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Originally published Monday, August 8, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Postage error dooms appeal by Wal-Mart

Incorrect postage has cost Wal-Mart a challenge to a state Land Use Board of Appeals decision backing the city's denial of plans for a new...

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. Incorrect postage has cost Wal-Mart a challenge to a state Land Use Board of Appeals decision backing the city's denial of plans for a new 207,000-square-foot store.

Attorneys for Wal-Mart submitted their appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals in Salem on July 1, dangerously close to the 21-day deadline for appealing the June 9 decision by the board.

While Wal-Mart filed the appeal with the court via certified mail, copies were sent to the city of Central Point and the citizens group Central Point First using regular first-class postage.

A court records spokeswoman, who did not give her name, told the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford the case had been dismissed because the notice of appeal was "not considered to have been timely filed."

Central Point community-development director Tom Humphrey said the city had received notice from its own land-use attorney, Bill Kabeiseman of Portland, that the case had been dismissed.

"Our attorneys picked up on the fact it was sent by first-class mail, so they went ahead and asked the appellate court to dismiss it at that point," Humphrey told the newspaper.

Wal-Mart attorneys Greg Hathaway and Michael Connors in Portland, who filed the appeal, were not available to comment.

A similar error in postage allowed plans for a Wal-Mart store in neighboring Medford to continue.

Medford's appeal of Wal-Mart's plans for a store was dismissed by the Oregon Court of Appeals on April 12 because the city did not mail the appeal by certified mail, which provides proof of mailing and date and time of delivery.

Wal-Mart attorneys had planned to argue that the appeals board had not ruled on issues raised by either the city or the Arkansas-based retail giant. They also claim that the board interpreted portions of the city planning code to find additional evidence to support denial of the project.

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