Pipeline Appeal Decision Expected on February 14, and ERPD Wants a Mulligan on the Permit Extension

On Wednesday, February 14, at a 2:30 p.m. special meeting, the Curry County Board of Commissioners will review final arguments from the parties, as well as testimony from the January 17 de novo hearing and comments submitted in the intervening month.

Following is a link to information about the meeting on the county Web site:

Click to access 2018_02_14%20PACKET%20Special%20Meeting.pdf

The final staff report to the commissioners begins on page 69. It is followed by a complete recap of the application by Elk River Property Development and all related documentation. [Note: Because the county has created a new Web site, previous links to meeting information from 100Friends posts are dead. Also, oddly, no link to the packet shows on the Agendas and Minutes page. UPDATE: Some kind soul let the county know about this, and they fixed the link.]

The applicant’s closing argument is not available at this writing. They have until February 14 to submit one; we recommend checking the BOC meetings page on that date.


A January 31 letter from the attorney for Oregon Coast Alliance is on page 299. He asserts that the Planning Commission’s decision to deny the pipeline application should be upheld because: (a) a variety of routes for the pipeline were not considered, though this is required in a land use decision relating to the application of reclaimed water; (b) alternatives to the use of reclaimed water were not shown to be unfeasible, even though they were part of the original golf course application; and (c) the applicant does not currently have “a license, permit or approval by the DEQ” for application of reclaimed water.

Of course, the elephant in the quasi-judicial “courtroom” is the fact that the applicant did not apply for an extension to its golf course conditional use permit in a timely manner. This was a key factor in the denial of the pipeline by the Planning Commission. On January 19, 2018, a full two years after the extension should have been sought, ERPD finally made that request.

On page 307, a letter from their attorney asks for administrative approval of an extension, as a “precautionary filing only.” ERPD believes that they have initiated construction of the golf course, therefore they did not need to formally apply for an extension of the permit, but they’re applying as a “safety net.” The attorney says, that “the intention is to secure an extension to deflect future challenges that an extension should have been but was not secured.” In golf parlance, this would be a mulligan, a do-over, in spite of the official rules of play.

Administrative approval, moreover, would be granted without public notice or hearing. ERPD believes that they are “entitled to an administrative decision that is not made as a land use decision, is not noticed as a land use decision, and is not appealable as a land use decision” according to their reading of state statutes. [See further details of their reasoning beginning on page 307.] Of course such an action would make things easier for ERPD, but they would be far less accountable to the public. They would prefer to skip over discussing a number of unresolved issues about the golf course — some of which were never even mentioned in the original CUP.

Now that we are in Year 4 of the Pacific Gales effort, it is long past time to get out of the rough and back onto the fairway. What exactly does ERPD plan to do, and when, and how? And what would it mean for Curry County, for Port Orford, and for ordinary citizens?