Government lawyers asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by tribal elders who say the Oregon Department of Transportation destroyed a sacred site to expand a highway near Mount Hood.
Justice Department attorney Ben Schifman said in a telephone hearing Monday that the elders were not substantially burdened by the expansion of U.S. 26 and lacked standing to sue.
Plaintiffs' attorney Stephanie Barclay said the government in 2008 needlessly bulldozed the site that included a stone altar and medicinal plants.
Rather than money, the Native Americans are asking for a new altar, and for the planting of new trees and plants.
Judge Youlee Yim You will decide whether the case filed nearly a decade ago moves forward. She did not indicate when she will rule.
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