Local farmer says no on Measure 49

Editor:

Measure 49 is deceitful and misleading. Please read before you vote! If you think Measure 37 needs to be fixed, M49 is not the answer! Vote NO on this one.

Remember that M37 was passed by a large majority of voters, and just a handful of powerful people want to eliminate it. Don’t lose sight of the fact that this measure affects the whole state, not just a few counties. City people, put yourselves in our farmer’s boots and evaluate how you would feel if this rug were yanked out from under you.

In the first place, not everyone can file a claim on Measure 37, but only those whose names were on the property before 1972. That eliminates a lot of people, because even if the property was inherited from grandpa when he died, he is no longer the owner so the rest of the family cannot apply in his name. M49 claims to remedy this lack of transferability, but other restrictions counteract this move. However, M49 claims to extend transferability to some surviving spouses AND new owners, thus increasing, not decreasing, the potential for more farmhouses. Tell me, what farmlands are the 49-ers “protecting”?

When an application for M37 is filed, all the “fence neighbors” receive notice that they can comment on or object to this proposal. If they fear for their water supply, this is the time to express it. Therefore, neighbors are not totally helpless… they are given more than one opportunity to ask questions, state their opinions, etc.

M49 claims to preserve farm and forest lands by limiting new houses. Farm land I can understand, but why not let people build in the hills and thus not on the prime farmland? Unless we neuter our population and build immigrant-proof walls, where will the new population live?

M49 would limit homesites to two acres each (203’x416′), and houses must be clustered. My M37 application specifies a five acre minimum. In my view, two acres is hardly “rural” for people who want to raise beef, some 4-H projects for their kids, etc., and they certainly don’t want to be “clustered” to a neighbor, or they would live in town and save gas.

The proponents of M49 (e.g. Kathy Freeborn of Rickreall) claim that farmers will be ruined if they are surrounded by houses. Looking at the map she sent out, there are almost no applications for miles around Rickreall. So, how are they being threatened?

Just applying for a division of property does NOT guarantee approval. The state and county must consider availability of water without endangering existing users, and even if the application passes all the hurdles, it must be written into the titles of the newly registered properties that the new buyers realize that farms will produce dust, noise, odor, spray, etc. and those buyers accept that condition.

The 49-ers want you to think the whole Willamette Valley will be paved with strip malls and subdivisions. Not quite. About 95% of applicants are “little people” like me, so the bulk of the threat is not realistic. Can you imagine 2500 new strip malls in the Valley? We don’t have more than a few hundred communities. M49’s effort to prevent a few subdivisions denies the vast majority of applicants of their individual rights.

If M49 passes, the people whose applications are still in process will lose everything they’ve done so far, and will have to start over, with huge additional fees ($5,000 to start), unless they can show vested rights. “Vested” means a big investment, but if the application has not been approved yet, why would an owner invest in a septic system and driveway already?

M49 opens the door for “eminent domain” in which private property can be seized by the government for “the greater good of the public”. Thus the recent news of eight farmers, who had planned to retire and live in the homes they have had for decades, are being harassed because some entity wants to build a new school there; not up in the hills, of course. Why not up in the hills? How many dozens of acres does a school really need anyway?

If property owners try to fight the government in court, for eminent domain or compensation among other things, the owners must pay all the costs, including the government’s lawyers, even if the claimant wins the case. What’s “fair” about that?? I have yet to see a government entity offer a realistic reimbursement for the property they want.

M49-ers claim that farmers will still be able to build a few houses on their land if their application passes a list of criteria, which includes “No one on EFU zoned land will qualify for extra homesites.” EFU stands

for Exclusive Farm Use… that’s farms and small timber, and covers the whole Willamette Valley, from Eugene to Portland!

M49 benefits no one, certainly not any property owners, large or small. It is just a power grab by the “greenies” who think snails and whales are more important than people. In our nation, there are estalished rights for property owners and we dare not let a few “elite” take control out of our hands.

Joan Scofield

Sweet Home

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