Judge rules Oregon’s Measure 37 unconstitutional

Oregon’s voter-approved Measure 37, which would mandate that private landowners be compensated for changes in their property value brought about by state land-use decisions, has been ruled unconstitutional by Marion County Circuit Judge Mary James. Oregon was widely seen as a national model in land-use planning, pushing new development into already-developed regions and preserving open space — until November 2004, when a landowner revolt pushed Measure 37 through. Now already-perplexed state officials are even more baffled as to how to proceed. Measure backers plan to appeal, and there have been calls to send the case directly to Oregon’s Supreme Court, or for Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) to convene a special session of the legislature to resolve the issue, though that seems unlikely. “With today’s ruling, we’ve gone from having many unanswered questions about Measure 37 to having many more,” said Kulongoski. “This ruling will not be the final word.”