Wineries Bill in Oregon Advances
A bill that would give Oregon wineries more liberty to participate in some new commercial undertakings on land delineated for farm use was approved on Wednesday by the Senate, but only with the understanding that the measure still requires a number of amendments.
In Lane County, the conflict over business activities on farmland is largely centered on events at wineries, and in particular, the big and full-service restaurant that King Estate has been running at its property in Lorane since the year 2005.
The necessary amendments to House Bill 3280, which was approved on a 25-5 vote Wednesday, will now apparently be finalized in a conference committee, basically a tough task to do before the rapidly-approaching end of the 2011 legislative session.
Members from both legislative chambers comprise the conference committees and are usually used to resolve any bicameral disagreements over a proposed legislation. A much different version of the bill was passed by the House in late April on a 52-3 vote.
Despite the easy passage of HB3280 in both chambers, its sponsors admit that the bill has been on a delicate path throughout the session.
The preliminary objective of the measure was explicit – to get rid of some of the legal land use roadblocks that impede the flourishing wine tourism industry in Oregon without allowing wineries the kind of liberties that would lead to the farmland’s over-commercialization.
A couple of Lane County lawmakers, which include Sen. Floyd Prozanski and Rep. Paul Holvey, who are both Eugene Democrats, undertook the task of writing the bill. They did it in part because of the legal questions that King Estate encountered after opening a big restaurant right on its property.