Local firm wins trial: Ontario OR Argus Observer, 4/16/07

By Andy Gates

A jury decided Friday night that Poole Real Estate Corporation is entitled to $864,525 from the State of Oregon for four acres of land that was annexed through eminent domain for a large road project in Ontario.

Eminent domain is the power of a government to seize private property for public use, and the Oregon Department of Transportation used that authority to take four acres of land Jan. 10, 2006 in Ontario, owned by Poole Real Estate Corporation (PREC), according to a jury synopsis filed by the Oregon Department of Justice in Malheur County Circuit Court.

The verdict came through Malheur County Circuit Court around 5:30 p.m. Friday, Malheur County Circuit Court records show, and followed a trial that spanned all of last week.

Jurors determined the amount of money PREC should receive from the state for the land because amounts proposed by the two entities varied by around $1.4 million, according to the state’s jury synopsis.

The Oregon Department of Transportation asserted it should pay around $238,400 for the four acres of PREC land.

However, PREC claimed the land was worth $1.6 million, according to the state’s jury synopsis.

The PREC land will be used in a road project involving a newly constructed Yturri Beltline around Ontario that will connect to a new North Ontario Interchange at Interstate 84.

The purpose of the project is to reduce truck traffic through downtown Ontario — as traffic was a problem for city government and roadway maintenance, according to a trial memorandum from the Oregon Department of Justice on behalf of ODOT.

Prior to the roadway project, Poole Real Estate Corporation contended it had an integrated 15.19 acre parcel perfectly situated for the development of a truck stop travel center, according to a trial brief from PREC attorney John McCulloch Jr.

Ontario OR Argus Observer: http://www.argusobserver.com