Protecting Their Privates
Oregon environmentalists are lamenting the passage on Tuesday of a ballot measure that will amend the Oregon constitution to require state and local governments to pay private property owners when land-use or other regulations reduce the value of their property. Opponents argue that the property-rights, or “takings,” measure will hamper the state’s widely touted efforts to control growth, as well efforts to protect beaches and waterways. The state estimates that the measure could cost taxpayers $5.4 billion a year. Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), who opposed the measure, said yesterday, “It does not overturn our land-use laws or our environmental laws, but it raises serious questions about the extent to which we can enforce them.” Kitzhaber and other opponents predicted legal challenges to the measure or legislative attempts to overturn it.