Not-so-sweet dispute closes Honey Run bridge
A dispute over a dilapidated mobile home has left the Honey Run Covered Bridge and its creekside park closed indefinitely.
It all started, court records reveal, when the bridge association launched a fund-raiser to buy a newer, $15,000 mobile home no longer needed by the Paradise Parks and Recreation District. At a pancake breakfast on June 6, members were approached by Gordon Dise, who offered to haul away the old 1974 caretaker’s trailer, attached porch and related debris and remove a tree, if he could keep the trailer for the sum of $1.
Gail Galia, a leader of the Honey Run Covered Bridge Association, alleges that despite being told the nonprofit wanted the old trailer out by July 4, Dise lagged on starting work.
Galia said that once Dise started in on the trailer, he broke a window and water pipe and damaged a tree in the process. Also, witnesses wrote the court, Dise started acting weird—ordering volunteers around and intimidating them with his large dog. Galia said Dise even swung around a hockey stick on one occasion.
Dise said in an interview that even though they’d never agreed on a timeline to clear out the trailer and debris, “I was down there for a week and a half straight every morning.” One day, he said, he showed up to find not only that someone had given away a World War II storage container he had been promised, but that they were demolishing the porch that he’d hoped to save and transport.
“Once they started destroying it, I just walked away from those people,” Dise said. “I’m seeking to keep them from further damaging the trailer.”
Dise filed a civil petition against the association, Gail Galia and association officer Laurie Raucher in Butte County Superior Court on July 1.
He also insisted it’s not his fault the park was closed; that was the association’s decision.
Dise said he was just trying to do the nonprofit a favor, along with secure the trailer for his own use.
The association counters that Dise has exposed the designated National Historic Monument to vandalism and forced the bridge’s closure July 2, at the start of the busy holiday weekend.
“This is really bad for us,” Gail Galia said. “We probably have lost $1,000 over the time that it’s been closed.” (The association collects a $3 day use parking fee, which is its main source of support.)
The association met July 12 to consider how to handle the case, including whether it should hire an attorney. On June 28, it sent Dise back his dollar and said it was terminating their agreement.
For now, the covered bridge’s parking area is blocked off, with signs ordering “no trespassing.” Remains of the porch are stacked haphazardly in the parking lot, and the shingle-sided trailer looks abandoned.
The bridge caretakers, who include the Galias’ daughter, are staying with relatives until the new trailer can be brought in. “They’re basically homeless now,” Gail Galia said.
Dise is no stranger to court cases. The Butte County files show more than two dozen records, ranging from code violations involving his dog to a restraining order sought against him by the Chico Unified School District.
Often a plaintiff as well, Dise copyrights his written court statements and refers to himself as the “lawful office of Gordon R. Dise.”
Dise said many of the cases are a result of his having been unfairly targeted by law enforcement. “Usually I’m defending myself.”
Galia said the association members knew Dise from Butte Creek Canyon but figured, "What could go wrong?"