VF Lawyers Win Major Washington County Case

VF Lawyers Win Major Washington County Case

December 3rd, 2010
On December 3. 2010, a Washington Circuit Court judge issued an opinion in favor of clients represented by Vial Fotheringham lawyers Kevin Harker and Ryan Harris. The case began when Measure 37 was adopted by Oregon voters in 2004. Harker’s clients filed a Measure 37 claim requesting that land use regulations adopted after the clients’ date of acquisition be waived. Washington County and the State of Oregon approved the claim.

However, in 2007, Measure 37 was modified with the passage of Measure 49. Measure 49 replaced the procedures and criteria for receiving a waiver of land use regulations after an owner’s date of acquisition.

Harker’s clients filed a Measure 49 claim, seeking the same relief requested in the previous Measure 37 claim.

Without adequate justification, the State of Oregon denied the Measure 49 claim.

Harker then filed suit against the State asking for judicial review of the State’s decision. Oral argument was held on November 1, 2010. Harker argued that under Measure 49, his clients were entitled to establish additional dwellings on their property under the land use regulations and criteria in effect at the time of acquisition. The Washington County Circuit Court agreed and ruled in favor of Harker’s clients.

Hundreds of Measure 49 claims have been filed with the State of Oregon with facts and circumstances similar to those of Harker’s client—most have been denied by the State. The Court’s decision in Harker and Harris' case is a victory for the proponents of Measure 37 and Oregonians who are in favor of land use regulations and policies that treat land owners with fairness and reasonableness.