EPHRATA — The dispute over the future of Crescent Bar Island remains in a “wait-and-see” mode, pending yet-to-come rulings from federal dam authorities and an appeals judge.
Approximately 400 leaseholders to island condominiums and RV lots have sued the Grant County PUD to stay on the Columbia River island, about 30 miles southeast of Wenatchee.
The PUD owns the island as part of the lands above its Wanapum Dam.
The islanders say they received assurances from multiple PUD officials that their leases, some of which date back 30 years, would be renewed when the utility received its new license to operate its Columbia River dams, Priest Rapids and Wanapum. The new license came in 2008.
The PUD evicted the islanders in June when the islanders’ leases expired, saying that changing federal policies obliged them to redevelop the island for public recreation and wildlife protection.
But a federal judge ruled that the islanders can stay at least until a separate matter is resolved — a petition the islanders made directly to federal dam regulators to stay on the island.
The PUD then evoked the article of an old agreement that it says forces the island dispute to be settled out of court, through arbitration.
The same federal judge denied the request, so the PUD has appealed and continues to await an appeals judge’s ruling.
The islanders insist they should be allowed to remain on the island, or be compensated for the investments they’ve made to their condos and RVs.
Christine Pratt: 665-1173