Colombia Riverkeeper v. Clatsop County

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 12-17-2014
  • Case #: A157374
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, P.J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The County Board denying an application, after LUBA issued a final action approving an application based on the board’s prior approval, cannot be “for the purposes of avoiding the requirements of ORS 215.427.” As that was not the case, ORS 197.835(10)(a)(B) did not require LUBA to reinstate the board's original decision.

The Oregon Pipeline Company, LLC (OPC) petitioned for review of two decisions of the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) relating to application for approval from Clatsop County for a 41-mile stretch of a natural gas pipeline. At first, this application was approved by the county commissioners, but the county elected a new board which withdrew its prior approval. OPC appealed to LUBA, which found one of the new commissioners (Huhtala) had demonstrated “disqualifying bias” against the application and remanded for reconsideration without the affected commissioner. On appeal, OPC challenges the final order of LUBA dismissing appeal of the original decision to approve the pipeline, and the final order rejecting procedural challenges, but remanding for reconsideration without Huhtala. The Court found LUBA correctly determined that the county timely withdrew its approval for the application. On the County’s cross-petition, evidence was insufficient to show disqualifying bias by the commissioner, the record lacking any explicit action that would show actual bias. In LUBA No. 2010-109, affirmed on petition. In LUBA No. 2013-16, affirmed on petition; on cross-petition, reversed and remanded as to that portion of the final order determining Commissioner Huhtala to be biased.

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