The Oregon Appeals' Court wants the Columbia River Gorge Commission to take another crack at its management plan for the National Scenic Area. The Appeals Court has ruled that the latest plan doesn't adequately protect natural resources. Specifically, the court found that the plan doesn’t protect wetlands, bodies of water, and stream banks from the cumulative effects of development. The Friends of the Columbia Gorge brought the suit. Nathan Baker is the staff attorney.
"The Gorge management plan does not do the job of prohibiting cumulative adverse effects. And the court remanded to the Gorge Commission to address that issue," says Baker.
The Oregon Supreme Court remanded a previous version of the management plan a few years ago. The latest lawsuit challenged the way the Gorge Commission revised the plan, in response.
The Appeals Court decision supported some parts of the plan – including protections for wildlife and rare plants. The decision asks the commission to “reconsider” how it approaches cultural resources.
The Gorge Commission's board chair says commissioners will start working at their next meeting to satisfy the court.