• Just Compensation Win in Oregon

    By Chris Zukin, President, Meadow Outdoor Advertising, Dalles, OR

    Governor Kate Brown signed long-sought legislation April 10th , 2018 to protect billboards from un-compensated government taking.

    In the past, the state paid only salvage value.  The new law requires the state to pay full compensation for loss of an outdoor advertising sign:

    • Equal to market value
    • Measured by comparable sales
    • Determined by an appraiser

    Further, the new law encourages relocation of billboards in lieu of condemnation.  The state Department of Transportation “may assist the owner’s effort to acquire and obtain approval for a comparable location for the outdoor advertising sign.”

    An industry team effort produced this victory, including advocacy by Lamar Advertising Company, OUTFRONT Media, Pacific Outdoor, and Meadow Outdoor.

    Testifying in Salem, OR (from left at the witness table): Chris Zukin of Meadow Outdoor, Amy Joyce of Oregon DOT, and Dan Dhruva of Pacific Outdoor

    Here are key lessons:

    • Persistence pays

    In 2007, the Oregon Legislature directed the billboard industry to work with the state DOT to resolve the compensation issue.  It took 11 years. Yes, we got frustrated, but we never gave up.

    • Summarize

    We had plenty of paper, documents, and records.  But we boiled down our message to two pages.  One sheet featured six reasons to support compensation for billboard removal, starting with “If you take someone’s property, you should pay a fair price for it.”

    • Know what neighbor states do

    A second one-pager showed that Oregon was an outlier, because most other states require just compensation for taking billboards.  That point got great traction.

    Information for this persuasive matrix was provided by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, OAAA.

    Of particular interest in Oregon:  California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington State require just compensation for billboard removal.  For example, the code in Washington State says:

    “Just compensation shall be paid upon the removal of any sign lawfully erected under state law, which is visible from the main traveled way of the interstate system or the primary system. Such compensation shall be paid for the following:

    (a)  The taking from the owner of such sign, display, or device of all right, title, leasehold, and interest in such sign, display, or device; and

    (b)  The taking from the owner of the real property on which the sign, display, or device is located, of the right to erect and maintain such signs, displays, and devices thereon.

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