Sunday, June 17, 2007

Utmost Support to SB 30 - Ellen Wood, Camp Sherman

Dear Representatives:

I give my utmost support to SB30, a measure to protect the Metolius Basin from development. I have lived in Camp Sherman for the last 30 years and have recreated in this area with my family for 20 years before that.

I am sick at the thought of destination resorts, or any large scale development in the area, as are the majority of residents in Camp Sherman. The Metolius is unparalleled in its quiet, serene setting and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Large scale development of the Basin would ruin it and deprive the many tourists from around the world who visit, and future generations, from enjoying this unique natural environment. It is Oregon's most precious gem and warrants protection from its legislators.

The private property rights of a few, such as the Lundgren and Colson families, should not be allowed to ruin a national treasure belonging to the public. Nor should Jefferson County be permitted to throw out land use regulations that the Local Advisory Committee (LAC) spent 10 years to develop. It is the County who is not following land use protocol. The Oregonian was mistaken about this issue and obviously did poor investigative reporting. Tom Landis, was the Chair of the LAC here in Camp Sherman and can confirm this fact. It is only because land use regulations have been ignored is there necessity for SB30. Sen. Betsy Johnson has been an advocate for the residents of Camp Sherman on this issue. I personally talked to her, before the death of her mother, Becky Johnson, and she informed me of her mother's desire to fight the development of destination resorts in the Metolius Basin.

The Metolius River has had many appreciative fans through the years, including my great grandfather Charles Erskine Scott Wood. The Metolius has been the inspiration to poets, painters, writers and photographers. Here is an excerpt from his book Poet in the Desert where he argues for the protection of Nature from Man.

Is there any flaw in Nature,
Or any wart upon her excellence?
I know not at what time,
For nature regards not the clock of the heavens
And keeps no calendar;
But I know she will not construct this beauty
And endure Man's ugliness
She will not scatter out of her treasure-house
This plenty and endure that Man
Should plunder his brother;
Shall her child destroy her house of eternity?
Or shall he pass into oblivion and her palace
Of ecstasy remain?

Let us listen to our forefathers and protect this beautiful place, unlike no other.

Ellen Wood
Camp Sherman, Oregon

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oregonian Letters To the Editor Supporting Senate Bill 30

The Oregonian posted three letters today, all in support of SB 30. See them here.

Metolius: Preserve this natural treasure

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Oregonian's call for a land-use process that the people of Oregon can believe in is laudable ("Yes, this river must be saved," June 10). But restoring public faith in a broken system will take many years of hard work. In the meantime, the fate of the Metolius River hangs in the balance.

The Oregon Legislature has a long history of passing laws that rein in development when treasured places are threatened -- the coast and Columbia River Gorge are prime examples.

Thousands of Oregonians are incredulous that Jefferson County would even consider allowing destination resorts within a stone's throw of the Metolius River. Senate Bill 30 won't restore public faith in the land-use process, but it will prevent the irreparable loss of one of Oregon's most treasured natural places and preserve it for all future generations of Oregonians to enjoy. It should be passed for that reason alone.


My family has been visiting the Metolius River since the 1950s because it is an extraordinary Oregon place that is best preserved just the way it is. More destination resorts nearby will destroy the peaceful quality of the basin and overrun the area with traffic, pollution, crowds, vegetation trampling and overfishing.

This landmark Oregon place needs special protection; our broken land use system cannot protect the Metolius.

Our state land use system has been severely compromised by legislative amendments at the behest of the development industry, one amendment at a time over the past 15 years. Little by little, the intent of the system has been undermined, most significantly by the destination resort amendment, but also by the 20-year land supply requirements, prohibition on inclusionary zoning and others. It is time to put a stop to the unraveling of what makes Oregon so special.

I have worked in the Deschutes National Forest for the past 18 years and also have been a planning commissioner and city councilor in Bend. Thus I have had a front-row seat watching this special region converted from a charming place to runaway growth. We need better laws to protect Oregon's special places.


Your editorial said it all -- "The Metolius River is one of Oregon's natural wonders . . . (a) magical place . . .." So, what more do we need to know?

The question is simple. Should county officials have discretion to "rezone" a natural wonder just so developers can profit? Should they be able to liquidate the timeless quietude of the Metolius to line developers' pockets?

Their actions underscore the very reason we have a state Legislature -- to protect Oregon's irreplaceable natural assets. Some places should be beyond a developer's reach, and this is one of them.

Let's not fool ourselves. The Metolius River Basin will never be the same if developed. Destination resorts are the pig in the parlor. Houses, roads, cars, exhaust and traffic don't match up to whispering pines, roaming deer and elk, Indian paintbrush, and quietude.

What other facts do we really need to know? The Metolius River Basin is a natural endowment for all Oregonians. The state Legislature is duty-bound to ensure that it is protected, not plundered.

ERSKINE WOOD for the Erskine Biddle Wood family Vancouver

Favorite Place On Earth - Joanna and Thomas Price, Camp Sherman

Dear Representatives:

We have owned a small cabin in Camp Sherman for about five years. Prior to that, we were privileged to spend many summer weekends camping along the Metolius River at the Forest Service campgrounds. The Metolius Basin is by far our favorite place on earth. It is more than just beautiful; it is a spiritual place for us, as it was for the Native Americans who came before us.

How can we allow developers to come in with their bulldozers and forever change this quiet, peaceful landscape? The delicate nature of the area itself would be lost forevever if development went as planned, and the deluge of new residents crowded their way into Camp Sherman. Can you imagine a traffic jam at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery? Or a line of visitors impatiently waiting their turn to shuffle down the path to the viewpoint at the Head of the Metolius? It could become the new reality if deveopment is permitted on nearby lands.

There are a few other side effects that worry us:

Development of this area means many, many more people, which increases the number of cigarettes carelessly tossed from cars, or sparks from chimneys or barbeques, either of which could spark the next devastating forest fire.

Further development within these forested lands means less habitat for the area's wild animals, including cougars. (And since the change in hunting laws, which eliminated the use of dogs in hunting cougars, the area's cougar population has risen dramatically. The Metolius Basin IS Cougar Country! ) Loss of their habitat by development is the leading reason for the increased number of dangerous (and sometimes lethal) cougar-human interactions.

When it comes time for you to vote on SB30, please help us preserve nature's delicate balance in the Metolius Basin.


Joanna and Thomas Price
Salem and Camp Sherman, Oregon

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lifelong Republican Supports SB 30 - Steve Bachelder, Portland

Dear Representatives,

I have forwarded to you the attached letter [not posted here in hopes that Oregonain publishes it] I just sent the Oregonian in response to its editorial about SB 30 and the Metolius. I hope you will take it into consideration.

I agree with the Oregonian that overall Land-use policy is at a critical stage in Oregon and must be looked at thoughtfully, but we can't afford to risk the Metolius in the meantime, and the Metolius is up against the power of some huge money right now.

Please support the bill as written the Senate.

Incidentally, I am a lifelong Republican, one of many who realize ours was the original party of conservation, in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt.

Thank you,
Steve Bachelder
Portland, OR

Protecting The Metolius - John and Vicki Hornbeck, Camp Sherman

About twenty years ago, my wife, two small children, and I were able to spend a month on the Metolius River. We explored the Metolius Basin by foot, bicycle, and horseback. We were forever impacted by the diverse pristine beauty of the river and its tributaries. Shortly thereafter, we moved to Sisters from Boulder Colorado and maintained a steady schedule of camping, biking, and fishing on the Metolius.

About 6 years ago, a dream was realized when purchased the Metolius River Lodges, 13 cabins on the river with 1950s charm. Our guests are mostly second and third generation vacationers, birders, fisherman (and women), and families introducing their young children to the unique beauty of the Metolius. A number of our friends and guests are appalled at the prospect of mammoth resort developments which would have an irrevocable adverse impact on the river and its supporting ecosystem.

After 20 years in the Sisters area, we have noticed the effects of climate change, which so far have not visibly altered the Metolius. However with the massive water demands of the proposed destination resorts coupled with diminished snow pack, there is a great likelihood of irreparable damage on the Basin’s water table and the springs and tributaries, which have formed the Metolius for centuries. Once the river flow is disturbed, there is no man made “quick fix”.

The Bulletin several editorials against SB30 insinuate that the aim of SB30 is to protect the value of Senator Becky Johnson’s (D.Scappose) Metolius homestead. The Bulletin raises the classic “red herring” and demeans the memory of a true Oregonian. The late Becky Johnson, the matriarch of the Friends of the Metolius donated the viewing area of the Headwaters of the Metolius so that thousands of visitors, could be awestruck at the humble origin of a 22 mile Wild and Scenic river.

In probably her last public appearance last fall in Camp Sherman at a meeting of the Jefferson County Planning Commission, Becky Johnson passionately argued against the establishment of any destination resorts, which could harm the Metolius Basin ecosystem.

To equate Betsy Johnson co-sponsorship of SB30 with personal greed does a disservice to her mother who was revered in this community.

The absurdity of the Bulletin argument is that Becky Johnson’s property on the Metolius are almost priceless. The proposed destination resorts could not diminish the economic value of her land, and in fact might even enhance it. The only real monetary gain is for the developers of the resorts who hope to make millions selling second homes to wealthy investors. Of course, the Jefferson County Commissioners are focused solely on adding to their tax base rent. Over the years, they have paid scant attention to Camp Sherman except to raise the transit lodging tax on the guests to stay in the area.

By couching this issue as a local government right to exercise its land use power, the Bulletin intentional ignores the real issue of the States interest in responsibility to preserve a national treasure admired and enjoyed by Oregonians and visitors from all over the world. With a designation as a wild and scenic rivers the many books on its geography, bird and wild life, native bull trout, it is clear that the Metolius is a unique creation. No local government, golf resort developer, or even private landowners like us, “owns” the Metolius. We can only count our blessings that we are privileged to enjoy its unspoiled beauty and preserve the Metolius for future generations.

John & Vickie Hornbeck
Metolius River Lodges
Camp Sherman, Oregon

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

To Legislators: Please Act Boldly - Dick Kellogg, Camp Sherman

Dear State Representatives,

I urge your strong support of Senate Bill 30 in its current form. This bill would prohibit massive destination resorts in and adjacent to The Metolius River Basin.

It is not hard to imagine the impact of the proposed 3,000 housing and lodging units (a ten fold increase in current density) on this fragile natural environment. Those who have experienced the area's rare and unique natural beauties and serenity are shocked at Jefferson County's designation of this area as appropriate and eligible for massive resort development. The response from throughout the state and beyond is overwhelmingly against this proposal.

The Metolius is a state treasure. The State Legislature must step in and override Jefferson County's ill considered decision to change industrial forest lands in this area into urban subdivisions.

Please act boldly in protecting The Metolius River Basin as your predecessors did in protecting other unique natural wonders of Oregon - such as Crater Lake, Hells Canyon, the Columbia Gorge and Oregon's beaches.

Dick Kellogg
Camp Sherman, OR

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Please Listen To Your Constituents - Marina Martinez-Cavallo, Bend

Representatives, June 12, 2007

I am writing as a community member of Central Oregon and as a workforce and career education consultant, regarding SB 30 (Metolius). I want to express my overwhelming support for this bill. I have never written to legislators before but this matter requires urgent action. My friends in Central Oregon as well as visitors/ friends of ours from out-of-state are also writing to you about this. I have also copied many people with this letter (Bcc).


Many legislators are concerned about the economy and feel that allowing the destination resorts to develop will help. But, many well-educated and professional people will actually stop coming to this area and spending their money because this area will be just like the many other places we have in Central Oregon and California. Don’t we want to preserve our economic stability with environmental stability?

The proposed resorts will produce just above minimum wage jobs—food, retail, landscape etc. This is more of the same in Central Oregon.

Don’t we need to spend our energy recruiting corporations that will bring in higher wage jobs, provide occupational diversity that will actually increase our state economy and help us with the global workforce that we have RIGHT NOW? As a workforce consultant, I see how we CONTINUE in Oregon to develop these low-level minimum wage jobs and their disastrous effect on our families, marriages, and children; parents have to work 2-3 jobs to make a house payment and put food on the table. Our children suffer with lack of childcare and attention and find inappropriate ways to entertain themselves, ultimately causing more financial strain on our state. (I come from a gang-infested state.) And important to our economy, we are lagging in education nationally because of lack of funding. We can do better than this!

I moved to Central Oregon a few years ago and have been visiting it quarterly for over twenty years. I have come to learn that the Metolious River Basin is a precious diamond in this land. People actually go there to restore their sanity and to remember why they live in this beautiful state. It’s not uncommon for people to call this area “a spiritual place.”

We need this very delicate, environmentally unique, and peaceful place to stay in tact with the surrounding ecosystem. People need to find peace so that they can go on and deal with the changing global workplace, leaders they can’t believe in most of the time, and now the uncertainties of the global warming threat. Over 60% of marriages end in divorce, we have children taking care of their aging parents, and jobs that come and go on a regular basis. We need a place that feels good and feels like “home.” In sum, this area is rehabilitative to most of us.

Quite simply, if we don’t take care of the precious landscape we have, it won’t be able to take care of us. PLEASE DON’T LET THE DEVELOPERS WIN THIS ONE! Don’t let us become another uncaring California!
Clearly, the Metolious River watershed is at risk:
§ Destination resorts consume vast quantities of water (shouldn’t we be saving?)
§ Their golf courses, wastewater and pavement runoff can pollute surface and ground waters (Do we NEED more than 35 golf courses in an area this size? We have SO many ways tourists can enjoy our area)
§ Thousands of more visitors will crowd the unique Metolious Wild and Scenic River (I have camped here for over 20 years; I already see the pressure from too many people. It’s getting much harder for this area to bounce back)
§ Damage to the sensitive riparian areas and healthy fish habitat, not to mention wildlife like river otters will occur.

Please, Please, Please PASS Senate Bill 30. Let’s provide meaningful employment in ways that will really help our economy.


Marina Martinez-Cavallo, M.S.
Bend, Oregon

Absolutely No Reason To Develop The Metolius - Bob and Toni Duff

[To All Representatives:]

Please support SB30. There is absolutely no reason to develop any more land in or near, the Metolius River. It is a national treasure and must be protected/preserved.

Those in opposition to SB30 should be ashamed of themselves.

Thank you,

Bob and Annette (Toni) Duff
Redmond, Oregon

Monday, June 11, 2007

No Runaway Growth In The Metolius - John Schubert, Bend

[Sent to all Representatives:]

My family has been visiting the Metolius since the 1950's because it is an extraordinary Oregon place that is best preserved just the way it is. More destination resorts nearby will destroy the unique peaceful quality of the basin and overrun Sisters as well with traffic, pollution, crowds, vegetation trampling, over fishing,... Please afford this landmark Oregon place the protection it needs--our broken land use system cannot protect the Metolius.

Our State land use system has been severely compromised by legislative amendmnents at the behest of the development industry, one amendment at a time over the past 15 years. Step by step the intent of the system has been undermined, most significantly by the destination resort amendment, but also by the 20-year land supply requirements, prohibition on inclusionary zoning, and others. It is time to put a stop to the unraveling of what makes Oregon so special.

I have worked in the Deschutes National Forest for the past 18 years and also have been a planning commissioner and City Councilor in Bend. I have seen this special region converted from a charming place to runaway growth. We need better laws to protect Oregon's special places. Please have the courage to do your part.

Thanks very much.

John Schubert
Bend, OR

To Rep Whisnant: Disappointed You're Not Supporting SB 30 - Bill Bodden, Redmond

Dear Representative Whisnant:

I was disappointed to read in today's Bulletin that you will be opposing SB30 and supporting development adjacent to the Metolius River. I appreciate that your tradition of supporting developers regardless of the consequences has persuaded you to vote as we have been informed, but I ask that you reconsider. Your developer friends can make money elsewhere. The Metolius can't move. We can only hope that when it is abandoned to the consequences of development its demise will not be as precipitous as we have reason to fear.

Bill Bodden
Redmond, OR