Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Hood River Circuit Court Judge Donald Hull has dismissed the lawsuit filed against the county and Mt. Hood Meadows, Ltd., over a timber land exchange.
After reviewing case law presented on both sides, Hull ruled on Thursday that the Hood River Valley Residents Committee (HRVRC) and landowner Mike McCarthy were wrongfully seeking to have the court scrutinize a legislative process when only a quasi judicial decision would qualify for the legal “writ of review.” Since the matter may be appealed, Hull also addressed the issue of “standing” and determined that the HRVRC and McCarthy had not sustained personal injury from the trade.
He denied the HRVRC’s assertions that it was harmed because “its purpose, mission and goals are thwarted” by the forest land exchange.
The land-use watchdog group had also claimed the trade negatively affected its ability to “attract volunteers and members necessary to support its organization.”
“Many governmental decisions and/or actions are contrary to the goals or interests of certain public interest groups. That fact alone does not create a justifiable controversy,” concluded Hull in his written judgment.
Although the court action was dismissed, Hull did uphold the petitioners’ argument that the request for legal intervention was filed in a timely manner.
The writ of review was submitted on March 27, a little more than two weeks after the exchange was finalized.
Hull disagreed with the county’s stand that the 60-day time limit for the action had passed since the decision to proceed with the land exchange was made last August. He agreed with the HRVRC and McCarthy that the decision was tentative at that time since it hinged on an appraisal of the properties and a value differential that did not exceed $1.5 million.