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Land Use

Land Use and Measure 49

Measure 49, passed with 62% of the statewide vote in November 2007, is the latest adjustment to Oregon's land use laws and specifically amends Measure 37.

Launch the Measure 49 Map Viewer

In 2004, Oregon voters passed Measure 37 with 61% of the vote. The measure required state and local governments to either waive land use regulations or compensate landowners when a regulation reduces a property's fair market value. However, the scale of proposed Measure 37 development, especially in the Willamette Valley where 60 percent of the claims were filed, alarmed conservationists and farm groups. They worked with Democratic legislators to write Measure 49 during the 2007 legislative session and refer it to voters.

Measure 49 gives landowners who have filed Measure 37 claims the right to build homes as compensation for land use regulations imposed after they acquired their properties. Claimants may build up to three homes if allowed when they acquired their properties. Claimants may build up to 10 homes if allowed when they acquired their properties and they have suffered reductions in property values that justify the additional home sites. This measure protects farmlands, forestlands and lands with groundwater shortages in two ways. First, subdivisions are not allowed on high-value farmlands, forestlands and groundwater-restricted lands. Claimants may not build more than three homes on such lands. Second, claimants may not use this measure to override current zoning laws that prohibit commercial and industrial developments, such as strip malls and mines, on land reserved for homes, farms, forests and other uses.

Supporters of Measure 49 say that it fixes flaws in Measure 37 that allow large housing subdivisions, big-box stores, and strip malls where they don't belong. Opponents say Measure 49 is an attempt to repeal Measure 37 and eliminate property owner protection from future regulations.

Beginning in December 2007, the Department of Land Conservation and Development sent information to Measure 37 claimants about their options under Measure 49. Those who chose to proceed under Measure 49, and who met the standards in the law, received a certificate allowing them to build. Those who were denied a Measure 37 claim may be eligible to build as well.

Measure 49 provides that development started or completed under a Measure 37 claim may be allowed to continue, if it meets the definition of a "vested right."

Other Resources

This list provides links to information related to Ballot Measure 49, Ballot Measure 37, and land use planning in Oregon in general.


Ballot Measure 37 (2004) and Proposed Ballot Measure 49

Voter's Pamphlet, Measure 49, 11/6/2007