Residents’ group starts Measure 37 state appeals


News staff writer

November 1, 2006

The Hood River Valley Residents Committee has filed appeals to the state in recent weeks regarding three Measure 37 decisions in the Hood River Valley, and has filed motions in court to review several other claims with the possibility of appeal.

“The situation is that Measure 37 is the law,” said Scott Franke, president of HRVRC. “We understand that, we’re not fighting the law. What we’re asking that the state do more accurately is to evaluate these claims fairly and grant compensation commensurate with the loss, or if they’re going to waive enforcements, then to do it proportionately to the amount of monetary loss.”

Measure 37 requires the government to compensate landowners for any loss in property value resulting from a land use regulation enacted after the owner’s acquisition of the property.

“If we do a more reasonable job of this, we’d go back and establish what the monetary loss would have been in 1974 when these laws went into effect,” Franke said. (In 1974, the state legislature passed a sweeping land use bill aimed at protecting rural farm and forest lands statewide.)

“We should really look at this in a traditional takings context,” Franke said. “We look at the amount of loss then, and use some reasonable economic index to bring it up to date. So, if in 1974 you could have gotten $20,000 more for dividing your land into 20 lots, bring it forward to now and maybe it’s $200,000.”

As of Oct. 30, there were 135 Measure 37 claims totaling 5,446 acres in Hood River County. Nearly all the claims are on Exclusive Farm Use-zoned land, according to Mike Benedict, Hood River County planning director. Claimants have estimated development of this land to be worth more than $650 million.

“It’s primarily about fairness,” Franke said. “What goes on now is that someone who acquired land in 1990 has zero rights.”

Larry and Sara Martin, of Dee, have joined the HRVRC in appealing a Measure 37 claim filed by a neighbor. The Martins own and operate 60 acres of pear and apple orchards on Dee Flat, which they acquired in 1994.

A Measure 37 claim filed by Bill Bayless asks for permission to divide 332 acres on the Dee Highway into 232 lots. The claim was granted in lieu of paying the requested $29,918,655.

The Martins are concerned with the impact of such a large subdivision on their ability to farm, as well as the potential environmental impacts.

“We are challenging the State of Oregon for its flawed decision on a claim that would conflict with our farming operation and increase fire risk in nearby forestland,” Larry Martin said. He stressed that the appeal is directed at the state, not at his neighbors.

“We’re not trying to pit neighbor against neighbor,” he said.

The HRVRC is targeting the state and not Hood River County in all of its appeals so far.

“The counties are not the ones in the lead,” Franke said. “The state is where the policy needs to change. The state is where the legislative fixes can happen.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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