Oregon’s Measure 63—a mosquito-bite version of the old Measure 37 plague—is not managing to make a lot of friends. Here’s a look at what newspapers around the state are saying. It isn’t pretty:
The Albany Democrat-Heraldrecommends voting no:
…it sounds good. But it is baloney…
Building codes exist for a reason, even though sometimes they are a pain. The reason is fire and life safety. And the permit process is how the codes are carried out.
The Eugene Register-Guardsays no too:
The state estimates the measure would reduce local government revenues by up to $8 million a year and state revenues by up to $750,000.
The measure is opposed by firefighters, police, EMTs, trade unions, the Oregon Building Officials Association, the Oregon Farm Bureau, the American Institute of Architects Oregon and the American Insurance Association. These and a long list of other organizations recognize that eliminating permit requirements would undermine the planning and public safety systems and deprive local and state governments of needed revenue.
Writing for the Lake Oswego Review, state senate majority leader Richard Devlin suggests that voters take a pass on 63:
Without these permits there isn’t any way to ensure the safety or soundness of these improvements. This measure constitutes a serious threat to real estate values, home owner insurance, environmental protection, public safety, and Oregon’s land-use system.
The Forest Grove News-Timesdoesn’t like it either:
…as irritating (and costly) as building permits can be, there is a good reason to mandate them: It’s called safety… We believe Oregon’s homes will be safer if this Sizemore measure gets axed. We’d be open to a proposal giving more flexibility to do-it-yourselfers, but this measure, as are most of Sizemore’s, is like grabbing a sledgehammer to secure a carpet tack.
The Medford Mail-Tribune also isn’t happy about it:
Measure 63 is another—sigh—Bill Sizemore measure that is long on promises, short on details and likely filled with unintended negative consequences.
Government regulations can be frustrating. But building permit rules are there for a reason and when it comes to the safety and value of your property, it’s no time to take a shortcut.
The thing is, I’m not cherry-picking here. There hasn’t been a single “yes” editorial yet anywhere in Oregon that I’m aware of.