Bixby attorney says authority could condemn Tulsa land for bridge

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The legislative candidates who support the south Tulsa toll bridge are saying that the legislature has nothing to do with the issue, and that the bridge shouldn't be an issue in a State House race.

Here's an example to the contrary from this morning's Whirled:

The city of Tulsa's Legal Division does not believe that another government can condemn city land that's needed for the bridge and has cited relevant Supreme Court case law, but Bixby City Attorney Phil Frazier says his city is within its rights to do so.

He bases his stance on an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling from 1965, when he was Tulsa's city attorney.

In that case, the high court held that Tulsa had the right of eminent domain on property in Rogers County, which Tulsa needed to develop the navigation channel for the Port of Catoosa.

"This very same fuss was going on, and the city of Tulsa went to the Oklahoma Supreme Court for a decision," Frazier said. "The Supreme Court came back and said that as long as it was in close proximity that the city of Tulsa could condemn.

The Legislature could, and should, define more precisely whether one city can condemn land within the boundaries of another, or whether a county can condemn land within municipal boundaries. The Legislature could, and should, define more precisely whether one city can condemn land owned by another, or whether a county can condemn land owned by a municipality. The Legislature could, and should, determine whether a public authority can be created for the purpose of condemning property for the use of a profit-making private company. The Legislature could, and should, determine who has jurisdiction over riverbeds. It's my understanding that none of these issues are set out plainly in the law. All of these issues bear on whether this bridge can be built without the City of Tulsa's approval.

By the way, in Mr. Frazier's example, the City of Tulsa was condemning property in unincorporated Rogers County, not within the boundaries of another city, and not property belonging to another city. The issue for the south Tulsa toll bridge is whether an Bixby-Jenks Title 60 trust or Tulsa County can condemn land within and owned by the City of Tulsa.

In the House District 69 race, Fred Jordan and Darrell Gwartney support the IVI toll bridge; Chris Medlock, Lisa DeBolt, and Jeff Applekamp oppose it.


Paul Tay said:

Eminent domain is kinda like hypocricy. It depends on whose eminent domain it is. And, who's doing the shafting and who's on the business end of the shaft.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 22, 2006 11:01 AM.

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