Legal challenge of Property Dedications Threatens Sidewalks

From April Bertelsen:

It is with a heavy heart that I share the following news. There has been a legal challenge in Federal court to the City of Portland’s ability to require private property dedications to build sidewalks.

The Case
The case is Marion Skoro v. The City of Portland, No. CV 06-1319-HU, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. See the attached Opinion and Order of the Judge filed on February 21, 2008. Marion Skoro, a local property owner and developer, filed the case claiming a takings for two separate properties where the City required sidewalk dedications. At SE 52nd and Cooper, the City required a six (6) foot dedication to widen the sidewalk from 6 ft to 12 ft. At SE 52nd and Woodstock, the City required a two (2) foot dedication to widen the sidewalk to 12 ft.

This is a challenge to City policy to create an accessible and sustainable transportation system. It is a challenge to the Pedestrian Design Guide, intended to help develop an environment conducive to walking, for which we are nationally known. For those of you steeped land use legal issues and case law, we are talking property rights issues, takings, and case law including Nollan vs. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. City of Tigard.

The Ruling
To summarize the ruling, the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Marion Skoro, for his property at SE 52nd and Woodstock and sent the case regarding SE 52nd and Cooper to a trial with a jury.

Next Steps
The City has not given up here. We need to make a VERY strong case to sway a jury in our favor for the SE 52nd and Cooper case. We will challenge the other in court as well.

We Need Your Help
I am contacting you because I think you have a stake in the outcome of this decision, may be able to help play a role in our challenge and/or can help share it with others that may. In the near future, we may be contacting individuals to serve as expert witnesses to help us make that case for why we require dedications to widen sidewalks, how 12 ft sidewalks provides ADA compliant accessible pathways given all the other objects located in the sidewalk zone (trees, poles, A-boards, bike parking, sidewalk cafes, newspaper boxes, etc), as well as how sidewalks benefit the abutting property owner and access to their businesses, etc.

PLEASE let me know if you take interest if helping our case or know some who does.

PLEASE share this message with your members, colleagues, etc

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