EXCLUSIVE: Shelter files complaint against Union County

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer April 30, 2014 01:55 pm

A story you'll only see today on LaGrandeObserver.com. 

Shelter From the Storm has filed a complaint for injuctive relief and damages against Union County.

The complaint, filed Wednesday morning at the Union County Courthouse, alleges Union County failed to find resolutions that would minimize adverse impact to Shelter From the Storm upon the nonprofit's displacement from its advocacy center at 1111 Fifth Street. The county's legal counsel in a letter dated April 1 ordered Shelter From the Storm to vacate the building by Sept. 1. 

Union County is seeking to construct a $3.1 million courthouse facility on the footprint of the Shelter From the Storm building, which was completed in 1998 with the help of a $487,040 community block grant. The county owns the structure and has leased to the shelter, which provides services to victim of domestic violence. The county was also the receiving agency for the grant.

The complaint alleges the county did not provide assistance to Shelter From the Storm as required under ORS 35.510 and the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act. The complaint also states that the county did not inform Shelter From the Storm of its rights under the law and that the nonprofit would not have to relocate "If Defendant had acted lawfully."

The shelter is seeking damages in excess of $633,000 if it is required to vacate the building. The complaint also requests a jury trial.

See full coverage in Friday's edition of The Observer.