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article imageDorothy English, 'poster girl' of Oregon's property rights movement, dies at 95

By Lew Waters     Apr 11, 2008 in World
Hailed as “the peppery poster girl,” Dorothy English fought a long battle with Oregon’s Multnomah County over dividing 20 acres she and her husband bought in 1953 to be split among family members, passed away today before she could fulfill her dream
Dorothy English wanted nothing more than to divide her acreage into building sites to be divided among her family members. She and her husband bought the property in 1953 with the idea of living on it, developing some of it for their retirement and dividing it into home-sites to give to her grandchildren. She and her husband started battling for their property rights in the 1970's, when state land-use rules and local plans limited development on their property.
After surveying the property and drawing up plans to subdivide it, the Land Conservation and Development Commission and Multnomah County changed the land-use laws, declaring her property “forestland,” even though it was about one mile outside of Portland, Oregon.
A Measure was passed in 2000 to end the travesty against Ms. English, but was vetoed by Governor Kulongowski after pressure from Multnomah County.
Dave Hunnicutt, president of Oregonians in Action said, "County officials hope is that Dorothy . . . will never see the day that she recovers her money, If people want to know why property rights are important, this is a first-class example.”
Lars Larson, local Conservative radio talk show host once said, "Multnomah County’s lawyers know that if Dorothy dies before the case is done, the county owes her and her estate nothing. The property rights expire when this sweet lady passes.”
Her battles became the rallying point for Oregon’s Measure 37 campaign in 2004, “giving landowners the right to develop their property in a manner that was allowed when they bought it,” which passed overwhelmingly. Ms. English filed with the county to proceed with her plans, but Oregon voters passed Measure 49 first, rolling back some development rights allowed earlier under Measure 37.
At her death today, from Pneumonia, she and her family were still locked in legal battles with Multnomah County. She was wry, occasionally sharp-tongued and always plain-spoken, and freely expressed her views in media interviews, once claiming, “My property has been stolen from me.”
America has lost a Brave Soldier in the fight to protect and retain our freedoms and liberties.
The Oregonian
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