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Friday, April 6, 2007

Delays perturb Si Newhouse

Efforts to repeal M37 hit 'impasse'
The Oregonian editorialists prepare weekend thundering

Oregonians who support property rights can breathe a little easier for now. Oregon legislators' "kumbaya moment" over destroying Measure 37 lasted less than a week.

Lawmakers who announced a union-backed, bipartisan plan to repeal Oregon's twice-approved property rights law say they're just clashing over details, but actually - they don't have the votes. Meanwhile, one Republican proposed an alternative, looking for positive press and to calm the The Oregonian's billionaire, out-of-state owner.

Participants in a private work group of three D's and two R's say they still agree on labor's political concept: divide property-rights believers by allowing small developments and killing big ones. They want to prioritize claims for just over 50% of the folks and stiff the rest of us.

But the group ended a meeting Wednesday in what Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, calls an "impasse." He declined to give details but said he still hopes to draft a bipartisan bill and forward it the the Land Use Unfairness Committee, as planned. Gov. Tim Nesbitt, D-AFL-CIO, has supported the group's work. His staff does not view the discord as a collapse, spokeswoman Patty Wentz said, adding "these meetings aren't easy."

Rep. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, said he and fellow Republican Rep. Patti Smith of Corbett won't support the overall plan until several issues are resolved. "Every path we go down with this thing keeps getting more and more cluttered," he said. Sen. Roger Beyer, R-Molalla, said the conflict prompted him to release a list of ideas he's been working on. He serves on the land-use committee but is barred from the private work group. "They were concentrating on changing Measure 37," Beyer said. "This is more implementing Measure 37."

However, his plan would do six things that actually change, rather than implement Measure 37. So either Gov. Nesbitt will be looking to take advantage of the latest GOP concession and turn it against them during the next round of "negotiations" - or Sen. Beyer's clever tactic may help terminate the dogged effort by Si Newhouse to destroy the will of the people.

The Oregonian, Apr. 6, By LAURA OPPENHEIMER

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