Clarno Overruled by Marion County Judge

The drama surrounding Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno continues, as two of her controversial rulings have been overturned by a Marion County judge.  

Last December, Clarno rejected Initiative Petitions 48 and 49 on the grounds that they did not address a “single subject,” as required by the state constitution. The decision intensified the accusations of partisanship against the secretary of state, as both measures called for a carbon-free Oregon by 2045.   

As of Thursday, those decisions have been reversed. Judge David Leith of the Marion County Circuit Court ruled that “Under the current precedents, I’m satisfied that IP 48 and 49 do satisfy the single subject requirement,” and has ordered Clarno to process both measures.  

This represents a major victory for local climate change advocates, including Tera Hurst, executive director of Renew Oregon. “The judge’s ruling clears the way for strong climate action in Oregon this year, one way or another — whether at the ballot, in the legislature, with executive power, or some combination of all of them,” Hurst told OPB.  

Clarno’s office has not commented on the matter, but according to her attorney, W. Michael Gillette, the secretary will likely file an appeal.  

That same day, Clarno managed to shake some of the allegations of partisanship by rejecting Initiative Petition 54, a pro-timber timber industry ballot measures, once again citing the single subject rule. However, its companions IP 53, which would require the state to compensate landowners for land-use regulations, and IP 54, which would reorganize the Board of Forestry, were approved by the secretary.  

By Brandon Urey