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Court of Appeals Upholds Decision On Measure 21-177 Aerial Spraying Issue

Today (6/23/21) the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case of Capri, et. al. v. Jenkins and Lincoln County and Lincoln County Community Rights, et. al. affirming without opinion the judgment of Circuit Court Judge Sheryl Bachart that the Ordinance enacted by Lincoln County voters in Measure 21-177 was preempted by state law and therefore invalidated in its entirety. Measure 21-177 was adopted by voters in May 2017, making Lincoln County the first county in the United States to ban aerial pesticide spraying.

By its decision today, the Court of Appeals rejected the challenges made by Lincoln County Community Rights that the Circuit Court’s preemption analysis was wrong and rejected challenges made by Rex Capri, et. al. that the Ordinance was not a matter of county concern and that it should never have been allowed to be considered by the voters.

By this ruling the Court did not reach the question of whether or not the Siletz River ecosystem had standing to appeal the decision of the Circuit Court. County Counsel Wayne Belmont, representing Lincoln County and County Clerk Dana Jenkins, stated “the decision of the Court of Appeals coincided directly with position taken by the County in defending this matter.” He noted that the decision to affirm without opinion represented a complete determination that Judge Bachart’s rulings stand as issued.

Mr. Belmont added that he was concerned with the challenges from both sides of the issue and stated “I am pleased that the Court of Appeals both recognized the rule of law underpinning Judge Bachart’s decision and rejected the challenges to the local initiative process and the scope of the County’s authority of to consider matters of county concern.”

While there are technically avenues to appeal the Court of Appeals decision, Mr. Belmont noted that appeals of decisions made in this manner are generally not successful.

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