We wonder why this Blog was overrun with folks praising the citizens of Oregon for passing Measure 37 in 2004, but

Not a peep when Measure 49 rolled back most of the provisions in 2007?

Turns out Measure 37 was in fact paid for by speculative owners outside the logical location of the Clear Edge.

And they were the majority of those who filed claims under Measure 37.

It was never about elderly ladies who lost their retirement savings.

As I recall that was our point at the time.


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18 responses to “JUST A QUESTION”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I noticed that, too.

    I don’t think it is correct to say that measure 49 rolled back most of the provisions in measure 37.

    What measure 49 apparently will do is take out some of the gross effects associated with building in truly valuable areas, but there is still a lot of law to be sorted out.

    For the most part, old Measure 37 claims had a two year life span anyway. If you did not make a claim in two years, your claim of past damage was moot. there were only a few thousand claims and only a few really big ones.

    The remainder of measure 37 reamains in force and has not been repealed. What that appears to mean is that any NEW environmental initiatives will still have to be paid for except where Measure 49 controls.

    As for the political funding, Both sides had plenty of out of state money, let alone outside the clear edge money. When measure 37 was passed it had a far smaller budget than the opposition. When Measure 49 was passed the opposite was true.

    “Turns out Measure 37 was in fact paid for by speculative owners outside the logical location of the Clear Edge.”

    Probably true, and we can probably equally say that measure 49 is supported by speculative owners inside the clear edge. They seek to increase their advantage at the expense of others.

    Both sides are wrong in this and neither side is correct in slamming it to the other. What is going on there is more of what you call the winner take all mentality.
    As you so often say, it IS a matter of properly evaluating the true locational costs.

    It was never ENTIRELY about elderly ladies who lost their retirement savings, but that was a true fact of the situation, and it was very real to her. It was also real to many others who suffered truly egregious losses that needed to be rectified.

    In fact, the original law creating this mess in the first place, had provisions for reparations in it, but those agreements were never supported, after the fact.

    Oregon is still seeking balance on this, but they are closer now than they were before measures 37 and 49.

    One thing that some Oregonians have learned is that in order to properly evaluate externalized costs, you need to have strong property rights.


  2. Anonymous Avatar

    I was mistaken: measure 49 also eliminates the possibility for future waivers based on new laws being enacted.

    The fact remains that measure 37 claimants who previously had nothing, now have at least something, depending on how far they progressed on their projects. If it alleviated a few really egregious problems, then it was worth while.

    It is also true that the state is re-evaluating it’s standards for valuable natural or agricultural lands.

    With 60+% in favor of measure 37 and 63% in favor of measur 49, it just looks Oregon is like Loudoun, the dust hasn’t settled yet.


  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    at least the citizens/taxpayers in Oregon have the opportunity to participate in the process and better understand the issues.

    Here in Virginia we get to watch the developers buy their favorite legislators…

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    I think some of it is the same, though. There is a heavy liberal element in the urban areas and a heavy conservative element in the rural areas. The rurals are out numbered. Some of the rules were designed when apples were still profitable in Oregon, times and economics have changed, but the rules haven’t.

  5. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Can someone please refresh me on what Measures 37 and 49 said?

  6. Alis Volat Propiis Avatar
    Alis Volat Propiis

    Anon 2:13 – Geographically support for M49 was much more of a patchwork than you imply. Not a strictly urban rural split. Also worth noting that the same day they passed this voters rejected the presumably liberal position of a cigarette tax hike by similar margins. Bottom line this was a common sense electorate enacting a common sense compromise measure.

    There’s an interesting resource for analyzing M37 claims at this link

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    In the late 60’s or 70’s Oregon passed some very stingent land use measures, intended to preserve the forest and farmland resources. As part of aagreement to pass that bill there was to be some compensation paid to those who had the value of their land substantially reduced under the new restrictions. That agreement was never honored.

    Over the intervening years, more and more restrictions were incrementally passed. People who had bought land to build their retirement homes suddenly couldn’t build. Family farms could not build homes for the children, etc.

    Some of the “takings” were extremely egregious, and over thirty years considerable animosity built up.

    Three or four years ago Mesure 37 was passed. Under the terms of measure 37 the legislature was prohibited from passing additional land use bills unless owners negatively affected by them were compensated. It meant that the legislature had to do real cost benefits analysis before they could toss in any more restrictions willy nilly.

    The bill also had a provision under which anyone who still owned land that was restricted under the original law could file for compensation. The state or locality had the option of paying or granting a waiver. This provision expired after two years, so a limited number of claims occurred.

    The bill was hotly contested by environmental groups, but it passed by a margin of over 60%. The environmental groups sued to have it overturned and lost, twice. As I recall, one judge was strongly on the environmentalists side and made a judgement that was so bad he was removed from the bench.

    Several thousand people got waivers under this plan, most for small or family developments. Some few developers put in for massive plans, seeing that this was their only chance.

    That, apparently, killed the goose that laid the golden egg, and it helped turn public opinion again.

    As a result, measure 49 was passed. Under measure 49 much of measure 37 was rolled back. It eliminates commercial uses, and limits family developments to 3 dwellings, where land is designated high value for agriculture. (This was a bone of contention, previously because thousands of acres of worthless farmland was designated as “high value”.)

    The measure requires that the applicant pay all attorneys costs, even if he wins. This is significant because everybody is suing everyone over every application.

    It requires that waivers be granted by the state, not the county where the action is planned.

    And it requires that you be “vested” in your measure 37 claim in order to proceed. There were many Lawsuits over measure 37, and the law was never clarified or settled. Some people filed a claim and then sat back to wait for the various issues to be settled. They will get short circuted by measure 49, if they didn’t actually start their project.

    And it eliminates the possibility of future waivers or payments based on new laws being passed, meaning that the state has returned to a system of blanket eminent domain as far as environmental, scenic, historic, or any other kind of land use designation the state wishes to make.

    Measure 49 passed by 63%, but it is not yet signed into law. More lawsuits. In an unusual move, and in contravention of other law, the legislature picked the title for measure 49 in order to make it seem more palatable. The title was a parody of the actual contents of the bill, and read as if tis pupose was the opposite of the actual intent.

    In part the tiles reads “Modifies measure 37 to give landowners with measure 37 claims the right to build homes as compensation for land use restrictions imposed after they acquired their properties…” In fact, as EMR notes it largely guts the rights measure 37 gave.

    The bill cost environmental groups over $2 million, whereas Measure 37 was passed with a budget of around $600,000, and was opposed with a budget of over $2 million. One of the major contributors (supporting 49) was (wealthy) Eric Lmuelson, who claimed that measure 37 claims threatened his vineyards and would limit his ability to expand. Speculators live on both sides of the fence.

    The interesting thing about it is that when the original law was passed, there was considerable argument about legislative “takings”. The environmentalists argued that no recompense was necessary since landowners should have known that the state might change a law at any time.

    Guess what their argument was when Measure 37 was enacted? People who bought land adjacent to land they thought was protected were suing over their loss of THEIR property value, just as the property rights persons had done previously. They said the government had no right to change the law, retroactively, which is exactly what they had done previously.

    For a while, it was hilarious to watch the sides argue in circles. It is happening again while Measure 49 is in Limbo.


    My opinion is that, either way, what is happening is wrong. Both sides have reasonable arguments about external costs, and neither side is willing to give an inch.

    You should be able to have a reasonable expectation of what you can do with your property. You should also have a reasonable expectation of what your neighbor can do with his. If the county is going to record the sale of the property, they should also include all the allowed and disallowed activities, make it a matter of public record, and then stand by their position. Then if the community or neighbor wants one of the sticks in the bundle, they can buy it, and have the sale recorded.

    Some counties have a kind of rural living affadavit that new residents must sign, that affirms they know about things like dust, noise, smells, slow moving ag equipment, lack of services, etc. etc. Such an affadavit is not so far removed from recognizing peoples rights and acting to defend them.


    I acknowledge the remark from Alis. I have not analyzed the returns, but only stated what was the conventional wisdom, and often quoted in the press.


  8. Alis Volat Propiis Avatar
    Alis Volat Propiis


    I didn’t think you guys trusted the mainstream media around here. Straight from the source…


    I think the numbers really highlight how nuanced some of this stuff is. Some of the counties that flipped from 37 to 49 have a strong presence in value-added ag while others who stayed in the same camp are more into low value row crops. Suburban swing counties have been hit hard by the bursting of the real estate bubble. Remember, 37 passed at the height of the real estate bubble when everyone could envision getting rich in real estate. Today? Not so much.

  9. RH –

    Your 4:45 post ought to win the Bacon’s Rebellion Prize for clarity.

    Well done.

  10. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    yup – agree… with caveat…

    Since RH is here and the dust-up is there is this his personal observations (probably not) or is it basically a compiled summary (from what sources?).

    In other words.. if you asked someone who lives there .. would they essentially give the same version?

    But yes.. give RH credit.. very clear and readable…

  11. Not Ed Risse Avatar
    Not Ed Risse

    Once again Ed Risse outs himself as the totalitarian property socialist he is.

    Thanks for the post Ed.

  12. I think pro 37 is just being quiet waiting for the shoe to drop. 49 was marketed with multi millions of dollars as the fix for the little old ladies who got short changed, after all the voters didn’t understand what they were voting for (please note snide tone of voice in last few words).

    I have a 37 claim, I also have a building permit, reviewed plans, a septic permit and a road permit (read driveway) but I’ve been having to sit on the side line waiting for a court ruling on verbage.

    I once again, have thousands of dollars invested in this little 5 acres of land, while trying to build one lone house. I have, within a 1/4 mile radius of the center of my parcel, 19 homes and a duplex (they pretend it’s for farm help but the help goes into town each morning and returns at the end of the day, can you say ‘rental’?).

    I firmly believe Oregon to be an evil place. DLCD (department of lies and continuous delays) has been working on the form/road blocks since before the passage of 49.

    Which I do believe passed by about the same % as 37, with the small addition of those who didn’t pay attention during 37.

    So, the quiet from the pro 37 people (myself included) shouldn’t be mistaken as we are just waiting for the dust to settle. DLCD and the State of Oregon is getting ready to steal from the little people again. When they do, we’ll be ready to point out the lies they promoted.

    After all the very first lie I was told was pre SB100 when they said my land wouldn’t be affected, funny…I was able to build then. After 37 the State, DLCD and the Sec. of State decided that certain ‘rules’ (not laws) needed to be retro-active, thus I’ve been waiting for the court rulings.

    I have the last parcel in my area NOT hosting a home. My neighbor is farming a tennis court. But we have to protect the farm land! You know, when I was growing up on this once family land, the bs was on the outside of the boots, sadly now, it’s on the inside.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    Debbie, thank you for one local view.


  14. Anonymous Avatar

    I suppose the “here and there” thing cuts both ways. Several of my comments were published in Oregon Newspapers at the time. I suspect it was because they showed a view from afar, and possibly because they showed some of the inconsistencies on both sides.

    My sources were primarily newspaper accounts and letters to the editors.


  15. Anonymous Avatar

    I seem to recall that the Oregon Legislature passed a special dispensation fo r the little old lady in question, because at her advanced age she was likely to die before the lawsuits were settled.


  16. Anonymous Avatar

    At 7:29 PM, “Not Ed Risse” said…

    “Once again Ed Risse outs himself as the totalitarian property socialist he is.”

    Sounds like this fellow “Ed Risse” is a bad apple for sure and anyone could see why you would want to be “Not Ed Risse.”

    By the way what is a “totalitarian property socialist” and what has “Ed Risse” ever written that would make a rational person think “Ed Risse” is one?

    Please be specific. We want to avoid such a terrible fate.

    Zoro and Zora

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    It seems that a “totalitarian property socialists” is one who thinks two thirds of the voters of Oregon made an intelligent choice the second time around.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    Actually they did not.

    If the costs were fairly allocated there would be no need for either proposition.

    Without fair allocation the second time around still leads to scattered urban land uses.

    A Oregon Voter

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