Monday's Oregonian had a fascinating article about the impact of Measure 37 on Hood River County.
One key stat? There are Measure 37 claims totaling 10,600 acres -- eight times the land area of Hood River city.
As negotiations begin, Hood River is emerging as the perfect case study. No other county's Measure 37 dynamics speak so directly to Oregon's changing economy and lifestyle.
Like many farmers, Hood River orchard owners compete with inexpensive, imported produce. And they know fewer young people return to the family farm. Unlike their counterparts, however, Hood River growers are tantalizingly close to an influx of vacation homeowners, retirees and commuters seeking the area's sporty-chic vibe.
Critics say Measure 37 could ruin the very qualities that attract people to Hood River, including one of the state's signature crops. They point to a pockmarked map of claims, urging legislators to suspend Measure 37 while they negotiate a compromise.
"The way it's written now, there will be no agriculture in this valley," says Gorham Blaine, a 36-year-old farmer who's part of the conservation-oriented Hood River Valley Residents Committee. He fears fellow farmers will quit investing in equipment and crops if housing becomes a real possibility.
There's also a broader piece in the O about the legislature's entry into the Measure 37 fray:
Everybody has an opinion about what the Oregon Legislature should do to the state's two-year-old property rights law.
Simplify development. Complicate development. Limit development. Take a timeout from Measure 37. Leave it alone. Give counties and state agencies more time to process the thousands of applications that poured in before a December cutoff for a more basic process.
A special committee will wade into the chaos starting Tuesday, with the goal of negotiating a compromise by early April.
Everybody has an opinion? Share yours here. Discuss.