Creswell Land Decision on Hold for Further Study
Byline: Randi Bjornstad The Register-Guard
Amid confusion about who really owns more than 500 acres of land east of Creswell, the Lane County commissioners decided Wednesday to delay a decision on a controversial Ballot Measure 37 claim until mid-July.
In the meantime, they asked the attorney for applicants Bernard and Margaret Bernheim to supply more information about the status of the property at 82791 Rodgers Road.
Several neighbors of the Bernheims, who moved to Central Oregon a year ago, testified that Bernard "Bunk" Bernheim and his wife, Peggy, told them they had sold the property to local developers, brothers Melvin and Norman McDougal, who have close ties to Veneta developer Greg Demers.
However, Portland attorney D. Joe Willis, who represented the Bernheims at Wednesday's public hearing, said the couple still owns the property but has leased it to Frontier Resources, a limited liability corporation connected with Demers, a frequent associate of McDougal Bros. Investments.
The commissioners said they want to see a copy of the lease between the Bernheims and Frontier Resources. Willis agreed to produce it within a week. The county's planning staff will continue sorting through a morass of property deeds - some provided by the applicants and others procured by opponents of the claim - pertaining to the four tax lots that make up the Bernheim property.
Ownership of property is a key element in processing claims under Ballot Measure 37, which voters statewide passed in November 2004.
The measure provides that when government enacts a regulation that lowers the value of property, the owner of the property has the right to monetary compensation or waiver of the regulation.
However, only the owner of the property at the time the regulation went into effect has the right to apply for compensation or a waiver, making proof of ownership a critical part of the application. …