Dorchester Debate #2: Measure 37 moratorium

If you are not at Dorchester you are missing all the fun. If you can’t be there you still can offer your commenst on the hot topics they will be debating. Below are the pro-con of their four debate topics, please feel free to drop us your comment.

Resolved: The Dorchester conference recommends referral to voters a referendum clarifying and correcting certain provisions in Ballot Measure 37 which have led to consequences not intended by voters when Ballot Measure 37 was adopted.

Under the guise of a little old lady who lived on a hill, developers, real estate speculators, and builders convinced Oregon voters to adopt Ballot Measure 37. Now is the time to restore Oregon’s one-of-a-kind land use system which preserves Oregon’s rural farm and forest lands and prevents unsightly urban sprawl. When Oregonians passed Ballot Measure 37, they intended to correct a minor flaw in the land use system whereby small land owners such as Dorothy English sought to build a second residence on their land for family and other reasonable uses. However, claims by, or associated with, large developers, speculators and corporations have outpaced claims by small land owners by a margin of 6-1. Billions of dollars are at stake with no consideration for land preservation. Voters from around the state feel cheated and misled by Ballot Measure 37. Many who voted in favor of the law out of compassion for folks like Dorothy English now realize they’ve been hoodwinked by big business. Under the proposal above, the Legislature can stop horrific and irreversible damage to Oregon’s rural landscape while preserving reasonable and fair claims by small landowners. It’s simply the right thing to do.


Yet again, our “representative” government is out to flaunt the will of the voters. Ballot Measure 37 was overwhelmingly passed by Oregon voters in 2004 and is the law in Oregon. Rather than acceding to voters wishes and establishing the proper means to process claims under Ballot Measure 37, state and local government is now doing whatever it can to break the law. Ballot Measure 37 is very simple — if you were allowed to do something on your property when you bought it, you must be allowed to do it now, or be paid reasonable compensation for the loss in value to your property. The Framers of both the Oregon and United States Constitutions recognized this fundamental principle and Ballot Measure 37 merely re-confirms this principle as the law of the State, a law passed by over 65% of voters. Not only does this proposal represent bad public policy, it is also unconstitutional. The Oregon Court of Appeals has already stated that under certain circumstances, claims under Ballot Measure 37 vest property owners with a property right for Constitutional purposes. Passage of this proposal will violate the property rights of thousands of people who have made Ballot Measure 37 claims and lead to costly and burdensome litigation. But there is no need for that. By processing claims reasonably and fairly, the rights of property owners in Oregon will be protected, which was exactly the intent of Ballot Measure 37.