Actor Bruce Willis’ Ix-Nay Investment Trust took a major step towards building a planned private airstrip near Fairfield on Tuesday, but the fight over the controversial plan may not be over.
Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Ned Williamson on Feb. 8 upheld a motion for summary judgement by the Camas County Board of Commissioners and Ix-Nay to end a lawsuit challenging the county’s unanimous approval of the Soldier Field Airport last March. As proposed, the airport would be built to accommodate “very large general aviation aircraft,” including the Boeing 737-800, according to a master plan submitted by Ix-Nay, and could see 1,500 takeoffs and landings each year.
A nonprofit called Preserve The Camas Prairie, Inc., represented by attorney Michael Pogue, filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgement from the court, claiming that the Camas Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of County Commissioners failed to consider environmental and economic impacts the airport would have on the area. Pogue also claimed that public notice of an ordinance granting the approval was not posted in a timely manner, and that a “public road” bisecting the airstrip was abandoned for the development without due public process.
Williamson ruled that, although the public notice was posted after the allowed one-month time period, the “claimed injury” by Preserve The Camas Prairie, Inc., “has not been established.”
Williamson—who, as a private attorney in the early 2000s, represented Willis in a separate matter regarding Soldier Mountain Ski Resort—stated that the court found a “genuine dispute of material fact” with regard to whether the road is public or not, based on county records. Williamson said that the issue is moot in this case because Camas County was only required to evaluate a conditional use permit, rezone application and comprehensive plan amendment while considering the approval.
“As suggested by Ix-Nay, the issue whether 1130 E. is a public road or whether it is necessary to seek an abandonment/vacation of a public road can be resolved on another day,” wrote Williamson.
Pogue said his client is considering “all options” moving forward, including the possibility of filing another lawsuit aimed at addressing the county’s failure to apply due process to the abandonment of the road. ￼