Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

A Measure 37 in Washington's Future?

Leonard Gilroy
January 21, 2005, 7:30pm

In a sign of a spreading movement, the passage of Oregon's Measure 37 (see here, here, and here) is inspiring activists in neighboring Washington to pursue their own property rights initiative. The Puget Sound Business Journal writes: More power to 'em. But according to the Seattle Times The Business Journal adds: Hmmm. The ballot title for Measure 37 was, "Governments Must Pay Owners, or Forgo Enforcement, When Certain Land Use Restrictions Reduce Property Value." Doesn't seem that misleading to me; in fact, it seems pretty straightforward and consistent with what the initiative calls for. I don't think that the title was the problem in Oregon. Voters displayed their dissatisfaction with the way statewide land use planning has played out there over the last thirty+ years. It will be interesting to see how this battle plays out in Washington. Will enviros will be able learn from the Measure 37 experience to refine their message in a way more palatable to voters? Anti-Measure 37 groups suffered a major defeat in Oregon, with some 60% of voters passing the initiative and all but one county voting for it. Stay tuned.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform

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