10 Dec 2007, 10:38pm
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by admin

Post-49: Life in land-use limbo

Those with Measure 37 claims hope they’ll be able to move projects forward, even on Iowa Hill

by the Forest Grove News-Times [here]

On Thursday, Measure 49 will become the land-use law of the land, thanks to Oregon voters who passed the legislative referral by a two-to-one margin a month ago.

The new law brings a long list of new provisions for landowners who successfully made a claim under Measure 37, the 2002 land-use overhaul which Measure 49 replaces. In general, it allows requests for three or fewer homes to go forward, while larger claims will not be allowed…

We asked three claimants about how they’re approaching the new law. Here are their responses…

Andrew Miller, CEO of Stimson Lumber Co.

Situation: Stimson Lumber, which has its mill just west of Gaston, filed Measure 37 claims on more than 57,000 acres of forest land it owns in Oregon, most of it in Washington County. Miller, however, has said from the start that the only claim the company was pursing was a proposal to put 40 houses on a 1,100-acre parcel on Iowa Hill, just south of Cornelius, where the company says nearby development makes it hard to keep in timber production.

Your Iowa Hill claim clearly won’t pass the new M49 tests. Does that mean the project is dead?

Stimson will move ahead with development on Iowa Hill. Our Iowa Hill project was moving forward for business reasons prior to Measure 37. The exact nature of the development may be modified somewhat, and the timeline extended, from that contemplated under our [Measure] 37 claim, but Stimson has a number of avenues for development.

How is that possible after Measure 49?

Oregon’s land-use system is an insider’s game. Large land owners, with financial resources, patience, and expert advice can accomplish a great deal of development, whether it be in rural areas, or urban areas, whereas small land owners without resources and time are frozen out. Some of the loudest supporters of our land-use system are major land owners. The land-use system keeps competitors out of the market, and supports land values. People are fools if they think [Measure] 49 will prevent the type of rural development that is already occurring throughout the Willamette Valley.

Until a few months ago, Stimson was best known as a quietly successful wood products company that gives Portland its Christmas tree each year. Will your high-profile role in this campaign change the way Stimson is viewed?

I do not really care how Stimson is viewed. We do the things we do because we believe they are right – right for our employees, the communities in which we operate the land, and our shareholders. I do not feel compelled to justify any of our actions because we do not engage in them in order to win public praise or support. We are cards-on-the-table kind of people, and accept that some may not like us, or what we do. That is just life. We do not, however, pull punches or deceive people for gain.



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