Newport Helicopter Ruling Will Take A Week Or Two

Apr 20, 2015

Federal Judge Michael McShane is “on the fence” whether to stay a lawsuit brought by the Newport Fishermen’s Wives against the Coast Guard, or dismiss it. The suit is over the agency’s threatened closure of the rescue helicopter station.

Ginny Goblirsch and Jennifer Stevenson of the Newport Fishermen's Wives stand outside the courthouse after Monday's hearing.
Credit Karen Richards

The Mayor of Newport along with several city and county officials attended the hearing at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene. Attorney Sean Duffy represents the Coast Guard. He asked the judge to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. The plaintiff’s lawyer Mike Haglund was upbeat after the hearing:

Haglund: “Based upon the questioning from the judge of both sides, I’m optimistic that he will deny the government’s motion to dismiss and grant the stay and keep the case alive until we know what the Coast Guard’s going to do at the end of the year.”

Duffy declined to comment. If the judge decides to dismiss, the Newport stakeholders will have to file a new lawsuit and potentially face a different judge. If the case is stayed for eight months, they could act quickly should the Coast Guard decide to close the station in early 2016. The judge says he’ll issue his ruling in a week or two.