Ginny Goblirsch

Karen Richards

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.

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:

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Congress gave Newport’s Coast Guard air station a one-year reprieve after a threatened December closure. The community still fears they’ll lose their rescue helicopter. This week, opposing parties filed declarations in court.

A Washington D.C. Coast Guard official filed documents in federal court claiming the closure was only a proposal. In response, the Newport Fisherman’s Wives filed a contradicting statement. Ginny Goblirsch with that group says the Coast Guard’s decision had been presented as final:

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Newport's search and rescue Coast Guard air facility is scheduled to cease operations December 15th. Tuesday morning, four groups filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Eugene to try to stop the closure.

In the lawsuit, the Newport Fishermen's Wives, along with the City of Newport, Lincoln County, and the Port of Newport allege the Coast Guard failed to follow the legal process required to decommission a facility. They claim the Coast Guard has not adequately assessed impacts to public and environmental safety. Ginny Goblirsch is with the Newport Fishermen's Wives.