Mediation set for Monday

Representatives for the City of Forest Grove and David Hill Development will meet with a mediator from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next Monday, April 22, to try to negotiate a resolution to a lawsuit in which jurors awarded David Hill $6.5 million in October 2011. Jurors decided the city had unfairly delayed “The Parks,” a northwest Forest Grove subdivision proposed by David Hill. The city appealed that verdict last November. Lawyers for both sides expect to know by the end of Monday whether they can reach an agreement. If the mediation fails, the appeal heads for the courtroom and the two sides begin preparing briefs, said Paul Elsner, an attorney for the city. Thomas Christ of Cosgrave Vergeer Kester is the city’s lead attorney in this case. David Hill Attorney Steve Morasch, of Schwabe Williamson and Wyatt, said that despite his client’s success in Federal District Court, David Hill is still open to mediation because appeals take time and money. A settlement would avoid a drawn-out, costly process.

Tort claims pile up

Three more Cornelius police officers have joined Sgt. Shawn Watts in filing tort claims against the city of Cornelius and three of its employees, according to Dan Thenell, the attorney representing all four officers. The claim preserves their right to sue the city down the road for unlawful retaliation, discrimination and other violations related to laws protecting whistleblowers and freedom of speech. Such claims must be filed within six months of the alleged damage--a deadline which was quickly approaching, Thenell said. The four officers sent a letter of complaint to the Cornelius City Council and City Manager Rob Drake in mid-October alleging misconduct by police administrators. They allege that Drake and the city unlawfully passed their names and the letter on to other city staff. Drake was specifically named in their tort claim, along with former Cornelius Police Chief Paul Rubenstein and then-Assistant Chief Joe Noffsinger. The four officers were themselves named as potential defendants in a tort claim filed recently by former Forest Grove Police Chief Kerry Aleshire, who alleges they and others caused him emotional distress and damaged his reputation by naming him in their letter and erroneously connecting him with an incident of alleged misconduct. The officers all have another year and a half or so to file an actual lawsuit.

Adelante wins free books

Adelante Mujeres is one of six Portland-area organizations to win a $5,000 grant last week from First Book Portland, a nonprofit that distributes free books to at-risk children. Over the course of the year, more than 220 new books will go to the children in Adelante Mujeres' early-childhood programs--working out to about four books for each preschooler and three for each kindergartner. The donations allow the children to start their own "home libraries," which they can then share with their siblings and parents.

ODOT paves the way

The Oregon Department of Transportation is about to begin a months-long paving project on the Wilson River Highway (Oregon 6), between milepost 39 and 51.5. The first step, starting at 7 p.m. Monday, April 29, will address the highway's ramp connections to U.S. 26. Drivers will need to detour to and from U.S. 26 via Oregon 47 during the two consecutive nights those ramps will be closed. The rest of the paving will take place between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Flaggers will control single-lane traffic when necessary. Expect delays of up to 20 minutes. The project is scheduled to be completed in August 2013.

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