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Court order halts Three Devils Road vacation

Three Devils Road

Photo by Al Camp


Three Devils Road

— An order prohibiting vacation of three miles of Three Devils Road has been granted in Okanogan County Superior Court against county commissioners and Gamble Land and Timber.

Judge Chris Culp signed the writ Tuesday afternoon.

Attorney Barnett N. Kalikow filed the writ on behalf of the Coalition of Chiliwist Residents and Friends, Ruth Hall, Roger Clark, Jason Butler, William Ingram and Loren Dolge.

Gamble Land and Timber, previously purchased the property on both sides of the gravel road, petitioned the county to vacate the three-mile stretch of the route connecting North Star Road with national forest roads. The county engineer recommended vacating the road, but the Hearings Examiner Dan Beardslee, after taking testimony on the proposal, recommended keeping it open.

Commissioners voted, 2-1, last Wednesday to vacate the road.

Commissioners Ray Campbell and Sheilah Kennedy supported the vacation; Commissioner Jim DeTro opposed it.

Chiliwist residents want the road to remain open as an escape route to the Methow Valley in case roads main roads are blocked or damaged by fire or flooding.

The writ orders the commissioners, Beardslee, Engineer Josh Thomson, Gamble Land and Timber, owner Cass Gebbers and Gebbers Farms governmental affairs specialist Jon Wyss to “desist and refrain” from taking any further action to vacate the road.

Commissioners took final action to vacate the road this afternoon, but were informed of Culp’s ruling shortly thereafter by Kalikow.

The Chiliwist residents allege commissioners violated the state law concerning road vacations, acted “arbitrarily and capriciously in willful disregard of the facts and circumstances as found after exhaustive hearing in finding and conclusions by their own hearings examiner,” and acted in violation of basic due process rights, “including appearance of fairness disabilities, actual conflicts of interest, and in violation of petitioner/plaintiffs’ rights of equal protection of the law.”

A hearing is set for 2 p.m. June 26 to argue the matter further.

Comments

pjcockfield 2 years, 6 months ago

If the commissioners took final action to vacate the road before being informed of Culp's ruling, they did so prior to the published agenda. I arrived in time to be there for the agenda item, "Civil Service Processing Fees" at 1:30 pm. The consent agenda was scheduled to start at 1:45. They had not yet come to item number 4, the final order of vacation of 3 Devils Rd, when Barnett Kalikow entered the room and gave them the papers.

It is my understanding that discussions and actions taken by county commissioners are supposed to be done publicly, not privately. As I was leaving, they had made the decision to review the papers when their atty was free in an "executive session" which would be a private meeting.

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