New suit filed against Oregon ski area expansion

ASHLAND, Ore. — Environmental groups have filed a new lawsuit against plans to expand the ski area at Mount Ashland in southern Oregon.

The suit said that the Forest Service’s environmental and financial analysis of the expansion is outdated, the Ashland Daily Tidings reported.

The plan, approved by the agency in 2004, has been the subject of a lawsuit and multiple appeals.

In August, a judge lifted an injunction that had blocked the expansion. The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by the Sierra Club, Oregon Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity, seeks a new injunction.

The association that runs the nonprofit ski area hasn’t begun on-the-ground expansion work.

The first phase, including new ski runs and lifts, is expected to cost about $3.5 million, according to 2011 estimates.

The lawsuit said the expansion analysis failed to consider cumulative impacts on the Ashland watershed from the expansion and from wildfire fuels thinning, potential climate change impacts on snowfall and skier visitation, and new state limits on the amount of sediment that can flow into Reeder Reservoir in the watershed.

Most of the ski area and the proposed expansion are in the watershed, the source of Ashland’s water supply.

“A large amount of information has been developed since the expansion was first approved,” said Marianne Dugan, a Eugene-based environmental attorney working for the plaintiffs.

The complaint said the groups do not oppose some parts of the expansion, such as a snow tubing facility, some widening of existing runs, new runs by a beginner’s hill and watershed improvement projects.

Kim Clark, the general manager of the ski area, said the association and its lawyers are still reviewing the complaint.

“At this time, we’re not aware of any basis for us making any change in the expansion,” Clark said.

The ski area opened on Dec. 6 after early snow hit the mountain.

More in Local News

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

Trail work by juvenile offenders builds resumes, confidence

Kayak Point trails were built out this year by groups from Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Distress beacon leads rescuers to Pacific Crest Trail hikers

Two men in their 20s had encountered snow and waited two nights for a helicopter rescue.

Volunteers clean up homeless camp infested with garbage

The organization’s founder used to live and do drugs in the same woods.

Everett mayoral campaign is one of the priciest ever

Many campaign donors are giving to both Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

Arrests made in robbery-turned fatal Everett shooting

A man, 24, and woman, 18, were found at a hotel in Seattle.

Boeing marks the start of 777X production at Paine Field

It took tax breaks and union concessions to land assembly of the company’s new jetliner in Everett.

3 fire departments seek levies to support emergency services

District 25 in Oso is hoping to pass its first fire levy in 22 years.

Most Read