Oregon Winemakers Back A Return To Property Rights

<p>With their vineyards threatened by 2004's land use law Measure 37, Oregon's winemakers are getting behind this November's ballot Measure 49 as a way to preserve their land and their business.</p>
October 2, 2007, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Oregon's rules were designed to keep large tracts of land in farming forever, producing food and wine for centuries. Here, it seemed, paving over precious vineyards would be as unthinkably wasteful -- bizarre! -- as the idea would strike most people in Burgundy."


"Since 2004, all land-use bets are off. Measure 37, approved by voters that year, has spawned 7,500 claims for subdivisions, strip malls and other developments, most on farm and forest land. Claims threaten to break up large tracts of land and suck up limited water supplies that vineyards, orchards and nurseries need."

"Winemakers warned last week that Measure 37 claims jeopardize thousands of acres of potential vineyard land they need for expansion. That could cripple the industry's future, but there's an answer. Winemakers are grateful for help arriving soon on the November ballot: Measure 49."

"Not only would it bolster the property rights of winemakers and provide them with growing room, it would also help small Measure 37 claimants gain speedy approvals to put a couple houses on their land. And all the evidence suggests that's what voters wanted to encourage, not open a gold rush on farmland."

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Published on Monday, October 1, 2007 in The Oregonian
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