Monday, October 27, 2008

Army Corps Changes Its Mind

Michael Milstein reports on the Army Corps' withdrawal of a permit for a commercial dock on the Columbia River after the Port of Arlington, Oregon, completes 70% of the the structure, because the site is a usual and accustomed fishing station of the Umatillas.
The corps decision is especially troubling to Port officials because the corps sold the land for the dock to the Port in 1967 as work on John Day Dam wound down. The corps specified at the time that part of the site be used as a public port, said Tim Weatherell, chairman of the Port Commission. The Port contends the original fishing site protected by treaty is now submerged by the water behind the dam, about 300 feet away from the dock site, where tribal members now fish. But the corps ruled that doesn't matter. "The fact that the present location of tribal fishing has shifted with the shoreline and is not precisely where fishing took place in 1855 does not negate its qualifications as a usual and accustomed fishing station," the corps wrote.