A federal judge in Eugene has dismissed as moot a lawsuit the Newport Fishermen's Wives brought against the U.S. Coast Guard. The suit was filed after the federal agency threatened to close its rescue helicopter station in Newport last year.
The planned closure was cancelled last fall after President Barack Obama signed legislation prohibiting removal of the air station before January 1st 2016.
Federal Judge Michael McShane dismissed the lawsuit because he found there was no "reasonable expectation" that the Coast Guard would engage in what he calls "unlawful behavior" by closing the Newport helicopter station. The Fishermen's Wives said it would be disastrous if the rescue helicopter was not there to save people fishing and recreating in the cold waters off the central coast. Plaintiff's attorneys believe the judge is leaving the door open for the lawsuit to be re-filed if necessary.
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio has sponsored legislation to keep the Newport Coast Guard Station permanently open. The agency is having financial problems and had argued the closure would help save money.