Judge gives third ‘no’ to HRVRC land suit

Hood River County attorney Will Carey is relieved that local taxpayers won’t have to bear the cost of a trial over a disputed land exchange.

On Thursday, Carey learned that Hood River Circuit Court Judge Donald Hull had dismissed a lawsuit brought against the county and Mt. Hood Meadows, Ltd., by the Hood River Valley Residents Committee and Mike McCarthy, one of its members.

“This ruling saves the county a very costly and lengthy trial that would have had the same outcome,” Carey said.

This week Hull determined that the Cascades Resources Advocacy Group (CRAG), plaintiffs’ attorneys, had not followed the correct legal procedure for instigating its latest round of court action. His decision was based on “claim preclusion,” the fact that CRAG had made the same arguments in a different venue that had already been overturned twice last year.

Both CRAG and the HRVRC declined comment on the court ruling.

Before rendering his verdict, Hull reviewed briefs on the issue that had been submitted by both legal teams. In April, he had given a homework assignment to all of the involved lawyers after the defendants asked to have the case dismissed because of that issue.

Under claim preclusion, a plaintiff is prevented from bringing unnecessary delays to the resolution of a legal matter, by consolidating all matters into one complaint whenever possible.

“They should have filed the alternative cases at the same time, not waited until they got a ruling on one and then filed a brand new case using the same facts in a different theory,” Carey said.

Dave Riley, Meadows general manager, said he was not surprised by the judge’s decision.

“The HRVRC claims have been baseless from the beginning, they have had to be told three times now that this is a legal land exchange,” Riley said.

The HRVRC and McCarthy were seeking to reverse the county’s trade of 640 acres near the southern border for 785 acres owned by Meadows. The deal also included a $1 million payment by the county to offset the value different in merchantible timber on its newly acquired property.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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