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government | police / legal

Measure 53 (Civil Forfeitures) Results

Yes 51%
No 49%
Civil Forfeiture
Civil Forfeiture
A few days ago I was looking over my voter's pamphlet to see what the measures were. I read 53 and chuckled to myself thinking, "That'll never fly in Oregon". I decided I better vote just to make sure, even though I hadn't voted in quite some time. I was a little concerned that no one had published an argument against and corporate media was pushing for it. But I wasn't too worried. Who would fall for that, right? Imagine my shock to wake up this morning and discover that 51% of Oregonians fell for it.

I suppose I feel consoled that at least 49% of us don't have our heads soundly crammed up our ass. But that isn't going to mean much because now everyone can expect to legally have your house robbed clean by police on trumped up charges, have all of your belongings(whether relevant to the "case" or not) sold before you've even been found guilty or not of a crime, and all the proceeds goes to the police budget. By simply being accused you forfeit all rights to all of your property. Sure they did this before. But now they can do it legally, bold faced even. It will be much worse.

I just don't understand how some folks got so backwards. The only possible positive argument was that animals might benefit. The logic goes that since animals are legally nothing more than property, abused animals could be rescued and adopted out instead of living in a foster home until the case is decided. Since when are animal rights about giving up human rights? It seems to me the right thing to do is get a measure on the ballot that gives animals rights as something more than just property. I could see how many amateur animal lovers might have bought that line (with hook and sinker) but ironically this measure will most likely be used on animal rights activists. I suppose the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the old saying goes...

Fucking brilliant people, just fucking brilliant...

How fast can we get this shit repealed? The clock is ticking...

On a very discouraging note, Multnomah County was the most excited and foolish to pass this measure 55.53% to 44.47%

Doh! Jumped to conclusions. 21.May.2008 10:07


I suppose things aren't as bleak as they seemed. The results aren't final yet as I had thought when writing this article. The margin is narrowing. Multnomah county will probably stay narrowly in favor, but rural Oregon might just save our sorry asses and tip the balance against.

I voted NO 21.May.2008 11:08


I am from rural Oregon and have had my house raided by law enforcement just last year and my son is awaiting his trial. he has not been proven guilty. the things they took include computers,posters,literature and keepsakes.But the thing that really burns me up is they took my old camcorder with the master video tape of my only sons baby and toddler years on it. I am not a material person and the only thing I care about is that my son is still with me but we can never replace the film. I feel so violated. So I along with you hope rural Oregon pulls through on this measure.

50.21% Y to 49.79% N 21.May.2008 11:49


Getting closer...

gap has dropped 5000 votes since last night 21.May.2008 12:06


Yes, the gap has narrowed to less than 4000 votes. Still I am not expecting defeat though I would be pleasantly surprised. And I noted last night that pretty much the bulk of the support came from the Portland Metro area. Even still I'm happy that so many people took the time to read and think and didn't follow the corporate media. However, it seems like we're still lacking in critical thinkers here in Portland.

In an interesting corporate media note, I'm not sure if it's still up but last night I saw that the Oregonian had reported measure 53 "passing easily" at around 8pm. Wishful thinking for the corporations who favor living in a police state.

I think the questions at this point is what legal challenges can be brought and will anyone bring them.

Anyway the counts on measure 53 can be found here (as well as a link tot he county breakdowns):


Backers and Co-conspirators of 53 21.May.2008 18:39


it should be noted that the ACLU apparently "agreed" not to contest this measure with the voters. That is some serious bullshit.

Also, I think we can thank the puppies and kittens sympathizer community for this one. If we were concerned about animals, why not just have the measure address that? Why does the State of Oregon now get to seize your mom's shit if her son is selling some weed on the side in high school? This is going to hit the poor hard, as there is no right to counsel in "civil" forfeiture. Previously, the State could take your shit if you were convicted of a crime, which requires a lawyer at least be appointed to your case.

Anyway, its outrageous.

50.13% Y to 49.87% N 22.May.2008 09:21

Working Class Mama

The results are still not official but that gap is getting smaller.

Another reason I heard that people fell for this was it was being pitched as a way to reduce spending because then confiscation and sale of the accused's stuff will compensate the cost of the investigation. This will free up funds for police to increase the amount of investigations.

Who does this sound like a good idea too? "Tru" is right, this is going to hit us (the poor) hard.
Really, the ACLU isn't going to "challenge the voters" when this measure could possibly only pass by 2,392 votes or less and mainly due to lack of education on it/attention to it?

Also let me remind everyone that this is not just applicable to drug charges but all charges.

Can you imagine?? 22.May.2008 10:39


Imagine if ten of us had scraped up $30 each to put so much as ONE SINGLE COUNTERARGUMENT on the ballot against this thing!!! When there are no arguments against something on the ballot, lots of people assume it must not be controversial! Given how narrow the margins are as is WITHOUT even a single ballot counterargument, if we could have at least had one argument against it in there, this thing would be OVER in favor of the NO vote already!

50.10% Y to 49.90% N 22.May.2008 15:26


Update. Closer still. Results still not official.

clearly a lot of history to Measure 3 22.May.2008 19:30


It's interesting to read the ACLU's page on Measure 53:

Seems like they made some statements in 2005 that they wouldn't oppose this amendment.

I think the failure to organize against this measure came from people feeling certain that this would pass as well as those who were certain it would fail. I think the closeness of this vote shows how important it is to take some steps even if one feels a particular vote is certain to go one way or another. With the difference now less than 2000 votes that means if we could have just convinced 1000 Portlanders to switch their vote it could have been in the defeated column by now. Probably flyering would have been enough. Or stuffing the daily and weekly papers with an informative pamphlet.

vote counting 23.May.2008 14:54

invisible woman

Computers count the votes here in Oregon. Why do we assume they were all counted?

50.07% Y to 49.93% N 24.May.2008 13:52


But still unofficial results