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Shooters say verdict was a win for range.

Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard

CORRECTION (ran 7/15/04): Recent litigation over pollution caused by a shooting range southwest of Eugene involved the Eugene chapter of the Izaak Walton League and not the national organization. A story Tuesday on Page D1 did not make the distinction clear.

The Izaak Walton League, defending itself against a lawsuit by neighbors alleging that its shooting range polluted Spencer Creek, regards last week's jury verdict as a victory, not a defeat, the conservation group's lawyer said Monday.

On Friday, a Lane County Circuit Court jury awarded one of the plaintiffs, Ron Merrow, $23,000 (he had sought $40,000); declared the Izaak Walton League "a public nuisance" for polluting Spencer Creek; and found that the group violated Oregon's pollution laws by discharging pollutants into Spencer Creek.

But the jury also rejected all claims brought by three other plaintiffs, said Greg Skillman, attorney for the Izaak Walton League. Maureen Hudson, Philip Ziebert and Nina Tetzler "got nothing," he said.

The league's shooting range, located off Lorane Highway southwest of Eugene since 1958, in recent years has been the subject of a running battle between the group and neighbors, who have complained that shotgun shells and pellets, bullets and clay pigeons are polluting the environment.

One neighbor, Adam Novick, sued the league in federal court before agreeing to an out-of-court settlement that called for the group to clean up up the site.

Last summer, a group called Citizens for Responsibility and five individuals sued the Izaak Walton League, seeking $219,025 in damages.

Citizens for Responsibility and plaintiff Bev Merrow withdrew from the suit on the first day of trial, Skillman said.

The Izaak Walton League of America, founded in 1922, says it promotes responsible fishing and hunting and emphasizes respect for and protection of recreation areas, waterways and farmland.
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Title Annotation:Courts; A jury awards a claim but rejects others against the Izaak Walton League
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 13, 2004
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