Environment | Water | Oregon

Environmental Groups Applaud White Salmon Ruling

OPB | June 11, 2013 12:06 p.m. | Updated: June 11, 2013 2:08 p.m. | Portland

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Environmental groups are applauding a court ruling in Washington state that blocks additional residential development along the White Salmon River.

Rattlesnake Creek, a tributary to the White Salmon River. Photo by Joy Markgraf, courtesy of the Crag Law Center.

Rattlesnake Creek, a tributary to the White Salmon River. Photo by Joy Markgraf, courtesy of the Crag Law Center.

The court case pits Klickitat County ­ which backed more development along the White Salmon ­ against environmentalists ­ who opposed an increase in housing.

The case could have a powerful influence on what happens to that river, now that the Condit Dam has come down.

A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of environmentalists. The ruling says the county failed to look at alternatives or include the public as required by law, and that it illegally delegated zoning authority to property owners.

Michael Lang is with Friends of the Columbia Gorge ­ one of the plaintiffs in the case.

Lang said, “With the judge overturning this Klickitat County decision, that means that thousands of acres will not be re-zoned for one and two-acre development, and that the outstanding resources of the White Salmon River ­ a designated Wild and Scenic River - will be protected.”

The Klickitat County attorney didn¹t immediately return calls for comment.

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