Democratic Governor of Oregon Undermines Democratic Process

Filed under:Politics,Priorities,Wacky Oregon — posted by Anwyn on February 6, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

Oregon’s Democractic governor seeks to suspend the operation of a democratically voter-enacted law while he and his party in the legislature figure out how they’re going to abolish it. See, here in Oregon we have a lot of beautiful, scenic land. We also have a lot of garden-variety farmland that may or may not be useful to the landowner as farmland, but THAT’S BESIDE THE POINT, PEON! The point is, it’s scenic, and houses mar the scenery. So no, you may not simply put buildings on your land, willy-nilly. Or sell it to people who will put buildings on it. The government knows what the land needs, and buildings are not in the approved list.

At least, that’s how it was until Measure 37, which basically says that if a land-use restriction enacted after you buy property restricts your ability to do with your property as you wish, the government must compensate you for the loss of “fair market value” caused by the regulation or else exempt you from the regulation.

Not surprisingly, there are many, many claims for compensation and/or permission to enact changes that would otherwise violate the land-use restrictions. Even people who once thought the government should be restricting people’s use of their own property have now suddenly realized that they could lose money as well:

Gary Willis, a third-generation pear grower in Hood River County, says he initially liked land-use rules meant to reserve the country for commercial farming.

That was before he competed against cheap, imported fruit. Before he wondered whether his son could make a profit on the family’s 300-acre orchard.

You mean … you liked the restrictions until they affected you?

Never fear, Kulongoski is on the case. You pear farmers don’t know what’s good for you, and all these Measure 37 claims are bad for the land. We’ll just ease them off to the side of our desks until we can come up with a way to overturn a law enacted by popular ballot, otherwise known as “democratically.”

Welcome to Oregon! State motto: It’s our land, we just let you live on it. Barely.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace