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May 21, 2005

Send Oregon SB1037 back to committee.

[Sent to my state senator, Gary George 05/21/2005]

About two-thirds of Oregonians polled want both strong property rights and also strong protections for public interests in protecting farmland, a healthy environment and preserving wildlife habitat.

The only reasonable way to balance these is with good land use planning.  Land use planning has been good for Oregon's economy, good for our neighborhoods, and it protects family farms for farming while also saving wildlife habitat and precious water resources.

Polls of supporters of Measure 37 show it was a call for fair compensation for landowners particularly harmed by land use planning, primarly for personal home-building.  But it introduced extradordinary incursions into other values Oregonians hold on land-use.  It was not a vote for unrestrained sprawl across Oregon's farmland and landscapes.  It should not be used as an excuse to weaken safeguards that make Oregon a great place to live for all of us.

SB 1037 is well-intended, but it isn't well-balanced yet.  While it limits some Measure 37 claims, it gives away far more in exchange. SB 1037 will result in more lost farmland and more lost environmental values of clean water and air than simply implementing Measure 37.

SB 1037 doesn't protect the most valued farmland: vineyards, which have been a key engine of rural investment and growth in Oregon.  Without this protection, SB 1037 is a bad deal for Oregonians.

SB 1037 should instead focus on creating a fair compensation system, as the voters intended.  A workable system, modeled on programs in other states, proposes to use a small part of the windfalls some developers experience when property is moved inside an urban growth boundary in order to compensate those with valid Measure 37 claims.

Please vote to send SB1037 back to committee.  If that motion fails, please vote No on SB1037.

May 18, 2005

Re: Property rights, farm preservation top concerns [Capital Press]

[Submitted to the Capital Press 05/18/2005]

To the Editor:

After reading the actual poll results on Oregonian's land-use values referred to in your story "Property rights, farm preservation top concerns", I beg to differ with your emphasis on some sort of greater support to property rights that would validate Measure 37.

The survey showed as strong support (within sampling error) for farmland protections, the environment and wildlife habitat (all "public goods") as for "private rights".

Continue reading "Re: Property rights, farm preservation top concerns [Capital Press]" »

Land-use values in Oregon survey

Recently the Oregon Business Association commissioned a study with the PSU Institute of Metropolitan Studies to survey "Oregonians Values and Beliefs about Land Use".
  The powerpoint is here.
  And the full report is here.

The report's opening summary of values shows clearly that any significant progress in reforming land-use laws in Oregon requires a more sophisticated and inclusive approach than Measure 37: the top 4 values each have support of a substantial majority of Oregonians ... in fact those four are in a statistical tie (within the margin of error of 4.5% of each other):

  • Protecting the rights of property owners
  • Protecting farmland for farming
  • Protecting the environment
  • Protecting wildlife habitat

Continue reading "Land-use values in Oregon survey" »

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