Andy Parker, under the name of his company Oregon Desert Farms, Inc. has filed a claim against the Town of Lakeview as of May 23, asking the Court to declare legal property rights pursuant to ORS 28.010 and ORS 28.020.
The dispute between Parker and the Town has been ongoing, but this is the first time that legal action has been taken by either party. Parker, who acquired his sole ownership of Oregon Desert Farms when the former owners relinquished their ownership, also maintains that Larry A. Utley and Randall Utley allotted him the property and ownership of the well rights on said property, listed as Easement 1.
According to complaint lodged, article 10 claims, “ODF owns the right to use a geothermal well located on the Trust property and geothermal resources therefrom by Grant in 1970.” In the ensuing articles, it goes on to assert that ODF owns the right to use water from the geothermal well under Oregon Water Right Certificate No. 65564 and that they can use an additional amount of water from the geothermal well without a water use permit under ORS 537.545(f). Lakeview wishes to gain access to that land, and has filed for condemnation to do so.
“It is our opinion that the condemnation will be on the very east boundary of his property, and would not adversely affect his existing operation,” said Town Mgr. Ray Simms.
While the Town has refused to comment at the behest of its legal counsel, it has made a few things clear to the public. First, it worked out an agreement with the Utleys to gain access via Easement 1 to a requested amount of 500 gallons a minute of water through the geothermal well on said property.
The case boils down to who truly owns the rights to the water from the well, the Utleys or Parker. If the Utleys own the right, they have agreed to allow the Town access for its purposes. If Parker owns the right, he has not agreed to allow the Town access to the well for its purposes. Parker is requesting relief on the claims that the Utleys have no current property right, interest, or claim in Easement 1, the Geothermal Well Lease Agreement is void to the extent that it tries to lease easement rights that the Utleys do not own, the scope of Easement 1 is limited to access for single family residential use for the Rock House, that ODF “has exclusive right to use the geothermal well…,” and that the lease is void if it allows an enlargement of Easement 1 for industrial or municipal use and for multiple, larger geothermal pipelines.
Those involved in the claim are Parker, the Utleys, listed as co-trustees, John Doe beneficiaries and Mark S. Gandt.