Oregon Land-Use Regulation and Ballot Measure 37: Newton’s Third Law at Work

Oregon Land-Use Regulation and Ballot Measure 37: Newton’s Third Law at Work

In 1973, the Oregon Legislature adopted Senate Bill 100, creating Oregon’s unique and controversial statewide, centralized land-use system. The impact for Oregon property owners, particularly those in rural areas, was dramatic. In the years following adoption of Senate Bill 100, the state system evolved and additional land-use restrictions were enacted, with little relief for those subjected to the economic and emotional burdens imposed by the state.
Neither the Oregon legislature nor the Oregon judiciary provided relief from the burdens imposed by the new land-use system. In response, since 2000, Oregon voters have adopted two ballot measures requiring state and local governments to compensate property owners when a land-use regulation that lowers a property’s value is adopted after an owner purchases the property. The last measure, Ballot Measure 37, was approved in November 2004, and was in operation until October 2005, when it was declared unconstitutional by a Marion County trial judge.
This essay traces the history of Oregon’s planning experiment, its evolution, and its impact on rural Oregonians; the failure by the Oregon appellate courts to craft a coherent body of case law interpreting the takings clause of the Oregon Constitution; the campaign and adoption by the Oregon voters of both Measure 7 (2000) and Measure 37 (2004); and the subsequent invalidation by the judiciary of each measure. The essay analyzes the rationale for the invalidation of Measure 37, and predicts the likely outcome of the Measure 37 litigation, which is ongoing.

David J. Hunnicutt

Environmental Law Review

Winter 2006

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By |2018-01-01T00:00:00-08:00January 1st, 2018|Efficiency/Growth, Land Use Regulation, Reference, Reforms|