County delays emergency land-use law, will allow testimony

Under mounting legal and public pressure, Jackson County commissioners backed away today from acting on a controversial emergency ordinance that deals with the aftermath of Measure 49.

About 80 angry landowners and others attended the commissioners' meeting at the Ashland High School theater to protest the ordinance that they say is another effort to strip away their property rights.

"They keep passing the buck," said 72-year-old Kenneth Bigham of Sams Valley. "They're just waiting for the older people to die. It's not right."

Bigham is one of 571 property owners who received a waiver of land-use regulations from Jackson County commissioners that he's worried may no longer be valid.

Commissioners had scheduled a first reading of an emergency ordinance that deals with the thorny issue of vested rights under Measure 49, but said no public testimony would be allowed today.

After public outcry, however, commissioners decided to delay a first reading of the ordinance. Both the first and second reading of the law is now set at 9:30 a.m. on the same day, March 12, at the Jackson County courthouse. The public will have the opportunity to speak on the issue then.

Citizens for Constitutional Fairness and other Measure 37 claimants filed an injunction this week in the U.S. District Court to block the emergency ordinance.

Outside the theater today, protesters carried signs that stated, "Stop government land grab," "Please help us and "Follow the law."

— Damian Mann

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