Friends of Clark County gearing up for legal action

At least one organization is already gearing up for legal action over Clark County’s 20-year growth plan.

Land-use and conservation group Friends of Clark County, whose members have been vocally opposed to Councilor David Madore’s zoning alternative since day one, is raising money in case it needs to launch a legal battle against — or on behalf of — Clark County.

“We are serious about continuing to defend the principles that are blatantly ignored in the development and passing in what is now being called the locally preferred alternative,” said David McDonald, a land-use attorney and rural Clark County resident. “We’re a band of crusaders that believe it’s our job to monitor this part of the county process and provide real facts and true legal argument.”

McDonald, by the way, has been representing FoCC pro-bono, and will donate $50 for every $100 donation up to $1,000 to the non-profit. He intends to continue representing the group for free, but the fund is in place in case the organization needs to bring in a second attorney or someone to do the grunt work of compiling material for a potential lawsuit.

This could go one of a couple ways, McDonald said. One, the council pushes Madore’s Alternative 4 through to the state and FoCC sues.

Two, “cooler heads prevail,” as he puts it, and Alternative 4 is thrown out. If another group sues — vocal Alternative 4 proponent Clark County Citizens United, for example — the group may file a countersuit on behalf of Clark County to support its decision.

The writing’s already on the wall that the latter might happen. Councilor Jeanne Stewart’s been no fan of Alternative 4, incoming council Chair Marc Boldt has already said he wants it thrown out and Councilor Elect Julie Olson has said if there’s substantial evidence that Alt 4 won’t pass muster with state law, then the county needs to backtrack.

The county’s growth plan must be completed and accepted by the Commerce Department by June 30. The county needs to finish its part by April 30 in order to meet that goal.

Kaitlin Gillespie

Kaitlin Gillespie

I'm the education reporter at The Columbian. Get in touch at or 360-735-4517.

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