No ruling yet on Gold Ray Dam removal suit

Construction crews as early as Tuesday will learn if they can resume preparing Gold Ray Dam for demolition or wait indefinitely while a lawsuit challenging Jackson County's removal the 106-year-old structure from the Rogue River.

U.S. District Court Judge Owen Panner this afternoon did not issue a ruling on whether to extend the shut-down of dam-removal work during the suit filed by dam supporters who claimed their civil rights had been violated.

After a 30-minute hearing in U.S. District Court in Medford, Panner said he would issue a written ruling "in a day or two" on the preliminary injunction request.

A preliminary injunction could jeopardize the lion's share of the $5.6 million project because a $5 million federal stimulus grant funding the project sunsets in October, when any unused money must be returned.

Dam-supporters said not barring the county from following through on removal would lead to the destruction of the dam, fish ladder and powerhouse before the case gets adjudicated.

Panner issued a temporary restraining order on demolition work July 19, setting up today's hearing.

— Mark Freeman

Clarification: An incorrect version of this story appeared briefly on our site. This version is correct.

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