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Framework would expedite some Measure 37 claims
By Ty Beaver, Herald and News 4/22/07  

   The Joint Land-Use Fairness Committee reviewed a new plan to address Measure 37 Thursday despite a partisan impasse the previous week.
   The controversial land-use law has led to a plethora of complaints and legal action against the state and c o u n t i e s from property owners s e e k i n g relief from land-use laws enacted in the past three decades.
   The new plan, referred to as “the framework,” would provide two “express lanes” for those who have already filed Measure 37 claims. Those “lanes” would expedite claims involving construction of 10 homes or less. Claimants also could opt to stick with the rights they are pursuing.
   Eligible claimants for expedited processing would be notified of their options by Sept. 30 and have 90 days to file for either option.
   The framework also outlines how prospective claims would be handled in the future. Claimants would have to file within two years of the enactment of the landuse law that restricted the use of their property and would be required to prove a value loss of 20 percent or more.
   State Rep. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, a member of the committee formed to address Measure 37 concerns, came out against the framework with fellow committee member state Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett.
   Both contend in a press release that the plan is a product of Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s staff and of Democratic committee members. Garrard and Smith said they never agreed to a value loss threshold in their negotiations, nor a time limit for prospective claims.
   “Those responsible for this ‘framework’ have negotiated in bad faith with us and have wasted significant amounts of our time,” the press release stated.
   Local school districts also received a reprieve from state lawmakers in regard to resolving issues with the overlap zone.
   The House Subcommittee on Innovation in Education gave Klamath County and Klamath Falls city school districts until February to address concerns with overlap boundary zone. In the overlap, students attend county elementary and junior high schools and then transfer to a city district high school.
   Garrard introduced House Bill 2576, which would require districts with overlap zones to modify boundaries or consolidate, to force the districts to resolve the overlap zone issue.
   State Rep. Betty Komp, D-Woodburn, and subcommittee chairwoman, issued letters to the districts’ superintendents requesting them to appear before the subcommittee in February to report progress.
   “It really worked out well for both sides,” Garrard said.
   Federal lawmakers from Oregon advocated the importance of timber and forest lands this week.
   U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, DOre., announced Wednesday that the International Trade Commission will conduct an investigation into competitive conditions affecting the U.S. wood flooring and hardwood plywood industries.
   About 2,000 Oregonians work in the hardwood plywood industry.
   Wyden has pushed since November for federal officials to investigate what he called in a press release “unfair and possibly illegal foreign trading practices,” specifically relating to imports from China.
   U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., also noted the importance of Oregon’s forests during a hearing by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, of which he is a member.
   The Congressman’s comments focused on how better forest management practices could lead to better control of greenhouse gases due to less risk of forest fires that emit large amounts of carbon.
   State Sen. Dave Cox, RFair Oaks, is continuing efforts to protect communities from the effects of prisons.
   State officials are under pressure to reform and address problems within its prison system as the federal government threatens to take over supervision of the system after legal action by inmates.
   Cox has opposed efforts to open previously closed prisons to ease overcrowding issues. He introduced Senate Bill 878, which would require the state to include mitigation measures for communities where prison facilities are being built or expanded.
   The bill received unanimous approval from the Senate Public Safety Committee and will now move to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
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