Judge rules for mountain group in ski area dispute

The Mount Ashland Association has won its lawsuit against the city of Ashland over who has authority to expand the ski area.

Judge Mark Schiveley ruled today that the nonprofit association can work directly with the U.S. Forest Service on the timber sale that would need to happen to add new ski trails on 70 acres adjacent to the existing ski area.

The city had argued that the Forest Service should work directly with the city, because it holds the permit for operating the ski area at the summit of Mount Ashland. In a five-page opinion Judge Schiveley noted that the lease the association signed with the city does not require the actions the city was seeking.

The opinion does not end the dispute of expanding the ski area. The city could appeal the decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals. The expansion was challenged in federal court, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the U.S. Forest Service to revise its environmental study of the impacts of the expansion.

— Bill Kettler

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