Time may be running out for some property owners if they ignore a 90-day state deadline in hopes that legal challenges eventually shore up their development rights under Measure 37.




Both the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development and the authors of the controversial property rights initiative, Oregonians in Action, have urged property owners to consider their options closely or risk losing any rights they have to develop under Measure 49, the successor to Measure 37.




"I don't want to see somebody who could have gotten something getting nothing," said Dave Hunnicutt, president of Oregonians in Action. "We want to make sure as many of those 80- or 90-year-old widows make a choice and make a choice on sound advice."




Property owners &

many of them elderly &

with Measure 37 claims from both the state and the county started receiving letters from the DLCD in January advising them that they had 90 days to decide whether to pursue a fast-track option to build up to three homes, or a more difficult process to build up to 10 homes, or to prove they have spent a significant amount of money to be considered legally vested and continue to pursue their development plan.




Cora Parker, deputy director of the DLCD, said the property owners are required under state statute to respond within the 90-day limit.




"What we're urging people to do is not close any of their doors, to not shut any of their options off," she said.




Measure 37, approved by voters in 2004, attempted to provide property owners who have owned their land for many years with relief from development restrictions imposed under Oregon's sweeping land-use laws of the 1970s.




After property owners filed about 7,000 state claims under Measure 37, voters approved Measure 49, overturning the property rights law. Jackson County had approved 571 waivers of land-use rules on about 60,000 acres.




So far, at least three lawsuits &

with more expected &

have been filed in Jackson County, where the property owners claim the waiver they received is a contract that can't be overturned by Measure 49. If successful, the property owners are hoping that the development rights they received under Measure 37 would be restored.