A triple shot of news on Oregon issues I care about strongly:
First, a new lawsuit among the many proliferating on Measure 37, the land use compensation initiative passed last year. A judge has reversed the initiative and enjoined progress on claims in the counties where plaintiffs claimed harm from the proposed development waivers of their neighbors. However, the rest of the state waits in a strange limbo caused by a vacuum of rulings on whether stayed initiatives are stayed statewide. (Say that three times fast). All initiatives are brought to court in Marion, which is unusual and different from other lawsuits. So no one appears to know whether a statewide issue overruled in Marion is overruled statewide.
To address this issue, a timber harvester from Polk County who claims development waivers on either side of his forest will ruin the value of his property, is asking to bind the ruling to the entire state. As citizen lawsuits go, this seems like a decent and rational claim of harm--it's pretty hard to deny that you wouldn't really want to buy a forest that was an island between cul de sacs. But because it's an undecided legal issue, it's hard to say what could happen. Let's hope this makes it to the Supreme Court, where the point can be settled and we know the process. In the meantime, the timber owner is filing a separate motion just to enjoin waivers in Polk. Again, smart move--focuses the remedy on a specific case of harm there, and gives a backup. Prediction? No on one, yes on two.
Also in Marion at the seat in Salem, the Oregon House Democrats are continuing to make a vocal push to place the '06 elections at the fore, and are not shying away (at least by this AP piece) from making it in large part about Minnis. Minnis is very well-funded, but her support seems soft, and returning opponent Rob Brading will have much more backing in his quest this time. He will be catered to by leadership, no doubt.
Indeed, you can read for yourself that Jon Isaacs of the Dems is doing the quoting for Brading, who is not interviewed for this article (although neither is Minnis, obviously). But that's what parties are for, and while Minnis is a key touchstone to tie the sins of the past to, the real goal is to make every seat competitive again with a live body, even in the most rural areas. The money will get spread around a little thinner, but Brading will not want, this time. Only a couple seats are necessary, and there are definite opportunities.
Finally, The O's masterful web service didn't carry the next story in its online editions, but it's a nice little milestone. The first candidate for Portland office to submit signatures as part of her pledge to utilize the public campaign finance, claims to have reached the goal of 1,000 $5 donations and signatures. Her name is Amanda Fritz. If her signatures are verified, she gets $30,000 right away, for a total of $150,000 for the primary. In other words, she'll be recognized as a serious candidate right away. If the policy is allowed to continue, the bright line of who the media should and should not cover as candidates, will be who gets their signatures and money approved. I hope to talk to some of the other candidates who have agreed to file under clean money regulations, to find out what if anything connects them. More on that to come.