PASCO, Wash. - Arguments were finally made Friday morning in Franklin County Superior court concerning a lawsuit filed by citizens' group Citizens For Lifestyle Preservation against the City of Pasco. The hearing had been delayed three times and still, people who live in the so-called "Doughnut Hole," will have to wait. Judge Carrie Runge said she is taking the matter under advisement.
Both sides of the battle came out of court with a positive outlook Friday.
"Very good, very good. I don't think there's any other conclusion she can really come to," said Pasco City Attorney Lee Kerr.
"I feel like Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation really presented their case very well and that the issues were all brought out and that Judge Runge will make a decision in the plaintiff's favor," said Laurie Magan who is representing Citizens For Lifestyle Preservation.
Arguments centered on the city's request to dismiss the case and a convoluted statute which outlines the annexation process. The City believes they can move forward due to water agreements that give Pasco power of attorney for the annexation.
If the area is annexed the City said it would effectively end efforts by Doughnut Hole residents to form a new city of their own.
Resident Don Story says he wasn't fully aware of what the water agreement was when he signed his name.
"I just thought it was part of the transitional thing from West Pasco water, county water to city water," Story said.
Both the City and the plaintiff's agree the statute is hard to understand which is part of the reason Judge Runge will take her time reviewing the case.
"The statute, you know, is a little on the confusing side. So I think what happened is the plaintiffs just read it wrong and have come to the wrong conclusions," Kerr said.
"I actually anticipated having a ruling today so I was a little surprised Judge Runge took it under advisement. But what that tells me is that she wants to make the proper decision," Magan said.
"They paint the picture that nothing will change. We like it out there the way it is. We don't want to be part of this, we don't want to be part of an unincorporated city either. We just want them to leave us alone," Story said.
Judge Runge's decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks. Citizens For Lifestyle Preservation said if the case is dismissed they do have other options they can use to fight the annexation.