Ken Darling, a descendent of Eugene Skinner has retained the law firm of Hutchinson Cox to intervene in a court action that seeks to determine if the deed restriction on the county-owned “Butterfly Lot” prevents the land being used for a Eugene City Hall.
Darling says in the press release, included below that the land swap the city and county now have under discussion would “violate my great-great grandparents’ intentions for their gift of property.” The release says another living Skinner relative will join Darling in intervening in the pending lawsuit.
Skinner Descendants Will Intervene in Deed Restriction Case
Ken Darling, the great, great-grandson of Eugene and Mary Skinner, has retained counsel in order to assert the continuing validity of the restriction his ancestors wrote into their 1856 deed of land in downtown Eugene to Lane County. To do so, Darling will seek leave to intervene in the court action recently filed by the Lane County and the City of Eugene for a legal determination of the issue.
“Eugene and Mary Skinner dedicated the land to the county for use as a county seat. If the county were now to transfer part of the land to Eugene for a city hall, the Skinner deed restriction would be violated,” said Darling. The deed restriction was at the center of a similar dispute in 1909. At that time, the county court, ordered the city to tear down and remove the city hall and jail building that had been built on the property, and the city complied.
The issue remained dormant until 2007, when the Lane County Circuit Court Administrator wrote a letter to the county and city officials opposing the sale of what is known as the “butterfly parking lot” because of the court’s “long-standing plans to build a new courthouse on this lot.” The letter characterized the deed restriction as “specific, permanent, and exclusive.”
Darling continued, “the land swap the city and county now have under discussion would likewise violate my great-great grandparents’ intentions for their gift of property. I feel an obligation to them and to the memory of my mother, Helen Skinner Darling, to do what I can to make sure the conditions on the Skinner dedication are honored, now, 160 years later.”
At least one other living Skinner family descendant will join Darling in intervening in the pending lawsuit.