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Clatsop County joins land lawsuit against feds

Suit claimed reimbursement shortage for federally managed lands
By Jack Heffernan

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 9, 2018 10:01AM

Clatsop County has joined a nationwide class-action lawsuit over reimbursements for land managed by the federal government.

The government owns just over 1,500 acres of land in the county. Established in 1977, the federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes program reimburses counties for land that would otherwise be a source of property tax revenue.

A lawsuit filed in Utah claimed that Congress failed to appropriate the necessary funds to reimburse counties throughout the country and underfunded them in 2015, 2016 and 2017. A judge ruled in favor of the counties in December.

Clatsop County could reel in as much as $20,000 by joining the suit, though the exact figure has yet to be determined. Oregon counties overall are expected to haul in nearly $37 million. The government also has the right to appeal the December decision.

The county will not pay any fees as part of joining the suit, and no staff time will be spent on the case, County Counsel Heather Reynolds wrote in an agenda item summary presented to county commissioners Wednesday.

In other business Wednesday, commissioners:

  • • Passed an ordinance regulating the time, place and manner of marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas of the county.

  • The regulations include restrictions on the hours retailers can sell each day — from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. — along with noise levels, standards for reducing odors, waste management and lighting rules.

  • The handful of established marijuana businesses in the county have until February to make adjustments to comply with the ordinance.


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