Property Rights hero Dorothy English Passes Away

By Oregonians In Action.

Dorothy English, the “poster child” for property rights in Oregon, passed away Thursday at the age of 95.

Mrs. English gained statewide notoriety for her long battle to regain the rights to use her property that were taken by the State of Oregon and Multnomah County. She served as a spokesperson for Ballot Measure 37 (2004), the landmark property rights measure approved by Oregon voters in 2004, and was the first person to file a Measure 37 claim. Eventually, Mrs. English secured a $1,150,000 judgment against Multnomah County for the loss to the value of her property caused by Multnomah County regulations.
To date, Multnomah County has not paid the judgment, and the case is on appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Dorothy leaves behind a daughter and son-in-law and many grandchildren. She touched the lives of many Oregonians, who will all miss her dearly.

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Posted by at 10:28 | Posted in Measure 37 | 25 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Steve Plunk

    Justice delayed is justice denied. It’s sad this poor lady’s final years were spent battling a government that should have been serving her. I doubt any of those bureaucrats are hanging their heads in shame the way they should be.

    Our elected leader should be asking why citizens hatred of government is growing. The plight of people like Dorothy English is one reason.

  • Chris McMullen

    The Mean girls of Hawthorne finally got what they wanted. Sad and sickening.

    • Tim Lyman

      May they all rot in hell.

  • Ronald McMoney

    Finally we will hear the end of it, the whining and bemoaning of the will of Oregon Voters. Measure 37 is gone people, time to May Dorothy rest in peace.

    • jim karlocik

      Buy you had to lie to the people to get it repealed. Do you really think that is the way government should behave?

      Just like you lied to the people about: Smart growth, High density and Light rail

      Here is what the Orange county grand jury said about light rail:
      • Light rail will have negligible impact on traffic congestion because it attracts few automobile drivers from their cars.

      • Demographic trends will make light rail much less effective than predicted by planners.

      • Light rail is expensive. The most cost-effective, federally funded systems have required subsidies of $5,000 and more
      per new ride. New rides are those riders brought out of their cars and into the transit system.

      • Light rail is inflexible once in place. The OCTA’s bus system routes are adjusted three times a year.

      • Light rail cost and ridership forecasts will be erroneous and biased in favor of light rail.

      • Light rail will not spur development. Development along light rail corridors is spurred by tax subsidies, not light rail.

      • Light rail will not improve commuter travel times, energy conservation and safety.


  • Jason Williams

    Well I guess the only people who can ever get a land-use permit approved for a takings are Oregon teenage landowners who can outlive the bureaucracy.

    Dorothy was a lady for whom the whole state owes gratitude.

  • devietro

    Its a sad day, I will make sure to bring this up at the State College GOP convention this weekend. It is sad that as I look at the conservative movement we have had a rough couple of months. From Bill Buckley to Charleton Heston and now Dorthy. Another scary thing is some of our most effective leaders are getting up their in age.

    • dean

      Steve…I dis not know that “citizen’s hatred of government is growing.” What is your evidence for that assumption?

      For Chris (who is not talking to me,) you mean to say they wanted Dorothy dead? Or did they just want to prevail politically? There is a difference.

      Diveitro…it happens. People age and they pass on. If you are a young Republican, your larger problem is that your age cohort is strongly listing in the other direction. You could be in for a long period in the wilderness, which Buckley is famous for having weathered, so batten down the ideological hatches.

      • Steve Plunk


        My evidence is the voices of friends and neighbors who complain how much the government takes and how little it gives in return. Listen and you will hear the same across the country.

        • dean

          Steve…fair enough. One source that might be of interest is the PEW center, which polls regularly on these sorts of questions. An interesting set of findings is at:

          • Steve Plunk

            I don’t put a great deal of faith in polls like this. Questions can be framed in ways to elicit certain answers and respondents can answer in ways to make themselves look more compassionate.

            I did notice that more Americans “feel increasingly estranged from their government” according to the study. I still wouldn’t put too much into that. The real numbers are probably higher.

      • dian

        Dean, my evidence is myself. I find our government disgusting. Especially in Oregon.

      • jim karlocik

        *JK:* Here is some evidence for you. The people of your own city passed, by over 70% margin in each case, the following:

        1. No tax increase without a vote of the people.
        2. No use of eminent domain to give land to a developer or other third party.
        3. If the government takes value from your land – they have to compensate you.

        Sad to say, I got the impression that you disagree with these concepts.


        • dean

          Jim…yes, I was in the distinct minority who voted no on the 3 local charter changes. My analysis is that we may have cost ourselves $2 billion in lost property value just to make a political point. A circular firing squad.

          • jim karlocik

            *jk:* But aren’t you in favor of the government recovering such “givings” so the the lucky landowners don’t get an undeserved windfall?

            Besides, shouldn’t we be moving people out of low density areas like Damascus and putting them within the urban containment area, instead of enlarging the urban containment area to lay waste to pristine areas like yours?

            Don’t you really believe that we should be opening up more land for wildlife in totally natural areas? I’m sure you wouldn’t mind doing you part by giving your land over to such a higher cause (without compensation, of course) and moving into one on those nice new condos ins downtown Portland. Think of all the energy you will save by walking and biking EVERYWHERE and confining your travels to where you can bike and walk.

            Thing of all the CO2 you will save.


  • Rupert in Springfield

    Huh, I checked out the link.

    Weird, it looks like, according to the poll, attitudes have been shifting Democratic since 1987.

    Huh, how strange. You know, with everything going their way in that time, how did they lose congress?

    Hey wait a second Wally, I mean, how come Clinton never got a majority of the vote?

    Hey, hey, wait a second again.

    How come Democrats had to run fairly conservative candidates to gain control of congress? How come Pelosi cant get anywhere on troop withdrawal? Or S-CHIP? And how come in an election that should be a walk for the Democrats, its now looking like a really old and cranky Republican has tied up the race for the presidency?

    I’m so confused…. I’m so confused……

    Hello God, its me Margaret.

    Can you hear me God? Please help unconfuse my mind. Make it so I don’t ever have to live in a logical world. Make it so my every conclusion can be drawn on feelings, intentions and not logic and result? Can you do that for me God? Can you make it so everyone spends their money on things I want for others, so I don’t have to feel guilty? Can you make it so I don’t have to provide for myself so I can do whatever I want and others have to worry about the drudgery of providing for me?

    • dean

      I read it as Republicans peaking in the early-mid 90s. Recall that Gore got more votes than Bush, and that Kerry only lost by a small amount to a sitting president during a war. No 9-11 no Bush 2nd term.

      Clinton was in a 3 way race on both occasions, and the independents split their votes. What is the mystery?

      There are enough Republicans left to block the S-Chip Veto override by a few votes in the house. And there just isn’t any Congressional power other than yanking the money to change the Iraq war. Yanking money from troops in the field is a shaky proposition, so Bush gets to keep on keeping on until January. And if McCain wins he will keep on keeping on for at least 4 more years.

      McCain, old crank that he is has a lot of cross-over appeal. Had Romney of the Huckster been nominated, the dems could have nominated me and won. Well…maybe not that.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Oh well, I suppose no matter what evidence is given, you will believe what you want and slap the usual excuses on it.

        So, wow, the country is trending more liberal. This is why Hil is trying to portray herself as churchgoing and pro gun.

        Dream on.

        You would think that with virtually every major newspaper, all the networks, plus CNN, MSNBC on your side, plus this supposedly huge Democratic trend over the years you guys could actually override a veto or even just simple policy of a lame duck president with approval ratings around those of Nixon during Watergate.

        You cant, wonder why?

        • dean

          Rupert…what evidence? I missed something again.

          Hillary IS church going…as in a long standing Methodist who actually goes to church. Your point? And Obama is church going as well, though clearly you don’t like the church he goes to as you have stated on other occasions. Ds can’t win for losin on religion. God must love the Rs.

          I don’t know that Senator Clinton is trying to portray herself as “pro gun,” whatever that term means. Pro gun? How is someone for or against guns? One may be for or against unregulated or lightly regulated ownership of guns. I don’t know many politicians, including those on your side of the aisle, who are arguing for zero regulations, or total freedom for anyone to buy any type of weapon they want with no restrictions. Do you?

          By the way…Iraqis have had the right, dating back to Saddam, to own an AK 47…one per adult male in the household. That policy worked out pretty well no? Maybe we should try it here?

          No…I don’t wonder why the Ds in Congress can’t easily override presidential vetoes. Its a simple math problem really. They have a 1 vote majority in the Senate (if one counts Lieberman as a Democrat, which he is not on Iraq,) and they have a 20 something vote majority in the House, far short of enough votes for any override if the Rs hang together, which they usually do. Same problem the Rs had when Clinton was President by the way. And if the Ds re-win the House and Senate and Presidency in 08, the Rs will still be there with the fillibuster to block some things. maybe even expansion of SCHIP or other versions of expanded health insurance for Americans. And even if some things pass and get signed, the Conservative majority of the Supreme Court might strike some laws down. Its a messy, inefficient divided power system we have. But we muddle along somehow.

          Bush is a very lame, but very stubborn duck. Nixon was a dead duck.

          And did you know that some breeds of ducks lay more eggs per year (bigger and better eggs by the way) than chickens? And they eat garden slugs. A very underrated creature the domesticated duck.

  • cc

    The system is supreme and individuals are obstructions. Unless of course they’re in one of the favored categories.

    Organize, organize, organize.

    Complacency and naivete led to this state of affairs and nothing will change if WE don’t change it. The notion that ANYONE in government doesn’t act primarily in their own self-interest is absurd. They’re only human and that’s human nature. And one of those self-interest driven actions is the propagation of the fiction that their motives are altruistic. It’s PR, and the sooner people realize that, the sooner we can rein in the explosive growth of government. And the sooner that happens, the better.

    What happened to Dorothy English is a tragedy.

    We should all be ashamed.

  • Bo

    When all is said and done, we are lucky to have such a noble woman who refused to back down.

  • Anonymous

    Your analysis that the measures “may have cost ourselves $2 billion in lost property value just to make a political point” is complete garbage.

    The lost property value happened when set the 2040 plan and UGB was established.
    The phony UGB expansion Damascus is attempting to “master plan” is going no where. Just as Metro intended.
    You are a dishonest Metro hack.

    • dean

      Property values in this area were a pittance when the 2040 plan was adopted compared to now, so I have no idea what you are talking about but it is not land economics.

      In any case, Damascus voters were not asked to vote for or against the 2040 plan. It is one thing to have a bad idea (if it was that) imposed on you from above. It is another to impose a bad idea on yourself.

      And deal with this reality. Happy Valley approved the same “Metro” plan Damascus rejected, their land values are now double ours, and developers are already at work there. I’m not saying I like what they are building, but that is beside the economic point.

      • Anonymous

        We have never been asked to vote for or against the 2040 plan

        Beyond the field of dreams
        light rail and growth management in Portland
        G.B. Arrington, Jr.
        Director, Strategic Planning Tri-Met
        September 1996

        Regional Planning With Real Teeth

        Local governments have conspired with each other to raise the
        standard for regional planning to new unprecedented heights. To
        accelerate implementation of the Region 2040 Growth Concept and
        help maintain a tight urban growth boundary local governments came
        to Metro and asked them to prepare an early implementation strategy
        which would be binding on local governments. The “Urban Growth
        Management Functional Plan” was unanimously approved in July 1996
        by the Metro Policy Advisory Committee of local officials representing
        89% of the region’s population. The plan embraces the so
        called “Zero Option,” no expansion of the UGB.

        According to Metro Executive Mike Burton “Prior to this proposed
        functional plan, Metro and its partners had agreed in principle
        to the ideas contained within the growth concept. The functional
        plan puts those ideas into law and makes concrete, specific changes in
        how the region manages its growth. Never before in the country has
        that occurred, much less with this level of cooperation and spirit of
        regionalism.” Among other things the legally binding plan to be
        administered by Metro gives local governments 24 months to:

        • Accept regional 20 year growth targets for residential and

        •Change local plans to increase permitted densities to assure
        sufficient capacity to be consistent with the 2040 growth concept;

        • Adopt minimum residential densities — providing for no less
        than 80% of the permitted density;

        • Change local codes to provide for reductions in parking minimums
        and maximums consistent with regional standards to encourage
        more efficient use of land;

        • Manage the location of new “big box” retail, so that investment
        and reinvestment in retail commercial in existing centers
        are maintained and transportation impacts are minimized; and,

        • Raise levels of acceptable congestion on the road system in high
        density areas with good transit and / or pedestrian networks.

        pg 26 Beyond the Field of Dreams: Light Rail & Growth Management in Portland

        • dean

          Excuse me for missing your point. Are you saying we (in Damascus) did vote on the 2040 plan? What does the above post have to do with compaative land values in Damascus and Happy Valley?

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