OR Community leaders fear federal lawsuit could stifle public participation in local land use

Jan 19, 12

Community leaders throughout Clackamas County, OR, are rallying against a federal lawsuit filed by a developer that they fear could stifle public participation in local land use decisions and government.

“Leaders of the Mt. Hood Corridor community planning organization say the lawsuit they face from local developer Kip O’Connor is a strategic lawsuit against public participation, often referred to as a SLAPP suit. They say the intent of the lawsuit is to intimidate residents and CPO board members from participating in local decisions by burdening them with a potentially costly, stressful and time-consuming lawsuit.”

While Oregon has combated this form of bullying by enacting an anti-SLAPP law, plaintiffs can avoid state anti-SLAPP laws by filing federal claims in federal court.  In this case it appears that state claims were filed as well, and an attorney representing the CPO for free said he intends to cite Oregon’s anti-SLAPP law as part of his defense.

Federal anti-SLAPP legislation would close the federal claim in federal court loophole and protect Americans in all states and at the federal level from SLAPPs.

Read more about the case here: http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2012/01/clackamas_county_community_lea.html

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