“stand down” for a few weeks – Ashland City Attorney on TID/Grandview Parking Area
Below is the transmission of emails that explain the new stand on the parking area – “stand down”.
9/11/17 4pm Email from Mike Black, Director of Parks
…during the time that we are actively pursuing alternative outcomes with the property owner, we will not be adding the item to our public meeting agenda. Of course, the reason for this is that it has the potential of being contrary to any negotiations that could or may take place with the owner and may well result in a negative outcome.
Michael A. Black, Director – Ashland Parks and Recreation
9/11/17 4:30pm Email from Sherrill Morgan, representative of the TID walkers and hikers who use the Grandview parking area. Chris Hearn is the attorney who was approached for advice.
Chris Hearn has had a conversation with city attorney David Lohman. He is now advising us to back off and let the city handle this issue. Further activism on our part, he feels, may compromise the city’s attempts to negotiate with the owner, Mary Chilton.
You will remember that getting together petitions, and asking for a meeting with the Parks Commissioners was a suggestion from Chris Hearn in the first place. Now, he is asking us to back off, and I, for one, think that we should pay heed to this request.
I will paste Chris’ letter to me below.
Email from Chris Hearn to Sherill Morgan who consulted with Hearn about the situation:
Update: I received a telephone call from Ashland City Attorney David Lohman a few minutes ago.
When you and I spoke last week, I suggested you might organize ditch trail parking users and get a petition together for submission to City of Ashland Parks & Rec. Commission and perhaps City Council as well. The purpose of the petition would be two push your elected Parks Commissioners (and perhaps City Council) to move forward with City’s efforts to resolve the parking situation.
The purpose of City Attorney Lohman’s call was to let me know that the City Council and Parks Commission are already working on this. City is hoping to enter into negotiations with property owner Mary Chilton. City may consider condemnation if all other avenues fail. Lohman is aware of the ORS statute (ORS 105.692) which very likely renders ineffective any claims which long-time users of the trail parking area public might otherwise assert based on adverse possession or prescriptive easement.
City Attorney Lohman wanted to let me know that he and Parks Commission and City Council are already working on potential solutions to this issue, but – in light of recent events (including landowner’s recent arrest for assault) – City is concerned that at this critical juncture in the negotiations, your petition may backfire by further inflaming landowner Chilton at this time. This could undermine City negotiations with the landowner.
Under these circumstances, and since City is already committed to finding a resolution, I would agree with City Attorney Dave Lohman, and recommend that you and your group consider taking a hiatus, essentially agreeing to “stand down” for a few weeks to see if City can resolve the matter with landowner. Again, the concern is that neighbor petitions and further community activism — at this point and under these particular circumstances — may “stir the pot” and undermine City’s efforts to resolve the parking issue.
Christian E. Hearn
Davis Hearn Anderson & Turner | a professional corporation