Wednesday, December 15, 2004
"Never budge! That's my rule! Never budge in the least -- not an inch to west, not an inch to the east! I'll stay here not budging, I can and I will, if it makes you, me and the whole world stand still!"
-- Dr. Seuss, "The Zax"
The impasse over the county dog pound gets weirder and weirder.
Polk County commissioners are thinking about filing a Measure 37 claim...against themselves.
Filing a Measure 37 claim against themselves, Gracie?
You heard right.
Try to follow the logic. County commissioners want to put a dog pound on county property at the Polk County Fairgrounds. A number of people object.
One of them, Rickreall Advisory Committee Chair Penny Cox, filed an appeal with the state land-use board. That threatens to gum up commissioners' plans.
Enter Measure 37. The measure, passed by voters last month, guarantees property owners compensation if regulations limit how they can use their property.
Interim County Commissioner Phil Walker pondered openly last week that commissioners filing a Measure 37 claim against themselves might be faster than applying for a conditional use permit.
Was he serious?
Let's hope not. County commissioners suing themselves is an admittedly silly idea. County legal counsel will no doubt point that out. However, it reflects the increasing silliness of the dog pound issue.
County commissioners needed to provide a new dog pound after vets at Polk Veterinary Clinic decided they wanted out of the dog pound business.
The fairgrounds idea came up. Nearby residents howled. Tempers were raised. Appeals were filed.
Ron Blessing of Rickreall offered a piece of land off Rickreall Road. It is surrounded by industrial land and a small section of exclusive farm land.
Zoning laws allow for kennels. Even though dog pounds are not strictly kennels, county commissioners think the definition can be stretched. Members of the Rickreall Advisory Council disagree.
They appealed the decision. It stands blocked for now.
Meanwhile, officials at the Humane Society of the Willamette Valley signed a deal with the county to provide dog pound services for the next 12 months. That gives the county time to unravel this mess.
County commissioners ought to listen to residents concerned about a dog pound near the county fairgrounds. There are enough objections to warrant an alternative.
Ron Blessing provides that alternative. No, a kennel is not technically the same thing as a dog pound, but come on. It's close enough for government work.
Both sides need to give a little. Bowing to public sentiment, commissioners need to look beyond the fairgrounds. On the other hand, residents need to be open to reasonable compromises without becoming sticklers for details.
This staring contest benefits no one. It just gets ridiculous.