South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Oregon Voters May Require Compensation for Damage to Land Value Due to Regulations

Oregon high court upheld a measure that was passed in an election by the voters. The measure requires the state and local governments to compensate landowners if land use controls are imposed that cause significant damage to land value. Voters did not violate the federal or state constitution by imposing this requirement.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

Takings; Property Value

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Oregon voters approved a statute via the ballot box in the 2004 election. It requires the government to compensate landowners for reductions of real property fair market value due to land use regulations or to modify, remove, or not apply such regulations. Opponents of the measure sued to have it stricken as in violation of the federal and state constitutions on numerous grounds. A state trial court judge struck down the measure and an appeal was made to the Oregon high court.


Reversed and remanded. The measure is constitutional. There is no unconstitutional limitation placed on the government's exercise of power to regulate land use. The Constitution neither expressly nor impliedly limited the power of the legislature, or the people to authorize state or local entities to decide whether to pay just compensation or to change or eliminate regulations that impact land value. The government has not waived its sovereign authority by the imposition of this measure, nor has anyone been deprived of due process.


MacPherson v. Dept. of Administrative Services, 130 P.3d 308 (Sup. Ct. , Ore. , 2006)

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