Wednesday, March 13, 2002
On Feb. 1, Skamania County filed its Brief in Opposition to the Columbia River Gorge Commission's and Chris Woodall's Petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Washington Court of Appeal's decision which upheld a property owner's right to continue to operate an RV park within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
In its documents filed with the court, the County takes the position that the Washington Court of Appeal's decision should not be reviewed by the U. S. Supreme Court because it simply applied the plain language of the Gorge commission's own land-use management rules.
These rules direct state law to govern on issues of vested rights, such as the question of whether the property owner should be able to continue to operate an RV park.
The county further argues that Washington courts. as well as Oregon courts, need not defer to the Gorge Commission when the Gorge Commission's interpretation of its own rules is clearly in error.
The county is represented by Skamania County Prosecuting Attorney Bradley W. Andersen and private attorneys Michael Haglund and Michael Neff of Haglund & Kirtley. Mr. Haglund is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Prosecuting Attorney Andersen said that, "We believe the Gorge Commission, in its Petition to the Supreme Court, badly exaggerated the effect of the Court of Appeals' decision. The Court of Appeals did not hold, as the Commission suggests, that Washington law supercedes the Gorge Act. In fact, the court upheld the Act by applying the clear terms of the Gorge Commission's own Management Plan."
The County expects the U.S. Supreme Court could decide whether to accept review sometime later this year.