In today's Oregonian the editorial page takes on Measure 37, the property rights law passed two years ago that allows individual landholders to sidestep land use planning laws - to build subdivisions in ancient forests, strip malls outside urban growth boundaries, and so on.
The tenor of the editorial made me wince a little bit. According to the editorial, "...the rush to file Measure 37 claims before today's deadline shows it wasn't so much about righting wrongs as it was about razing farms and forests and enriching developers."
Today marks the two-year deadline for filing claims under Measure 37, in keeping with a clause that was part of the original bill's language. Does that mean the damage is over? Nobody seems quite sure. According to an Associated Press article from November 20 I read, landowners with claims can still file after December — they'll just be facing more paperwork.
There's been a fair amount of hand-wringing in the media about Measure 37 and how it's raping the state's heretofore acclaimed land use laws. But in the two years since the ballot measure was passed, I don't feel like I've seen anyone, from elected officials to community activists, pick up the fallen flag and say, "Let's do something!" Maybe I don't understand politics well enough, but why hasn't there been an effort to repeal this f---ing thing? I remember hearing that the legislature was reticent to repeal something the voters had passed, but I think they ought to realize the voters were duped. Might things change now that the Democrats have regained power in Salem and Ted Kulongoski has been re-elected?
I can't imagine why battling the cancer of Measure 37 isn't Kulongoski's top priority. I defy anyone to prove succictly and believably that this new law benefits the people of Oregon. It reminds me of a line from one of those crappy Star Trek movies (I think it was The Search for Spock) about the "good of the many" versus the "good of the few". There is no other issue in Oregon politics that makes me angrier than knowing that Measure 37 is alowing a select few landowners to ruin a land use system that we've spent decades building.
Why is there not a task force, a protest march, or petition drive to combat this law -- hell, a frickin' bake sale! I know it's all too easy for me to just sit here at my computer typing away and accuse others of not doing anything. But I sure wish somebody with the power and the pulpit to do so would take on this menace and rid us of these subdivisions and saws hacking away at Oregon's beauty.