By Kiera Morgan
The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners discussed the recently passed Measure 21-177, the measure banning aerial spraying. County Council Wayne Belmont opened the discussion saying “democracy is messy.” He said it was an election measure with high emotions on each side. Belmont explained that there are several measures around the state dealing with similar issues that end up in the courts. There are many legal questions and challenges to this measure. He said the county has already been in court twice on this particular matter for pre-election challenges.
He said now they need to identify the issues within the measure and a clear path to resolution of these issues, even he said if that means invalidation of the ordinance. “I want it clearly understood that my concerns are not limited to a single provision in the ordinance such as direct action, Belmont added or involve a simple clarification of definitions such as defining aerial spraying.” “I see that there are fundamental problems with the ordinance under Oregon Law, and likely Federal law too. They make beyond any changes we could make to the ordinance any tweeks that we could make to salvage it and accomplish its intended purpose.”
Belmont said he is putting his legal recommendations on hold right now because as of 3pm on June 6th he was made aware of the first legal actions filed challenging the measure. He has been in contact with the attorney’s on both sides and told the board that the matter is now in the hands of the court, and the county will be participating in the litigation. The plaintiffs are asking for a preliminary injunction from the court on the part of the measure that authorizes direct action.
Belmont said “I am extremely concerned that people may feel there are no consequences for their actions against others and may think of this as a get out of jail free card.” The commissioners approved Mr. Belmont’s recommendation to support the request in the suit for an injunction to immediately block the “direct action” provision of the measure. Belmont said he also feels that there will be appeals to the decisions and this will be in the courts for quite some time.