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Friends of Columbia Gorge v. Columbia River

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-19-2013
Case #: A150010
Wollheim, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Duncan J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A150010.pdf

Administrative Law: Under ORS 196.115(3)(d), the Court shall remand the commission's acceptance of a proposal if it is inconsistent with an agency rule, or an officially stated position or practice, unless the inconsistency is explained, or if the commission's decision is in violation of a statutory provision.

Friends of the Columbia River Gorge Incorporated (Friends) sought judicial review of the Columbia River Gorge Commission's (Commission) approval of an air quality strategy. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act (Scenic Area Act) created the Commission, which in turn created a management plan for the scenic area along the Columbia River Gorge. The management plan instructed Washington and Oregon to analyze air quality of the scenic area and to create and implement a strategy based on that analysis in accordance with the Scenic Area Act. The States proposed the Columbia River Gorge Air Study and Strategy in response to the management plan. The Commission accepted the proposed strategy. Friends petitioned for review. On review, Friends argued that the Commission erred in accepting the proposal because (1) it was not a strategy at all, and (2) the strategy was inconsistent with the requirements of the management plan and the Scenic Area Act. Under ORS 196.115(3)(d), the Court shall remand the Commission's acceptance of the proposal if it is inconsistent with an agency rule, or an officially stated position or practice, unless the inconsistency is explained, or if the Commission's decision is in violation of a statutory provision. The Court held that the Columbia River Gorge Air Study and Strategy was a "strategy"and that the Commission's exercise of discretion was not inconsistent with the management plan or the Scenic Area Act. Affirmed.