In Measure 37's Shadow

Jeff Alworth

The decision by the Oregon Supreme Court today to overturn a lower court ruling and uphold Measure 37 leaves a very poor law on the books.  Leaving aside the now-settled question of whether it is legal, the emergent question is: what next?

Sprawl Over the course of decades of discussion, Oregonians had come to an agreement about land-use planning in the state.  The debates and discussions leading to land-use laws did well to take in minority views and balance the needs of urban and rural residents.  In recent years, the laws proved inflexible, and needed fine tuning.  What we got instead was statutory blackmail in the form of M37--taking a bazooka to rid ourselves of a mosquito. 

Several questions emerge:

Are we content to give up the experiment of careful planning by different constituents of land use policy?  Measure 37 isn't a corrective, but rather a bomb.  It was a unilateral strike by one central group of interests: land developers.  Even M37's proponents must admit that it's a return to the wild west--which means density advocates, farmers, environmentalists, city planners, and rural residents can all go lump it.  Fine if that's what you want, but is it? 

Do we have the political will to address real reform?  Measure 37 didn't arise from a vacuum--there were fixes needed in the way we planned for using our land.  Do we have politicians who are willing to go to the effort to craft a reasonable law that addresses the concerns of some landowners while continuing to protect Oregon's unique land use law?  Can politicians put polemics and political maneuvering aside so that real coalitions between the constituents can emerge? 

What kind of Oregon do we want? In the various posts BlueOregon has featured since M37s passage, proponents of the measure have argued that Oregon's land use laws are too restrictive and that no other state has followed suit.  True enough.  So the question is, do we want to follow the rest of the West into urban sprawl, or does Oregon see a future distinct from this model?  One group has hijacked the debate (see gloater trolls in the previous thread, for example), but the discussion feels far from over.

The Supremes have spoken: M37 is settled law.  Do we want it to remain settled?

Comments

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thank you Jeff.

    Not being a lawyer, I look forward to analysis of the decision. Seems to me the Supreme Court did not say people could go to any jurisdiction and say "OK, the Supreme Court has spoken. Do you waive your regulation or do you pay me?". It sounds more complex than that.

    It seems to me that we should be looking at where legislative candidates stand on this. Do they say "the decision stands and the legislature can do nothing about it" (not the way I read the press release and the parts of the decision I have scanned)? Or do they run intelligent campaigns outlining exactly where they stand--never change the wording of 37 and agree with the whole decision; wish to be elected so they can sponsor legislation to overturn 37 (as seems to be provided for in the ruling today)? Or if they are from most (not exclusively urban) districts in this state do they go to Grange and Farm Bureau and other groups and hold open discussions and then campaign on "I've listened to the farmers in my district and what the majority of them want done is..."?

  • jimevans (unverified)
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    Remember, over 60% of voters supported M37 with significant support even in Multnomah Co.. People want their property rights respected. Everybody should take notice.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Well, I just plowed through reading the decision, again affirming my view that lawyers get paid by the word.

    This decision simply undoes the lower court decision, so we are back to where we were prior to the lower court decision - the Hardy Myers Attorney General's opinion as to the meaning of Measure 37 is the law of the land.

    This leaves us with the same core problem - and then the host of other problems that stem from it. Someone with standing to partition or subdivide their land can do it, but when they sell that piece of land created under Measure 37, the development rights that went to the original owner do NOT transfer to the new owner. -- So, a lot created under Measure 37 can have a house built on it, and a buyer can buy it. But if that house burns down, it cannot be replaced. No lender will loan on that basis, fire insurance is irrelevent, and who in their right mind would buy such a house?

    Measure 37 stands, now legally, outside of the land use process that creates the basis for planful land development - and it creates these new problems.

    We need this fixed by a legislature that is not afraid to dive into it and take into account that there are legitimate interests on all sides of this issue.

    -- It is legitimate to want to make money and profit on your or your families long term investment in land. Having the government step in and limit your future values with regulation is unfair, and literally costs money.

    -- It is legitimate to have government regulate land uses so that compatible uses are grouped together. Houses don't belong next to chemical plants. Feed lots don't make good neighbors. The transportation needs of an industrial area are different than commercial, and yet again different than residential. It is for the common good we must regulate land uses.

    Measure 37 doesn't work for either "side" if you look at these different issues as "sides".

    There are other alternatives. Example: When in Crook County it was decided to limit development in an area known as Juniper Acres, those property owners were compensated with a "development right" in another area. The "right" they were given could be sold so that property owners in the Davis Road area could buy the right to make lots as small as 2 acres instead of 5 acres. There were a couple hundred Juniper Acres parcels affected by this development limitation.

    There are lots of "outside the box" ways to think about these issues. I think we need to give that interim study group time to take in all the information about how our land use laws are working out, and how they aren't. I think we need to make adjustments next legislative session.

    And this is just one more reason why we need a legislature that isn't a road block. We cannot deal with this issue and a host of others in a productive manner when stuff goes into the Oregon House, and never sees the light of day again. We need a majority of Democrats in the Oregon House, so we can problem solve issues like this. The Republicans controlled both sides of the legislature for 14 years, and didn't do anything to help this issue - so the people ought to give the Democrats a chance.

  • LT (unverified)
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    As I understand it, the Measure 37 decision was more complex than "People want their property rights respected. Everybody should take notice."

    That doesn't address everything from transferability to neighbors rights.

    If someone files suit saying a Measure 37 claim has ruined their property rights, which side does someone saying "People want their property rights respected" come down on?

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    LT, I think you ask some very good questions. But I would hate to see M37 relegated to litmus-test polemics (not that you suggest it). Rather, what we should be asking our legislators is: what do you plan to do about it? This is one of the few issues that can bridge the gap between urban density Stumptowners and farmers and ranchers across red Oregon.

    Jim, I'd go ahead and take your bet on this one. What appeared to happen was that people formed their opinion on Measure 37 based on scant evidence--early polls had only 27% of voters opposing it. But as the election wore on, the number supporting it plummeted. Too late, unfortunately, to help, particularly given that many ballots had already been sent in. By the week of the election, a poll had the measure polling at far weaker support, with 42% opposed, and 46% in favor.

    Since passage, I expect those numbers have dropped further. If it were to appear on the ballot in November, I'd definitely take bets on its chances.

  • jim karlock (unverified)
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    Do you want more giant apartment buildings in your neighborhood? Do you want more traffic congestion? Do you want the region to lose more affordable housing? Do you want your property taxes to go up?

    Well I don't. And M37 should reduce the pressure to stuff every Portland neighborhood with overpriced high density housing hell holes, thus reducing the number of new drivers clogging Portland streets and reduce pressure to teardown older, affordable homes and reduce pressure to increase housing values and hence property tax by reducing the artificial shortage of land and ALLOWING development somewhere BESIDES Portland's neighborhoods.

    This is bright day for those of us that care about keeping Portland's livability and keeping Portland from becoming more like LA (the densest census region in the US, with the low lane miles per capita)

    For those who worry about the zoning that protects all of us from a pig farm next door, let me remind you that zoning laws protected our neighborhoods in the old days. But, now zoning is used to destroy our neighborhoods by FORCING higher density through minimum density requirements and by city hall changing zoning without our knowledge or permission to higher density.

    Thanks JK

  • Tom Keffer (unverified)
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    The root of the problem is poor economic prospects for rural landowners, particularly ranchers and farmers.

    I find it interesting that the original SB100 generally enjoyed such widespread support amongst the rural landowners. That generation of landowners is slowly retiring and has been replaced with a younger generation that just doesn't feel as optimistic about his/her prospects. They see more of a future in selling the land to a developer than in farming it.

    If you care about the long term prospects of land use in Oregon (and I do), you have to improve the economic prospects of this younger generation.

    There are lots of ways of doing this (windfarms? biofuels?), but the problem isn't going to go away until we do.

    -tk

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    We should remember that the Supreme Court ruled solely on the issues brought before them, and in that sense did not affirm Measure 37. They only said that the issues cited were not sufficient to overturn Measure 37. And frankly, we also need to remember that in the NW we do not necessarily get the best legal minds on the bench because at base our judges and justices are politicians. (Sorry if this offends, but the facts are the facts).

    Similarly, we need to recognize that we got Measure 37 because the folks like 1000 Friends of Oregon in their arrogance did a piss poor job first of being stewards of the responsibilities in effect given them under the land use laws Measure 37 overturned, and second in doing the real politics of fighting Measure 37 when it was on the ballot.

    Where this leaves us is this: The court did not rule on whether there were other compelling government interests in overturning Measure 37 --- that is whether there were interests to be balanced and that the balance would tip towards those interests. That is the basis on which most civil and property rights actually are curtailed. And the fact is the plaintiffs did a pathetically poor job of making any competing interest arguments. Also, as the decision points out, the legislature has it in it's power to grow a spine and in effect overturn or at least modify Measure 37.

    What might be competing interests? The legislature seems to have hinted at some of them. But I haven't seen any effort by Measure 37 opponents to present those arguments. (Steve Bucknum has some pretty interesting observations about the pathological features of Measure 37 though).

    How about for starters the enormous externalized costs that the state's citizens will bear to accomodate the actual development possible under Measure 37 due to the fact that all of the state's planning pre-Measure 37 was conditioned on another development forecast model. For example, Measure 37 could start a cycle of encouraging a lot of out-of-state speculatory activity (not that that alone is a negative or a problem) which current infrastructure planning simply did not anticipate. Those costs are quantifiable in legally defensible ways. The sensible and constitutional thing to do would be to reduce the payout to a landowner to fair market value LESS all externalized development costs for the intended usem since the state would otherwise have to bear those externalized costs if the landowner went ahead with development plans. And although I am not unsympathetic to "property rights first" arguments, intellectual fairness demands it be acknowledged that the people are well within their rights through the legislature to come at this another way by passing tough new laws that all externalized costs be recovered from developers, which in turn would raise development costs under Measure 37 claims, which in turn would legitimately and constitutionally reduce fair market values.

    The next thing the legislature could do is put some reality in how fair (and they should change it to "real") market value is calculated. Post Measure 5, estimates of Real Market Value by county tax appraisers has become all but a joke because for the most part it doesn't matter what the RMV is when it comes to calculated Assessed Value. They could start by enacting tough licensing regulations for assessors based on completion of significant education and apprenticeships, since so much more is now at stake in setting fair (real) market value. (Ask your friendly local banker what they think about the qualifications and the quality of the results of a lot of folks who now have shingles out as "property appraisers", I have and I was shocked). Similarly, the legislature could take the appraisal process all but out of the hands of county officers and put it in the hands of a competent state agency because of the enormous stakes involved.

    Finally, the legislature could enact statutes on the fair market value computation that recognize fair market value fluctutates (and possibility could even drop slightly in the next 10 years.) That is, Measure 37 could be amended to reflect the fluctuation in time in fair market value in a way that is fair to the both developer AND the public, who must either bear the cost of development or compensate the developer to forego development. That is, when a developer applies for a permit to develop property, if permission is granted in lieu of compensation, that permission is time-limited and if the developer must substantially pursue development in 6 or 12 months or the land use restrictions revert to their previous state and the developer must reapply for permits or compensation. We might be surprised how many developers are applying for permits now while the situation is unsettled, but may not have plans to proceed with development in view of what the market looks like for the next 5 years.

    The object is to balance competing interests fairly, since arguably that hasn't been done so far. When that is done, the incentive for folks to exercise their Measure 37 "rights" may be sufficiently reduced to make the result bearable --- if not actually overturn Measure 37 entirely. And that leaves out private causes of action by neighbors for reduced property values due to a landowner exercising Measure 37 rights that the Supreme Court actually seems to have affirmed in their decision if one reads it carefully.

    Right now folks who care about solving the problem fairly need to get active --- and the fact is this means pushing both the 1000 Friends of Oregon types, and the "property rights above all others" types (which includes too many Blue Oregon and Red Oregon types) to the margins as having shown they really don't have realistic approaches to solving this problem.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    askquestions1st - whoever you are -

    That was the best post ever written on this blog.

  • Screwtape (unverified)
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    The issue before jurisdictions with regard to funding infrastructure yesterday and now today with M37 again, is how to make new residents living in new houses pay.

    Surprisingly simply, SDCs should be comprehensively reviewed and implemented to fund new capital expansion of all types serving development. It is the most efficient manner of paying for growth - funded by those who drive that growth, owners of new construction. And to the extent that new capital facilities are cost-inhibitive to the feasible pricing of development, then that development wouldn't occur.

    That's the key: it should be incumbent upon home buyers that they pay for their appropriate share of service costs, period. The further a development is away from existing investment in infrastructure, then the cost of extending that infrastructure will be cost inhibitive. You didn't tell the property owner he couldn't develop, the market did via excessively high home prices as a result of higher infrastructure costs.

    It's not the end of the world greenies, it's just time that the system be rethought completely and that market forces be harnessed to accomplish public policy goals.

  • Joanne R (unverified)
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    Iregardles of M37, if you really want to encourage all of this open property that you're afraid of being developed to be farmed, you should all educate yourselves on the upcoming mandatory national animal ID system. If that passes people will get out of farming or keeping any kind of agricultural animal and you'll all be buying your meat from the big ag corporations. Of course maybe you will still be able to buy local produce and nursery stock.....

  • Joanne R (unverified)
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    Of course I could've provided a link to the info....

  • Joanne R (unverified)
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    Let's try that one more time - http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/index.shtml

  • jim karlock (unverified)
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    Screwtape 2/21/06 10:26:11 PM That's the key: it should be incumbent upon home buyers that they pay for their appropriate share of service costs, period. JK: Good idea. Lets start with the North Macaddam urban renewal district - stop the $200-500 million subsidies and charge them for their actual costs.

    Thanks JK

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    Living in Bend for the past 20 years, I have a dificult time seeing how our land use laws have restricted growth. Reading the above comments proves the point that Measure 37 raises more questions than it answers. In my mind Measure 37 epitimizes the inequities in our initiative system. A relativley small minority, well funded, with marketing skills can pass any law or constitutional ammendment they desire. Never the less, as the above comments point out Measure 37 does address legitiment concerns about our land use system and the failure of the legislature to address those concerns. When polled 64% of Oregonians favor land use laws, but by almost equal margin passed Measure 37. Talk about disconnect.

  • Marvinlee (unverified)
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    The discussion over Measure 37 is interesting, but a larger point is that population growth brings problems, regardless of how growth is channeled. No amount of land use laws can prevent major changes to Oregon's appearance and enjoyability if our population continues to double every several decades. What is now approaching 4 million will someday be 14 million, 40 million, etc. And this is in a state with very little of its own energy resources other than a claim to hydroelectric power. And that may someday be used by the federal government as a source of income.

  • Marvinlee (unverified)
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    The discussion over Measure 37 is interesting, but a larger point is that population growth brings problems, regardless of how growth is channeled. No amount of land use laws can prevent major changes to Oregon's appearance and enjoyability if our population continues to double every several decades. What is now approaching 4 million will someday be 14 million, 40 million, etc. And this is in a state with very little of its own energy resources other than a claim to hydroelectric power. And that may someday be used by the federal government as a source of income.

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    joanna, "Iregardles" is the coolest word i've seen in ages. it has the double charm of being a terrible spelling of a made-up word. i'm thinking "iregardles.net" might be a great website to discuss wingnut political theory.

    95% of Americans already buy their meat from huge ag companies. and the huge ag companies make much of their profit from govt subsidies -- American agriculture would have disappeared a century ago if it had not been for govt subsidies. M37 is just another step down the road of "rich getting richer". once again the solution is to get rid of Minnis et al, keep a Dem in the governor's office, and let the Legislature (finally) come up with a real solution. the only other option is to watch our state eaten alive by the developers.

    can you say "florida"?

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Ask1st wrote:

    Similarly, the legislature could take the appraisal process all but out of the hands of county officers and put it in the hands of a competent state agency because of the enormous stakes involved.

    Where are you going to find a "competent state agency" to determine real market values? Maybe the Public Utility Commission or the Department of Human Services? They're competent, right? Give me a break: we don't need more bureacracy, and we don't need to further marginalize the landowners/developers. If they hadn't been marginalized in the first place, M37 would not have been necessary.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    What a dream world some blues live in.

    Some perspective here: M5 was passed by 51-49 margin in 1990. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about it among progressives, SIXTEEN years later no one has put a measure on the ballot to overturn (or even modify) the M5 limits.

    Why? Because everyone knows it would lose. Go ahead and tell the voters you want to jack up their property taxes with your measure and you can predict the result. You won't lose 51-49, you'll lose 60-40.

    Now fastforward to M37. It passed 61-39! Go ahead and try to put forward a measure to reduce property rights. You won't have a chance.

    Since progressives tend to form political beliefs around emotional arguments, I have a suggested exercise in understanding the majority of voters who disagree with you.

    Take a deep breath and ask yourself:

    "Why do I have such fear and anger over what my neighbors may choose to do with their own property?"

    You might be surprised at your answers. After a few minutes (if you feel brave) try this question:

    "How would I feel if someone told me that I can't do something important to me (like creating a compost pile for my organic vegetable garden) on my property (assuming that I had some)?"

    Stop after that. Too much cognitive dissonance at once can lead to unfortunate results. Overly disillusioned progressives are more likely to swing nihilistically to anarchism. A short period of depression is much more preferable.

    Talk to your therapists, get it all out and (most importantly) move on. You'll be happier for it in the long run.

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)
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    """""The issue before jurisdictions with regard to funding infrastructure yesterday and now today with M37 again, is how to make new residents living in new houses pay."""""

    Why doesn't this ever come up when Urban Renewal, Tax abatements, waved fees and other tax subsidized infill and SoWa type development occurs? Are these developers and new residents in tax abated condos paying their share? Of course not. In fact they are taking their neighbor's shares as well.

    Typical subdivision developers pay for everything, plus fees and yet these are the suspects to be scrutinized for paying their share?

    Gimme a break. Has the propoganda machine been so effective that
    hardly any M37 opponents have the slightest idea what is going on?

    PDC/Metro's: Pearl, Beaverton Round, TODs, Cascade Station, Gresham Station and other subsidized infill are the most inefficient manner of paying for growth yet the high cost and overcrowded rat race outcome are rarely reported or talked about.
    What? It doesn't matter?

    Existing infrastructure maintenance and basic services budgets are being decimated by the "growth by credit card" abuse of Urban Renewal.

    Apparently M37 opponents are only interested in tallying up (and dreaming up) the cost of development they don't like while cost is seemingly irrelevant with development they do like.

    Perfect Photo Jeff!

    But you should go take some pictures of subdivisions spawned from our land use planning. They aren't anywhere near as nice as the one you used with those spacious yards and open spaces. Instead our Metro mandated subdivisions are seas of asphalt, concrete and roofs all haphazardly crammed together to save some distant parcel from any human use.

    M37 did not address transferability. Transferability has not been ruled on by any court and is currently only a product of imagination and opinion by our AG and will likely follow Judge James' imagination.

    When that happens we'll get another round of blue blues.

    t.a., """"" M37 is just another step down the road of "rich getting richer". """"""

    Of course if you are Homer Williams et al ,have bought city hall and have the so-called environmentalists on your side you not only don't need Measure 37 to get on-demand sweeping zoning changes but you get to divert property taxes to help you "get richer".

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Ask1st wrote: Similarly, the legislature could take the appraisal process all but out of the hands of county officers and put it in the hands of a competent state agency because of the enormous stakes involved."

    Ask, Steve Bucknum paid you a compliment above. He is an appraiser. Perhaps your question should be directed to him, unless you have a connection to the appraisal process that he doesn't have.

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    But you should go take some pictures of subdivisions spawned from our land use planning. They aren't anywhere near as nice as the one you used with those spacious yards and open spaces. Instead our Metro mandated subdivisions are seas of asphalt, concrete and roofs all haphazardly crammed together to save some distant parcel from any human use.

    Steve, you obviously think there's a right an wrong here. There's not--there's preferences. I chose a picture of some other community (don't actually know which one), because it's the standard American model. You think it's gorgeous, which is fine. I wouldn't dream of dictating aesthetics to you.

    But what you pine for is available in every American city in the West. My preference is what we have heretofore known as the Oregon model, which--gasp!--combines low-cost housing and rentals with single unit residences. To you this is probably some sadistic joke. But I love it. I live in a neighborhood with more renters than owners, and it's vibrant, diverse, and interesting. It's the Oregon model. I chose to live here because of it. You want Oregon to become just like the rest of the country. Fair enough. I'd prefer the "horrors" of our little experiment to continue.

    By the way, I hear Denver's nice ...

    ;-)

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)
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    Jeff, Why can't you just play it straight? Of course you dictate.

    That's what M37 shellacked.

    The reason you don't know where that picture was taken is because people like you long ago retarded SB 100 and all but abolished those types of neighborhoods because you do indeed "dictate". Even though our land use laws from SB 100 called for those neighborhoods along with all other types.

    Our land use planning system was long ago take over by those who wanted to dictate what development should look like.

    Heavily contrasted by the fact that no one has recipricated by attacking and prohibiting your preference.

    You just can't imagine why anyone, maybe even families with children, might not have the same preferences as you and would choose to live in that photo in the suburbs if it were available and affordable. Something which you and yours have also dictated away.

    """""My preference is what we have heretofore known as the Oregon model, which--gasp!--combines low-cost housing and rentals with single unit residences."""""""""""

    Huh? So what does that have to do with M37 and dictating against the preferences of others?

    """"" To you this is probably some sadistic joke"""""""""

    Hardly. You your neighborhood. Pay for it your self though.

    The "sadistic joke" was your disdain for others and what M37 voters and the OSC corrected.

    """"""""I live in a neighborhood with more renters than owners, and it's vibrant, diverse, and interesting. It's the Oregon model."""""""""

    The "Oregon Model"? Who's model? When did we vote on that?

    Is homeownership becoming obsolete? Other neighborhoods are not conforming to your model? Sounds tyrannical to me.

    """""I chose to live here because of it""""""

    And did you also decide that all of Oregon must conform to your model?

    """"""" You want Oregon to become just like the rest of the country""""""""

    I'm all in favor of limited zoning and planning that works and provides for property rights and preservation without the heavy handed tyranny you represent. 60% of Oregonians agree with me and the lines are drawn with you on the side of the busy body dictator forcing everyone to conform to your minority view.
    Better get busy with your Metro taxpayer funded activists with some new court challenges. Because you haven't got a prayer of getting anything past the voters.

    Suggesting people move if they might want to choose their own non conforming "model" is a nice touch. Real pro-choice stance.

    Really shows who's about dictating.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Jim Karlock,

    Um, my husband and I happen to live in one of those "urban hell holes" you speak of. My husband walks to work, I have a home office and neither one of us or our neighbors ever complains about traffic because we're not in it! We have one car between us and put about 5K miles on it a year. We jog in Washington Park's beautiful rose gardens, walk down to the grocery store, and have a view of Mount St. Helens, and our "hell hole" townhouse is affordable. Gosh Darnit!

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    Steve, I actually welcome a discussion of land use planning. That's why the initial post is a series of questions, not a polemic. But you're so disinterested in that discussion that you fail even to read what I wrote. If you want to settle down, back off the wild speculation and invective, maybe we could have a productive discussion. But I'm tired of the useless fighting with very closed minds.

    Knock yourself out.

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    On not reading what I wrote--that may not have been clear. I meant your misuse of my phrase "dictating aesthetics."

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Steve,

    Several polls have shown that a majority of Oregonians support urban growth boundaries and land use planning. You see this issue as black and white, but it's not.

    And in the end, the oil market will "dictate" the way we build our communities. In ten or 15 years when gas is $10 a gallon, living in planned communities where things are within walking distance and public transport is easily accessible will be the norm. It will be too expensive to import lamb from New Zealand and grapes from Chile. The increased demand on farming locally will turn farming back into a middle class pursuit, as it already is being done around Oregon with the increased demand for locally grown produce and livestock.

    Maybe you will hate this, and I'm sorry that you will suffer so much in such an environment, but it's the way things will be.

  • TK (unverified)
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    Please don't justify M37's validity based on a popular vote. This issue is simply beyond the grasp of most citizens, and if you think that's an unfair statement, you're f-ing kidding yourselves. This isn't a case where a ballot measure posed a straightforward question like "Lottery: Y or N", or "Should gay marriage be permitted?". By in large, people STILL don't understand what the measure entails --not even close-- because every issue BUT the one addressed in M37 is discussed. To most people, the issue is "Should (big, bad) government tell YOU what to do with YOUR land??" Well, if you put it like that, no. A little nuance, people, would be great.

    I'm sorry, but if you only look at land use laws with a 'ME' filter, you're not being fair to the debate. Land-use planning is undeniably a long-term, ambiguous topic for most folks to grasp... since many people look at issues with a "ME" filter, developing a vision or long-term growth strategy doesn't always jive with your immediate concerns. It's planning for a collective future, and if that new industrial park you want to erect in a berry field doesn't fit into the infrustructure in place or in planning, well, tough sh*t. If everyone did whatever they wanted, we'd have a metro area even more disjointed than we do today.

    Oh, and did someone above state that we have those awful postage stamp subdivisions BECAUSE of our UBG? That's funny, because my job has taken me all over the NW, working with home builders and touring job sites. And let me tell you, the subdivisions you speak of are being built at a much faster clip in non-UBG cities like Tri-Cities, Spokane, Boise, and Vancouver... and the aestetics are MUCH WORSE, in house/lot design, building materials, and haphazard integration into the surrounding community. Near Pasco,WA, there are strip malls being built in the middle of farmland, away from the city center, in hopes that the remaining farmland will be turned over into cul-de-sacs. Is this the way great cities are formed? Build an Albertson's and Dotty's Deli, and they will come?

    THIS is the true outcome of our wreckless desire to eliminate land-use laws. This has nothing to do with backyard compost bins, this is about how we take the keys to the shop away from developers. Please quit parroting their talking points.

  • Alex (unverified)
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    Sid:

    What you predict may come to pass, and that would be fine. But if true, then people would move to planned communities by choice, not mandate, pressure on real "farmland" (not just rural land) will subside, rural living will become undesirable, and homes built in rural areas will decline in value. This cuts against the argument that M37 will lead to a rapid sprawling society, as people's pocketbooks are a much better predictor of personal choices than the best laid plans of a government planner.

    My question to someone who knows is: how much land is really impacted by M37, and how much land do we have in Oregon? Are we making a mountain out of a molehill?

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    'Similarly, the legislature could take the appraisal process all but out of the hands of county officers"

    I was under the impression that property appraisals and tax appraisals were similar but separate endeavors. The key element of tax appraisals is that they be consistent. Measure 51 aside, and it really can't be put aside, so long as similar properties have similar values the tax appraisal process is fair. I suspect in the market of the last few years that has not always been easy to accomplish.

    Property appraisals, on the other hand, are concerned with determining how much the market will pay for a specific property at a specific moment. They are most often protecting the lender by assuring their collateral is at least as valuable as the loan.

    I didn't think tax appraisals made any pretense of being as accurate as a property appraisal and I am not sure we want to spend the several hundred dollars for each house that it would take to achieve the same level of accuracy.

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)
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    This is getting old fast.

    Come on TK enough of the imaginary world and insults.

    """"""I'm sorry, but if you only look at land use laws with a 'ME' filter"""""

    Who's doing that? I'm looking at from the many thing I listed but all of you ignore. That being the cost and outcome of your model with one boondoggle development after another that doesn't pan out and quickly becomes the auto oriented chaos you claim to prevent.

    That theoretical world of walking and biking everywhere ain't happening. But you sure are spending a ton of money on it and ignoring all of the failures.

    And I'm """" not being fair to the debate"""""" ????????

    """""" Land-use planning is undeniably a long-term, ambiguous topic for most folks to grasp... since many people look at issues with a "ME" filter""""""

    A lot of people have middle finger for that condescension.

    And you are avoiding the obvious fact that people are looking without any of YOUR "filter" and clearly see it for what it is doing.

    """"""' developing a vision or long-term growth strategy doesn't always jive with your immediate concerns."""""""

    What does our local planning jive with? It's expensive and wasteful chaos from every measurement. Congesting, inflating, stifling of industry and jobs, without the emerging outcome you have imagined.

    I notice not a one of you want to take on any of the widespread failures I mentioned above and in many threads.

    Why don't you just take Cascade Station and lecture us on how it "jives"? Tell us how our "ME" filters prevent us from seeing how a big box furniture store Ikea was attracted by light rail?????

    How about SoWa? Tell us how our filters prevent us from seeing how $1/2 billion in property taxes diverted from basic services "jives".

    Everything you preach comes down to you deciding vehicles will be obsolete and all of your restrictions, regulations, prohibitions and planning is for our own good.

    M37 was written to deal with the likes of you and you are being dealt with mighty handily.

    No go advocate for a 10 year, $10 million dollar property tax exemption for some SoWa developer so we can have high density at all costs.

    I'll need somewhere to live in 10 to 15 years when there's no more cars.

  • secondclasscitizen (unverified)
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    Jim K - Yes, I wanty more giant apartment buildings in my neighborhood! I earn minimum wage in a dead-end job and have no hope of ever owning a home. So I figure I'm a rent slave for the duration and literally need all the non-high end apartments I can get. What's YOUR plan for affordable housing?

    Poor renters are also constituents of land use planning even if we don't get to participate in making it.

  • TK (unverified)
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    Steve-

    If you read carefully, I wasn't singleing you out, nor was I flinging insults. But now that you mention it, you do seem to have more vitrol than anyone else in this forum. Plus the all-or-nothing, anti-everything meme makes it hard for anyone to take you completely seriously... the truth is not black or white.

    You stated that no one here wants to respond to any of the examples you set forth. I think you'll find many folks you generally disagree with, myself included, would agree with some of the examples/points you make ( re: MAX=IKEA?, Cascade Station, Tram, etc). But these are examples of ill-conceived developments and deals worked out between several parties, not the UBG or the need to keep most development within city limits. The simple reality is, it's not all bad, not all good. There have been planning missteps and planning sucesses. Many could have happened in a non-UGB state or city.

    You don't like sweetheart deals that don't pan out? Great, neither do I. But don't conflate those examples with the general land-use laws in place to protect the health of our cities and farms. You need to focus your anger on the execution.

  • brett (unverified)
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    Please don't justify M37's validity based on a popular vote. This issue is simply beyond the grasp of most citizens, and if you think that's an unfair statement, you're f-ing kidding yourselves.

    And they say lefties aren't elitist! Oh, wait, they don't say that. Breathtaking arrogance.

  • brett (unverified)
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    My preference is what we have heretofore known as the Oregon model, which--gasp!--combines low-cost housing and rentals with single unit residences.

    Actually, I think that's YOUR model. And in any case, that "model" only dominates in Portland. There are other parts of the state, you know.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    "Similarly, we need to recognize that we got Measure 37 because the folks like 1000 Friends of Oregon in their arrogance did a piss poor job first of being stewards of the responsibilities in effect given them under the land use laws Measure 37 overturned, and second in doing the real politics of fighting Measure 37 when it was on the ballot."

    Much as I love 1000 Friends and its former Directory Robert Liberty, I think this is an accurate comment. Under Robert, they relied far too much on litigation to defend our land use system and not enough on educating people about the choices that are being made. The result is that they are perceived as simply rigid defenders of the status quo.

    They need to be a three legged stool with litigation, lobbying and education efforts. I think it was the education leg that failed. They should rely on litigation as a last resort and only where they were able to build a broad base of public political support for their position. Instead they won in court and lost in the court of public opinion. And each victory just added to the perception that the system they were defending was broken.

    By putting themselves front and center in the fight on Measure 37 they allowed the proponents to claim all the frustrations with the status quo on growth and land use planning. You can see that here. Much of what Measure 37 really does is ignored, while people think it will free them from whatever they are angry at.

    There are several things we need to think about now:

    1) Measure 37 only applies to existing property owners. Once a property is sold to a new owner, that new owner only has protection from future restrictions. Of course there is now a battle even about that, with some proponents claiming they intended for current property owners to be able to pass the rights they had when they purchased the property to new owners.

    2) As a result of 1, all future changes to regulations of any kind have to be considered based on what Measure 37 protections current owners will be able to claim in the future. When creating new residential areas we will need to consider how to prevent future non-residential uses. Likewise commercial or industrial areas.

    3) We can expect a lot of recreational development on privately owned land in national forests. While there will be some federal limits, they are not going to prevent development on private forest land.

    4) Corporations have Measure 37 rights for lands they have purchased any time in the past and will never lose those rights as long as they continue to own the land. This applies to any land purchased by any other corporation they purchased. Combined with number 1 this probably means we will see companies hanging onto land and leasing it for development, rather than putting it on the market and losing the Measure 37 rights. I'm not sure what the implications of that are for commercial real estate. It may even have implications for how residential development is done.

    5) The compensation is only for regulating use of the property. There is no requirement that public services be provided on the same basis as in the past. Access to public sewer, water, even schools, police and fire protection can still be provided on the basis of the zoning or density limitations.

    6) In some cases it may make more sense to foreclose on property and set it aside for public purpose than to pay the Measure 37 claims. The foreclosure would be at current market value, as restricted, not at the higher value that could be obtained if the restrictions didn't exist. Obviously this needs to be used judiciously, but it ought to be considered for protecting important natural resources and other public purposes where that is appropriate.

  • TK (unverified)
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    Brett-

    You call it breathtaking arrogance, I say it's simply a reality check on the sad state of our society. More people should delve into politics and the issues that concern all of us. Unfortunately, the majority responds to sound bites.

    Anyone know the link to the survey proving most Oregonians don't really know what M37 outlines? Brett, I can only tell you I've read it. What you think beyond that is your problem.

  • brett (unverified)
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    TK -

    The brutal irony in your comments is that your attitude - "Heed my enlightened land-use program, ignorant prole" - contributed greatly to the lopsided 61-39 passage of M37. It's political kryptonite to actually say out loud that anyone who votes for the other side is an idiot. (Not that such considerations stop national Dems from the same missteps.) So, actually, it's your problem, unless you enjoy losing elections.

  • (Show?)

    This idea that Lefties are the ones disrespecting "the voters" is a great example of two Right wing mainstays, deception and transference. Here's how it works:

    1) Right wing corporate interests put forward iniatives with deceptive ballot titles which are alleged to help "the folks" but are in fact designed to help Grover Norquist, Loren Parks, Mark Hemstreet or other holders of huge amounts of cash.

    2) They use populist examples (Like that poor little old lady Dorothy English) to stampede the herd. Being uniformed does not imply a lack of empathy, so they skip the intellectual stuff and go right for the emotions. This seems to be very effective if blatantly dishonest.

    3) Progressives, forced to fight these initiatives, attempt to educate the public by highlighting the most fundamental question. Who benefits?

    4) The purveyors of the latest bottle of snake oil pretend to be outraged that the elitist progressives don't respect the voters.

    That's a bullshit line of reasoning, and most libertarian and conservative commenters on this blog are well aware of these blatant attempts at deception, but because it fits your ideology, you deny the dishonesty used by your allies.

    For Shame. We should at least be willing to discuss motivations and tactics honestly. We all know that the folks that we are discussing are wa-a-a-a-ay less informed than any commenter on Blue Oregon left or right. So we all know, that when they hear our arguments for the first time, the ethics of the situation demand an honest effort by all of us.

    <hr/>

    There have been some good and reasoned arguments from both sides of this issue, and I am mostly against overt condemnation or restriction on private property for "the public good", but to be fair minded, I also recognize that a society run by the singlular guidance of self-gratification to the exclusion of fellow citizens has never worked and never will.

    And yes, I understand the argument that everyone has a right to have a toxic waste dump or a high rise on their own property. I just don't buy it.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Alex,

    The question shouldn't be "how much land is available" rather it should be "how much fertile farm land is available?" Most of the fertile lands are in the Willamette Valley where a majority of the M37 claims have been filed, and I expect in the coming months many more claims coming out of the Valley will be filed.

    Once farm land is paved over, it's gone for good.

    And if people want to live in sprawling exurbs they can go to places like Colorado, California or Florida where local governments made decisions in the past that mandated the kind of development Oregonians in Action and big developers support. And those who love sprawling exurbs can shop at sprawling malls that have all the same shops in them that almost every exurban mall in America has, free of independently owned local businesses, free of farmers markets, free of light rail lines.

    Up until now, Oregon has been different. We are the only state in the nation that has had an increase in the number of family farms since the 1970s. We're a "buy local, mom and pop" kind of state. Sprawling exurbs, as the rest of the nation has demonstrated so well, is not conducive to supporting an environment where small to medium size farms and businesses can thrive. Instead, big box stores and large national retailers become the norm. Once you've been in one sprawling exurb, you've seen them all.

    Is that what we want... I doubt it.

  • TK (unverified)
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    Brett-

    You missed my point completely. I have respect for anyone, whether I disagree with them or not, who takes the time to study an issue. It DOES seem rare, doesn't it? I'm just saying it's hard to put much stock in the popular vote for this particular measure when most people don't truly know what it entails. Couple that with the surveys that put the public in favor of UGBs and you should have some objective doubts too.

  • brett (unverified)
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    I'm sorry, but I think it is absurd to pretend people don't understand the concept behind M37. It is a simple idea.

    What you are really saying is that you don't think people understand the consequences, medium- or long-term, of that idea. What you don't admit is the possibility that those who voted for M37 have their own idea of those consequences, which differs from your own.

    Conflating ignorance with disagreement is the hallmark of elitism. And Pat, your comment is elitist too - rightwing deathbeast "corporate interests" bamboozle the public, so that they don't know what they are really voting for. These kinds of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo conspiracy theories may fly here at BlueOregon, and on the dKos, but their effectiveness with the public is quite clear by now.

    Why, oh why, can't anyone just admit that people who voted for M37 might have known what they were doing? That way lies understanding and compromise.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    Regardless of your position on M37 everyone should all be happy the Oregon Supreme Court ruled as it did and rejected the arguments of the county judge who ruled against M37 last October saying it limited the legislature’s power. That logic would have effectively killed the entire initiative process in Oregon since any voter-passed initiative could be said to limit the legislature’s power. For cryin’ out loud that is exactly what the initiative process is about!

    It’s also time to shelve that condescending argument that the voters didn’t know what they were voting on. People wanted the right to do what they want with their land, within reason. We already have zoning laws that limit "anything goes" development in Oregon. People saw M37 as a way to correct overzealous regulation that had built up over the years.

    Let’s see if the legislature and governor have the fortitude to refine M37 while keeping faith with the majority of voters who passed it.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    I'm sorry, but I think it is absurd to pretend people don't understand the concept behind M37. It is a simple idea.

    Most ideas are simple at their most basic. I don't think even the authors understand the consequences as shown by their being upset that the "rights" they are protecting aren't transferrable even though the measure is pretty clear that they only belong to the person who purchased the property before the regulation went into effect, not people who purchased it afterwards.

    I think the actual impact of Measure 37 is going to be mitigated by the uncertainty about what it means. Banks are going to want to know what their rights are if they are forced to foreclose. "You may have the right to operate a restaurant on your farm, but if we foreclose can anyone else use the building for a restaurant?" And before those issues get settled someone will have to be the test case.

    The concept is easy. Dorothy English has the right to subdivide and build houses on her land. But how does she sell those houses if the new owners don't get the same right? And if they do, then the concept of only those who purchased the property before the regulation having the rights is violated.

    The concept of course is easy. The problem is that interpretation one makes the rights pretty meaningless for the poster child of the measure campaign (although still meaningful for someone who wants to add a house for their kid on their farm). Interpretation two makes a mockery of the claim that this right is limited to people who purchased the property prior to the regulation. Afterall, the new purchasers are fully aware of the regulation. The concept is easy.

  • (Show?)

    Sorry Buckman Res and Brett,

    When you say:

    Conflating ignorance with disagreement is the hallmark of elitism You ignore the public statements of scores of Neo-Conservative followers of Leo Strauss, including the aforementioned Grover Norquist, Bill Kristol, Doug Feith, Richard Perle, and others too numerous to mention on the national and state political stage.

    These folks hold as a central tenet that they "The Wise" have a duty to deceive the masses in the interest of "good governance". Sounds incredibly cynical to me.

    So if you accept that some ballot measures are intentionally deceptive (which I know you don't) then you'd have to make the corollary argument that your wizard buddies are ineffective in their stated goal of deception. I can see why you'd shy away from that position.

  • Steve Schopp (unverified)
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    """""The concept is easy. Dorothy English has the right to subdivide and build houses on her land. But how does she sell those houses if the new owners don't get the same right? And if they do, then the concept of only those who purchased the property before the regulation having the rights is violated."""""

    That's as asinine as Judge James' ruling. Once a plat approval is granted there is no going back. M37 says nothing about some new arm that pulls back property rights if the land is sold.

    Interpretation or otherwise.

    Just because M37 did not spell out and allow transferability does not mean it is therefore disallowed.

    M37 didn't address easements or variances either. Would that mean easements and variances are not allowed? Of course not. But M37 opponents want it stopped and are will concoct anything to do so.

    TK """""""" The simple reality is, it's not all bad, not all good. There have been planning missteps and planning sucesses. Many could have happened in a non-UGB state or city."""""""""

    You really need to do more homework. These mammoth failures are all about the UGB, 2040 plan, infill, light rail centers, and the rest of the unworkable "theory". Massive amounts of public subsidies for private development only to have the result turn out to be auto oriented chaos. Gridlocked, short on parking, and needing more and more good public money after bad. But these are supposed to be a valid substitute for any and all expansion, no matter how reasonable?????????? You probably don't know what is happening with the UGB either with previous expansions sitting idle for lack of planning. With industrial land expansions so scattered and insignificant they are meaningless. New expansions are coming due while old ones are revealing the dysfunction of the UGB theory as it relates to accomodating growth. There is no accomodating of growth happening. In any arena.

    Like so many, you enjoy the luxury of refusal to face reality and the dysfunction the massive spending on waste represents.

    Some of you are so off the deep end you actually believe our "planning" is providing affordable housing.

    Sid, """"" the kind of development Oregonians in Action and big developers support"""""""

    Where do you get this? The big developers are all in bed with our planners and elected officials with environmental groups standing silent. That's why they get the big tax subsidies and why our basic services budgets are decimated. PDC staff sat right next to the Trammel Crow Residential rep and argued for the 10 year Alexan Tax abatement in which the public was going to get zero for in return. Although is was rejected on a 3 to 2 vote Potter and Sten voted for it.

    What a snow job this all is. And it's getting worse real fast as the credit card of Urban Renewal is loaded up and money dries up and the Transit Mall insanity is about to tear up downtown and city budgets. There is now $4 billion in real estate assessed value having NONE of it's taxes go to schools and basic services. NONE. This is not a minor speed bump.

    You'll be reading sooner rather than later about SoWa's budget being in total mayhem. With no funds in sight for the park, greenway and other public improvements going out 5 and possibly 10 years.

    Not a single elected official is challenging this horrific trend. Not a single smart growth advocate is either. Not light rail advocates either.

    It's all good right?

    Or it's not black and white? Is that all it takes to ignore it?

    Ross, could you wander a wee bit more.

  • Alice (unverified)
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    We are the only state in the nation that has had an increase in the number of family farms since the 1970s

    How many of those "family farms" are "U-cut Christmas Trees" or weekend hobbies? Perhaps farming the Oregon Tax Code is more lucrative than growing crops on some "retirement ranch style" farms.

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    I support higher taxes to pay for social programs. I support a national single payer health care system, and am ready to pay my share. I support alternative energy sources and am happy to pay higher electricity rates to justify the expense. I support just about every reasonable and rational progressive cause. But when it comes to retroactive laws that restrict what I can do with my own property, I get very uncomfortable and very defensive. I think that people like me are the reason why it is unlikely that 37 will be amended or repealed. I have no claim or personal axe to grind under 37, but I am sympathetic to those that do.

  • Unithraxer (unverified)
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    I always found it interesting that the same people trying to protect farm land from urban sprawl are the same people that make it difficult to be a farmer. Unless you go organic good luck with water rights, fertilizers, and legal pesticides.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Unithraxer,

    The trend in Oregon is not necessarily organic... look at Oregon Country Beef, not organic. The trend is "buy local". My mom is an apple farmer and sells to local Portland restaurants and the farmers market. She's not certified organic, although her farm is what is considered "sustainable" because she uses watering practices that limit consumption. She also avoids using harmful chemicals and her customers know this, so she's skipped the costly organic certification process. She has over 600 trees and sells out every single year with chefs and apple lovers calling her for more when she doesn't have any. She just planted 50 more trees last week and plans continued expansion in the next few years.

    Local is much more important these days, as small family farmers are quickly finding out. Most can't keep up with the demand and new farms are starting up every year. Existing farmers who are capitalizing on this new trend are constantly seeking out acreage to lease or buy to expand their operations.

    Your "organic" assumption may have applied 10 years ago, but no longer. These farmers and their growing customer base are light years ahead of your assumptions.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Alice,

    Sure, hobby farms are out there, but most family farms are serious operations... don't offend them by assuming they are not. They probably work harder than anyone who has ever posted a comment on this site because they don't have the time.

    If you took the time to read this article instead of making assumptions about a majority of the hard working farmers in this state, you would understand that a majority of Oregon's family farms are NOT hobby farms.

    Thankfully most of those farmers are too busy to come on to this site and read your comment.

  • unithraxer (unverified)
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    Sid: The small family farms like your mothers are too inefficient to supply all of Oregon's population. The "buy local" plan is niche oriented and could never sustain Oregon's growing population let alone the northwest. In addition to this I would consider all farms "sustainable". Water cost money and time to move. In todays competitive market I doubt you will find many farmers knowingly wasting water. Nice try though.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Just want to point out that Buckman Res is not me.

    Buckman is a school/neighborhood in inner SE Portland, and of course, this Bucknum is a person over in Crook Co. (Our perhaps common ancestor ran the tavern on Lexington Green at the start of the Amer. revolution. So I suspect based on family history that the first shot was by a drunken American. - completely off point - but being off point for this discussion is probably better than being on point.)

    My only real comment, to repeat, that post by askquestions1st is perhaps the best post ever put on Blue Oregon - see above.

  • (Show?)

    pancho

    you might want to do a bit of research before popping off. right after M5 passed, a measure was sent to the voters to return the balance of tax payments to 1/3 individual, 2/3 business. a massive spending campaign defeated it, and yes, since then, there has been no initiatives to challenge M5 directly. the message was clear: out-of-state business interests would spend millions to keep things in their favor. what do they care about the Oregon Health Plan or our schools? and the legislature, dominated by corporate whores like Minnis & Scott -- o yea, we can expect them to stand up for Oregon.

    like i said, we either get rid of those people or we become Florida North.

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    Measure 37 reflected a general consensus that the planners need to shut up and stick to what they are paid to do, in other words, process my garage remodel permit and not try to social engineer the society.

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    You know, T.A. Barnhart is one of the most annoying posters on this site. Just a lot of unsupported statements and creation of straw man arguments. If more than 5% of Oregon's population had any idea what the planners were up to, the population would be even less likely to support them. For some reason, they believe that their limited generalist education qualified them to "educate" others to their well developed if not well substantiated world view. Just process those permits, and shut up.

  • T. McCall (unverified)
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    I have to agree with Big Al. The reason that Measure 37 passed was the general arrogance of the State's planners. I believe they are generally bitter about making crappy money reflecting their general lack of contribution to society, and take out their frustrations with power plays to limit the actions of more productive sectors of the economy. Process those garage permits.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    T.A.,

    You probably have a better memory of the early nineties than I do. My final years of college seem like a blur now (they were sometimes a blur back then).

    I think you must be referring to the sad attempt to loosen the M5 caps in exchange for renter's relief in 1992.

    The Oregon Bluebook reminds me that it went down 75-25.

    Thanks for the correction, it helps make my point.

  • Screwtape (unverified)
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    I think the comments on this discussion of Measure 37 reflect the general problem in Oregon:

    1. Who cares about family farms and local produce? That's truly a leftist pipe dream. Small farmers cannot grow produce in supply sufficient enough to achieve prices affordable to the larger population. They can't even substantiate prime ag land.. it's the nurseries that are growing, not farming. Welcome to the 21st Century economy. Boutique produce is not a solution, but rather an amenity for a small percentage of the population.

    2. Oregon's love/hate relationship with property taxes is a farce. Limit development, but push for repeal of Measure 50. In other words, rely on property taxes instead of a big scary sales tax but limit development - the engine that would drive growth in property tax assessment, particularly commercial development. Sales tax and lack of an income tax, plus more local control over public school funding certainly hasn't hurt Washington, has it?

    Not one of the arguments put forward by any of the regular posters to Blue Oregon has done anything but drag out the same old land use arguments and thinking that originated and has stagnated since the 1970s.

    Why don't you be really progressive, think holistically, and come up with some truly constructive ideas that understand human nature, highly mobile capital and labor, intensely competitive economic conditions, and an economy that no longer relies on natural resources and land for its mainstay jobs and higher wages.

    Unless you want Oregon to become nothing more than a large destination resort that produces nothing but retail and services jobs to serve 50+ yr old, affluent households.

  • (Show?)

    Reader Alert: Four of the previous five comments - by "Big Al", "T. McCall" and "Screwtape" - have been posted from the same IP address located in Bellevue, Washington. Given their close proximity in time, we believe they are the same individual. (Or, at least, three individuals at the same computer.) - Editor.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thank you Kari, Maybe that explains what seems to be a mixup between Measure 5 and Measure 50

    but limit development - the engine that would drive growth in property tax assessment, particularly commercial development.

    Screwtape, you talk should check out the statistics (might be hard from Bellevue) on the tax load of business in the 1980s (before Measure 5 changed the whole property tax system) and now. The way Measure 5 was written, property taxes on homes in neighborhoods where there was turnover (young couple comes in, lives there for awhile and then moves for reasons of family size or job transfer) went up faster than on commercial property which stayed in the same hands for decades. And there was that stuff about true cash value vs fair market value, but if you didn't live here then you wouldn't know that.

    Measure 50 was the fix to Measure 47 which was so badly written even the sponsor admitted it needed to be changed.

    Do you really believe that no one in Oregon wants to buy local produce in sufficient quantities to make it profitable? Washington state residence tells you what is going on in Oregon? Do you even know the names of the counties where wineries are located? Or that what are now called vinyards were once called "secondary lands" which groups like OIA (sponsors of Measure 37) in previous decades tried to develop?

    Is this "let's have fun with the computer"?

  • jim karlock (unverified)
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    sidJim Karlock, Um, my husband and I happen to live in one of those "urban hell holes" you speak of. My husband walks to work, I have a home office and neither one of us or our neighbors ever complains about traffic because we're not in it! We have one car between us and put about 5K miles on it a year. We jog in Washington Park's beautiful rose gardens, walk down to the grocery store, and have a view of Mount St. Helens, and our "hell hole" townhouse is affordable. Gosh Darnit! JK: Good for you. Don't try to force the rest of us to live your lifestyle. We have our own dreams. Or do you agree with Bush that we all should subscribe to his religion which is really a life style. Thanks JK

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Just because M37 did not spell out and allow transferability does not mean it is therefore disallowed.

    Measure 37 concept is that you have the rights you had when you purchased the property. The new purchaser is subject to whatever restrictions are in place when they purchase the property. Measure 37 isn't silent on the issue, it explicity does not allow you to transfer your rights to the next purchaser.

    The implications of that will vary depending on what the new purchaser wants to do with the property and what restrictions there are on that use. But, I agree, there is a built-in absurdity to the idea that a property owner has rights that are not transferable to the next property owner.

  • Joanne R (unverified)
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    People can say all they want about how small farming needs to be preserved in Oregon, and I agree. I live on a farm, and while I have to have an off farm job right now to support my farming habbit, I hope, if a few years, with a lot of work and some luck, to be doing this full time. But what I don't think that people realize, is that M37 is the symptom of a larger problem - growth. Growth in population means a necessary growth in living spaces and infrastructure. I know that there are people who are perfectly content to live on top of each other in high density housing units, and there are a lot of people who have no choice bu to rent an appartment as that's the only type of houseing they can afford. I used to be in that same situation myself for years, I hated it, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I handled the situation by staying away from the appartment unless I was sleeping. That having been said, there are a lot of people like myself who can't stand to live cheek to jowl with my neighbors. Some want a yard, others like me want to farm. If people are so interested in preserving small farms, instead of trying to strike down M37, you might think about making farming easier. Easier to put land into farm use, easier to make a profit, or at least break even, etc. According to Oregon Dept. of Ag stats for 2004 23.4% of oregon farming was done on plots of 1-9 acres and 39% was on 10-49 acres. Having a rule like requiring a person to gross $80,000 on a farm before they can put a house on the acreage so they can work at 'home' when farming, makes it awful hard to make farming doable on small agreages such as the ones I pointed out. That in addition to building requirements such as 5 acre minimums, 20 acre minimums, and 80 acre minimums, all of which exist in my area.

  • Karl (unverified)
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    I'm one of those '60s "back to the land" hippies. I was on the cac to LCDC when it was being formulated. I supported and voted for our land use planning. It was a beautiful idea, but I hate what it turned into when the people stopped paying attention and big money took it over. We tested the soils all over the state so that developement would only happen on land poor for farming or forest. That's totally forgotten. We set up areas for small farms and homestead agriculture and then they got ruled out of existence. The value of buildable land skyrocketed to the benefit of the few. The temptation to zone for profit grew. I fell in love with Oregon because there were so many people living on and with the land. Now there are so few. What can the people living crammed in the cities with no room for even a garden know about their REAL environment?
    I guess you can argue it both ways, but however you look at it growth is degrading the quality of life in Oregon very fast. The main reason Oregon is still a nice place to live is that we still have a tiny population compared to the rest of the country.

  • Andrew C. (unverified)
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    Just as with Measure 5, Measure 37 hides the financial and political interests of the huge landowners (APM, et al.) behind the fig leaf of the little-guy: the individual home-owner.

    When legislation affects property taxes and development, single family home-owners should be clearly and obviously exempted, provided the land remains in use for single-family homes. That will allow voters to focus on the small group of real beneficiaries of these measures: the land barons.

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    Screwtape et. al. reveals himself when he writes:

    1. Who cares about family farms and local produce? That's truly a leftist pipe dream. Small farmers cannot grow produce in supply sufficient enough to achieve prices affordable to the larger population. They can't even substantiate prime ag land.. it's the nurseries that are growing, not farming. Welcome to the 21st Century economy. Boutique produce is not a solution, but rather an amenity for a small percentage of the population.

    I don't know what kind of suburban bonehead you are, but take this up with my third-generation farm-owning family in Vale. They'd be surprised to learn that they can't earn a living there.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Unithraxer-

    Some things start out niche and become mainstream. If my mom could this very year double her apple production she still would not be able to keep up with the demand. Whenever we hear of a new apple farm starting up, we never feel threatened by the new competition because there's way more demand for that kind of produce than is available. In fact it's ridiculous.

    And how funny is it that you call produce such farms grow as "boutique." Does that mean the hamburger meat at Burgerville is "boutique meat" because it's raised by a local cooperative of cattle ranchers who don't use antibiotics, hormones, and let their cattle free range in a way that protects the environment? Last time I ate a Tillamook Burger at Burgerville the crowd didn't look like "boutique urban elitists" to me. Like Alice, you make it sound as if all these farmers and ranchers are involved in hobby farming. All those farmers and ranchers are laughing all the way to the bank, honey, and my mom is one of them.

    And obviously you have not read the article I keep referring to, or else you would understand that this niche of local produce is growing. If the business of it is growing then why pave over the land that is making it happen?

    What if we would have paved over the lands that are now Oregon's vineyards, now a multi-million dollar industry in Oregon with world wide recognition?

  • Screwtape (unverified)
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    Alworth:

    I don't know what kind of suburban bonehead you are, but take this up with my third-generation farm-owning family in Vale. They'd be surprised to learn that they can't earn a living there.

    I'll tell you what kind of suburban bonehead I am: I'm the kind that realizes that farming, while a respectable vocation that occupied several generations of my own family including some in Oregon, offers absolutely nothing in the way of opportunity for the vast majority of Oregonians today and that majority is growing every day. Sure, farmers' markets are swell, and it's neat to drive or ride your bike a few miles to u-pick berries in July, and its thrilling to find your third-generation farm-owning family's produce sold at Whole Foods for quite remarkable prices.

    But how many non-family members does your family farm employ? If they actually do employ people, what sorts of wages do they pay? Enough to support a family? What about health care? What about benefits? More than Wal-Mart pays? Enough to rent an apartment among other boneheaded suburbanites like me without a lot of other seasonally employed roommates? Enough to buy a house in Portland's increasingly overpriced market given the crappy wages that retail, services and yes, farming, pay? Enough to buy their own groceries at Whole Foods?

    Hardly. Why don't you farm? Work too hard? Pay too little? Why aren't you working for your family? Could it be that agriculture is a back-breaking career that offers little security to the majority of those involved, unless you happen to win the UGB expansion sweepstakes and gain a tremendous windfall from your land being upzoned?

    And so why should the State and the VAST majority of its residents' well-being be held hostage to laws and regulations that protect its lowest-paying, water-polluting industry and benefit a relatively few landowners?

    Why aren't we talking about reform that allows responsible creation of industry and jobs that pay well, rely on and generate innovation, and give opportunity to people? Why should high-tech firms seeking large plots of land for significant expansion in Oregon be forced to look elsewhere, like Etek that was forced to grow in Austin, because our land-use system is so attorney-red tape-consultant driven that Metro c/wouldn't act to let development occur on the border of Hillsboro's city limits along the UGB and a stone's throw from Intel's Ronler Acres campus? All in the name of preserving "prime" ag land that has been and still is growing nothing more than clover because of extensive restrictions on the exact type of business that might locate there?

    LT:

    I'm an Oregonian and while I appreciate that microagriculture in this State is popular with the organic/sustainable crowd, most farming in the state uses fertilizers, herbicides and other chemicals that are awful for watersheds in the Willamette and for all the reasons I question Alworth above are not the wisest choice for providing today's children with good jobs tomorrow. The majority of Oregonians do not shop at stores like New Seasons or Whole Foods because they can't afford the merchandise when they can instead buy traditionally-grown goods at Fred Meyer or Safeway. And ag certainly doesn't merit the extent to which Oregon's land use system preserves/reserves it.

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    Screwtape, I shouldn't have resorted to the "bonehead" comment. I actually know better.

  • Sid (unverified)
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    Screwtape, et al.-

    Farmers markets in Oregon are growing by 10% a year. Last season, the farmers markets in Oregon reported revenue of 22 million. I would say it was probably more because most vendors have to pay a small percentage of their proceeds to the organizers of the market the operate in, and I would guess that farmers low ball a little in what they report to the market.

    But I suppose eventhough it's a budding industry, you would call it chump change. Pro-sprawlers hate the fact that this industry is actually beginning to look like it has good potential, especially because it's happening right here in Oregon. They hate it because it gives a good argument to those of us who want to preserve farmland for people who want to farm (for people who own farm land and don't want to farm, they should sell it to people who do want to farm... and don't tell me they wouldn't be able to sell their land for a good profit.)

    Maybe you like eating apples grown by Commies in China, but I like eating apples grown right here in Oregon by entrepreneurial hard working farmers and so does a growing number of other Oregonians. BTW, food co-ops and New Seasons have local produce at much lower prices than Whole Foods.

  • AF (unverified)
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    I'm right in the middle of this debate in real life. I live inside the UGB on a few acres and most of my neighbors have small farms. My next door neighbor gets by on a very small cash flow generated by a small herd of cattle. The last offer from a developer was over $4m for her land. Not too hard to see how that is going to end up. Same thing with my property and all of the rest of us on this street. So it will kind of suck to move away but really the world isn't going to miss our few head of cattle too much. They are really economically viable anyway but it is cool for the kids to have some cows and a pig as well as a nice big garden.

    But hey, back to M37. I voted for it and it is easy to explain why. Basically the bureaucrats and land planning mandarins messed up when they didn't allow old Dorothy to develop her land when obviously it made sense to do so. And they really messed up when they prevented hard working people who own small farms from building a house on their own land. So what if we threw the baby out with the bathwater? The mandarins had years and years to fix their mess and they refused to do it. They were too sure of themselves to accept any guidance from the "little people". So hang 'em and lets move on. Maybe the next group of bureaucrats won't be such pompous prigs.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    "But how many non-family members does your family farm employ?"

    How many people are employed providing services to the agricultural industry? How many processors depend on them for products? The fact is that agriculture is one of Oregon's traded sector industries that brings money into the state - unlike the local Walmart that takes money out of the state. Or the local real estate developer for that matter.

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    It would appear as though Ross is arguing that Measure 37 will damage the agricultural economy of the State. A necessary component of that assumption would apparently be that agricultural production will be impeded as a result of Measure 37. Is that because land supply will be constrained? Seems unlikely. While agriculture is a "traded industry", it is one that is subsidized to an extent that largely negates any economic positives. And lets not even get into agricultural run-off into the watershed.

    Agriculture has become a special interest group, and one that has been coopted by 1000 Friends to achieve some social engineering. Useful idiots.

    I am sure that Sid enjoys his farmers markets, it allows for a high degree of self congratulation. They are cute, and I enjoy them as well, but hardly a strong indicator of economic importance. Just a nice yuppie amenity.

    By the way, I enjoyed the unrelated shot at Wal Mart. Allows for a feeling of superiority, despite the general ignorance of the statement. Wal Mart competes with Fred Meyers, Safeway and Target the last time I checked. Let me know which one of these keeps the money in State?

  • Alice (unverified)
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    Sid:

    What's wrong with apples from China? Progressives love Cuba, frequently citing the great strides they've made in literacy, access to medical care, and infant mortality. And the U.S. was ALWAYS the aggressor in the proxy wars of Latin America (the Commies just wanted to increase crop production and vaccinate the kids).

    I've been buying Dole pears (fruit cups) grown in South Africa: my kid loves them, and they don't taste all that different from any other canned pear. Would I rather buy a pear grown in Hood River? You bet, but those South African farmers need to make a living too. And the fruit cups are always ripe: never too hard or too mushy.

    If I could buy pear fruit cups from Hood River, I'd be willing to pay double what Dole charges. But smaller producers don't always have the same value-added processing/packaging capabilities: so Freddy's stacks the South African pears next to the Australian peaches and Thai pineapples. I refused to buy Chinese garlic from the Market of Choice last week: Gilroy garlic is the best.

    Family farms can distinguish themselves with niche products or niche marketing. But it's still a niche strategy for most small farmers. No matter how prosperous they are, the multi-million dollar offer from a residential developer is always going to be more lucrative than farming. It's a fact within a 2 hours drive of virtually any metropolitan region: Measure 37 didn't make it so. And pre-M37 land use planning was only delaying the inevitable.

    Residential land sells for 10x to 20x what good farmland sells for, and the property taxes paid by the residential owner are 10x to 20x higher than what the farmer paid. The property tax recipients have done the math, I can assure you.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Wal Mart competes with Fred Meyers, Safeway and Target

    Walmart competes with lots of businesses including some companies such as Fred Meyer that have large administrative offices in Oregon and pay healthy salaries to local executives and other support employees that Walmart pays to people who live elsewhere. Many smaller employers purchase services from local people that Walmart purchases elsewhere.

    You can say the same thing about Target, K-mart, Safeway ... Walmart is just the worst of the bunch. And no retail store produces much net revenue to the state ... unless they are located at Jantzen Beach.

    It would appear as though Ross is arguing that Measure 37 will damage the agricultural economy of the State.

    I am assuming that it will lead to the elimination of some agricultural land. And eliminating agricultural land by definition hurts agricultural production the same way closing any manufacturing plant would. It means there is less money coming into the state that is spread all along the food chain that supports agricultural production. It means there are fewer customers for agricultural services, less production to be packed and shipped ...

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    Walmart competes with lots of businesses including some companies such as Fred Meyer that have large administrative offices in Oregon and pay healthy salaries to local executives and other support employees that Walmart pays to people who live elsewhere.

    You will need to keep track of Fred Meyers more closely. They are working on releasing their space, as their local headquarters operation is closing. Retail outlets simply redistribute sales, unless they are located in either Jantzen Beach or the upcoming IKEA/Costco TOD. Nonetheless, Wal Mart remains completely irrelevant to the Measure 37 discussion, and the mention was gratuitous.

    I am assuming that it will lead to the elimination of some agricultural land. And eliminating agricultural land by definition hurts agricultural production the same way closing any manufacturing plant would. It means there is less money coming into the state that is spread all along the food chain that supports agricultural production. It means there are fewer customers for agricultural services, less production to be packed and shipped ...

    If you check the statistics on mapped prime farm lands in the State, and even Washington County, there is a substantial amount of farm land that is not farmed. I have yet to hear of a prospective farmer unable to get adequate land.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    I have yet to hear of a prospective farmer unable to get adequate land.

    Which shows that Oregon's land use laws are working. Is the price of agricultural land tanking because of a market glut? No.

    They are working on releasing their space, as their local headquarters operation is closing.

    You are right. I hadn't seen the announcement of Kroger closing the local headquarters. Do you have a source for this rumour?

  • jim karlock (unverified)
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    I noticed several comments about planners and their plans for us. Most of you don't have a clue what the planners really have in mind for us. The proof is found in Oregon's, Portland's and Metro's long range planning documents:

    *Densify housing near streets, with good bus service, to densities greater than Los Angeles central city average. (9,600 units per square mile compared to Los Angeles which is 7,400 people per square mile). This applies to the street and to a swath 1/4 mile on either side of the street. If there were 1.5 people in each of those 9,600 units we would almost equal the density of central San Francisco. (source: Page 20 of “Comprehensive Plan, Goals and Policies, City of Portland, Oregon, July 2004")

    *A 1/2 mile circle around all light rail stations are scheduled for higher housing density than central San Francisco (16,000 units per square mile compared to 15,500 people per square mile) By the way, New York central city average is 23,700, people per square mile. If those 16,000 units are occupied by 1.5 people each, then there will be 24,000 people per square mile, slightly greater than the density of central New York. (Source, same as above)

    *Increase traffic congestion. (page 48, same source)

    *Reduce parking availability (page 67, same source)

    *Make driving you car more expensive. (page 70, same source)

    *Reduce size of lots (ie: less space for you garden) (general push for higher density, same)

    *Increase land prices which will make housing even more unaffordable. (Metro’s tight restrictions on land for housing)

    Note on units per acre: 15 units per acre x 640 = 9600 per square mile 25 units per acre x 640= 16000 per square mile Central City Densities (People per square mile): New York= 23,700; San Francisco= 15,500; Los Angeles= 7,400;Washington D.C.= 9,900

    Thanks JK

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    Ross,

    It is hard for agricultural land values to tank, as they are pretty low already ($1,000 to $5,000 per acre). The only place they have risen is near the UGB, with values of $15,000 or more based on speculation of a potential UGB expansion. By the way, I checked the numbers and there has been a 500,000 acre reduction in land in farm use Statewide from 1997 to 2002. Harvested cropland has dropped by 100,000 acres over the same period. This is the link to Statewide cropland statistics
    As far as Fred Meyers, I can't reveal how I know this but keep track of it over the next few months. I hate when people cite confidential information, but I have to in this case.
    By the way, I just saw T.A. Barnhart's submittal, and it confirms that he is a certifiable moonbat. Just remember, the first person to use a Nazi analogy in an internet disagreement loses.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    "This is the link to Statewide cropland statistics"

    I am not sure what this shows if anything.

    "they are pretty low already ($1,000 to $5,000 per acre). "

    That doesn't sound low to me. $5000 and acre may not be much for a home site, but its a lot for agricultural land.

    "As far as Fred Meyers,"

    I don't think it has much to do with this issue anyway. If Fred Meyer reduces its local administrative presence it will be a lot more like Walmart in its impact on Oregon's economy.

    But just a warning. Fred Meyer has had a lot more land around its headquarters than it needed for a long time and excess office space in their headquarters complex. So if you have heard they are selling off parts of that, it doesn't necessarily translate to any reduced presence in Oregon.

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    Land within the UGB ranges from $200,000 to $450,000 per acre, so it is a pretty large discrepancy. As far as Fred Meyers/Wal Mart et al, it is hard to see how it is relevant to a Measure 37 discussion.

  • jim karlock (unverified)
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    OK, land is $5,000 per acre outside and up to $450,000 inside. That is $445,000 difference. That is also a price we pay for having an artificial shortage of land.

    Let's see: 5000 sq ft = .11 acre, so a 5000 ft lot pays $50,000 extra because of the artificial shortage of land.

    Maybe this is the first place we should look when we wonder why Portland housing is un- affordable.

    ie: THE GOVERNMENT IS SCREWING THE POOR AGAIN. THIS TIME IT IS PRIMARILY THE DEMS.

    Good going guys. Time to admit that the laws of economics still work.

    thanks JK

  • jim karlock (unverified)
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    Big Al Feb 24, 2006 5:18:58 PM Ross, By the way, I checked the numbers and there has been a 500,000 acre reduction in land in farm use Statewide from 1997 to 2002. Harvested cropland has dropped by 100,000 acres over the same period. JK: Do we know why? I see two opposite possibilities: Urban growth boundry expansion. Quit farming un- profitable lands.

    Oh, and a third: conversion to a certain cash crop that it is unwise to report to authorities.

    Thanks JK

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    "Land within the UGB ranges from $200,000 to $450,000 per acre, so it is a pretty large discrepancy."

    The price of land on Manhattan is even higher. You are comparing apples and oranges.

    "As far as Fred Meyers/Wal Mart et al, it is hard to see how it is relevant to a Measure 37 discussion."

    The question was why we need to protect our productive agricultural land. Agriculture brings money into the state, Fred Meyer moves money around within the state, Walmart takes money out of the state. So eliminating farms to buld Walmarts will make the state poorer while giving an individual property owner a small windfall. And that is what Measure 37 is about.

  • Tammy and Anthony brotton (unverified)
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    the bill was sponsored by senator gary George and the judge withheld it and withheld the votes of the will of the people a Judge should never withhold things from the legislature it takes the judge and a legislature to make this state run smoothly. TandT

  • Tammy Brotton (unverified)
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    I am sure being a farmer himself Senator Gary George understands the farmers needs a republican who sponsored the bill and if Senator Jason Atkinson gets elected as Guv he will give the will of the peoples votes to their Guv back to the people not to be just used during an election time year. TandT for Senator Jason Atkinson for guv 2006

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    In response to Ross, I'm not comparing apples and oranges. I am comparing land values on adjacent parcels. You are the one interjecting Manhattan into a discussion of Oregon land issues.
    I am utterly unconvinced that your Wal Mart discussion is at all relevant to Measure 37. I think people in the blue areas of Oregon tend to villanize Wal Mart without much thought. It is an easy applause line in front of the choir, but rarely stands up to any scrutiny.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    In response to Ross, I'm not comparing apples and oranges. I am comparing land values on adjacent parcels.

    You are comparing urban land that has sewer, water and urban services with agricultural land that doesn't. I thought your orginal point was that there was a surplus of agricultural land and the low values were an indication of that. But, in fact, $5000 an acre for agricultural land is not a low value at all - its a high value. And they can get that value for it because it is a highly productive industrial facility that brings a lot of money into the state.

    I am utterly unconvinced that your Wal Mart discussion is at all relevant to Measure 37.

    I wasn't discussing Walmart, I was comparing the value to Oregon's economy of a traded sector industry like agriculture with the value of a national retail chain store. As I said above "eliminating farms to build (Ikea) will make the state poorer while giving an individual property owner a small windfall. And that is what Measure 37 is about."

    Satisfied?

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    Ponchopdx makes a good point: for the common people and not the deep thinkers of this blog, a major reason that M37 passed is that social engineering of our land use laws such as the "compost pile" issue in someone's backyard was never addressed by LCDC and 1000 Friends. I was fined for having a 3'x3'x 2' brush/limb pile after a winter's collection. I couldn't build a house I designed because I placed the front door more than six ft. back from the garage plane so that I could save a tree with a court yard surrounding the tree (violation of Portland'Snout House regulations). Or the client in Lake Oswego that has to pay over $7T dollars to accomplish a "design review" for a 15ftx 10 ft addition. These things add up and surely doesn't reach the intellect of this blog.

    Barnhart's comment "M37 is just another step down the road of rich getting richer" is a sad statement. It is an extreme simplification of M37 consequences with no factual evidence. If he reviewed the 2500 M37 filings so far, he would find that a large majority of the claims are not the "rich getting richer". And, besides, is this class warfare?

  • Big Al (unverified)
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    You are comparing urban land that has sewer, water and urban services with agricultural land that doesn't. I thought your orginal point was that there was a surplus of agricultural land and the low values were an indication of that. But, in fact, $5000 an acre for agricultural land is not a low value at all - its a high value. And they can get that value for it because it is a highly productive industrial facility that brings a lot of money into the state. Wow! That there's an impressive string of nonesense. I didn't make the low land value argument indicating surplus of land, but that is a valid point, or at least it was when I took Econ 101. If you don't think $5,000 per acre isn't a low value, then I would challange you to find any other use that has a lower value. Certainly no urban use. Actual highly productive industrial land is worth at least $220,000 per acre. By the way, IKEA will likely bring more money into this State than all of the agriculture in Washington County. As a State without a sales tax, selling goods to neighboring states is a basic industry locally. How it makes the State poorer I will leave it for you and your bong to ponder.

  • LT (unverified)
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    This was the question: a major reason that M37 passed is that social engineering of our land use laws such as the "compost pile" issue in someone's backyard was never addressed by LCDC and 1000 Friends. I was fined for having a 3'x3'x 2' brush/limb pile after a winter's collection. I couldn't build a house I designed because I placed the front door more than six ft. back from the garage plane so that I could save a tree with a court yard surrounding the tree (violation of Portland'Snout House regulations). Or the client in Lake Oswego that has to pay over $7T dollars to accomplish a "design review" for a 15ftx 10 ft addition.

    But why was Measure 37 the answer?

    Did voters in other parts of the state really support Measure 37 because of regulations in Portland or Lake Oswego?

    It is like the saying about the difference between a scalpel and a chainsaw.

    I graduated from high school in Carmel, CA, and the abovementioned regulations are nothing in comparison. There were concrete reasons Clint Eastwood ran for Mayor (in a place where famous people settle because a movie star going into a hardware store to buy garden hose is treated like a customer looking for garden hose, not like a movie star--there are so many famous people who live there). He bought the downtown property formerly owned by a famous nursery but the owner retired, and he wanted to build an office next to a restaurant. He had to go to court to get in writing what he could do and if he did it there would be no more hassles with regulators. The most ridiculous rule when he decided to run for mayor was not allowing people to eat ice cream cones on the sidewalk because they might drip and cleanup would be a problem in that tourist town.

    He didn't sponsor a statewide measure, he did the hard work of being mayor and getting a friendly city council elected.

    Now that 37 is found constitutional, there are implementation lawsuits still pending. That means nitty gritty details. And if there is a ruling about the wording of 37 not saying what some who voted for it thought it said, that is not the fault of "deep intellects" on a blog. If, for instance, there is a ruling that neighbors DO have the right to contest what someone filing a Measure 37 claim does to their land value, that is not the fault of "deep intellects on this blog". If the AG ruling is upheld, and you don't like the ruling, vote for someone else next time.

    But the campaign is over. It is time for implementation. 1037 did not pass before the court decision. Let's have the transferability debate, incl. why it was not part of the original measure.

    But stop the rhetoric. Work to have the measure implemented the way you want it implemented, but be aware others have different points of view. And if a ruling on down the line is that fees can be raised to pay for compensation, or that the actual wording of the measure doesn't say what some advocates claim it said, screaming "class warfare" will not change those rulings.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    If you don't think $5,000 per acre isn't a low value, then I would challange you to find any other use that has a lower value.

    You can find all sorts of land for a lot less than $5,000 per acre in this country. As I recall, I recently saw 40 acres of land south of Burns that was offered for sale for $4000 - total.

    Actual highly productive industrial land is worth at least $220,000 per acre.

    And what does industrial land "produce"? There is no doubt agriculture requires a lot of land - that's why we have land use laws to protect it. Nor is there any doubt that industrial land with urban services in Portland costs a lot more per acre. Once again you are comparing apples and oranges. But that game can be played both ways. That land out south of Burns could be "industrial land", but it probably isn't going to produce much as agricultural land.

    By the way, IKEA will likely bring more money into this State than all of the agriculture in Washington County.

    Not hardly, but your point is correct. Ikea is a bad example, but then it isn't being built on farmland either. I should have stuck to Walmart ...

    It doesn't change the fact that Measure 37 will allow someone to make a small windfall by taking developed, productive agricultural land that generates a net income to the state and build houses or retail on it that take money out of the state.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    LT: I gave examples that helped make my point. Foregive me that they were only from the Portland metro area. If you want I can give you examples from throughout the state where I have worked. The point is that it is the seemingly small things that you can even say have no obvious direct connection to M37, that ensured M37's passage. People not even in the business of "regulations, codes, etc," will personally or through friends, relatives, etc. have a story similar to my examples that affected M37's outcome. And LT, they are not stupid, or don't understand the issues.

    Since I have represented two M37 claims, I can attests to the fact that neighbors, even neighborhood associations are contacted about the filing, given written and hearing opportunities to respond on the claim, contrary to some of the comments bloggers have stated. Some of the above comments are made without knowing what is really happening at the ground level on the M37 claim process.

    You also make the assumption that many of us haven't tried the "fine tuning route". I wish I could charge you for all the hours I have personally spent trying to "fine-tune" so that we didn't have to get to the point of M37. And there are many others like myself.

  • Jerry (unverified)
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    LT: I forgot to mention that "transferable rights" is a part of M37. If you read the measure it includes the words "land use decisions" and etc. All of our state zoning codes down to the county, city level acknowledge that the transfer of ownership is a "land use decision" or "action". It is the same as a property recieving a "variance" (a land use decision) that allows, for example the increase lot coverage to exceed the code requirement. When the property is sold that given variance is transferred; the increased lot coverage isn't required to be torn down before it can be sold. Hardy Myers "Opinion" is only an opinion and it will be contested if it is used by any gov. jurisdiction that attempts to hinder a "transfer of ownership".

  • Jack Rinn (unverified)
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    I worked on SB100 in 1973. For technical reasons it really does not become workable law of the land [Oregon] until 1985. When passed by Oregon and subsequently upheld by Oregon voters the new law had no history. The law was hailed with one-liners of apple pie and motherhood soundbites. It [SB100] would be the cure for everything from baldness to impotence. Now it has history and is being held up to accountability. Traffic is still a problem, property prices continue to climb, and a significant number of voters have seen friends, relatives, neighbors, themselves, or read and heard about those bit by an extreme law. Meaningless propaganda one-liners crafted to be taken as "the truth" after being hearing 3-times are being questioned. Example: "urban sprawl", what is this? I think it is what a developer says of the other developer's project.

    Sure 37 was and is extreme. Someone said it is a bazooka to a fly. I would say it was a limb being amputated because of ganggreen. If typically spineless politicians can cure the decease and do, then good, but if not the limb must be amputated!

    In 1973 the new law was hailed as the way of the future for all of America. Since then in 33-years not one state followed, and for good reason.

    And, it did not save farm land; frankly it was never designed to do so. This was one of those one-liner apply pie and motherhood hogwash sound bites. Unders Oregon's law we protect the poison oak covered hillsides with 3-inches of soil outside of Medford, so we can build houses on ancient river loam adjacent to the city as it expands.

    Good revisions of the current state of affairs could take place, but I don't expect it!!!

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