Jackson County Residents and Leaders Speak Out Against Anti-Planning Initiatives on May Ballot

Two Jackson County ballot intiatives that aim to revive the ghost of Measure 37 are provoking significant opposition from concerned farmers, residents, and leaders in the county. Even some who supported Measure 37 in 2004 have come out against the initiatives, the Mail Tribune reports.

County voters will decide on the initiatives in the May 15 election.

Oregon voters overturned most of Measure 37 when they passed Measure 49 in 2009. One of the two initiatives, Measure 15-111, would essentially revive Measure 37 for Jackson County, requiring the county to pay significant sums of money to landowners who believe that county planning decisions have reduced their property value. Unlike Measure 37, there is no option for waiving the regulations. This initiative likely conflicts with the Oregon Constitution and is not likely to stand up in court.

The other initiative, Measure 15-110, would force county staff to publicly oppose any statewide land use planning policies, committing the county to spend money and time expressing this opposition every year.

Both initiatives will undoubtedly be challenged. The cost in time and money that would result from the county being pulled into the courts, and the costs of implementing the initiatives--particularly in a time when the county's budgets are severely constrained--have even led some Measure 37 supporters to speak out publicly against Measures 15-110 and 15-111. One who has done so is County Commissioner C.W. Smith, quoted in the Mail-Tribune recently:

[Smith] said the county would be in violation of state law if it continued to support the Measure 37 waivers.

Though he understands the frustrations of many property owners, Smith said he doesn't support the two new ballot measures because they would further confuse the situation, costing time and money for legal challenges.

"Based on their definition, we would have to compensate everybody for Measure 37," he said.

For more information on the initiatives, visit the Jackson County elections page, or contact 1000 Friends’ Southern Oregon Advocate Greg Holmes at greg@friends.org.

Read the full Mail-Tribune article here.