Ballot Measure Could Change Eminent Domain Rules: KOIN-TV6 Portland OR, 9/17/06

A measure on the Oregon ballot this fall could make urban renewal projects tougher for cities in a number of ways.

If passed by voters, Measure 39 would bar public entities from using eminent domain to force the sale of private property that will end up in the hands of private developers.

It also would give new bargaining power to the people who choose to sell.

Under eminent domain, a public agency can condemn property for public purposes, forcing an unwilling property owner to sell to the government at a price by a judge.

The measures comes after a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right of a city to use eminent domain to take private property for economic development. Since then, 30 state legislatures have enacted statutes or constitutional amendments to restrict eminent domain.

All that went to a public vote have passed by overwhelming majorities.

KOIN-TV6 Portland OR: http://www.koin.com