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Action Alert: SB 16-Land Use and Water. Ask for a NO Vote

Contact your State Representative to oppose SB 16, a bill that allows housing with septic systems and wells in farmland

Date: June 12, 2021 To: All League Members From: Rebecca Gladstone, LWVOR President Peggy Lynch, Natural Resources Coordinator Please email or phone your representatives requesting a NO vote on the House floor against SB 16 ASAP. The League’s testimony is here to help explain our reasons for our opposition. LWVOR has strong positions in support of our land use planning program and water quality and quantity. SB 16 would allow 100 homes somewhere among 55,000 acres of farmland outside of the City of Ontario. In recent years, Ontario has expanded its Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to bring in about 600 acres from its urban reserve, leaving about 1500 acres still available in the Ontario Urban Reserve, in addition to vacant residential lands already in the Ontario UGB. Advocates argue that Idaho’s doing this so Oregon needs to do the same. That’s not the Oregon Way! We are in a severe drought in all of Oregon. These homes would be allowed to have water wells that will draw from a groundwater which we don’t know exist. Certainly, the limited water in farmland should go to their vital agricultural industry—critical to Malheur County’s economy. As mentioned in our letter, the taxpayers in Oregon are being asked to help domestic well owners in Harney County this session—to the tune of $500,000! Will we be setting up that same need in a few years for these homes? You can access the testimony of all sides here. This bill will have a Work Session on Monday, June 14, in House Rules. It is likely to move to the House floor with a vote as early as Tuesday, June 15. A NO Vote is needed. We are now in the final weeks of the session. The Oregon legislature 2021 regular session must end by June 27 and this bill only needs to pass the House chamber to be enrolled. Please email or call now and ask your Representative to Vote NO!

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