Southern Oregon Miner Defeats United States Forest Service in Court
Nov 14, 2011
In a recent decision issued on November 9th, 2011, United States District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the United States Forest Service, and particularly Cottage Grove District Ranger Deborah Schmidt, violated the constitutional rights of 83 year old Oregon miner, James Edgar.
Edgar, of Eugene, Oregon, alleged that the United States Forest Service and especially District Ranger Deborah Schmidt, had violated his rights when Schmidt ordered USFS Law Enforcement to impound structures on his mining claim in November of 2008 and declared them to be “government property”. Climaxing nearly fifteen years of conflict with the United States Forest Service, in early June of 2009, agents of USFS dismantled the structures on Edgar’s mineral property with a backhoe and then destroyed the remnants by use of fire. The Bone of Contention between Schmidt and Edgar lied in Edgar’s unwillingness to post what he believed was an unfair bond. On November 25th, 2009, Edgar filed suit against the United States, as well as District Ranger Deborah Schmidt.
USFS maintained that the “plaintiff had no legitimate property interest in his structures after they became property of the government through the impoundment process, and therefore the destruction of the structures did not interfere with plaintiff’s right to control them“.