If you haven’t heard much about the Eastern Oklahoma Turnpike project lately, no doubt the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is moving full steam ahead to roll the 21-mile road through the private properties in the way from I-40 to I-44. We’ve heard about surveyors in the area and wild rumors about offers to buy land. But what about the opposition?
Have they given up? No. After using tools of rhetoric, rallies, logic, studies, cries, organization, signs, petitions and downright begging, the anti-EOC turnpike crowd is taking it up a notch. They’re going to court. And hiring an attorney.
A group against the turnpike, Victims of Eminent Domain, has set up as an Oklahoma charitable organization to accept donations for legal fees. Organizers said they need $12,500 to secure the legal work, with fees expected to go higher.
“We have raised over $10K over the past 10 days without the link, so, I would say we have a pretty decent following just to our PO Box,” said Newalla resident Paul Crouch, one of the organizers.
On Friday, a gofundme page was created to accept online donations with a $50,000 goal.
Crouch said his life has changed so much since the turnpike battle to save his property began, he can’t even remember what he used to spend his time on. As to the legal fight, Crouch won’t reveal the group’s legal strategy at this point, but he is confident they have case.
“The OTA, in concert with ODOT and the Governor, has overstepped their bounds – and has dangerously wandered into breaking a rule of the Oklahoma constitution: no road shall be built for purely economic reasons. OTA used inflated traffic estimates which they solicited from a source with a history of providing inflated numbers. … Now many citizens stand to lose their homes and property under this pretense,” Crouch wrote.
The online fundraising page is here.
The Victims of Eminent Domain website is here.
Information on the turnpike projects is here.
The snail mail address to send donations is:
Victims of Eminent Domain Fund
PO Box 747
Harrah, OK 73045
Thank you Dawn. Charlie Whitford.