The Oregon Department of Justice refused to say Wednesday if it is investigating claims that Union County Planning Director Hanley Jenkins deleted e-mails related to the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm.
Spokesman Tony Green said the justice department did receive a letter from Charlie Gillis, attorney for the anti-wind farm group Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley, in October asking the department to investigate.
Green added, though, that as a matter of department policy he cannot confirm or deny that the department is taking any action.
Green referred The Observer to Union County District Attorney Tim Thompson. A call left on Thompson’s answering machine Wednesday was not returned by press time today.
The county board of commissioners has consistently declined to answer questions about the matter. Commissioner Mark Davidson has said the board cannot release information on personnel matters.
Davidson has said only that the board takes the allegations seriously and that the matter is under investigation.
In September, Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley head Dennis Wilkinson charged that Jenkins had improperly deleted e-mails related to Horizon Wind Energy’s plan to build the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm in the Craig Mountain area near Union.
Wilkinson said a planning department employee, who has never been named, saw Jenkins delete the e-mails.
Gillis wrote his letter to the justice department Oct. 4, requesting the department investigate whether laws regarding the retention of public records have been broken.
Gillis said the case falls within the department’s jurisdiction because Union County received $1,600 from the state Department of Energy, funding to be used to help the county determine whether the proposed wind farm complies with county zoning and planning requirements.
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