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For a Voice In Annexations

Promoting and Protecting Citizen Involvement in Land Use Issues

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March 2003 Newsletter

(Note: E-mail addresses in this newsletter have been reformatted to reduce spammers' ability to harvest addresses from our web site.)

March, 2003



“I have never been involved with a more dedicated and unselfish group of people than the members of OCVA.  This makes it especially difficult to say goodbye.”
     --Jeff Lamb

Many of you have heard about Jeff’s departure from the office of OCVA chairman.  We’re confirming that story.  Jeff has, in fact, stepped down as our chairman.  Jeff’s reasons are personal.  He has several very high priority issues in his life right now that are demanding his full attention and he did not feel he could continue to devote the enormous time and resources he put into the chairmanship.

We (the remaining officers and the OCVA Board of Directors) are now trying to determine what should be the fate of OCVA and how we should proceed.  That decision will ultimately be up to you, the members, as we will discuss later.  In the meantime, we are trying to keep up with the activities in Salem and elsewhere in order to protect our hard-fought gains and pursue our legislative agenda.

We know you’re all aware of the tremendous contribution Jeff has made to OCVA since our humble beginning in the basement of the State Capitol on a dark and stormy December day back in 1996.  Jeff LIVED OCVA and our mission.  More than anyone, he carried us and led our efforts, both in Salem and in communities around the state.  We know we speak for all of you when we say, Thank You, Jeff!  Now we have some big shoes to fill if we’re to carry on.  Jim Thompson is currently acting chairman.  Brian and Jerry continue in their respective roles.  Decisions remain to be made about whether and how OCVA continues and, if so, who will be the officers and who will remain on the Board.  The first thing we need to do is determine the level of membership support for continuation.  That determination will be made from your response to this mailing and dues solicitation.  The officers will then evaluate the response, assemble the Board, and make the decisions.

Meanwhile, life continues – and there’s a lot going on!  Following is an update on OVCA’s issues:

ANTI VOTER ANNEXATION BILL:  As of this writing we have not seen an overt assault on voter annexation.  However, there are a couple “back door” bills in the works that could at least partially prohibit annexation votes in certain cases.  HB 3571 from the League of Oregon Cities expands the definition of “islands” for the purpose of ORS 222 Island Annexations.  “Islands” are unincorporated areas surrounded by city property.  Boundaries can include bodies of water.  Currently, these can be annexed at any time with no vote.  HB 3571 expands potential boundaries to include interstate highways and takes away the ability to force a referendum in some circumstances.  It would therefore increase the number of “islands” subject to annexation without a vote.  The bill was submitted by Rep. Steve March.  As of this writing it is in the House General Government Committee, Rep. Jerry Krummel, Chair.  The bill does not alter the existing ORS 222.750 provision that a city will follow these directives “unless otherwise required by its charter.”

HB 2790 and HB 3404 are attempts to implement at least some of the provisions of Measure 7, passed by the voters but later ruled unconstitutional.  They require compensation if city regulations deny a landowner the intended use of his/her land.  This would likely be interpreted to include voter annexation ordinances.

So, we haven’t seen another SB 1137 or HB 3389 yet.  But we’ve been led to believe one is coming – SO WATCH YOUR E-MAIL CLOSELY– WE’LL LET YOU KNOW ASAP IF ONE SHOWS UP.  Probably the greatest danger is that an anti-voter annexation rider will be “stuffed” into some bill at the last minute, as was done with SB-500 in the 1997 session.  We will all have to be on guard for this!

ORS-195 ANNEXATION VOTES:  Reps. Westlund and Knopp, along with Senator Schrader, have introduced HB 3211 to clarify that the ORS-195 voting provision means “double majority.”  Rep. Greg Smith, an OCVA adversary, responded with HB 3530 to clarify that it means “combined vote,” as the League of Oregon Cities already insists it means.  That interpretation allowed Bend to annex its entire UGB in 1999-- even though UGB residents voted 3:1 against annexation!  HB 3211 is in the House Environment & Land Use Committee with a public hearing scheduled for 4/8.  By the time you read this, HB 3530, in the House General Government Committee, will have had a hearing (4/1).  ACTION: Contact the Environment & Land Use Committee chairman, Rep. Bill Garrard (H-484 State Capitol, Salem 97301; 503-986-1456; rep.billgarrardAT state.or.us). Express your support for 3211 and opposition to 3530.  If asked, “Are you a constituent?” respond in the affirmative since these bills have statewide impact.  If you can attend the hearing and testify on 4/8, that would be great.  Contact Ray Kelly, 503-986-1675, for details.

CORVALLIS VOTER ANNEXATION FORUM:  The Corvallis League of Women Voters sponsored a public forum on voter annexation in early February.  Jerry & Jeff attended.  It was billed as an attempt to get both sides of the debate together for discussion, but it was pretty one-sided.  Of significance to us was how poorly informed some Corvallis city officials are on voter annexation.  For example, one 3 – term city councilor stated that Corvallis had been grandfathered, but the Legislature had outlawed voter annexation for all other cities!  Our position – which we made clear – is that we support dialog, but if “the other side” truly wants dialog, they must call off their dogs in Salem!  At the first sign of an overt anti-voter annexation bill, the “dialog” is over!  More such forums are planned.

LEBANON VOTER ANNEXATION INITIATIVE:  OCVA has been working with Lebanon Citizens for a Voice In Annexation, which gathered enough signatures to place their voter annexation initiative on the May ballot.  We covered the background (a Wal-Mart “superstore” planned for Lebanon, plus the city’s history of approving every annexation request that came before the council in the past 3 years, according to the group) in our last newsletter.  The group reports that “the City Council naturally voiced strong opposition to our efforts and even cancelled a duly advertised second monthly Council meeting on Feb. 12, required to be held by the city’s charter, just to avoid having to accept the petition by the required deadline (Feb. 19).  Every imaginable attempt was made to convince the city to uphold their meeting requirements, and on Feb. 19 at 5 PM – virtually at the last minute – an ‘emergency’ City Council meeting was held, the petition was accepted, and staff were instructed to prepare for the initiative to be on the May ballot.”  The group also reports that the Mayor and certain city officials have formed a PAC to oppose the measure!  But this is a major “well-done” by the Lebanon group!!  We wish them the best in May.

HAPPY VALLEY VOTER ANNEXATION ORDINANCE PARTIALLY SUSPENDED:  We advised you last time that the Happy Valley City Council had placed a measure on the November ballot to suspend the voting requirement for the annexation of one particular 1500 acre parcel.  Unfortunately, that measure passed narrowly.  The result is not a general repeal of the voter annexation charter amendment, but it did make way for what OCVA’s Don Smith describes as a “massive land grab.”  We will be following this issue closely.

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT CHARGES (SDCs): THE TIDE IS TURNING!  SDCs for schools, libraries, fire, and police are OCVA’s major secondary focus (after protecting voter annexation) in the 2003 session.  And just as we did with our eventually successful anti-SLAPP fight in the previous two sessions, we are doing our best to make this much-needed reform a reality.  As you’ll recall, we lost this battle to the OBIA and their allies in the 2001 session.  But there are several significant developments in our favor this time around:

1.   25 Cities Sign On:  You know that OCVA sent out resolutions for SDC reform to every City Council and Mayor in Oregon, twice, in fact.  25 cities, including Eugene, Lake Oswego, Bandon, and others have signed onto the SDC resolution.  (The complete list is on our web site.)  This represents more than 400,000 people.  Several school and law enforcement districts have also signed on.

2.   There are currently 10 (count ‘em) SDC – related bills in process.  This shows that the level of interest is much higher now.  Most of these add to the list of services for which SDCs can be charged (which we want).  A few (including one from the OBIA) would limit SDCs.

3.   The Oregon Court of Appeals, on 1/15/03, denied a challenge by the Metropolitan Portland Homebuilders Association to SDCs imposed by the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District for parks and recreation services.  In the court’s opinion, “The government may impose fees on new developments to help pay for expanding services”  (Salem Statesman Journal, 1/16/03).

4.   The Bend Bulletin, arguably the state’s most pro-development newspaper, came out in favor of school SDCs on March 12!  Interestingly, this occurred the day after Jeff had addressed a Central Oregon group on the merits of SDCs.  The Bulletin has been against us on every issue we hold dear – until now.  This might be the biggest flip-flop since Keri Strug’s Olympic showstopper!  It was undoubtedly at least in part a response to the devastating defeat of a $50+ million bond measure for Redmond schools.  Reality is starting to dawn!

 All of this means that, while we’re still a long way from success, THE TIDE IS TURNING IN OUR FAVOR!  It has become quite clear that we cannot continue doing “business as usual” in this state when it comes to funding our schools and other vital services.  It is also becoming more widely recognized that, just as we have been pointing out for 5 years, GROWTH DOES NOT PAY ITS WAY.

Of all the various SDC bills, SB 511, introduced by Senator Charles Starr, is garnering the most favor among SDC support groups.  SB 511 has been assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee, chaired by Senator Ryan Deckert.  Most of you will recognize Sen. Deckert as our arch-nemesis in the 1999 session with his unsuccessful HB 3389 to outlaw voter annexation.  Deckert seems to have matured as a legislator since then, and now appears to be more inclined to support populist issues rather than those fronted by wealthy and powerful special interests.

ACTION: Contact Senator Ryan Deckert (S-219 State Capitol, Salem 97301; 503-986-1714; "sen.ryandeckert AT state.or.us").  Voice your support for SB 511 and ask that it be granted a hearing and moved through the process.  The other committee members are Senators Ted Ferrioli, Tony Corcoran, Len Hannon, Charlie Ringo, and Bruce Starr.  Of this we can be certain: the development community will continue to fight tooth and nail against any meaningful SDC reform.  And while we have a better chance for success this time, WE NEED YOUR HELP TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.  Please contact Senator Deckert today.



I was very saddened when Jeff called to say that he had made the decision to step down as “Mr. OCVA.”  One person may not make an organization, but I doubt I will get any argument about the role Jeff played in carrying the message for this one.

In his absence we are attempting to keep OCVA a worthwhile and viable project.  But to do so we need to know if that is what a majority of our members want.  It will not be easy filling Jeff’s shoes, but I think we can work through this transition if we know that YOU want OCVA to continue and to work towards the goals and objectives that we have established for ourselves.

When I was elected Vice Chairman, I felt my job would be to play second banana to our founder and to continue to work toward achieving our Legislative agenda.  Now that role has expanded greatly and I believe that I may be able to provide better service to OCVA as the Vice Chair.  Having said this, I am willing to stay on as Acting Chair until one of our active, energetic members steps forward to take over as Chairperson.  Please contact any officer if you or any one you know would be willing to take on this role.

One of the projects that I’ve been involved in recently is the SDC Coalition.  You’ve just read above about this matter and the number of bills that have been introduced.  At the moment, the Coalition is lending its support to SB 511, the bill introduced by Senator Charles Starr.  An additional boost is being generated by the City of West Linn and its Mayor, David Dodds, a member of OCVA’s Board.  In addition, OCVA Director Richard Reid from Salem is also a member of the Coalition.  Senators Schrader and Ringo are playing an active and very important role in this debate, but at the moment there may not be enough support to get this issue passed in this session of the Legislature.




I don’t have a lot to add to what’s already been said.  I’m going to miss Jeff a lot.  Jeff’s departure will mean that all of us will need to step forward and do more to keep OCVA going.  But OCVA must continue… protecting your right to vote on annexations, helping citizens have a voice in land use decisions, making growth pay its way in Oregon, and much more.

At this time of change, I’m asking each of you to consider doing four things:

1.   Please send in your 2003 dues NOW.  The Officers and Directors will be looking at your membership renewals to gauge the level of interest in OCVA’s continued existence.  And if you’ve never sent us a donation (or if it’s been a couple of years), please respond with your 2003 dues.  OCVA has been very lenient about sending newsletters to non-paying members, but that policy will likely change in the near future.

2.   Send us your thoughts and comments.  Just write them on the back of the renewal form; attach a separate sheet if you need more room.  Or e-mail them to me at "admin AT ocva.org".  I’ll see that your comments are shared with the other Officers and Directors.

3.   Please be sure we have your correct e-mail address.  Verify the address shown on your renewal form, or write in your e-mail address and we’ll add you to the OCVA alert list.  Then check your e-mail daily!  Things happen quickly when the Legislature’s in session, and we’ll keep you posted via e-mail as things develop.  With your help we can get SDC reform passed this session!

4.   Send along any nominations for Chairperson, and consider taking an active role in one of OCVA’s four committees (Fundraising, Communications, Initiative, or Legislative).

 A couple of items of administrivia:  Note that we have a new mailing address.  Please be sure to send your renewal and any other correspondence to the new address (use the enclosed envelope).  The telephone number on the letterhead reaches Jerry.  OCVA no longer has a fax number.

Jeff may now be reached via e-mail at "jefflamb01 AT comcast.net" (that’s zero-one).  "Chair AT ocva.org" is being redirected to Jim Thompson.  You may contact the other officers at the e-mail addresses listed below.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jim Thompson Jerry J. Ritter Brian Beinlich
Acting Chairman Secretary Treasurer
vicechair AT ocva.org secretary AT ocva.org treasurer AT ocva.org


This page last modified on 2005-09-19 08:39.