Suit aims to curb trespassing on site
West Linn developer Jeff Parker has filed a civil suit against some members of the Forest Hills Easement Association, saying their opposition to construction of his personal home on North Shore Road has resulted in at least $550,000 in losses from construction delays.
In the suit, filed Aug. 28 in Clackamas County Circuit Court, Parker charges Evie Fuson and Jim Hall, along with 10 unnamed defendants, with civil conspiracy and trespassing. He seeks an injunction from the court that would force FHEA members to surrender any data collected by trespassing on his property and is demanding a jury trial.
The suit claims FHEA members made false reports of code violations to the city of Lake Oswego, in turn forcing Parker to retain professionals to prove he had not violated city code. Matt Levin, attorney for Parker in the case, said it also stems from calls to police, which have stalled construction.
The suit was filed just two days before Parker was ordered by a municipal court judge to pay $28,555 to the city for violating the tree code. Parker pleaded no contest to the charges and did not attend the trial.
The last time Parker faced tree code penalties, those penalties were waived when a similar civil suit against FHEA members forced negotiations between he and the group, mediated by city officials. Penalties totaling $6,406 were waived to push those negotiations forward.
Levins said a settlement is possible in this case but forcing another round of negotiations is not the goal. He said the suit essentially aims to curb trespassing on the Parker property, and Parker simply wants his neighbors to leave him alone as he builds his house.
Fuson limited comment on the pending litigation but said, 'It appears to be a strategy on his part to prevent the public from making sure city code is being followed.'
Despite concessions made by both sides in the March settlement, the suit claims FHEA members have made false reports of code violations on the Parker property to the city, which have resulted in stalled construction and stop work orders.
The city stopped work on the project in May for tree code violations and sent letters in August over concerns about retaining walls.
Parker paid $28,555 to the city last week for the tree code violations, which killed a mature Douglas Fir 38.5 inches in width.
The city is still reviewing whether one of two retaining walls constructed on his lot without a permit will stand. In a letter to Parker in August, city officials also questioned how Parker would landscape the narrow space between the two retaining walls and asked for detailed plans.
Jim Hall of the FHEA declined to comment on the suit but said it had been tendered to FHEA's insurance carrier.