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Airport Dispute Headed to Mediation

Thursday, February, 28, 2019

Mediation appears to be imminent in the dispute between the Lewiston City Council and Nez Perce County concerning the management of the area’s jointly owned airport.


Despite its willingness to participate in mediation, the Lewiston City Council made it clear they do not want the process to “become a free-for-all.”


The dispute arose when City Manager Alan Nygaard recommended the city take over the daily management of the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport. Until that point, there had been  years of chaos on the board and the airport lost commercial flights to Boise and Seattle. The manager and assistance manager were also terminated during that time.


The response to Nygaard’s proposal was lukewarm. County Commissioners were wary of the arrangement because they were concerned the county would play a diminished role in the operations of the airport.


There has been an ongoing effort to get mediation going by Nez Perce County Prosecutor Justin Coleman for some time now in an effort to help the two parties resolve their differences and avoid legal action.


Recently, the airport board voted to participate in mediation and Nygaard and the City Attorney had already met with Coleman regarding the parameters of the process. Those involved are hoping to keep the mediation discussions on track by keeping things confined to a specific list of concerns.


Some have expressed their concern that the mediation could be seen as open-ended and if any subject can be brought up the process could go on indefinitely. They are calling for focused topics and a process that prevents participants from “pontificating.”