There’s a great article in today’s Washington Post on Oregon’s Measure 37, the voter-approved initiative that is threatening to unravel the state’s anti-sprawl laws.
To recap, Measure 37 requires the government to compensate anyone whose land value has been reduced by Oregon’s successful growth management programs—making those programs vastly more expensive and complicated to implement.
To me, the most interesting point made by the article is that Measure 37 claims seem to be creating bad blood among neighbors: farmers who are trying to keep development pressures at bay in order to preserve their livelihoods are being undermined by those who want to cash in on suburban sprawl. And because of the way the measure was written, only people who’ve owned their land since 1973—when Oregon’s growth management act came into effect—can make Measure 37 claims, effectively creating a privileged group of landowners. In effect, the law created a new entitlement program, but one that particularly favors those who already own a lot of land.
As the Post article shows, it will be as fascinating as it is disconcerting to see how the new law will play itself out.