Judge tosses shelter lawsuit

By Kelly Ducote September 03, 2014 11:49 am

An order for Shelter From the Storm to evict its community advocacy center has been upheld in court.

Visiting Judge Eva Temple granted a motion from the county’s counsel to dismiss the lawsuit brought against the county by Shelter From the Storm in a ruling filed in court late Tuesday.

Temple, who serves as a judge in Hermiston, heard a day’s worth of testimony last week on the matter. Shelter From the Storm sought an injunction in order to stay at its advocacy center located on the county campus. The county notified the nonprofit in April that it must be out of the center, which was built with a Community Development Block Grant in 1998, by Sept. 1. The eviction notice followed a unanimous March decision by Union County commissioners to site a new county courthouse on the SFS center’s footprint.

In her opinion, Temple wrote the shelter failed to state a claim because it did not plead an acquisition of property within the meaning of the state or federal statutes under which it was seeking relief. Union County owns both the property the advocacy center sits on and the building itself. The county was the recipient of the $500,000 grant that built the center.

Temple also found that SFS “is a tenant at sufferance and its right to occupy the property lawfully under the lease ended on August 28, 2013.” Because of the expired lease, the shelter is not a displaced person as defined under federal law and cannot seek relief as such, the opinion says.

“Because the Relocation Act does not apply to the Plaintiff, the Defendant had no duties under the act, and the Plaintiff cannot prevail in its claim for damages resulting from a failure to abide by the act,” Temple wrote.


For the complete story, please see Wednesday's edition of The Observer.