Foster Fell v. City of Bend/City Attorney/City Recorder
Local activist Foster Fell, represented by attorney and former representative Charlie Ringo, has re-filed his lawsuit challenging the election—and now certification—of City Councilor Casey Roats. Worth noting: Roats is no longer listed as a defendant, as he was in last year's dismissed version of the lawsuit alleging he is not qualified to serve on Council. The new lawsuit seeks to appeal a number of decisions made in the process of the prior City Council finding Roats qualified, despite questions raised by his living outside the city for nearly a year prior to the election. Ultimately, the suit seeks to either overturn Roats' election or void the prior Council's decision, punting it to the current Council (Roats excluded).
Central Oregon LandWatch / WaterWatch of Oregon v. City of Bend / U.S. Forest Service
The surface water saga continues. After a U.S. District Judge sided with the City of Bend and Forest Service, Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch of Oregon have filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Central to that case are concerns that the Bridge Creek Pipeline Project—which seeks to replace two older, smaller pipes delivering drinking water from Tumalo Creek—would negatively impact instream flows and does not appropriately account for the potential impacts of climate change. The City has argued that the new pipe is needed to replace aging infrastructure and ensure Bend's access to dual water sources (surface and ground). According to COLW Executive Director Paul Dewey, a briefing on the case is not expected for a few more months.
Tom and Dorbina Bishop v. KC Development Group, LLC
Last month, a Deschutes County Hearings Officer found that two reservoirs constructed on property owned by KC Development Group, LLC and filled with water from Tumalo Creek were built without the necessary permits—one for recreational use (on account of their use as water ski ponds) and surface mining. Tumalo Irrigation District had argued that the reservoirs were necessary for storage purposes, while COLW claimed that they violate the rural zoning of the area and disrupt a critical deer winter range habitat. The Deschutes County Board of Commissioners heard an appeal on Jan. 29 and is accepting public comment until Feb. 5. If its decision is appealed, the case will go to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).
Corrected: We misrepresented the plaintiff in the legal challenge against KC Development group. We regret the error.