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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Radio Company Must Take Towers Down

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A company that built radio towers on U.S. Forest Service land must remove equipment from a leased site in Central Oregon's Deschutes National Forest, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Western Radio Services Co. has been tussling with the Forest Service over telecommunications towers in Deschutes National Forest.

Western Radio sued the Forest Service last year, claiming it was arbitrary and capricious for the agency to revoke or refuse to renew leases at several spots in Forest Service land.

Two months after filing the lawsuit, Western Radio entered a lease with a third party to install radio equipment, and the Forest Service added trespass claims against the company.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken granted summary judgment to the Forest Service on Tuesday, telling Western Radio to "cease its operations at Gray Butte and remove Sureline's equipment from that site immediately."

Among other things, Aiken found that Western Radio had no right to appeal the decision because the lease stated it was not renewable.

"The Forest Service provided Western Radio with several notices of noncompliance with lease terms and afforded Western Radio an opportunity to cure its compliance issues," Aiken wrote.

Aiken also found for the Forest Service on its trespass counterclaim because "Western Radio remains at these sites without authorization, has not removed its facilities, and has allowed a third party to install additional equipment."

The judge ordered the company to remove its equipment from those sites "within a reasonable time frame as set forth by the Forest Service."

The Forest Service claims the company owes it more than $29,000 for the sites, which Aiken ordered it to pay.

Aiken declined to order Western Radio to disgorge the money paid by its customers and tenants, because the company's equipment did not become government property.

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