'I call (regulations) land stealing ...'

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "Taking Liberties."

During the campaign pitching Oregon’s Measure 37 to voters in 2004, Dorothy English starred in statewide radio ads. Now a 93-year-old widow living on 20 acres on a hillside overlooking Portland, she has been fighting for three decades for permission to slice off a few home sites, including one for her grandson. She’s owned the land since 1953, but the statewide planning system launched in the 1970s, and the Multnomah County planners, have blocked her. Once Measure 37 passed, she filed the first claim, seeking to subdivide her land. Ironically, she’s still battling. The county waived the subdivision regulations, but it wants her to submit detailed plans for how she would deal with sloped ground, fire dangers, and road-building issues. In May, she sued the county for $1.15 million, charging that the county is unfairly stalling. A pro-planning environmentalist says, off the record, "The county should just figure out a way for the woman to get her damn (new) house. It’s just a few acres, get over it! This is a pretty squeaky wheel!"

Dorothy English: "I’m so damn mad, and tired of fighting for what is right. I want my land to be mine, to do with whatever I want. I don’t think that’s outrageous, do you? … When I started out (hoping to subdivide), I had a selfish reason. Then I found out, I could help other people that were in the same fix as I am and didn’t know what the hell to do. People finally woke up to what was going on (with land-use laws). Their land was being stolen from them. That’s what I call it, ‘land-stealing.’ That’s why we got 61 percent (voting for Measure 37). … My lawyer researched it and found there were 61 regulations against my property — 61! I want to tell everybody the unfairness of this. My God, it took us (she and her late husband) so long, of scrimping and saving and working, to pay for this place. And then to let somebody steal it? … I am not going to be a sweet 93-year-old lady, because I am sick and tired of waiting. When I get a chance to unload, I take it, trust me."

 

High Country News Classifieds
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • RANCH HAND & HOUSING OPPORTUNITY IN DURANGO, CO
    Remodeled home with the opportunity to work off part of rent. Renter(s) must be available to help with lifting, irrigation & outdoor chores, 15-40 hrs...
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....