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1000 Friends of Oregon v. Wasco County Court

742 P.2d 39 (1987)

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1000 Friends of Oregon v. Wasco County Court

Oregon Supreme Court

742 P.2d 39 (1987)

Facts

The Wasco County Board of Commissioners (the county) (defendant) approved, in a 2-1 decision, an election on the incorporation of the City of Rajneeshpuram. One of the county commissioners had previously sold cattle to certain proponents of the incorporation at a higher-than-market price and with irregularities to quality, weight, and transportation of the cattle. The commissioner did not make the sale public and did not disclose his prior dealings with the proponents of incorporation when voting in favor of the election. Those who opposed the election challenged the county’s decision before the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), arguing that the decision should be set aside due to bias of one of the commissioners. LUBA found that although the sale of the cattle involving the commissioner was somewhat irregular, there was no evidence that the transaction was contingent upon the commissioner’s vote or that the sale was so one-sided as to constitute a sham. LUBA found that the facts did not rise to the level of a conflict of interest. Opponents of the election challenged the county’s decision in court and appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals, which reversed LUBA’s decision and found that the decision was quasi-judicial and required impartial board members. The court of appeals found that due to his prior dealings, the commissioner’s participation in the vote tainted the county’s decision. The county appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Linde, J.)

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