Measure 39

Explanatory Statement

Current law allows the taking of private property by government upon the showing of a public purpose and the payment of just compensation for the property.

BM 39 makes changes to Oregon statutes by limiting the authority of the government to condemn residences, businesses establishments, and farms or forest operations if the government intends to subsequently transfer an interest in the property to another private property.

BM 39 contains four exceptions to this new limitation for private property that cannot be taken from one private property owner and given to another private party. The four exceptions are: 1) real property that is a danger to health or safety for specified reasons; 2) timber, crops, topsoil, gravel or fixtures that can be removed from the real property being condemned; 3) real property to be used for transportation or utility-related projects; and 4) real property acquired by a new owner after the government publishes a notice that it intends to consider condemning the real property.

In addition to these four exceptions, BM 39 authorizes the government to use the real property to secure financing for the property's acquisition and to lease portions of the property for retail uses that serve patrons of the public facility.

If a property owner believes the government's condemnation of the property violates BM 39 the property owner may object to the condemnation. Under BM 39 the court must determine on its own, without deferring to the decision of the local government, whether the government's condemnation violates the new provisions of BM 39. If the court determines the government's condemnation does not satisfy the new requirements of BM 39, then the property owner is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees, costs, expenses and other disbursements.

BM 39 also modifies current condemnation procedures contained in Oregon Law. Currently, when the government decides to condemn private real property, the government must provide the property owner with an initial offer for purchasing the private real property. If the property owner rejects the government's initial offer additional offers may be made. If agreement is not reached the case proceeds to trial. If the property owner receives a verdict above the highest offer made by the government at least 30 days prior to the beginning of trial, the property owner is entitled to recover attorney fees, costs and other disbursements.

BM 39 modifies the condemnation process by allowing an owner of private real property to recover attorney fees costs and other disbursements if the judgment awarded at trial exceeds the initial offer of compensation offered by the government even if the government subsequently made a higher offer.

Committee Members: / Appointed by:
Ross Day / Chief Petitioners
Dave Hunnicutt / Chief Petitioners
Mayor Tom Hughes / Secretary of State
Chip Lazenby / Secretary of State
Daniel B. Cooper / Members of the Committee

(This committee was appointed to provide an impartial explanation of the ballot measure pursuant to ORS 251.215.)



Elections Division, Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722