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Getting laws changed through Oregon ballot draws many efforts, few successes

David Smith wanted to create meaningful change.

The retired Eugene real estate appraiser of 45 years watched year after year as seniors in his community were forced from their homes, unable to keep up with climbing property tax rates.

He decided to seek a change in Oregon law to reduce seniors’ property tax burden by 75 percent. He set out to get his idea put on the ballot in Oregon to let voters decide. 

Smith filed his prospective petition with the state Elections Division in July, but he quickly encountered a system better suited to those with political power or a vast lobby behind them. 

“The process was so onerous that it’s almost impossible unless if you have an entire fleet of people behind you working,” Smith said.

The announcements of potential ballot measures . . .