After nearly four years of representing Rogue Advocates and local Rogue Valley residents in a fight against an illegal asphalt operation, Crag has secured an order from a federal judge requiring the asphalt plant to cease operations at a residential property in Talent, Oregon. Rogue Advocates, the City of Talent, and affected local residents have challenged the asphalt operation and Mountain View Paving company since 2011 because it is an unlawful industrial use in a residential zone and within the floodplain of Bear Creek, a tributary to the Rogue River. Since 2012, Crag has represented Rogue Advocates in several successful challenges to the operation before the Land Use Board of Appeals.
Despite multiple decisions by Jackson County and LUBA to deny the company’s land use permits, the asphalt plant continued to operate as it made numerous attempts to secure required permits. In September 2015, Crag filed a federal Clean Air Act lawsuit on behalf of Rogue Advocates because the ongoing operations were also in violation of the company’s air quality permit issued by the Department of Environmental Quality. The company attempted to have the federal suit dismissed, but the federal judge rejected that attempt and allowed the case to move forward. Rogue Advocates requested that the court issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting Mountain View Paving from operating its asphalt plant on the residential property until the case is resolved.
On January 11, 2016, the Land Use Board of Appeals issued yet another decision confirming Jackson County’s denial of the company’s attempt to secure land use approval, just days before the federal court was set to consider Rogue Advocates’ request for an injunction. In light of LUBA’s decision the company finally acknowledged that its asphalt operation is illegal and stipulated to Rogue Advocates’ request for an injunction. On January 22, a federal judge in Medford issued an order granting Rogue Advocates’ motion for a preliminary injunction and ordering the company to cease its asphalt operations on the Talent, Oregon property.
Rogue Advocates and local residents are relieved that now they will now be free from the constant impacts of dust, noise and asphalt fumes they experience from the operation. Crag will continue to work on behalf of Rogue Advocates to ensure that all future operations at the property are in compliance with the Clean Air Act and local and state land use laws.