Hidden politics behind Metolius land-use battle

From Oregonians In Action

Governor Kulongoski signed HB 3298 into law at a signing ceremony near the Metolius River. The signing of HB 3298 marks the formal designation of the Metolius River as an “area of critical state concern,”
with rules established by LCDC.

The Governor’s signing ceremony reminded me of the need for a belated tip of the hat to Shaun Jillions, land use lobbyist for the Oregon Association of Realtors. While the debate raged on HB 3298 and the Metolius issue, the legislature was quietly advancing HB 2227, a bill which would have set very strict (and in many cases impossible) limitations on the siting of destination resorts throughout Oregon. The impacts of HB 2227 would have been far more devastating on a statewide basis than those imposed by the Metolius bill. I do not mean to minimize the impact that the Metolius bill had on those property owners who were negatively impacted, but HB 2227 affects the entire state.
While many of us opposed HB 2227 and testified in opposition to the bill, Shaun did the “heavy lifting” necessary to defeat the bill, working all the way until the last day of session before the bill officially died in a conference committee. Without Shaun’s efforts, I am certain HB 2227 would have passed, and many more property owners would be filing new Measure 49 claims to seek compensation for lost property value.

While the debate rages on about the impact of destination resorts to local economies and government services, I am pretty sure of one thing – with very few exceptions, land that sits idle contributes nothing to the economy, creates no jobs, and generates no tax revenue for government. In areas of the state with unemployment rates approaching 20% and “farmland” that hasn’t every been used for actual farming, it makes no sense to prohibit destination resorts. That would have been the law had HB 2227 passed, and thanks to Shaun’s hard work, that won’t be the case – at least for now.

Thank you Shaun.

Dave Hunnicutt

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Posted by at 07:50 | Posted in Measure 37 | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Anonymous

    I think any legislator who owns land, or is who is an immediately family member of someone who owns land, on or near the Metolius River should now be forced to surrender that property to the state.

    What were the real incentives of Johnson, Burdick, and Clem in so strongly supporting this bill?

    • Carla Axtman

      A better question is what was the incentive of the thousands of Oregonians, like me, who supported the Metolius protections?

      Perhaps if Oregon Catalyst were to spend some time outside the bubble of rightwing economic theory, it might begin to resonate with Oregonians.

      • Conscience of a Moonbat

        … just can’t resist the urge to ‘bat-crap on this blog every now and then. Ahhh. I feel much better now. Back to my leftwing echo-chamber.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >A better question is what was the incentive of the thousands of Oregonians, like me, who supported the Metolius protections?

        Well, probably because those thousands saw no cost to them and did it for the various warm fuzzy feelings not developing land brings to them. Not a lot new with that.

        • Carla Axtman

          Well, probably because those thousands saw no cost to them and did it for the various warm fuzzy feelings not developing land brings to them. Not a lot new with that.

          There’s a huge cost to us if these developments were to go forward. Not all costs are measured in dollars.

          This is why the rightwing echo-ness is so harmful to the conservative movement. Oregonians value the land for much more than the cash that can be squeezed from it. You can’t relate to us if you don’t find a way to deal with that.

  • Dave Hunnicutt

    This post was not focused on the Metolius bill. HB 2227 enacted destination resort policy statewide, an issue better left to local governments or LCDC.

    Carla – I agree that Oregonians value the land for more than its highest and best use, but they also value the right of the property owner to not bear the entire cost of new land use regulations that devalue private property – hence the passage of M37 and M49, both of which contain compensation requirements. One measure was pushed by my “side”, the other by “your side,” but both require payment of compensation to property owners for new land use regulations that devalue private property. Apparently, the majority of Oregonians (from both the right and the left) agree that property owners who wish to use their property for a use they paid for are not “squeezing” the cash out of it, or whatever negative metaphor is attached to their actions. Let it go – stop the hate! 🙂

    • Carla Axtman

      Dave: We won’t agree on 2227. I believe that destination resort policy in Oregon shouldn’t be a patchwork of policy. The impact on the land outside the borders of the landowners (and often the local government) on water and infrastructure is just too great.

      I agree that Oregonians value property rights a great deal. I apologize if I pulled comments to your post off-topic. Not my intention. 🙂

      But having spent two years on the Metolius issue, I’ve seen a lot of arguments about landowners and money and economics..and the motives of folks involved. Perhaps I’m a little over-sensitive after having been immersed in it as I have–but there does seem to be a fundamental dismissal by many conservatives of value of protecting Oregon resources unless there’s a monetary reward for the private sector.

      From my experience, this runs counter to the mindset of average Oregonians.

      Back to your regularly scheduled 2227 commentary. 🙂

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