Oregon's Property Rights Debate Offers Lessons to Nation

<p>Oregon's property rights issues should serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of the country, according to this article from <em>Metropolis</em>.</p>
March 26, 2008, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"As planners and designers nationwide are faced with reducing carbon emissions, they float ideas that sound Oregonian. The LEED for Neighborhood Development certification program, for example, may require dramatically increasing density and restricting building on ecologically sensitive open land while promoting the reuse of industrial brownfields and obsolete grey-fields. Oregon had already been a long way toward achieving these goals before Measure 37 weakened the state's stiff rural-­development restrictions. Then a vote last November, little noticed outside the state, sweepingly reversed almost all of the legislation. These whipsawing policies exposed raw but often unexamined emotions about Americans' relationship to land. Oregon's property-rights battle serves as a cautionary tale for environmentalists nationwide."

"The abrupt transition between rural and urban is pretty much unique to Oregon, and it drives some landowners crazy. After all, land values on the urban side of the growth boundary, where you might be able to build upward of half a dozen houses every acre, may be many times those on the rural side, where often only one house is permitted per 80 acres. To many it seems patently unfair for a government commission to draw a line that has such extraordinary impact on a given parcel's destiny."

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Published on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 in Metropolis Magazine
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