ODOT v. Alderwoods (Oregon), Inc.
Case No. 358 Or 501 (2015)
We represented Alderwoods (Oregon), Inc. in a claim for compensation after the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) sought to condemn all direct highway access at one of the client’s Oregon funeral home locations. Although the client’s appraiser concluded that the taking would substantially diminish the property’s value, ODOT took the position that the taking was not legally compensable. The trial court granted ODOT’s motion in limine on that issue, and the client appealed. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed in an en banc decision by an equally divided court. This will be the first case to reach the Oregon Supreme Court on these issues since 1979, and has the potential to modify a number of more recent decisions of the Oregon Court of Appeals that generally have limited the extent of abutting rights of access and expanded the scope of regulation under the police power. That last pertinent decision of the Oregon Supreme Court, in 1979, found a statutory right to compensation for the taking of access to a county road, and the six dissenters concluded that the same result should obtain under the parallel statute applicable to state highways. The case is set for oral argument before the Oregon Supreme Court in June 2015.