CITY ORDINANCES FOR MEASURE 7 CHALLENGED
December 22, 2000 11:00 pm

SALEM 1000 Friends of Oregon has filed legal challenges against city ordinances enacted to regulate claims under Measure 7, the so-called takings initiative approved by Oregon voters in November.

Measure 7 is an Oregon constitutional amendment to allow property owners to file claims for compensation for the loss of value on their property caused by regulations imposed from the state down to local governments. Federal regulations are exempted.

The law was scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 7 and cities and counties rushed to pass ordinances to provide a method of filing claims under Measure 7. Many ordinances had provisions for waiving land use and other regulations to avoid claims under the amendment.

1000 Friends and other land use organizations, including Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, are appealing ordinances which authorize development prohibited by local zoning and state land use laws.

The watchdog agencies believe the local ordinances could be used to authorize everything from cellular phone towers in residential zones to development on coastal sand dunes.

We understand the difficult position local governments have been put in by the passage of Measure 7, said 1000 Friends executive director Robert Liberty.

But we cannot sit on the sidelines and allow the laws that have made our state a great place to live be gutted. Oregonians voted for compensation, not for the repeal of state land use laws and local zoning.

Liberty said that local governments can avoid litigation by repealing the waiver provisions of their ordinances.

On Wednesday Brookings City Council rescinded its ordinance that contained provisions to waive any regulations that might give rise to Measure 7 claims.

A similar ordinance passed by Curry County contained a statement that it would not go into effect until Measure 7 became law, so it was not necessary to repeal it.

Other cities and counties that have repealed or modified their ordinances in response to the action by 1000 Friends include Jackson County, Hood River County, Columbia City, Creswell, Dallas, Detroit, Falls City, Idanha, Stayton and Vernonia.

As of Friday morning, ordinances of 23 cities have been appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, including: Cottage Grove, Newport, Lincoln City, Milton-Freewater, Seaside, West Linn, Baker City Beaverton, Central Point, Cornelius, Dundee, Eugene, Garibaldi, Hood River, Independence, Keizer, Lake Oswego, Lebanon, McMinnville, Philomath, Scappoose, Turner and Wilsonville.

Liberty said more appeals are planned.

Measure 7 was put on hold Dec. 6 when Judge Paul Lipscomb of the Marion County Circuit Court granted a preliminary injunction against the initiative in response to a suit filed by the League of Oregon Cities.

In handing down the preliminary injunction, Judge Lipscomb said that if Measure 7 was allowed to go into effect, both claimants and governments would incur substantial expense because of a possibly unconstitutional measure.

In his opinion, Judge Lipscomb wrote that, as now appears likely, Measure 7 does not meet the Constitutional requirements for proposed amendments to the Oregon Constitution.