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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Oregon's Land-Use Problems

This makes me break out in a cold sweat:
For decades, Jean Jesse has dreamed of building a home on the plot she owns near the Portland suburb of Hillsboro. She may have to dream a little longer. When voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure last year loosening some of the strictest zoning restrictions in America, Jesse hoped she would be able to erect a house on the land she's owned since 1969.

But a Marion County judge in October ruled that the new law is unconstitutional, the latest twist in a legal headache uncorked by the measure and one that throws claims like Jesse's into limbo.
The state attorney general's office says it is unclear whether James' ruling applies to all 36 counties, or just the four that were party to the lawsuit to void it.

The decision stunned Jesse and her husband, who said they had invested about $70,000. Before the judge's opinion, the couple got a waiver and built roads, wells and a barn on their plot -- assuming Measure 37 would let them put up a one-story home there.
Frightening on several counts. Read it all.

Oh, to give those legislators and lawyers a taste of their own medicine.

Government gone wild.
Yet another "unconstitutional" voter initiative. I had no idea it was so bad in Oregon.
I thought the judge's reasoning was quite sound. Governmental decisions often adversely affect people. I know, being American Indian, when the dams were built in South Dakota, our tribes lost a lot of land. And when the freeways were built though black communities in urban areas like Oakland, California where were the conservative whites then? They looked the other way and took the cheap energy as we stood knee high in water.

It's too bad this lady can't build a house, but she can still sell the land and build elsewhere. When your land is gone, now that's a different matter. In 2000, 44 years after the dam was built the water was lowered, and the bodies of relatives buried in a churchyard came floating up. The Army Corps of Engineer claimed to have moved the graveyard, but it turns out they only moved the headstones. Pretty horrible. My grandmother lived to see that day her parents and her baby sister and brother's body came up and floated down the river. Because they were Indian it didn't make the national news.

Many poor, non-white communities have suffered quite a lot to make this country great. Keep a stiff upper lip and give your part now. If it's just some speculative land profiteering you lost out on . . . then count yourself lucky.
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