By Audrey Van Buskirk of Portland, Oregon. At the moment, Audrey is the communications director for the Take a Closer Look Commitee.
Measure 37 would be a disaster for Oregon. No one can say exactly how it would work, but it would be complicated and costly, draining millions from Oregon’s already strapped public services and gutting the regulations that have protected Oregon neighborhoods and farmland from sprawl and unchecked development.
Measure 37 would force more than 300 local and state governments to create expensive, unknown and cumbersome systems to determine which laws were in place for different parcel of land at the time they were last purchased or inherited. Then, these governments would need to decide whether to waive the current laws or decide to compensate the property owner for the difference in value.
Even if jurisdictions could track which laws apply to which parcels, taxpayers would be burdened with an enormous new layer of bureaucracy. The State Treasurer and Secretary of State estimate the cost to taxpayers for the administration alone would approach $344 million each year, and the measure provides no revenue source. Legal challenges to the measure will likely cost millions more
Because Measure 37 includes no new revenue to cover administrative costs or payments to landowners, governments are more likely to choose to waive or repeal important community protections rather than pay claims. If the measure passes, urban sprawl will accelerate with weakened Urban Growth Boundaries, and protection of farmland and forestland will be eroded.
Neighboring property owners would be bound by different regulations. One landowner might be able to develop their property under 1968 rules, the guy next door might be under no rules at all, someone who bought their property last year has to follow current law. Measure 37 offers no help to property owners harmed by a government’s decision to allow development on a neighboring property. It could lead to endless tides of lawsuits from neighbors affected by neighbors affected by the measure. It also eliminates the requirement that governments notify neighbors when certain property owners develop their property.
Oregon would become like other states with no tools to protect world-class agricultural lands and scenic areas. We would lose our ability to plan for growth.
Measure 37 creates tremendous uncertainty for all property owners about how our homes, neighborhoods, farmlands and open spaces will ultimately be affected. Measure 37 would weaken our economy and our communities and cost millions that the state doesn’t have to spend.
Please take a closer look and join the wide coalition of county farm bureaus, small and large business owners, property owners and the League of Women Voters and vote NO on Measure 37.
For more information go to www.takeacloserlookoregon.com