Lars Larson on the Sweeney’s

Let’s talk about some of those “Yes on 49″ ads.

Let’s talk about the “Yes on 49″ ads, like the people who’d like to see Measure 37 effectively repealed. They talk about how they value farm land and how it’s threatened by development. But, they don’t mention that the farm that the Sweeney family sold in Dayton was sold so it could be developed and the big bucks they made from that development.

It wouldn’t bother me to see them making bank selling their own land if the Sweeney’s weren’t now advocating to take those same land—use rights away from other land owners in Oregon. Because the Sweeney’s got a twofer. Their in-town land was much more valuable because it was brought into the Urban Growth Boundary. The big bucks they got let them buy a lot of new farmland because the farmers who owned it are denied the right to develop it.

Oregon’s land-use laws let the Sweeney’s sell high and buy low. If Measure 49 passes, all the land around the Sweeney’s will still stay cheap. The Sweeney’s got their big gain and now they want to deny it to others.

  • Jerry

    This explains why people who fall for the 49 ads are so sadly misinformed.

  • john

    once agian this is an oregon issue, I can’t begain to tell you how rude it is that you’re a Washington resident but all you talk about oregon issues. Just go back home to your home state and stay there, whey don’t talk about Seattle issues since that is your home state.

    • Steve Plunk


      Lars has as much if not more of a right to speak on any subject he sees fit. Using residency as a test of speech rights is silly. These issues cross state lines in many ways and are important to all of us in the northwest as well as the rest of the country. Borders don’t always matter.

      Any time I see someone trying to silence ideas I see someone who doesn’t like a playing field leveled by facts. Lars is speaking truth so let’s take it as that.

  • dean

    Taking both Lars and David Rheinhard (todays Oregonian) at face value (always should be done with “reader beware…”,) this looks like much ado about nothing.

    The Sweeny family apparently owns a lot of land, they farm it, and have for generations. Some of that land was placed inside the urban growth boundary of Dayton, after the land around it had already developed. Their petition to annex was probably required in order to hook up new homes to urban services, which is the responsible way to develop (full services that usually have to be paid for by teh developer). And once all that was done, it made both economic AND environmental sense to maximize the density in order to spread the infrastructure costs and help slow down potential future expansions of the UGB.

    In other words, they PLAYED BY THE RULES. They did not try to get Oregon’s land use system changed or overturned to feather their own nest. THey didn’t slip money to someone under the table. They are smart in the way they have managed their investments in land.

    The “they got theirs…” arguments from Lars and Rheinhard sound like the class envy we on the left are usually accused of. The Sweeny’s “got theirs” because they worked for it folks, and they happened to have some land in the right place with respect to development. Anyone else in this state who owns rural land just outside of a UGB will probably “get theirs” at some point in the future if population growth and orderly expansions continue.

    And if M49 passes, 40% or more of the M37 claimnants will “get theirs” as well, but the big claims will have to play by the rules we have all lived under for over 30 years now.

    • carol

      ‘Reader beware” possibly, but Dave makes a point about Ms. Sweeny having served on the planning commission. These deals happen all the time, I have seen it happen here in the small town where I live, and it is poised to happen here again. Plans are made by people, and people are open to influence. I don’t know if that is the case here, but the Sweenys left themselves wide open to Lars and Dave.

      • dean


        Fair enough. If she was on the commission, then the legal rules as I understand them are to state her conflict of interest in the matter. She could then choose to recuse herself from the vote or not. I don’t know the details, but you are right that this could be an issue.

        But still…the land they developed had to be adjacent to Dayton in order for it to have been added to the UGB in the first place. It is not the same as ex-urban development.

        I’m headed back outside to finish painting.

  • DD877

    I Voted Not only NO but Hell NO

    • An Old Farmer

      No on 49! Us old farmers who bought land years ago to work and raise our kids all say, NO! Too bad the common person will believe the ‘fix’, really, the lies of the measure and how it is put forth. All the ‘yeses’ already have their house and land.

      When I first saw that ad by the Sweeney’s, my first thought was “that kid had never gotten his hands dirty before when he ‘touched’ the filberts.”

      Real farmers know real work!

  • carol

    I don’t think she was on the commision at the time the UGB was expanded, but in years prior to the action of the commission.

  • Brian

    Here’s a thought. Whether or not the commercial is pure truth or a total lie, you could always study the issue and make up your own mind. It IS possible that the Sweeney’s are nefarious hypocrites AND that measure 49 would be good public policy.

    By all means, vote no on 49 if that is what YOU think. But be a little more perspicacious than basing your decision on what one of talk radio’s also-rans tells you about an ad.


    • carol

      I studied the issue, all 24 pages of it HB3540, didn’t everyone. Should before you vote.

  • Neal

    “It IS possible that the Sweeney’s are nefarious hypocrites AND that measure 49 would be good public policy.”

    Yeah right. M49 could be. But since our land use planning is excessive and haphazard crap, despite the never ending propaganda hyping it, the idea that M49 could be good policy is absurd. It preserves crap.

    • dean


      But M37 did not overturn or even modify what you call our “excessive land use planning and haphazard crap.” It simply allowed some landowners to be granted waivers on the crap that everyone else has to continue to abide by. If changing the system, killing off the planners, and so forth is your goal, why not go for that full stop?

  • Neal

    Dean, what a kook. After defending the status quo as good planning and embellishing the effects of M37 to the extremem you know admit
    “M37 did not overturn or even modify land use planning”?
    Finally some truth from a Metro clone.

    Of course you then stumble through more of your nonsense with the tired canard “killing off the planners, and so forth is your goal”.

    If you had a consistent and ingenuous bone in your body you would recognize there is no effort to abolish planning or kill the planners altogether.

    For the countless time for you zealots, Now pay attention Dean,

    There is a wide spectrum of land use planning and preservation available to Oregon between the current extremity and none.

    We have 50 states, all with varied degrees of planning and regulation. We have neighbors directly to our North and East who maintain their state’s landscapes without Oregon’s irrational, blind and dysfunctional extreme.
    Since you finally admit M37 does little to weaken out extreme system why do you so oppose it?
    Simple, because you are an extremist. And you mistakenly think our planning and new Urbanism is “efficient”.
    If you and it weren’t so horribly wrong you you would be funny.

  • Alden


    Stop bickering over personal matters and attacks. Buying up farmland as an investment where profit is to be from sub-dividing the land and developing it into apartment or housing complexes, shopping malls, and manufacturing facilities is a real travesty. This bickering over who has sold land, and who has not, is childish. What has happened to our farmlands needs to stop, but we can’t stop what has already happened. We can’t do anything about what has happened, we can only stop it from happening in the future. Come on people, grow up and quit acting like bickering, spoiled children, and let’s think about the future for us and our children. I don’t care about what the Sweeney’s have or haven’t done. That is in the past. I say, let’s pass ballot measure 49 and then make it so our farms can be operated at a profit. We need to quit depending on foreign products. It is in the news everyday how the products we are importing are so dangerous. Foreign countries don’t have the standards and inspection regulations and programs we have. They use processes and chemicals we have ruled dangerous and illegal. And the imported products don’t have to meet our American standards. That pertains not only to toys and other non-food products, but to food. Foreign production often includes slave labor including young children. We need our own farmland. I say stop destroying our farmlands and forests. Make them profitable to operate, make them profitable to sell as a farm to people who want to farm the land, and quit buying foreign farm products which contributes to destroying our own American farm product market. I say ban imports. I also say to re-develop land that has already been developed. Take old, low level, run down apartment structures, that may be abandoned, and tear them down and replace them with new high rise apartment or condo towers with gardens planted on roofs to purify and oxygenate our air we breath. Put new, non-polluting manufacturing facilities on old, abandoned manufacturing sites instead of tearing up farm and forest lands to build the new factories and leaving the old sites abandoned as useless, wasted land. God gave us our land for us to take care of and use wisely. Tearing up all the land, not saving land for food and fresh air production, for intense housing, is not a wise use of the land. Several advertisements, against 49, say that even though the property owners are against 49 and for 37, it does not mean they plan to sub-divide and/or develop. But, without 49, what guarantees are there that they won’t sub-divide and/or develop. Investors and developers, from outside our state, are pushing a no on 49 because they want to rip up and develop our farms and forests into massive housing projects that they will make hundreds of millions of dollars off of. The current property owners will make some profit off of selling to developers, but it is the out of state investors and developers that will make the big profits for lining their pockets. They don’t care about livability, they just care about profit. And property owners who sell to them are just joining in as more people who don’t care about our land but are only concerned about how much money they can get so they can have an elaborate retirement. Wake up people. Quit bickering over what has happened because that can’t be changed. Quit being selfish and think about future generations and the livability of the land for them. In depending on foreign countries for our products, we make people in those foreign countries rich, depend on dangerous products that can kill us and our children, destroy our own economy, and can wind up being without products at all, safe or not, if those countries decide to cut us off. Depending on foreign countries for products makes us subservient to those foreign countries to where we can lose all our power and strength as a nation. Foreign countries can black-male us for products we need and no longer have. I say quit bickering over what little things have happened and look at the overall picture. I grew up in the country, love country living, but now live in the city because of employment situations. I am still a country person by heart. I believe land owners of very large farms should be able to divide it into smaller farms for their children if the children want to continue on farming and the land is big enough. I am a republican, and republicans are usually big money people which I’m not, but I say stop the money greed and the destruction of our resources that provide for our people, now and in the future. This is not a political party thing or not, but whether you care about our society or are selfish and greedy instead. Stop the bickering, vote for measure 49, and then do what it takes to make American farms and forests profitable again. Stop bickering about who has already done what, and don’t listen to anyone who lives outside our state when it comes to making decisions for our state. Grow up.

    • MLA Corp

      Um, you might want to start a new paragraph every once in a while. Reading this is like trying to drink from a fire hose.

      Are you on Meth?

  • carol


  • Neal

    M37 doesn’t do anything meritting your panick attack.

    • dean

      I don’t “admit” that M37 did not overturn land use planning in general. Because I never said that it did. The proponents were very careful to focus the discussion on unfairness to a few, relatively small landowners. They well knew that previous efforts to overturn Oregon’s “excessive” land use system had already failed 6 times in the past, and they knew there was still strong support for the system.

      But M37, to borrow from the anti-49 campaign, was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” It has opened far more land to ex-urban development than had been advertised, and allows very large land development projects that do not belong in rural areas and will impact thousands of neighbors.

      Yes…a “wide spectrum” of planning approaches does exist nationwide. On the one end are states with no rural zoning whatsoever. Then there are those that have some restrictions, and those like Oregon (and now Washington) that have very strict rules from the state level on down.

      M37 did not overturn our planning system, and probably resulted in hiring MORE planners to process the 7500 claims. But it did blast a very large hole through the system, a much larger hole than most voters were aware of, in my opinion.

      As for Alden, okay…some paragraphs would be helpful next time. But read his words Neal. Is he also a “zealot?” Because if he is there must be and awful lot of us out there.