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Does Anyone Know Dorothy English?

A list of those going after Measure 37 benefits would make very interesting reading . . . particularly if the names were accompanied by income.
In the wake of the passage of Measure 37, poster child elderly Dorothy English appears again and again - depicted as the quintessential Oregonian "done wrong" by land management.

We are told that she has her husband bought acreage in SW Portland 50 years ago and within the last few years when they tried to subdivide and develop it, apparently found that land use regulations would not allow them to do so.

Didn't they notice the change earlier? When was it made? Are these people in financial trouble? Do they NEED to develop this land that has lain fallow for 50 years in order to survive? Do they have other options?

How long should someone be able to freeze land use regulations to suit themselves? I agree that if they had purchased the property in the recent past and it had been zoned for development they would be rightfully indignant if they were not allowed to do so now. But 50 years! Weren't these people paying any attention? If they were informed of changes in land use, why didn't they sell their property and get what they could when they could see change in the wind, then invest in property that COULD be developed? Why did they continue to hang on to it?

We are now facing once again paying the Multnomah County Tax plus Tri-Met Tax, increased Property Taxes, and higher rates on almost everything. My salary is very low. I would be incensed to think that I, and others like myself, are going to be asked to pungle up millions for people who are already comfortable and just want to maximize their assets and make even more money . . . or to somebody who may never have purchased the property in question in the first place - just inherited it - and now wants to go after that tall green development cash.

When I buy a car, then have an accident and total it, nobody is going to reimburse me for what I might have received in resale if it had been undamaged by circumstances. When I buy a house, nobody is going to compensate me if the neighborhood goes to pot and values drop. If I buy a dog with the expectation of breeding a cash crop of puppies and the city tells me that I can only keep a certain number of animals on my premises, nobody is going to reimburse me for potential puppy earnings.

There are no guarantees in life and the bottom line is that - while trying to be fair - nobody should be unreasonable, nor should they put their personal advancement ahead of the wellbeing of an entire community, city or state.

English Property in Forest Park 02.Dec.2004 18:40

Cheney Watch

From Mitch Greenlick's message, Oregon legislature:

The MitchMessage
August 3, 2003

One of the loyal HD33 constituents asked me to explain the situation of the Forest Park bills and asked particularly if the rumor was true that 1000 Friends of Oregon were opposing me on Forest Park. First, the rumor is not true. 1000 Friends and others are now all on the same side, but it is a really interesting story that isn't quite over yet. I proposed the original Forest Park protection bill, HB2905. That bill would have named Forest Park and the surrounding areas an "area of special state concern" and would have required LCDC to create a special plan for the protection of Forest Park, the Balch Creek Watershed, the wild-life corridors into the park and some surrounding areas. 1000 Friends was neutral on this bill, but at the last moment the City of Portland came in and opposed it. Before that happened I had the votes to pass the bill in the House, and the bill did pass out of committee to the House floor. Marge Kafoury (City of Portland lobbyist) told Deborah Kafoury, the House Minority Leader, that the city would oppose the bill. So I moved the bill off the floor and back to committee.

At that point, Oregonians in Action took a special interest in the bill and proposed to add an amendment that would require Multnomah County to partition 22 acres of forest land owned by Dorothy English into eight parcels. I objected to the amendment and OIA created another bill, HB 3631, comprising my Forest Park language and the Dorothy English amendment. I opposed HB 3631, even though Marge Kafoury came to me to tell me the city was now neutral on the bill. HB 3631 passed the House, although I voted against it. It went to the Senate. In the Senate, Senator Ringo amended the bill to substitute some city of Portland Forest Park language and to reduce the number of lots for Dorothy English from eight to six. The Senate passed the bill and sent it back to the House. Now 1000 Friends and Multnomah County were dead set against the bill. Just then the Governor announced he was going to veto the bill because of the Dorothy English provision, which he views (as I do) as a special interest bill bypassing the planning process. Currently, I am trying to get the bill into a conference committee so we can keep the Forest Park language, but strip out the Dorothy English provision. But Oregonians in Action are trying to negotiate with the Governor, so the bill is back in the House waiting action. I hear the current plan is to concur with the Senate vote and send it to the Governor for a veto.

 http://www.leg.state.or.us/greenlick/mitchmessage/mm8_3_03.htm

Dorothy English's property would appear to be forest land in or near Forest Park. I would guess that she is probably very well off indeed.

Dorothy English is 90 Years Old 02.Dec.2004 18:51

Framboise

. . . and probably used to getting her way. She has the full force of the OREGONIANS IN ACTION behind her; more than happy to make this little old lady their "poster child."

EUGENE WEEKLY
Sausage vs. Bologna
by Tony Corcoran
7/24/03 Views

Sausage-Making 101: OK class, here's a pop quiz on the ethics of voter hostage exchange. House Bill 3631 allows a 90-year-old lady, Dorothy English, to override Multnomah County and subdivide her 25 acres purchased in 1953, almost 20 years before land use laws into six parcels. House Bill 2379 allows a tax credit for low-income family housing, sponsored by Sen. Margaret Carter, long-time champion of the working poor and minorities. Senate Republicans, under the influence of anti-land use extremists, Oregonians in Action, refused to pass Margaret's bill unless we gave them the votes for the Dorothy English bill. Is this illegal? No. Is it bribery? Technically, I'm not sure. Does it stink? Yes. What would you do? Based on my risk/benefit analysis, I voted for the English bill to get Carter's bill passed.

 http://www2.eugeneweekly.com/2003/072403views.html

Not 90 . . . 92! 02.Dec.2004 19:32

Ann Feldman

NewsMax Wires
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2004

SALEM, Ore. -- For years, Dorothy English, 92, has wanted to subdivide and
perhaps sell off the 19 acres she owns in the scenic hills 20 minutes from
downtown Portland. But some of the strictest zoning restrictions in America
prevented her from doing so. Now, she and thousands of Oregon property
owners like her could well get their way when a new voter-passed state law
takes effect on Thursday.

Oregon in 1973 adopted land-use policies that are often regarded as a model
for protecting America's farmland and other open space. The combination of
local, county and state regulations has confined most new housing to already built-up areas.

But a revolt by property owners at the ballot box on Nov. 2 could,
literally, change the Oregon landscape.

The new law, called Measure 37, stipulates that if land-use regulations
lower the value of someone's property, that person must be paid compensation or the regulation must be waived.

Environmentalists and others say Measure 37 could wreck the policies that
have succeeded in preserving Oregon's rural charms.

Bob Stacey, executive director of the group 1000 Friends of Oregon, has
visions of strip malls and housing developments being built on farmland and
"big box" stores opening up wherever retailers please.

"We could have scattered development in the countryside and harmful,
unexpected development in neighborhoods," he said.

English said she intends to be among the first in line Thursday to apply for either compensation for diminished property value or a waiver allowing her to subdivide her land, which she and her husband bought three decades ago.

"There were no restrictions on the land when we bought it," said English,
who wants to sell the land or give it to relatives. "To come in and put new regulations on it 20 years later, I think it's stealing."

No one is sure how many people will apply. But some local governments and
counties, still hurting from the recession, may not have the money to pay
compensation. That could force them to waive land-use regulations.

Whatever happens, the new law is certain to create a legal morass that could take the Legislature and the courts months, if not years, to sort out.

Proponents of Measure 37 say that the current land-use rules impinge on the
rights of property owners, and that this is a way of correcting that
injustice.

Dave Hunicutt, executive director of Oregonians in Action, sponsor of the
measure, said voters approved it to show their displeasure with "30 years
of statewide, top-down, centralized land-use planning."

"You could never be sure when you bought a piece of property that the
regulations in place at the time wouldn't be changed overnight in a way that destroys property value," he said.

Plus, Hunicutt said he hopes the new law has the effect of allowing for more housing developments in rural areas.

"If people are given more choices, including the ability to live in a
rural-residential areas, then in our view that is good land-use planning,"
he said.

Still, there is a great uncertainty over how the new law will be implemented and the effect it will have.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski recently told county leaders that governments will need
to find a way to pay claims, to avoid dismantling land-use controls. But the governor did not say where the money would come from, and the state is $1 billion short of the money it needs to continue programs at current levels in the 2005-07 budget.

Across Oregon, some counties and local governments have decided to try to
discourage property owners from filing claims by charging them a fee to do
so.

Among those who hope to take advantage of Measure 37 is Ollie Wilcox, who
said she has been stymied for years by local planning officials who will not let her carve 8.3 acres she owns near the small town of Colton into three
building lots for investment purposes.

"It's my land; I've paid taxes on it for 38 years," Wilcox said. "Three
more residences wouldn't clutter up that community."

-----

If the land could not be developed, Wilcox was very likely paying nominal property taxes. There's land along NW Skyline Blvd. (on west side, not Forest Park side, of the road) that is currently classified as "unbuildable" due to the terrain and owned by the Pellets (City Liquidators). They are probably banking on being able to build on it in the future, but in the meanwhile, the property is valued at far less than surrounding, buildable parcels and taxed accordingly.

When faced with the English challenge to Forest Park and the possible floodgates it may open if the City allows subdivision, the City of Portland will be forced to pay English off to the tune of over a million dollars or abandon its long-standing master plan for Forest Park.

It's Oregonians In Action blackmail in the purported name of a 92-year-old lady who probably wouldn't live to see the proposed subdivision that would gut the protection of Forest Park as a community legacy and resource.

INFORMATION ON DAVID HUNNICUTT (from the OIA website):

David J. Hunnicutt is the Executive Director for Oregonians In Action, a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the rights of private property owners. Dave received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon in 1988, and a Juris Doctorate from the Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College in 1992.

During the legislative session, Dave lobbies for Oregonians In Action. Since 1997, twenty OIA bills have been enacted into law.

Dave has been a member of the Oregon State Bar since 1992. Prior to joining Oregonians In Action, Dave was a partner with Hunnicutt & Hunnicutt in St. Helens. A native Oregonian, Dave is married and has four children.

Dave has appeared and argued before LUBA, the Oregon Court of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court, and in district and circuit courts throughout the state. He has also appeared as a speaker at numerous planning and legal seminars.

Portland City Council Drops Ball 02.Dec.2004 20:13

PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE

Posted December 2nd:

Portland City Council Adopts Initial (Mostly Toothless) Measure 37 Process

Delays Important Decisions on Fees And Notification

Published On December 02, 2004 |

As expected, yesterday the City Council adopted an initial set of guidelines (see also this story) for submitting claims under the provisions of Measure 37, which go into effect beginning today. Not quite as expected, at least based upon what originally was on the agenda, Council also chose to delay their decision on fees to be charged claimants, opting instead for language giving it the authority to impose such fees later on, and to retroactively do so for any claims filed before they set an actual fee.

Read more:  link to communique.portland.or.us

So You Want To Be A Millionaire? 02.Dec.2004 20:30

Berkshire Eagle

Gov. Ted Kulongoski recently told county leaders that governments will need to find a way to pay claims, to avoid dismantling land-use controls. But the governor did not say where the money would come from.
Hillside covered with houses . . . pockets full of money . . . thanks, suckers!
Hillside covered with houses . . . pockets full of money . . . thanks, suckers!

English as a Second Language 03.Dec.2004 11:10

Frosted

Dorothy English is only a tool - as someone else pointed out, a sympathetic "poster child." Two things seem strange to me: First, that she is never shown with her family, the people who would benefit from the sale and subdividing of this property . . . and two, in most stories (including the one that appears in today's Oregonian, nobody talks about the fact that the property in question is in Forest Park which is a far cry from Colton or any other place being discussed.

Her corpulent and cheery lawyer, who appears in the OREGONIAN photo with her looks happy for a reason. He stands to collect a tidy sum if and when she prevails.

First In Line 03.Dec.2004 12:09

Lacey

Multnomah County resident Dorothy English, 92, one of Measure 37's staunchest supporters, is congratulated by her attorney, Joe Willis, after filing her claim Thursday. This photograph appeared on the front page of today's (12/3/04) Oregonian, further promoting English as star poster child.

"The measure's most visible cheerleaders - Multnomah County widow Dorothy English and Deschutes County horse-lovers Barbara and Gene Prete - arrived at their planning offices early to launch their well-publicized claims."

One 71-year-old applicant stated, "I decided to get in there and get my split."

English's (and presumably the Prete's) attorney, Joe Willis, is a Bend resident and attorney.
Eye on the prize and damn the county
Eye on the prize and damn the county