29 Jan 2008, 2:17pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

Three sue over land-use decision

Suit says county’s setting aside of Measure 37 waivers violates property rights

By Damian Mann, Mail Tribune, January 29, 2008

In what could be the beginning of a legal firestorm, three property owners sued Jackson County last week for more than $20 million, alleging their constitutional property rights under Measure 37 have been trampled.

At the same time a coalition of almost 100 local landowners and attorneys is forming to challenge the county’s decision to no longer honor waivers that were approved under the controversial property rights law.

Medford resident David Smith, a member of the newly formed Citizens for Constitutional Fairness, said the dollar amount that property owners say they’ve lost after the passage of Measure 49 — the fix for Measure 37 — could be significant.

“I think it’s going to be $1 billion,” Smith said. “It’s basically going to bankrupt the county if they don’t do anything.”

In addition to the three property owners who have already filed suits in Jackson County Circuit Court, Smith said that at a meeting held last week to discuss options for Measure 37 claimants, he talked to 80 landowners who are considering legal action. Though a class action suit is being considered, Smith said his group is still trying to determine if that’s the best course of action.

“We may have 100 lawsuits pretty soon,” he said… [more]

29 Jan 2008, 2:19pm
by Steven A.

This news is not to be missed. I think this may be one of the most significant developments thus far in the fight for justice for those who acted under the rules and then were stripped of them retroactively by the state. Bob Robertson, the Medford attorney handling the lawsuits, believes the state’s actions represent a fraudulent scheme “that has some criminal element to it.”

“Both the U.S. and Oregon constitutions have specific language protecting contracts and the county essentially approved a contract when it granted the (M37) waivers. The Oregon Constitution prohibits passage of any law impairing the obligation of contracts.” — Attorney Bob Robertson



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