Thursday, April 29, 2010

OIA Plots Oregon's Biggest Land Grab

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 8:23 PM

Oregonians in Action, the “property rights” group that brought us Measure 37 six years ago, has come up with a new bright idea – and it’s a real doozy.

OIA wants Oregon to emulate Utah, whose legislature in its 2009 session enacted a law that supposedly gives the state the power to use eminent domain to seize land held by the federal government.

“In the upcoming session of the Oregon legislature, Oregonians In Action will work with the Oregon legislature to pass similar legislation in Oregon,” the group said in a news release today. “This legislation would provide the biggest economic boost for rural Oregon communities in decades.”

It definitely would give a big boost to the bottom lines of corporations if they could get their hands on the federal lands in the West. The federal government owns 55% of the land in Oregon and 60% of the land in Utah. In Oregon, much of the federal land is rich in timber; in Utah the prize is minerals.

Lamenting that timber and other resources that used to form the backbone of rural economies “are now locked away by federal laws and regulations that have gone too far,” OIA calls for Oregon to enact a law similar to Utah’s House Bill 143, under which “Utah state agencies are given the authority to condemn federal property.  Ownership of that property would be transferred from the federal government to the state government.  Once acquired, the state would manage the property for the best interests of Utah residents.  That may mean that the land is retained in state ownership, or it may mean that Utah would sell the property to private citizens.”

That last bit about selling the land off to private citizens is particularly intriguing. It’s not hard to imagine politically well-connected timber, mining, ranching and other interests working out some pretty sweet deals for themselves.

“In either event,” the OIA news release continues, “land that is currently mismanaged and neglected by the federal government would be transferred to either state government or private citizens, who would make use of the land to create jobs, revitalize rural communities, boost the economy, and balance state and local budgets.  What a concept.”


“There is no reason why the Oregon legislature cannot follow Utah’s lead,” the OIA says. But I can think of a couple of good reasons without even trying.

In the first place, the constitutionality of the Utah measure is extremely doubtful. Even the state’s attorney general doubts it. Its real purpose, as described by columnist Lee Benson in the Desert News, is “to spark a lawsuit that will get the U.S. Supreme Court to rule more clearly … on the issue of the sovereign land rights of states. Already, $3 million has been set aside to pay the lawyers.”

In the second place, Oregon ain’t Utah … thank God. 





  • Pin It


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by The Source Staff

Latest in The Wandering Eye

  • Moonshine Magic in Bend Still on the Down Low

    Get ready for our great close-up on the home distilling community out next week in our "Best of" issue. We interviewed a mixed bag of legal and anarchist distillers in Bend to find out why distilling is so very, very against the law in one's home.
    • Aug 9, 2012
  • The Eye Wanders Off Into the Sunset

    I’m really sorry to break the bad news to them during this season of peace and goodwill, but after this week the right-wingers in Bend and vicinity won’t have The Wandering Eye to kick around anymore. The decision to stop writing this blog was my own, and it was prompted by several factors.
    • Dec 26, 2010
  • DADT, Gay-Bashing and the "Icky-ness" Factor

    For the past week or so, “Zeo” of the NW Republican blog has had his jock strap in a knot over the prospect of Congress repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule. To hear Zeo tell it, if DADT is repealed and gays are allowed to serve openly in the US military it will mean the end not only of our armed forces but of America, its economic system and civilization in general.
    • Dec 19, 2010
  • More »

© 2016 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation