remaining owner had when they made the decision to purchase it. That does not make you a hero, it makes you selfish.

Tim Eide, facts matter. You presented a very misleading view of what went on with that property. I need to correct your misstatements.

(1) Your father and the other owners of the property had a chance to develop it at the same time as Spring Lake Estates, where my wife and I live. Leroy Laack, the "lead" owner in the subdivision fight, said that he decided to wait on development in the early 70's for business reasons (he didn't think lots would sell, given the Spring Lake Estates development). So there was a chance to make the land into a subdivision early on, which the owners of the property decided not to do.

(2) Our neighborhood was 100% against the subdivision once it was learned that it would threaten our ground water (wells) and surface water (springs that feed a creek that provides water for Spring Lake, which had senior water rights). A Marion County hearing officer ruled that a hydrogeological study occur before subdivision approval to make sure there was enough water for both the subdivision homes and the neighboring area.

But the Marion County commissioners ignored the hearing officer and approved the subdivision on very weak political grounds. Two of the three, Milne and Brentano, were strong property rights advocates. So your statement that the subdivision didn't happen because of "government bias against Measure 37" isn't true. The bias of the commissioners was very much in favor of Measure 37 applicants. Here's a post about the water issue:


(3) The owners of the property started illegal construction of roads without a permit after Measure 49 was passed. This ended up being one of the reasons a judge eventually ruled in our favor. We played by the rules. The owners of the property did not. Pretty clearly, they hoped Marion County would look the other way as they bulldozed the property without necessary permits. Here's a blog post about this issue:


(4) The judge who ruled in our favor had strong grounds for her decision. Again, our neighborhood's fight against the subdivision wasn't selfish. It was an effort to protect our own property rights, which include the right to not have our wells and community lake go dry because a neighboring subdivision was built on EFU (exclusive farm use) land. By the way, farmers testified that property would be great for growing grapes, and that's how it currently is being marketed. The soils are excellent for that purpose, despite what you said. Here's a post about the judge's ruling:


The facts were on our side. The property owners had the political backing of Commissioners Patti Milne and Sam Brentano, but that wasn't enough in the end, because we had the backing of Oregon law and the facts in this case.

Thank you, Brian, for this trip down memory lane. Facts do matter, the law including senior water rights remain relevant and enforceable. I am pleased a vineyard is in the future.

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