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Measure 49 - How's that working out for you?

OPB | July 9, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:42 p.m.

How’s Measure 49 working out for you?

LISTEN TO “Measure 49” (24MB MP3)

It was the compromise that appealed to voters: a measure designed to protect the rural, undeveloped land that some people believe is essential to the very character of Oregon, while allowing families with limited development plans to build up to three houses on their property. Measure 49 was supposed to address the issues raised by the late Dorothy English who became the poster child for Measure 37. She said it was unfair that land use and environmental laws changed over the years, so that land her family bought as an investment, with an eye toward making some money, was now off limits as a source of family income. And her story fueled passage of Measure 37. That measure said that if a property owner proved land use regulations reduced the value of their property, then the government responsible for regulating it could either pay the owner of the property an amount equal to the reduction in value, or waive the regulation.

Opponents claimed that Measure 37 was really a vehicle for large developers, who wanted to do much more than build a few homes on undeveloped parcels. And once voters got wind of some of those large developments, they had second thoughts. And so, Measure 49 was born — and approved by voters — in November, 2007.

Under the new law, people who want to build one to three homes can take the “express option” to process their claims. So how is that working? What does “express” really mean, and who is taking that route? And how are the claims for larger developments — that were already well in the works when Measure 49 passed — playing out? Are you a property owner who is eligible for the “express option” to develop a few homes? Is the process working quickly enough for you? Are you the neighbor of a major development that was proposed under Measure 37, and do you feel that the new law has protected you from big developers? Do you feel that you are vested under Measure 37 because you spent a significant amount of money to prepare your property? Do you think the new process to review whether you are vested enough to go ahead fair?

BY THE WAY: If you’re interested in how land in the Portland metro area will be used for the next half century, now is a good time to get involved. Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties are identifying parcels of land to designate as urban and rural reserves. Public information sessions are happening this week.


  • Rob Manning: OPB reporter covering land use issues.
  • Marla Robison: Owner of a 47 acre property near Newberg in Yamhill County. Under Measure 37, she filed a claim to develop 17 homes. She’s now filed a fast track claim under Measure 49 that would allow three homes, including the one in which she currently lives.
  • Sparkle Fuller Anderson: Lives just outside Wilsonville on land that’s been in her family since the 1850s. She has also filed a “fast track” development claim under Measure 49.
  • Anne Corcoran Briggs: Lawyer and land use hearings officer adjudicating Measure 37 development claims in Deschutes and Clackamas County.
  • Lane Shetterly: Former director of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. He assisted in drafting Measure 49.


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