Burke v. OregonAnnotate this Case
Under section 6(6) of Ballot Measure 49 (2007), certain "owners" of property may file a claim to establish up to three home-site approvals, notwithstanding existing land use restrictions that would otherwise preclude such development. At issue in this case was the meaning of the term "owner" as it is used in that section. Specifically, the issue was whether the term includes a seller of property under a land sale contract who retains legal title to the property. The Court of Appeals concluded that, as the term is used in Ballot Measure 49, the term "owner" means only the purchaser of property under a land sale contract and does not include the seller of the property who retains title. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals: "In short, there is no persuasive evidence that the voters intended the three categories of owners under ORS 195.300(18) to be mutually exclusive. To the contrary, the phrasing of that definition, along with other definitions in the same section, and other related provisions of the law make clear that those definitional components were intended to be inclusive."