Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

Oregon’s once proud and independent agriculture industry has relegated itself to the status of a spoiled child. Not content with the enormous public and private subsidies the industry already receives, it is screaming for more. An industry that was once a symbol of American can-do has become the country’s largest welfare case.

The agriculture industry is by far the most heavily subsidized industry in the state and country. Direct subsidies include ridiculously low taxes on agricultural land and water and electricity rates only a small percentage of those paid by residential or industrial users. The agriculture industry is further indirectly subsidized by taxpayers in the forms of low or no cost housing for ag workers and benefits from social programs for low income workers. But all that is not enough for this whining child.

As voters were approving Measure 37 by a 61% margin, its opponents, including the some members of the Ag industry, were whining that it was all about greed. Now they claim that Measure 49 is all about balance and equity. They have it exactly backwards.

Measure 37 was about providing equity to Landowners who had been robbed of their property rights under SB100 and other legislation. In 1973 Republicans agreed to go along with Democrats and pass SB100 on the condition that when the legislature returned in two years, the issue of compensation for landowners was addressed. The Democrats broke their word and kept the issue off the floor. Politicians and special interests argued that since 100% of the property’s value had not been taken it wasn’t really a taking and sleazy activist judges agreed. It took over thirty years and two ballot measures, but a small percentage of those landowners who lost their rights under SB100 (those who had not subsequently sold their land or died) finally had them restored under Measure 37.

The second Measure 37 passed an alliance of opponents of property rights and greedy, self-serving individuals and their representative organizations began to craft a repeal.

Many farmers farm on leased land. A very small portion of that leased farmland has had the same ownership since before SB100 was passed, which means its owners are eligible to file a Measure 37 claim for either compensation or development rights. Almost everyone eligible for a Measure 37 claim is old – remember, almost all of them had to have had their land since before 1973 to qualify for a Measure 37 claim. Many of these people would probably want to develop their land to provide security for their old age and security for their families. If they can’t develop the land, their only option is to keep farming (a tough and dangerous job at any age, not something a lot of folks want to spend their golden years doing) sell cheap, or to lease the land to someone else. Greedy farmers, nurserymen and vintners support Measure 49 because it preserves their ability to purchase and/or keep using someone else’s land at rates far below market value.

Farmers, nurserymen and vintners who claim measure 49 is about anything other than enriching themselves at the expense of others are lying through their teeth.

I have always gone out of my way to purchase Oregon grown agricultural products. I will now go out of my way to avoid purchasing Oregn agricultural products.

  • John Fairplay

    There is a real tendency among agriculture – particularly members of the Oregon Farm Bureau – to want to have their cake and eat it too. They want farmland to be protected from development, but scream bloody murder if they can’t build a house for themselves and then one or two more so their children can live on the land. They want farmland to be cheap to buy and have low property taxes so they can make a profit farming, but when they retire or die they want the land to be expensive so they can live the high life or leave an estate. It’s probably time to let a little free market sunshine – and dog-eat-dog competition – into farming in Oregon.

  • Dan

    When you combine the hypocracy that our corporate farming community exhibits on Measure 49, and combine it with the blind eye they turn to the illegal immigration problem…I think we need to reassess the relationship that conservatives have with “agriculture”.


    I know a guy who is paid yearly to not fam on 40 acres of land by the government each year. He inherited the land and subsidy, when he dies he can pass both on to his daughter…………that’s just crazy!

    He’s allowed to have in trimmed 3 times a year but the grass must be left on the ground and no animal grazing allowed (just in case you were curious).


      One clarification, this persons land is in Idaho. I was commenting on the over all foolishness many subsidy programs not necessarily on the ones mentioned above.

  • Jack Roberts

    Wow! Burning bridges to the future now, are we? If we’ve reached the point where honest disagreements on issues like land use planning and immigration mean we can’t still work together on other issues then we really have handed our future over to people with whom our disagreements are far more pervasive and intractable.

    By the way, most Oregon farmers do not grow crops that are subsidized and the so-called property tax advantage most of them receive is to have their land taxed based on the value of its actual use. Most of the examples and anecdotes cited above really don’t apply to Oregon farmers.

    • eagle eye

      I guess the Oregon Catalyst types want to alienate the farmers too! I guess they’re doing so well in Oregon politics that they can afford to do without them.

    • Ted Kennedy’s Liver

      Ah, I see. When the pro 49 folks promote their agenda by attacking the anti 49 folks it’s “honest disagreement,” but when the anti 49 folks strike back its “burning bridges.”

    • carol

      I question whether Oregon farmers are growing food crops primarily Nymore, however some are planting wheat again, since the price is up. It’s pretty hard to make a meal out of grass seed, nursery products, or wine. Well, scratch wine, many like wine with their steak, (cattle). Some organic vegetables are grown, but most of the row crops are no longer planted.

  • Tim Trickey

    It has been painfully clear over the past decade I have spent in politics that the few large agricultural interests who control most of the agricultural land in this state have no interest in doing anything other than protecting their own pocketbooks.

    While the tenants of capitalism dictate that they follow their own self-interest (in spite of what is “right” or fair), I have decided to exercise my own power as a consumer to say “no thanks” to any of the businesses and producers who supported Measure 49.

    I’m not so naive to assume this will make a tangible difference to any of these farmers/land barons, but I can’t stomach the idea of giving my blessing (and my dollars) to support businesses and industry groups who seek to overturn private property rights. Twice the people of Oregon voted overwhelmingly for “just compensation” when an act of government devalued their property and inflicted some sort of financial loss related to their actions.

    Twice, we were told that this measure would destroy our state, “place strip-malls in rural areas”, “pave over prime farmland”, etc… The people of Oregon are not as stupid as our legislative body (Democrat-controlled) thinks they are. The campaigns for both Measure 7, and Measure 37 were extensively argued in the public sphere, and what was the response? Overwhelming support for restoring rights or compensating in cases where granting these rights may not have made sense.

    The blatant, irrefutable truth is; big agricultural interests love our land-use system that devalues small tracts of land and leaves them unusable for anything other than commercial farming. That way they can buy them up *cheaply* and expand their larger agricultural interests. Small family farms are disappearing, and our agricultural is growing more and more consolidated; often by multi-national corporations that have no national loyalty, some who pursue anti-American stances like “open borders” and unfettered “free trade”.

    Even worse than these big agricultural producers, who we would expect to act this way, are the small Oregon wineries… They came in late in Oregon’s history, taking advantage of the “devalued farmland” that resulted from LCDC’s designations. Now, since they don’t want to see homes going up in their “view”, or don’t want to have to worry about sharing water or road-building affecting their “ambience”, they are willing to openly thwart the will of the voters of this state, and even engage in deceit to protect their own pocketbooks.

    As much as I enjoy an Oregon Pinot Noir, I will no longer be buying a single bottle from any vineyard who supported M49. It’s too bad, because their grapes and vino is probably superior to the swill I will have to drink from California. But sometimes following your principles is painful.

    • chris McMullen

      Don’t forget, Tim; all the run-off and pollutants these vineyards create. Those who think M49 is better for the environment are deluded and ignorant. Meanwhile, Eric Lemelson is laughing all the way to the bank.

      P.P. I think you should bag Pinot Noir all together. Try the great syrahs from Australia and Cabs from Chile — I like them a lot better than a sour-apple Pinot.

    • carol

      A-A-A-MEN, amen, amen!!!

  • Dan

    Let’s not get carried away, Jack. Honest disagreements are a valued part of civil discourse. However, if my neighbor set my house on fire and vandalized my car, I would probably be hesitant to loan him my power tools.

    We need to determine what our principles are. I’m not afraid of genuine compromise when it comes to getting work done, but being continually undermined by a group that is just shopping around for the best deal…only to criticize us for the right to question the nature of our relationship. Well, that isn’t compromise….that’s flat-out pandering. And it seems to be coming with an increasingly steep price.

  • dean apostol

    As a liberal, you can’t imagine my delight in reading this article and exchange. Yes “conservatives,” send the farmers back to us, where they were from the early part of the 20th century through WW2.

    But who are these “big farmers” you rail about exactly? Yes, Oregon’s land use system was designed to hold down the value of farm land to its value for farming rather than its value for subdividing. When this system went into effect there was not a lot of difference in farm vs rural subdivision land value, but there is now. And this growing disparity has built a lot of pressure to tear down the system, particularly by landowners near urban growth boundaries who can most capatalize on the value that the system has largely created. And who can blame them?

    But if you go to one of the dozens of farmer’s markets that have opened in recent years, you will discover that it is small, independent, family farmers who benefit from the low land value that allows them to grow food and sell it to us. Big and middle scale farmers also benefit. But I don’t see evidence that they benefit more or less than the small dudes.

    But I’m still curious. What is it about M49 that so bothers “conservatives?” Shouldn’t conservatives want to help conserve something other than the right to develop rural lands into large scale subdivisions? And if M49 allows up to 80% of the existing M37 claims to at least have a decent chance of going forward, isn’t that a reasonable compromise? Does it have to be all or nothing?

    My theory is that M37, though advertised as a fair way to help the little guy against mean government, has all along been a Trojan Horse intended to knock the legs out from Oregon’t land use system. The key to this system is holding tight urban growth boundaries, and M37 blows a big hole through the biggest UGB in the state, that of the Portland Metro area.

    Neither side wants to have the real debate, which should be, after 34 years, is this the system we want? Is it too bureaucratic? Does it force us to live closer together than we want to? Does it create a only a few winners and many losers? Or on balance, is it doing what we want it to do? What substantive hanges should we make?

    • Steve Plunk

      I’ll bite on the debate.

      No it’s not the system we want. Two ballot measures have shown most of the state sees the present system as fundamentally unfair. A close look at the system shows many shortcomings and rent seeking abuses.

      It is too bureaucratic. Almost any Oregonian will support that statement. From simple changes to expansions of UGB’s to the endless appeals processes the bureaucrats use the laws to protect their power and ensure their endless employment.

      Check the high price of large lots and how real estate agents play up large lots as a bonus and you will see we would prefer larger parcels with back yards and room for a garden. We don’t want to live so close together. I thought everyone knew that.

      As for winners and losers I see inflated real estate prices paid by consumers and enjoyed by developers as the answer to that. The many lose while a few win. You can’t blame the developers for market decisions created by government intervention into the free market.

      Many, including myself see this system as a complete failure.

      The substantial changes should include larger inventories of land to meet demand. Changes in burden of proof rules. Ombudsmen to represent landowners who can’t afford high priced consultants and attorneys to deal with heavy regulations. Penalties for abuses committed by government against landowners. A presumption of “right to build” in all applications and hearings. Compensation for all partial takings that diminish the value of land for the benefit of others. There are more but you get the picture.

      The debate has in fact been raging for years but the state has not been listening. Rather than approach this in the manner you suggest the Governor and others chose to mislead the voters and put this back on the ballot again. Conservatives like myself are ready to sit down and work it out but we find no one willing to face this issue head on.

      • dean apostol


        Thanks for biting.

        I agree with your first part. There is a lot of unfairness in the system if we use per acre value as the measure. And I agree with the 2nd part, that the system is far too bureaucratic. I would also add that we have squeezed out creativity.

        I don’t agree on the 3rd part. My take is that all things equal (which they never are) anyone would choose more elbow room, either a larger home or larger lot. But all things aren’t equal and there are many tradeoffs, so many people opt for a smaller property or home in order to be closer to daily needs, reduce maintenance costs, and so forth. Put it this way. A large house on an acre here in Damascus is worth about the same as a smaller house in inner SE Portland, where I used to live. If all or most home buyers actually wanted space over convenience, that would not be the case. Damascus homes would be starting at $1 million.

        Real estate is inflated, and part of that is due to our land use restrictions. But given we are more restricted than Seattle, San Francisco, LA and San Diego, why is Portland still cheaper?

        Developers by and large are not beneficiaries of high raw land prices. If they were, then the Portland Homebuilders would be arguing alongside 1000 Friends for more restrictions on urban growth boundary expansions. But they argue the opposite. The beneficiary of a tight land supply is the land owner who has developable land. That includes farm and forest owners recently added to the UGB (I know because I happen to be one).

        And surprisingly, the local farmers in and around Damascus did not lobby for expansion in our direction. A number (including myself) actually argued against it. Call us hopeless romantics. We like green fields over more subdivisions.

        You put forward an interesting package of reform ideas. I agree with you that these (and others) need more open and constructive debate. We do need to build more economic fairness in. Other states have embraced transferable rights, allowing rural landowners to sell their credits to areas more suitable for development. I’m amazed no one has put this forward as a potential solution to M37 claims.

        Larger inventories of land zoned for development won’t help much market wise unless there are expensive public investments (taxpayer or ratepayer subsidies) for essential infrastructure. That is a key lesson being learned in Bethany, Upper Pleasant Valley, Springwater, and Damascus. All are large UGB expansions dating 1998-2002, that have yet to see a single new home or business built.

        Large lot rural subdivisions can get by on less direct subsidy BUT many studies show they have a lot of hidden costs in increased public services. I note the discussion below about farm subsidies, but lets face it, land development is also steeped in subsidies.

        • carol

          This measure is not our last chance, if it is defeated, the legislature can go back and give us something that is less restrictive, and more fair. You can bet that if it is defeated, land use will among the first itmes addressed by said legis

    • Anonymous

      Dean –

      Clearly you haven’t read the text of either Measure 37 or Measure 49, but are simply relying on the ‘spin’ promulagted by the interest groups you align yourself with.

    • carol

      All I ask thruoghout this debate ,i that all voter READ THE ENTIRE MEASURE,before they vote. not the ballot title, but the measure in it’s entirety

    • carol

      Hey, I consider myself a liberal, the pesent admistration brings me to the verge of nausea, but I’m an old, small farmer, and after I read the measure, I couldn’t bring myself to vote yes, even if subjected to a water board. Well, maybe, I’m old enuff to not get caught in the back-lash. there is an alternative, y’all, if this measure is defeated, the legislature will come devise something more realistic, perhaps along the lines that the Big Look was close to proposing.

    • carol

      The farmers who supply the farmers markets are not the farmers being referred to in this echange as far as I can see, Those farmers are the visionaries who weren’t making it on a smaller farm, and elected to try marketing directly to the consumer. I am not sure that the real abusers of the large subsidies will be found in great numbers in Oregon. However the larger farms here are not produciing food as much as grass seed, wine, and nursery stock. Many of them do, however rely on leased land. I have been told that some of the land in Washington County within, or close to the UGB is owned by owners other than the farmer who farms it. Understandablly the one farming the land does not want the land developed, hence, he encourages a Yes on Measure 49 vote. Kinda a “I got it, don’t wanna share it”attitude. But I don’t blame him. That’s like the person who buys or builds near a lovely view, who is appalled when the bulldozers move in to create a quarry over the hill. The question that I haven’t heard an answer to yet, “is where do we site the quarry to mine the gravel so necessary to our way of life?” Certainly NIMBY!!!

  • Captain_Anon

    it is in everyone’s best interest to subsidize farming. If the government did not, then the cost of production would skyrocket and farms would become too expensive to operate. Then, they would close. What this means for the consumer is that prices will go up because of less supply. This also would figure into the prices of other commodities as well – just as the push to biofuel has raised prices across the board for dairy, meat and grains.

    not only that, but once the farms close, we will have to import the produce and crops from overseas, thus putting many out of work and leaving us vulnerable to supply issues outside of our control – just like with oil.


      I mostly agree with you Capt. except I think recipients of the subsidies should be better regulated. There are many “corporate ” farms the recieve them that do not need them to run a profitable business.

      Helping out the “Family Farmer” , yes I agree. We need to keep them viable. You never know what the future holds such as the potential in ethanol etc….

      I do not, however , believe we should pay people not to grow on their land. That makes about as much sense as paying a bus driver not to drive or a teacher not to teach, it makes no sense to me.

    • Ted Kennedy’s Liver

      it is in everyone’s best interest to subsidize AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURING. If the government did not, then the cost of production would skyrocket and AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURING FACILITIES would become too expensive to operate. Then, they would close. What this means for the consumer is that prices will go up because of less supply. This also would figure into the prices of other commodities as well – just as the push to biofuel has raised prices across the board for dairy, meat and grains.

      not only that, but once the AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURING FACILITIES close, we will have to import the AUTOMOBILES from overseas, thus putting many out of work and leaving us vulnerable to supply issues outside of our control – just like with oil.

      FYI – we already do import enormous amounts of produce from overseas.

      • Captain_Anon

        this is an apples to oranges argument, pun intended. the government subsidizes many industries to ensure protection of the consumer as well as the country in general (i.e self defense and the economy).

        for instance, after the end of the cold war, the us military slashed spending on defense. there are two companies that build submarines in the US. the US military ALWAYS buys at least one from both – they just give the multiple submarine contract to the better of the two companies. because it is such a limited industry and the cost of production is so high, to not receive a portion of the contract would kill the company. this in turn would stiffle competition and innovation. So, we happilyl pay hundreds of millions of dollars to one of the companies each contract to produce. were it a completely free market economy, that company would die and the other woudl have a monopoly which as we all know is not good consumers, and considering the industry, not good for national defense.

        There are reasons we subsidize some industries. its in our best interest

        • Chris McMullen

          What a load of crap, Cappy. It is not in our best interest to subsidize industry. We have anti-trust laws already on the books that keep corporations from becoming monopolistic. To aver that subsidies, other than in very, specific and limited circumstances, are required is just plain ignorance.

          BTW, vintners like Tom Lemelson have all but admitted that they want M49 to pass so they can continue to buy and lease cheap ag land. Hence, the $750 million he gave to the campaign.

          • Captain_Anon

            government subsidies are what settled the west, grew the railroads, helped expand air travel, keep our ship yards afloat and keep our defense contractors competative. While you may not think thats in our best interest, i do.

            government subsidies kept farms in operation all the way up until the present. if not for governmetn subsidies, the dairy industry would have gone under in the late 19teens and early 1920’s. the market was so messed up that farmers because violently fighting each other. the milk wars or whatever they were called. the price of dairy had dropped so much that farms began to produce more to increase income, which further depressed prices with the glut of supply. farmers began raiding other farmers and destroying thier dairy products before they could make it to market. so the government stepped in, began to pay subsidies which stabelized the market and saved the dairy farmers. definitely in the publics best interest.

            so, it does happen and can be for the public good.

          • Chris McMullen

            Yeah great thinking, Anon: let’s keep paying inefficient farmers for producing low-demand products.

            I’m curious how the buggy-whip manufacturers survived after the car was mass produced. I’m sure you’d find a reason to subsidize them, as well.

        • carol

          The better of the two companies, or the one with a stronger lobbying force, and higher campaign contributions?

  • John Fairplay

    “And if M49 allows up to 80% of the existing M37 claims to at least have a decent chance of going forward, isn’t that a reasonable compromise?”

    This is, of course, not what Measure 49 does – a more accurate description might be it prohibits 90 percent of Measure 37 claims from going forward, which no one could argue was a reasonable compromise.

    Perhaps more importantly if I’m one of the 61 percent supermajority that approved Measure 37 only a short while ago: why should I be expected to compromise? Where is it written – “Congratulations, you won your issue. Now you must compromise away part or all of your victory.” Why would it surprise anyone that some of the 61 percent find it offensive to even have this measure on the ballot?

    • dean apostol


      The 80% figure is from PSU data. It seems to me virtually all of the claims for 1-3 homesites will be approved, and of the 4-10s that are not, they still get to build 1-3. Less than what they want but better than nothing.

      THe reason you should be willing to compromise is that ballot measures that are not constitutional amendments are subject to being overturned or changed by the legislature. And reliable polls say that a clear majority want some modifications made to M37.

      And…Oregon’s land use system passed with bi-partisan support in 1973. Opponents went to court and tried to get it declared unconstitutional and lost. Then, if memory serves they tried 6 times to have the system scrapped by ballot initiatives. They lost every time. Finally they found the right measure, the timing was good, and they passed M41 (overturned by the courts) and now M37 (upheld by the courts).

      So the issue is still unsettled. And whether M49 passes or fails, I’ll bet the issue will still be unsettled. That is life. People don’t give up on deeply held beliefs easily.

      To Bad Boy Brown below, I’m wondering how much that 1 acre in Connecticut is going to cost you as compared to 1 acre here. Have you checked?

      • carol

        They may be approved, possibly, not definetly. No larger that two acres, and they must be clustered, this all to be approved by the state. READ THE ENTIRE MEASURE!

  • Jerry

    No farmers of any product need or deserve subsidies from the government, which translates to subsidies from us, as we are the government and we pay for the government. Just charge more for the food, then, if you have to. We are paying it either way. What a bunch of hopeless morons.

  • Bad Boy Brown

    Thank heaven I’m retiring in less than two years and moving to Connecticut where homes on one acre size lots are easy to find and they don’t have things run by a bunch of planner loons. Sure it snows there in the winter for a 2-3 months, but the seafood is light years ahead of anything in Oregon, the roads are great and best of all I’m not living among LIBERAL MOONBATS without a shred of intelligence.

  • Shirley

    Once you mentioned the importance of the UGB I knew you were a Metro “connected” cronnie. The UGB doesn’t function any thing like it was intended. But then you know that and prefer it being the blind obstruction that it has become. Because you are on the team designing Damascus with all the planner’s nonsense we see every day.

    “Some farm/parks could be co-located with schools, like the Berkeley edible school yard in California”.

    THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RESTORATION OF NORTHWEST ECOSYSTEMSA Project of the Rivers Foundation of the Americas Dean Apostol, Senior Editor

    • dean apostol


      I did not say the UGB was “important,” though I think it is. And I think it has “functioned” pretty much as designed in that it has made it difficult for people to subdivide lands outside, and forced densities to be higher inside. Isn’t that what its intent was?

      I was pointing out that expanding the UGB does not necessarily make more land available for development, because the costs of infrastructure are vey high. That has certainly been the case since 1998, with around 20,000 acres added and to my knowledge, no new development yet.

      As for being a “Metro cronie?” I think planners at Metro would be amused at that idea. .

      I was one of 13 local citizens who volunteered (probably 1000 hours over 2 years) to serve on the steering committee for the concept plan that Metro required as part of their UGB expansion. This plan was not adopted by the City of Damascus, which has appointed a new committee and is attempting a new plan. I am involved as a community member and small farm owner in that effort as well, so I guess that makes me a “crony” of my own community. Cest la vis.

      Lastly, the “Encyclopedia of Restoration…” has had a name change to “Restoring the Pacific Northwest: the art and science of ecological restoration in Cascadia.” It is available through Island Press or Powells Books or multnomah county Library if you are interested.

      • carol

        In reference to the costs of infrastrucure, then what makes you think that without the saviour Measure 49, that all of Oregon will be given to strip malls, subdivisoins, and billboards. It ain’t gonna happen.

  • Shirley

    The UGB has not “functioned” as was designed as it was intended to provide a 20 year land supply, of all types, to accomodate growth.
    Only a smarth growth enviro-planner fan would avoid this gargantuan failure of the UGB. If you know anything about the UGB in application and implementation is has been a comedy of errors, haphazard and completely hijacked by obstructionists who see it’s only purpose as prohibiting sprawl. Blindly so.
    Most all of the UGB expansions in the last 10 years are still stuck in the planner’s quagmire without a shovel turned.
    It’s impossible to subdivide and use lands INSIDE the UGB.
    Forcing densities to be higher inside has meant Metro’s way or no way. Metrp’s costly flops of high density mixed use development are all over the region and more are coming. Damascus will be a mammouth boondoggle resembling some hybrid of the SoWa/Beaverton Round and Orenco Station. North Bethay too.
    And they will be devouring 1000s of acres of farmland, forest and habit. M37 is a pittance by comparision and it promises to provide lesser densities, homes with yards, far less or no direct public subsidies, contribute millions immediately to the taxing jurisdictions and provide a little bit of a better alternative to Metro’s garbage .

    • Captain_Anon

      wow. so much disinformation. Dean is right, first of all. There is a huge amount of land that has not been developed in the UGB from the last expansion. Why hasn’t it been developed? The cost of infrastrucutre – municipalities don’t have the money to pay for roads and sweers and utilities. Developers don’t want to pay the cost and so have balked at developing. as far as obstructionists, you can blame our Litigious society. neighbors who had differing views on growth sued and sued in a battle to develope. This has been an ongoing fued in the stafford area near 205. That’s not planners preventing anything. In fact, planners have been working on the plans for bethany, damascus, pleasant valley, and the west linn area for years. developers just haven’t bitten yet because the lack of infrastructure. so it becomes a chicken and the egg. add on top of that individuals who are willing to sue for anything and you’ve got your “quagmire.”

      it’s impossible to divide in the UGB? that’s counter intuitive to what you were saying abotu forced densities, which would require massive subdivision.

      tha lack of development isn’t due to the planners… its due to a combination of juriscitions not having money to service those areas, developers refusing to contribute, banks not loaning money for development, neighbors suing each other, and the logistics of prepping for development.

      as much as you hate planners, not everything is their fault or even remotely tied to them.

    • dean apostol


      My understanding is that the 20 year land supply only applies to housing. There is a seperate requirement for industrial land, but I think it works differently. There is no requirement to have a 20 year supply for other land uses.

      Legally, the UGB expansions have met the 20 year supply. If they had not, then the Homebuilders lobby would have gone to court and forced more expansion. They did not.

      There are 2 basic hangups, and they both come down to money. Up until a year ago there was no source of funds to pay for the planning. Now there is a surcharge on building permits that covers at least part of that cost. But there are still not enough funds to pay for essential infrastructure. So much of the expanded UGB, including Damascus, will remain undeveloped for at least several more years.

      I’m not normally a defender of Metro, but I remind my conservative friends that “Metro” is the only ELECTED regional government in the nation. It has the job of coordinating planning among 26 cities and 3 counties. And it has the legal responsibility to decide where, when, and how much to expand the UGB for the entire region. You may not like them, I may not like them, but don’t cast blame on them for doing their job.

      We don’t know what Damascus will look like yet. You seem adept at using search engines. I encourage you to go to the Damascus city web site, and in particular read the “core values” of community residents. We have spent a lot of time in small groups, gathered around kitchen tables with our neighbors, sorting out what we believe ought to happen here. There is a surprising level of agreement between liberals, conservatives, and moderates with respect to what we want. And this has little to do with Metro, other than it was they who forced us to get organized by expanding the UGB (which most of us opposed) in the first place.

      One of the issues we are working hard at is how to reconcile our desire for land conservation (streams, forests, wildlife habitat, local farms) with economic fairness. We know that some land is better to develop, and some is better to conserve, but nearly all of it is privately owned. We hope to find some ways to even out the gains without paving over the whole place. I hope you at least share that goal. And if you do, “planning,” including the expertise of professional “planners,” is at the least a necessary evil.

  • Shirley

    “Why hasn’t it been developed? The cost of infrastrucutre – municipalities don’t have the money to pay for roads and sweers and utilities. Developers don’t want to pay the cost and so have balked at developing”

    That my friends is another blad faced lie. There are parcels all over the place awaiting, not infrastructure, but “planning”. Municipalities, counties and Metro purposefully require yet neglect and postpone additional layers of master planning. Developers are awating the planning gridlock.
    Anon, your’e completely screwed up and lying.
    Many parcels inside the UGB are adjacent to all the needed infrastructure and planners stand in the way.
    Ask anyone NOT METRO involved who has obstructed Pleasant Valley, brought into the UGB in 1998, and they’ll tell you it’s the planning fools you enamour over.
    YOU are a fool spewing jibbersih and lies at every turn.
    The massive amount of new monies the various juriusdictions bring in is being misspent on layers of planning, and insanely costly smart growth.
    I notice you mention the stuff on the planning books and make all sort of excuses but don’t mention the finished junk our planners are attempting to duplicate.
    Like the Beaverton Round, SoWa, Orenco Station, Villebois, Cascade Station, Gresham Station and many TODs. All of which required massive subsidies while producing nothing like the fantasies promised and you still delude over.
    Orenco Station, the pride of Smarth growthers around here has more dogs than children housed there, few of the retail owners actually live there and it’s as much a car oriented rat race as any LA suburb. REAL SMART- we need more of that, plan away!
    You must be an ass beyond belief to spew your nonsense.

    • dean apostol


      Thanks for the uplifting, well reasoned, calm, constructive exchange. Its been real.

      I’ll concede you are way better at calling names than I am. And I’ll concede my own dislike of Orenco Station.

      Beyond that….try anger management counseling.

  • Shirley

    “And I’ll concede my own dislike of Orenco Station”
    Metro and friends are still using it as a model to repeat all over the region. Including for Damascus.
    You know Metro and 1000 friends? The perpetrators of this smart growth nonsense and wasting billions to push it. They have been lying about it’s beneifts and effects just as they lie about M37.

    There is not a single M37 subdisivion that calls for anything like what you conceded you don’t like. Yet Metro et al are full steam ahead with more of the same.

    Voters need not be afraid of M37 as it has can’t keep spawning new claims and new subdivisions. The relative tiny amount of M37 development is pretty done with few new claims probable.
    But our Orenco Station planners can push more of the same for ever.

    • dean apostol

      “Smart Growth” is not a local invention. It is national, even international. The potential benefits of having most of one’s daily needs within walking or easy cycling distance are many, but this lifestyle does not fit everyone’s expectations.

      Comparing M37 subdivisions, which have not been built yet to Orenco is comparing apples and oranges. Single family homes on large lots or small acreage are appealing to some, and mixed use, moderate to high density communities appeal to others. The Pearl District is fetching pretty good prices, as are older neighborhoods in east Portland. Are people buying there because Metro is making them? I suspect they just want to be as close to the center of things as possible, and also don’t want to have maintain a yard on the weekend.

      We’ll disagree over whether M37 claims are only a tiny impact. In Clackamas County alone they take in 37,000 acres, an area half the size of Portland. I don’t see that as minor.

      I think we need more and better designed mixed use projects, but I also think we need more allowance for rural subdivisions. I don’t think it has to be all one or all the other.

      And I think we should compensate landowners who have gotten the short end of the stick. But I would do it by granting them transferable development credits, and let them sell these through a free market to areas within UGBs. Or I would put a tax on the windfall gains property owners like myself are likely to make as a consequence of being put inside the UGB, and use those funds to pay off some M37 claims.

      We should start thinking creatively. There are lots of options.

  • Shirley

    ” but I also think we need more allowance for rural subdivisions”

    That’s exactly what M37 does. You just can’t understand.

    Comparing M37 development to the planner’s Orenco Station is spot on. You don’t understand that either. M37 development is and would be preferrable to many if not most people. The Orenco’s by the planners is a flop. Despite your invoking the Pearl which is downtown and irrelelvant to M37.

    You AGAIN are misguided with:
    ” In Clackamas County alone they take in 37,000 acres”

    No you don’t understand. There is no “taking of 37,000 acres by M37 claims in Clack Co. If you look at the claims the bulk of them represent no more than one or a few foot prints on large parcels.

    Somehow youcan’t deal with this reality. That these claims are not clear cutting or paving over 1000s of acres.
    All told at the end of the day and M37 constrcution in Clack Co. there would be hardly any impact at all with only a slight observation of the very “allowance for rural subdivisions” that you yourself say we need.
    And very important is M37 claims don’t keep coming.
    M37 subdivisions don’t keep coming.
    Unfortuantely the work of our planners does. They represent the real danger to Oregon cities and communities as demonstrated by Orenco and infill examples everywhere.
    In fact for you to offer the Pearl as some example of doing it right by Metro speaks volumes on how weak your position is.

    Is it not interesting that you can’t offer a single example or model to follow outside of the urban core of downtown Portland.
    Or are you quietly suggesting the Beaverton Round is the way to go?
    Spit it out friend.
    Let’s hear some Metro speak.
    Washington County is no different than Clack Co. Most claims are completely harmless and seek to develope in a form far prefferable to the planner’s schemes, and without the slugs pace of endless planning and massive subsidies.
    In fact our suburban developers can deliver communities and the needed infrastructure much faster and cheaper than our planning bureaucraices. Get them out of the way and stop the M37 hysteria and the proof will appear before our eyes.

    • dean apostol

      Calm down Shirley. I can sense you hypervenilating over your keyboard.

      Okay…lets compare M37 claims with Orenco. Orenco has 2600 people living on 260 acres, all within walking, cycling, or very short driving distance of employment, shopping, and schools. And it is a short distance from light rail and other transit services.

      M37 developments are nearly all located outside of urban growth boundaries, miles from employment, shopping, and schools. Transit is non-existent. If we use a 1 house per acre standard, it would take 1000 acres, 4 times as much land, to house 2500 people (at 2.5 per household average).

      So clearly the M37 developments would generate many more miles driven, burn way more energy (which our soldiers are presently being killed and maimed to secure for us,) AND statistically would cost far more in goverment (taxpayer funded) services like fire, police, school buses, and so forth. And while Orenco residents drink abundant Coast Mountain water, some or many of the M37 residents will be sucking groundwater limited aquifers dry, which will cost their neighbors thousands of dollars in new well drilling.

      I said “take in.” I did not say “pave over.” The small claims you cite would in all likelihood still be built if M49 passes, maintaining our timber industry. I know opponents of M49 are skeptical of that, but I am not, and time will tell what actually happens.

      I did not say anything about “clear cutting.” Obviously the many thousands of acres of forest lands that fall within M37 claims would continue to be clearcut and replanted on a 40-60 years cycle if 49 passes. If M37 holds, then we can presume there will be a “final clearcut” before selling off lots for development, and more timber workers will lose their jobs.

      I’ll accept the statement that M37 claims are nearly played out, though few have been implemented. I don’t accept the implication that the impacts are small because most of the claims are only for a “few footprints on large parcels.” M49, if it passes, gets rid of the LARGE subdivision footprints, the gravel quarries, the billboards, and the big box claims. These are the ones with the greatest potential impacts. It leaves the smallest claims unmolested except for requiring a response to a state letter that their claims are limited to 1-3 homes. Once they do that they get to proceed, and they get the transferability they presently lack.

      The claims for 4-10 home sites would be held to a higher standard. I have no way to predict how many will be successful, but at worst they will get the right to 1-3 homesites. AND, to the extent they are allowed they will not be built over declining groundwater areas, and they will have to be “clustered” in order to preserve the better farm or forest land. I think this is the best provision in 49.

      As far as I know, Metro had nothing to do with the Pearl. This was a city of Portland project from the start. But I can offer a few additional examples of well planned projects away from downtown.

      One is Fairview Village. It has successfully mixed single family, row house, and apartments. It has been able to create an attractive mixed use main street with shops. And it has a very nice park and open space system. The buildings are well designed. with the garages hidden behind, leaving a front porch, communal atmosphere on the streets.

      Villebois seems to me a pretty good project, though I have not been there in a while. It has lots of open space, nice looking homes, and a well done stormwater management system.

      The older neighborhoods of Portland: Sellwood, Multnomah Village, Ladd’s Addition, Hawthorne, Mt Tabor, Laurelhurst, Eastmoreland, and Irvington, are all great examples of moderate density, mixed use, walkable, bikeable, attractive neighborhoods that the new “Smart growth” projects are modeled on. And they are in high demand. Comparatively, people are willing to pay as much or more for a 1500 square foot house on a 5000 square foot lot than they are for a 3000 square foot house on an acre outside the city. All you have to do is check the real estate listings to verify this.

      I’ll also add downtown Vancouver Washington, the area around Esther Short Park. High density mixed use that is attractive, somewhat affordable, and seems to be successful on many levels.

      As for Beaverton Round, I don’t know much about it. It seems to me they jumped the gun on the market, did not think things through, hired a poorly financed developer, and dug themselves a hole.

      I don’t agree with your take on “our suburban developers.” As a landscape architect, I make part of my living working for developers. Most of them these days are not interested in large lot ex-urban projects, because the market is not out there. Yes, in other parts of the country developers can leapfrog cities, buy cheap rural land that is not protected by zoning, put in very minimal infrastructure, no parks, no sewers, no sidewalks, and crappy houses that they can sell cheap and fast. My parents bought a house in such a place in Florida in the 1980s and thought they had really scored a deal.

      But a few years went by. The traffic in front of their place became unbearable and dangerous, and they could not back out of their driveway. The thinly laid asphalt road over a thinner gravel base deteriorated. The community well became polluted by all the septic tanks that drained right into the shallow groundwater layer. Their roof started to leak, mold formed on the inside walls, the air conditioner ceased working, and the developer was long gone.

      My dad passed away and my mom aged. When she could no longer drive safely, she was completely stuck at home. No bus service, no sidewalks, and anyway nothing to walk to within a reasonable distance. She could not keep up with garden maintenance and the place went weedy. The lawn died. The irrigation system broke down. She had to sell her house, and there were absolutely no apartments or other housing suitable for a single older woman in an unincorporated, low tax community that was now 60,000 people spread over many thousands of acres of what had been forest when they first moved in. So she had to move out of her community, away from her firends and remaining family, and had to start over in ill health at the age of 78. And, her house value, which was her entire life savings at that point, was barely more than what they had paid for the place 20 years earlier. While our property investments in Portland have tripled, hers grew below the rate of inflation. Even after spending thousands on maintenance and improvements. Why? Because Florida’s lack of land use control meant there were hundreds more shiny new subdivisions with cheap housing (with no mold yet) just down the road.

      You want proof of all the good suburban developers can do for us Shirley, go to Florida. or Arizona, Southern California, Atlanta, or countless other booming places with few or no land use rules and God bless them, no dreaded “planners.” Your belief in developers is mythology my friend. Open your eyes.

  • Shirley

    Hot World? Blame Cities.

    By Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres
    Sunday, October 14, 2007; B01

    It’s all the suburbs’ fault. You know, everything — traffic congestion, overweight
    kids, social alienation. Oh, and lest we forget, global warming and rising energy
    costs, too.

    That latest knock against the burbs has caught on widely. With their multiplying
    McMansions and exploding Explorers, the burbs are the reason we’re paying so
    much for gas and heating oil and spewing all those emissions that are heating up
    the atmosphere — or so a host of urban proponents tells us. It’s time to ditch
    the burbs and go back to the city. New York, Boston, Chicago — these
    densely packed metropolises are “models of environmentalism,” declares John
    Norquist, the former Milwaukee mayor who now heads the Congress for a
    New Urbanism.

    But before you sell your ranch house in Loudoun County and plunk down big
    bucks for that cozy condo in the District, take a closer look at the claims of
    big cities’ environmental superiority. Here’s one point that’s generally relegated
    to academic journals and scientific magazines: Highly concentrated urban areas
    can contribute to overall warming that extends beyond their physical boundaries.

    Studies in cities around the world — Beijing, Rome, London, Tokyo,
    Los Angeles and more — have found that packed concentrations of concrete,
    asphalt, steel and glass can contribute to a phenomenon known as “heat islands”
    far more than typically low-density, tree-shaded suburban landscapes. As an
    October 2006 article in the New Scientist highlighted, “cities can be a couple
    of degrees warmer during the day and up to 6° C [11 degrees Fahrenheit]
    warmer at night.” Recent studies out of Australia and Greece, as well as studies
    on U.S. cities, have also documented this difference in warming between highly
    concentrated central cities and their surrounding areas.

    This is critical as we deal with what may well be a period of prolonged warming.
    Urban heat islands may not explain global warming, but they do bear profound
    environmental, social, economic and health consequences that reach beyond
    city boundaries. A study of Athens that appeared this year in the journal Climatic
    Change suggested that the ecological footprint of the urban heat island is 1 1/2 to
    two times larger than the city’s political borders.

    Further, urban heat islands increase the need for air conditioning, which has
    alarming consequences for energy consumption in our cities. Since air conditioning
    systems themselves generate heat, this produces a vicious cycle. Some estimate
    that the annual cost of the energy consumption caused by the urban heat island
    could exceed $1 billion.

    This is not to say that big buildings can’t be made more energy efficient by using
    new techniques, such as high-tech skin designs, special construction materials to
    reduce energy consumption, green roofs and passive cooling. But one big problem
    is that making large buildings green also makes them much more expensive, so that
    they’re less and less affordable for middle-class and working-class families.

    Low-density areas, on the other hand, lend themselves to much less expensive and
    more environmentally friendly ways of reducing heat. It often takes nothing more
    than double-paned windows to reduce the energy consumption of a two- or
    three-story house. Shade can bring it down even further: A nice maple can cool a
    two-story house, but it can’t quite do the same for a 10-story apartment building.

    Focusing on the suburbs has the added virtue of bringing change to where the
    action is. Over the past 40 years, the percentage of people opting to live in cities has
    held steady at 10 to 15 percent. And since 2000, more than 90 percent of all
    metropolitan growth — even in a legendary new planners’ paradise such
    as Portland, Ore. — has taken place in the suburbs.

    So we shouldn’t be trying to wipe out suburbs. Even with changes in government
    policy, it would be hard to slow their growth. Europe has strict zoning and highly
    subsidized mass transit — policies that are supposed to promote denser
    development — but even so, their cities are suburbanizing much like American
    ones. “Sprawl cities,” notes Shlomo Angel, an urban planning expert at the Woodrow
    Wilson School at Princeton University, also are becoming ever more common
    throughout much of Asia and the developing world.

    Here’s an Earth-to-greens message: Instead of demonizing the suburbs, why not
    build better, greener ones and green the ones we already have?

    One approach might be to embrace what one writer, Wally Siembab, has
    dubbed “smart sprawl.” Encouraging this sort of development will require a series
    of steps: reducing commuters’ gas consumption with more fuel-efficient cars,
    dispersing work to centers close to where workers live and promoting continued
    growth in home-based work. We’ll also have to protect open spaces by
    monitoring development and establishing land conservation based on public
    and private funding, the latter coming from developers who wish to work in

    Building what we call “an archipelago of villages” seems far more reasonable than
    returning to industrial-age cities and mass transit systems. For the most part, the
    automobile has left an indelible imprint on our cities, and in our
    ever-more-dispersed economy, it has become a necessity.

    This is not to say that transit of some kind — perhaps more cost-efficient and
    flexible dedicated busways, or local shuttles — can’t play a role in serving those
    who can’t or would rather not drive. But short of a crippling fuel shortage or some
    other catastrophic event, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever see the widespread
    success of heavily promoted strategies such as dense, transit-oriented
    developments or the wholesale abandonment of the suburbs.

    We can accommodate our need for space and still leave ample room for a
    flourishing natural environment, as well as for agriculture. By preserving open
    space and growing in an environmentally friendly manner, we can provide a
    break from the monotony of concrete and glass and create ideal landscapes
    for wildlife preservation.

    Such notions — developed before the term “green” existed — go back to a host
    of visionaries such as Ebenezer Howard, James Rouse, Frederick Law Olmsted,
    Frank Lloyd Wright and Victor Gruen. And they have already been put into
    practice. Starting in the 1960s in his development of Valencia, north of Los
    Angeles, Gruen envisioned a “suburbia redeemed” that mixed elements of the
    urban and the rural.

    Valencia’s elaborate network of 28 miles of car-free paseos — paths designed
    for pedestrians and bicyclists — helped make the natural environment accessible
    to residents. Gruen also recognized the commercial appeal of such an
    environment. A 1992 ad for the development featured a smiling girl saying: “I can
    be in my classroom one minute and riding my horse the next. I don’t know
    whether I’m a city or country girl.”

    Similarly, The Woodlands, a sprawling development 27 miles from
    downtown Houston, is a model for a greener suburbia in a region not much
    celebrated for its environmental values. The Woodlands name, said its former
    president, Roger Galatas, was seen not as “just real estate hype” but as part
    of a plan to allow development without destroying forest lands and natural

    In the Washington area, Reston and Columbia, the latter the brainchild of
    legendary Maryland developer James Rouse, have become far more than mere
    bedroom communities; they have become places, or villages, in themselves.

    All these places evoke a more environmentally friendly suburbanism, which also
    can be promoted in areas that did not benefit from the foresight of a Gruen or
    a Rouse. Town centers, revived older shopping districts, even re-engineered
    malls can all be part of a greener, more energy-efficient future in a large number
    of communities. And this process is already well underway.

    Dragooning Americans into a dense urban lifestyle that’s attractive to only a
    relatively small minority isn’t the best way to address concerns about energy and
    resource depletion or global warming. Instead, we need to take gradual, sensible,
    realistic steps to improve the increasingly dispersed places where most of us
    choose to live and work.

    Joel Kotkin is a fellow at Chapman University and author of “The City:
    A Global History.” Ali Modarres is associate director of the Pat Brown
    Institute of Public Affairs at California State University at Los Angeles.

    © 2007 The Washington Post Company

    • dean apostol

      It might surprise you to know that I’m in 90% agreement with Kotkin. All along I have been advocating that Damascus be designed as a “green suburb” along the lines of what Ebeneezer Howard envisioned with his “Garden Cities’ movement iin Great Britain, as well as what Olmstead designed at Riverside Illinois, and what Ian McHarg designed at the Woodlands Texas.

      But one thing all these projects have in comon is GOOD PLANNING. They did not just happen.

      Also, the “green suburbs” Kotkin refers to are at urban density levels. Howard’s Garden Cities are built at 12 units to the acre, basically rowhouses. Riverside has a mixed use downtown main street at a commuter railroad stop, which the dreaded Metro uses as a model for its TODs. The “Woodlands” has protected thousands of acres of forest and includes an elaborate system of green bio swales to handle stormwater in a natural fashion, which Villebois has copied at least to an extent.

      None of the projects Kotkin cites are remotely like the very low density, haphazardly located dvelopments that M37 claims will result in.

      What we ought to be doing is backing efforts that revitalize poorly planned existing areas in places like Gresham, planning and building new green suburbs like Damascus, AND making some allowance for new “rural hamlets” of 5-50 homes clustered on lower productivity farm and forest land, near esiting rural centers (places like Mulino and Colten,) where there is good access to roads that have capacity. And in areas that have adequate groundwater supplies or an existing community water system that can be tapped into. M37 doesn’t do any of this for us, and neither does M47 unfortunately.

      But our land use “leadership,” and I include LCDC, Metro, 1000 Friends, AND Oregonians in Action, has failed us. We voters are stuck with a bad choice now. Keep M37 unchanged, and let chaos reign. Or vote for 49, which limits the damage but fails to address the underlying issues, including the economic fairness issues that resulted in M37 in the first place.

      I’m holding my nose and voting for M49 and hoping that once it passes, we can reinitiate the so-called “Big Look” to come up with a mroe comprehensive vision for our beloved state. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • carol

    I live on a farm in deep ‘red-neck’ territory, and until I retired two years ago, I worked in the Tigard/Tualatin area. I have a thermometer in my car, and during an especially hot or cold period, I kept an eye on it. A can almost say that it was always 5-10 degrees coller as I neared home. There was no question in my mind as to what caused the change in temperature change, that was a no brainer. Shortly after I hit the freeway the temp began to climb.

  • Shirley


    Try some truth.
    You perceive my demeanor and typing about as accurately as you perceive land use and M37.
    I other words you are full of it.

    Your Metrospeak on Orenco is a hoot. Oblivious to the realities of Orenco while clinging to the smart growth theories like a good planner’s soldier.

    I don’t know what you think that pretty talk about Orenco is supposed to mean for Orenco or the region but it is absolutely hallow. With no demonstration of either good planner or better outcomes.
    So what if Orenco has 2600 people living on 260 acres, all within walking, cycling, or very short driving distance of employment, shopping, and schools. And is a short distance from light rail and other transit services?.

    That doesn’t mean very many school children live there and walk to school, it doesn’t mean very many people live there and walk, bike or rail to work or to shopping.
    Just past the Metro theories, (which you recite so well), is the reality of Orenco having more dogs than children, having few shop owners who live there, has too many skinny streets, has poor parking, is over crowded and is as exceedingly auto oriented as anything else in Washington County.
    Except worse because of the lousy planing for traffic, function and real world livability.
    In stark contrast and functioning much better than Metro’s Orenco Station or Beaverton Round, etc, is Tannasborne, the Beaverton Mall, Bridgeport Village and Washington Square etc. All of which also have people living nearby who can walk or bike there.
    You say M37 developments are nearly all located outside of urban growth boundaries, miles from employment, shopping, and schools.
    You mean like Damascus, North Bethany or even Villebois which will need shuttle service to the commuter rail so they can keep up the pretense of transit orientation?
    M37 claims aren’t miles from employment where many people work.
    What makes you think Orenco generates less miles driven? Your Metro theories?
    In the real world beyond the theories, your Metro model promotes congestion which burns way more energy (which our soldiers are presently being killed and maimed to secure for us,).
    Your humor about M37 “costing far more in goverment (taxpayer funded) services like fire, police, school buses, and so forth” is OBLIVIOUS, almost to a criminal level, to the BILLIONS Metro et al diverted from property taxes and other tax sources for their Urban renewal and TOD schemes.
    Billions which could have been spent maintaining and expanding our infrastructure you and they neglect.ignore.
    Your exageration about sucking groundwater limited aquifers is pathetic as just slightly above ZERO m37 claims will be effecting aquifers at all.

    You and yours are doing everything possible to avoid “time will tell what actually happens” by blocking M37.

    M37 will lead to less clear cutting than Damascus and do so with less of an impact as most M37 claims in forested areas call for homes on large parcels.

    Yes, M37 claims are nearly played out. But the press sure doesn’t give that impression. Mary Kitch in the O says M37 risks “all of our farming assets”. How’s that Mary? The claims are for the most part done.
    I don’t care if you don’t accept the implication that the impacts are small because most of the claims are only for a “few footprints on large parcels.”
    Your lack of accepting reality in exchange for theories is obvious.

    M49 leaves very few smallest claims unmolested while blocking or reversing countless others that are essentially harmless. The transferability problem is a contrived problem by our anti-M37 attorney general. Offering to drop it now in exchange for undermining the bulk of M37 is nothing short of coercion.
    The claims for 4-10 home sites would be held to a higher standard. Yeah a standard that allows those claims to start over and subject them to anyone in the state who objects.

    Homes must be “clustered”? Of sourse you think that is “the best provision in 49”. You think Orenco works.

    I haven’t seen Fairview Village. But you description makes it bad enough to not take a drive. What you declare a successful mix is nothing but more theory.
    Theories like “garages hidden behind, leaving a front porch, communal atmosphere on the streets”. That’s absurd. What the heck is communal atmosphere?
    I have seen many of these and the parking is horrendous, there is no communal activity (not even garage sales work), having visitors is difficult and they are not good family environments.

    You claim Villebois seems to me a pretty good project. By what judgement? It will have taken over $100 million from property taxes which would have gone to schools, police, fire, libraries, parks and social services. In the end the “theories” youtout will be gone and it will be another entirely auto oriented yet too crowded Metro outcome. The same as being planned for Damascus and North Bethany.
    Every M37 devleopment will also have nice looking homes, even more green space and equaly well done stormwater management systems.

    Your judgment on how high density mixed use is successful is skewed on many levels. You can’t even recognize how they turn out auto oriented with the many problems of over crowding.

    Of course you don’t know much about the Beaverton Round. It’s the mnosty obvious example of the failure of the “high density mixed use” you fantasize over so it hasn’t gotten much press.
    Your pals at the Oregonian et al, also drinkers of the smart growth coolaid, avoid reality too.

    I personnly know our “our suburban developers” and you do not speak for them. Our land use system with it’s enormous fees and costs are not their friends. That’s just more fantasy from you.
    In the real world our better housing devleopers who work with these jusridictions would pefer the planners get out of the way. Not because they want to rape the country side for profits but because the planners dream up obstackles, costs and delays.
    I was told that the emerging requirements for North Bethany may add $100k to the price of a home.
    This in addition to the UGB inflated land costs. There is no way to provide affordable housing under this approach except by having taxpayers buy the housing, adding even more to the cost of the developments.
    ALL of the M37 subdivisions will be protected by additional zoning and building requirements. Not a one of them willbe built without extensive compliance in ALL areas of regulation and concern.
    If Florida has some problems perhaps your efforts are needed there. M37 is NOT a problem and Oregon doesn’t need rescuing by you.
    “The traffic in front of their place became unbearable and dangerous, and they could not back out of their driveway” Sounds like the Metro region, by Metro’s design.

    As far as your parents go, there isn’t a thing about M37 that relates. In fact I could agrue more accurately and convincing that our TODs and infill, and lousy transportation planning do.
    King City, Summerfield, Summerlake, Charbonneau and countless other private developments across our region did not require Metro or Urban renewal planners to over crowd them with costly theories.
    I don’t need to go to Florida or Arizona for proof of anything. I can see it all right here.
    You need to open your eyes and you mind.
    Metro doesn;t do it better and M37 DOES NOT vacate the UGB or any of our land use laws. This is your central misunderstanding and misinforming problem.
    M37 is so limited in it’s reach, application and effects that it is impossible for it to turn Oregon into Florida or Arizona.
    With very little exception essentially ALL of our land use planning remains fully intact with M37 also left intact.
    There is no way you can argue otherwise, period.
    You need to get a grip on the real world of M37 and Oregon. Everything we have right now in land use planning is completely stable and in effect. All of it.
    The few properties with M37 waivers does not = little or no land use planning in Oregon’s future.

    You are making that up and spreading misinformation.

    • dean apostol

      Whatever. Since you have disallowed me from “arguing otherwise,” I’ll take a pass.

      And have a nice, calm, sunny day Shirley.

    • Anonymous

      Where do you get your facts shirley? other than up your sleeve?

  • carol

    I feel that the only chance that the “Big Look” has is the defeat of Measure 49. The measure is so tightly written that the any further action is superflous. There will be very few challenges, because it is written for the claimant to pay all expenses, no one will be able to afford a challenge. And God forbid that a neighbor, or anyone should challenge a claim, the claimant has to back off, or pay ALL costs, tell me that is fair. And the people within the UGB have no recourse at all in the event that regulations affect THEIR property. If the measure is defeated, I am sure that when the legislature convenes in February, land-use will be among the first to be addressed. There is no way that this legis will let matters stand as they are at present. So vote no, and let’s get a fair fix, this Measure, as written in not fair to us old farmers.

  • Shirley

    no no Carol.
    M37 must be stopped. If it is allowed to continue the results will expose the blitz of lies it’s opponents have been spewing.
    When neither farming, forest, Oregon’s landscape or our land use planning is lost in any way the public will know how wide and deep the misinformation was.

    Dean, you lost. You were incappable of providing a single example of how Oregon is truly harmed by M37 going forward.
    You admitted to the limitations of claims and that few more will be coming.
    Our entire land use, zoning and building permit systems and all of their requirements are not effected by M37.
    The worst things that are happening and are without any constraint are the rat races our planning regime mandate.

    • dean apostol

      You are right Shirley. I lost. I’m moving to Florida. You are very convincing. Obviously, it was METRO who created my parent’s dilemna. I don’t know how I missed that! I can’t believe I was so stupid. DOH!

      But two last questions if you don’t mind: What did Metro have to do with Orenco Station anyway? Wasn’t that project done by a private developer (Costa Pacific)?

      And if the number of kids is your measure of a great community, Don’t both Charbonneau and King City, which you cited as the right way to do things, restrict or prohibit kids from living there?

  • carol

    I know the sky is not falling, and apparently so do you, but sarcasm won’t get us out of this, and Heaven knows, I am a master of sarcasm, I hold my doctorate in sarcasm. However in this case, all it does is inflame the opposition, and if we make them mad enough , the damn measure will pass. It needs to be defeated, so it can go back to the legislature and let’s get something that’s fair to everyone, and not frightening to some. We are getting older all the time, and this is something that many of us can’t afford to wait out.


      Ya know folks, I’m not generally the voice of reason nor do I try to be but…

      I’ve seen so many ads for and against M49. We do need to defeat this bill then the legislature needs to craft a bill that the majority from all sides can grudgingly live with.

      Right now it’s a We win or We lose attitude by both camps, that attitude in its self tells me that comprimise is needed to successfully remedy the differences between the 2 sides.

      If M49 passes we’ll be revisting it’s off spring in piece meal initiatives for decades. If M37 survives we’ll have the same result.

      How about we tell our legislators from both sides and the middle to do their job and craft a bill that we can all live with…………it may not be what we all want 100% but it might be the 80% that we can live with and then move on from.

      Put the onus back on them and let’s see what they are able to do, maybe we’ll all be surprised.

      • dean apostol


        The thing is…the longer M37 stands, the more projects will get vested. And so far it looks like it is the big projects that are well funded that are getting vested, not the mom and pop projects. And these might never get vested because of the transferrence issue.

        So…if more time goes by, and some big nasty photogenic projects get built, which they will, then if anything the momentum will be even stronger to just repeal M37 and be done with it before more projects get built. At least that is a plausible scenario.

        My advice to anyone on either side or in the middle is: vote your conscience. Vote what you think is best for you, your neighbors, your community, your state, and the world. Do so given the choices at hand, which at the moment are: Yes or no on M49.

        “Fixing it better later” is a good idea win or lose, because both M37 and M49 are far less than perfect. But you (or I) would want to begin that fixing process from the best possible position. If you like M37 as is better than what M49 changes about it, then vote no. If you like M49 better, vote yes. Don’t vote on wishful thinking about what this or the next legislature may or may not take as the message of a defeat.

        Just my humble thoughts.

        As for Richard (below,) give me a break. We Democrats are always accused of being hopeless, spineless, weeny LIBERALS. And what LIBERAL would not cave in and compromise or even surrender at the first clenched fist of a “I’m really really mad now and you’d better be scared” tough guy CONSERVATIVE? Of course Democrats will compromise. Unless they (we) think we do not have to. And Republicans are no dang different. George Bush being the poster boy.

  • Richard

    You’ve got to be kidding. What do you think happened in the legislature when M49 was passed onto the voters?
    The Republicans argued the same way for a compromise we could alllive with and tried to put the onus on them.
    The Democrats knew that was just weakness and M49 was passed out of committee and the full legislature without a single Republican vote.
    Now you want to suggest a compromise? Come on. You mean to tell me you can’t recognize that worn out path to failure?
    There is no nice or compromise that works or is acceptable to the Democrats, period. They laughed at the legislative vote and are laughing now. They aim to obliterate their oppostion.
    If Republicans continue to pretend otherwise the democrats will succeed.
    In fact where are the Oregon Republican leaders?
    Let me guess. They are working behind the scenes on winning elections? Oh yes that must be it. And in their wisdom they are doing so by avoiding taking public positions and not making their enemies mad. Marvelous

  • Anonymous

    For those of you who are pro-M37…. there are now 3 or 4 court decisions out there saying that M37 claims are NOT transferrable. which means that basically every land division under M37 is worthless. If you don’t want anyone to be able to sell of a portion of thier land, vote no on M49. if you want people to be able to build a few houses, vote yes. its pretty much that simple.

  • Richard

    For those of you who are anti-M37..and are so ignorant and dishonest as to peddle such lie as “every land division under M37 is worthless”, seek counseling.
    M49 is the latest weapon of choice by those advocating more density in every one of our cities, packed in like sardines and paid for with tax dollars.
    The Tram, SoWa, Beavertopn Round, homes without yards and every infill row house mess you’ve seen is what they want instead of a few reasonable alternatives under M37.

    • dean apostol


      I beg to differ with you. The truth is no one knows what the future of many or most of the existing M37 claims will be. Maybe at some point a court will decide in favor of transferability. But maybe not. none of us can predict the ultimate outcome. In the meantime, for those of you who have M37 claims in the 1-3 homesite category, I would think you might consider voting for M49 in your own self interest.

      But the bigger issue I have is with your characterization that the proponents of M49 want everyone “packed in like sardines.”

      By national standards the Portland area is still quite low density. And the densities being built are nowhere near the sardine category. Most new homes are detached, single family, and they do have yards. Yes, in comparison with 20 years ago these yards are small. But a lot of people prefer a small or no yard to maintain. Or they choose to sacrifice more space for the convenience of closer together living. All you need to do is check the real estate ads to confirm this. A 1500 square foot house in an inner east side Portland neighborhood on a 5000 square foot lot sells for as much or more than a 3000 square foot house on an acre in north Clackamas County. If large homes on large lots were in such demand, why aren’t they fetching way higher prices? What gives? Could the dreaded planners actually be right for once? Is the “American dream” changing?

      It should not be “either or.” Some people do still want a home on rural acreage, but they are not full time farmers. Our land use system ought to be adjusted to provide more such opportunities. But M37 is the wrong way to do this. It went too far and needs to be dialed back. Maybe M49 dials it back too much, but getting the porridge “just right” is not easy when no one is willing to talk to each other about compromise.

      • Chris McMullen

        Man, what a crock. There are very few M37 claims that call for high density suburbs — that’s a construct of our Metro governing board, which BTW, is totally unheard of in any other state in the country — but, I digress.

        Most M37 claims are for homes on huge lots — most over an acre. For instance, the Stimpson lumber deal is for homes on 20 acre parcels. Do you really have the audacity to claim that would somehow ruin the environment?

        Also, which M49 proponents love to leave out, there are a finite number of M37 claims. To pretend Oregon will be ‘paved over’ of M37 stands is an unadulterated lie.

  • carol

    Oh God, if I hadn’t read the entire measure, maybe I could believe Anon. Unfortunately I have read it over and over, and the ballot title is not what the measure says. And by the way, I voted Dem in the last three general elections, but the measure goes WAY too far.

  • Realtor

    “But a lot of people prefer a small or no yard to maintain.”

    Those people buy condos. People who buy houses want yards. The number request I have from single family home customers is for a “large yard.”

    “Or they choose to sacrifice more space for the convenience of closer together living.”

    Are you kidding me?!?!?! I have yet to have a client say they want to be closer to their neighbors.

    “A 1500 square foot house in an inner east side Portland neighborhood on a 5000 square foot lot sells for as much or more than a 3000 square foot house on an acre in north Clackamas County”

    B.S. A complete and total lie.

    Dean, you should stick to shrubs, it’s apparent you know little about anything else and that what you do “know” is wrong. You are either spreading lies knowlingly or are simply a fool.

    • dean apostol

      Actually I’m not much of a shrub person.

      My ex has a 1920s, 1500 square foot house on the lower part of Mt Tabor, on a 5000 sq foot lot, and it would easily sell for $500K. Easily.

      My neighbor has 5 acres in Damascus. Fantastic valley and Mt Hood view. A similar home, not in as good a shape, but same size. Neighbors at a distance. Her place was just appraised at $450K.

      Sure…all being equal most people will choose more space. All is not equal. That was my point. Some pay more for less space, closer to their neighbors, in order to be closer to services. Is that a lie? If not I must be a fool.