Oregon

Both Sides In Measure 49 Debate Claim Farmer Support

OPB | Oct. 17, 2007 8 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:18 a.m. | Sauvie Island, OR

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By Colin Fogarty

Two new reports are out on Ballot Measure 49. The initiative limits the development allowed under property compensation initiative, Measure 37.  It changes the process for reviewing claims, and addresses the measure's legal uncertainties.

As Colin Fogarty reports, both sides of this land-use debate are citing the views of people who live off the land.


77-year-old Edmund Duyke has been farming outside of Hillsboro for more than 50 years.  In that time, he’s seen a lot of development.  One subdivision nearby sucks up much of the ground water he uses to irrigate his fields of sweet corn.

Now Duyke’s neighbors on either side of his farm have filed Measure 37 claims for even more development.  That’s why he’s hoping Measure 49 will put on the brakes.

Edmund Duyke: “And I’d like to continue farming there.  I’m eligible to file claims just like the rest.  I’ve been there since 1954.  But I don’t believe in it.  Agriculture is my industry.  It’s my life.  I grew up on a farm.  I now own the farm which my grandfather owned in 1910 and I’d like to see it stay in agriculture.”

Duyke is standing in the market of Krugers Farms on Sauvie Island. A group of farmers in favor of Measure 49 has gathered here as a gentle rain falls on u-cut flowers and a pumpkin patch outside.

Another farmer — Oregon Farm Bureau Federation president Barry Bushue says his group is backing Measure 49  because it will keep farm land from being gobbled up by big developments.

Barry Bushue: “We’re not here to tell you that people that want to build homes are bad.  We’re here to tell you that as an agriculture industry, we have to have a sound and secure infrastructure that includes land and water.  Measure 49 is an opportunity to give us the land.”

Bushue stresses that the Oregon Farm Bureau Federation came to its support of Measure 49 through a long democratic process.  But driving out to Krugers Farm on Sauvie Island, you can’t help but notice some farmers have signs opposing Measure 49.

Dave Hunnicut, with the property rights group Oregonians in Action, says the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, timber companies, and a handful of county farm bureaus support Measure 37 and oppose the vote next month to revise it.

Dave Hunnicut: “This idea that Measure 37 is gobbling up farm land simply isn’t true.  More importantly, the idea that the natural resource industry supports Measure 49 is equally false.  The Oregon Farm Bureau is but one natural resource organization.”

The campaign in favor of Measure 49 is a coalition of farmers and environmental groups.  One of which is Environment Oregon.  It released a new study saying if Measure 49 does not pass, more Oregon farm land would be developed from Measure 37 claims than in any five year period since 1982.

A separate study by the region government Metro doesn’t contradict that.  But it casts the debate over Measure 49 a different way.

he report says if the measure passes, more than 80 per cent of houses sought through Measure 37 claims in Washington County would be denied.

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