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Skydiving firm says it will sue Creswell, officials.

Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard

CRESWELL - A local skydiving company has notified Creswell of its intent to sue the city, its administrator and its airport manager after losing the right to land customers at a longtime "drop zone" on, and adjacent to, Creswell Airport.

The tort claims notice by Urban Moore of Eugene Skydivers claims the city and its officials caused "severe and substantial" losses to him and his company through "nonfeasance, misfeasance, bad faith, denial of due process, interference with advantageous economic relations, defamation and breach of contract."

The notice, drafted by Moore's attorney, Douglas Minger, does not specify a dollar amount of damages Moore will seek.

In particular, Moore accuses City Administrator Mark Shrives and Creswell Airport Manager Shelley Humble of "false and misleading allegations" to the Federal Aviation Administration and to the news media that Eugene Skydivers operated unsafely and in violation of federal law. He also accuses the city of bad faith in failing to complete a new landing zone user agreement with the longtime airport business.

Shrives, who received a copy of the notice on Monday, declined comment until he has had a chance to discuss the matter with the City Council and its legal counsel.

The threatened action follows unanimous City Council affirmation Sept. 11 of a city staff decision this spring to withdraw permission for Eugene Skydivers and Wright Brothers Skydiving to continue using airport property as a drop zone. The state had earlier withdrawn its permission for the companies to land skydivers on adjoining land it owns. Both cited concerns about safety and liability.

The action capped a sometimes nasty 18-month standoff between city airport officials and the skydiving companies during city efforts to draft a more stringent drop zone user agreement.

Both companies have continued to operate out of their Creswell Airport hangars, landing skydivers on separate parcels of private land off airport and state property. The change has hurt Moore financially because the time spent driving skydivers back to the airport slows the turnaround time between jumps, Minger said last week.

Moore's tort claims notice follows a defamation lawsuit he filed last week in Lane County Circuit Court against Paul Preziose, a Creswell-based flight instructor who has filed numerous FAA safety complaints against Moore.

That complaint accused Preziose of trying to drive Eugene Skydivers "off the airport and out of business" by alleging near misses and "a 3-page list of violations" by the skydiving company. The suit seeks economic and noneconomic damages of $1.7 million.
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Title Annotation:General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 21, 2006
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