Sunday, June 17, 2007
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.
Camp Sherman, Oregon
Friday, June 15, 2007
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.
DOUG HANCOCK Camp Sherman
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.
JOHN SCHUBERT Bend
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
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
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.
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
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.
Camp Sherman, OR
Tuesday, 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).
PLEASE PASS SENATE BILL 30; IT IS THE ONLY SURE WAY TO PROTECT THE METOLIOUS. PLEASE, LISTEN TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS.
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.
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.
Bob and Annette (Toni) Duff
Monday, June 11, 2007
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.
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.
The Metolius River needs the original, real SB 30--not the amended version touted by the folks at Ponderosa--and the original SB 30 needs your support despite the misgivings voiced by The Oregonian.
Unfortunately, genuine protection of this Oregon jewel requires the state legislature to take action that overrules Jefferson County officials who are far removed from the Metolius River Basin and, to be blunt, view this distant portion of their county (accessible only by a circuitous route through Deschutes County) as a cash cow.
This would not be the first time the state has had to step in to protect natural resources from overzealous local government, and it won't be the last. Until the laws that protect Oregon's land are strengthened, the best thing that can be done is to pass SB 30 to protect the Metolius now. If these destination resorts are allowed to be built, that cash cow will have long left the barn and the damage will be too permanent to fix.
Please protect the river today. Vote to support the original SB 30.
Peace, Justice, Solidarity,
I appreciate your view and your comments – and even more, your responding and truly playing the role of a “representative” of the people. I should also add that in principle I agree with you.
I recall the words of Mario Cuomo a few years ago, “The name of this country is The United STATES of America.” The states is what it’s about. And that principle percolates on down, until ultimately it is the United Individuals of America – it’s about making life as productive and free for every individual as is possible.
Yet, we are not a true democracy; we are a democratic republi, in order to escape the tyranny of the majority, aka the lynch mob (which is being challenged through the initiative process). When we look to the rights of the individual: doesn’t a man have a right to beat his wife? After all, it’s his wife, his household, isn’t that this primary unit? The freedom of the individual unit to “do its own thing” only carries to the point where it then infringes upon the freedoms and rights of others: and so government: and the form of government we have, where the federal government can step in and say to Utah, “We know that you feel that it is your right to have multiple wives; to the southern states, “We know that you believe in segregation, but we’re overriding those “rights” because they cuts into the fabric of the spirit of this land.”
Likewise, a county DOES HAVE THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE ITS OWN DESTINY…TO A POINT. But when a county decides that it can individually profit by permitting and in fact encouraging development for the sake of cash, that will ruin an experience for everyone else (other than the county and the developers) it’s time for the State to step in and say, “No, you are abusing your ‘rights’ as a county; we’re going to draw a line here.”
Think about it. And thanks for your consideration.
Very Truly Yours,
I appreciate your hard work in the Oregon Legislature, and your willingness to stand on principle. I am a conservative Republican and a native Oregonian (originally from Camp Sherman), formerly a political professional in Olympia but now serving in Christian ministry in the foreign country known as Brooklyn, New York. Indeed, there is broad support for unamended SB 30 – Save The Metolius – support beyond one end of the political spectrum in one corner of the country.
I am writing briefly to address an apparent Republican caucus position, at least in the Senate, that the Legislature should not interfere with local land use decisions in this case. This is a valuable principle with a long history in America. Yet we also know of many occasions when valuable principles seem to conflict with one another, and the higher must be chosen. This is such a time.
Surely in your position you have considered the principle of checks and balances, which restrains abuses or errors by any branch or level of government, and offers recourse to citizens. Sadly, Jefferson County’s decision looks like excessive short-term greed at the expense of a wonder of God’s creation that no one has a right to exploit unto destruction. The Senate wisely passed unamended SB 30 with an emergency clause, understanding that stretching out an unassured reversal through the lengthy LUBA appeal leaves the unique Metolius Basin still too exposed to the risks of strong influences on obscure committees with limited accountability to the general public.
You might also be inclined to consider the high principle of stewardship. Sometimes it is difficult to discern the proper balance between preservation of God’s creation and people’s rightful use of it. However, in the case of the Metolius Basin, the stewardship question is not hard to answer. The value of the Metolius Basin springs largely from the incredible origin of the river, which absolutely depends on a huge volume of groundwater constantly flowing to a specific location. This is not a matter of “a tree grows in Brooklyn” (whose disappearance might not be noticed), but of an irreplaceable, carefully created ecosystem entrusted to Oregonians for whom money is not the first love. Large, water-consuming destination resorts might be good in places that they will not destroy, but not near the delicate Metolius Basin. The Metolius has an intrinsic value far above any financial value, and this priority must be honored.
I know you have a lot to think about as the 2007 session draws to a close, and many people are pressuring you about their many urgent bills. I hope and pray that you can spend a few moments, even now, to commit to the high principles that will enable you to support SB 30 without amendments, and to be a voice within your caucus to Save The Metolius.
Brooklyn, New York
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I am a resident of Yachats, but I spend a lot of time in Central Oregon, and I have been doing so for more than forty years. This beautiful region needs the protection of SB 30 or it will be one more area which we can tell our grandchildren about, but which they will never experience for themselves--unless, of course, they are among the lucky few to be able to afford to live in an exclusive, expensive community where they can play golf on what used to be a forest.
I am also a member of a water quality monitoring project on the Yachats River and I am acutely aware of the threat development poses to water supplies in Oregon, west and east of the Cascades. In addition to simply being sublimely beautiful, the Metolius and the many other springs in that area must be protected or even our rich grandchildren will find their golf courses drying up in the summer! Not to mention the fish that thrive in those cold clear waters, and the people who fish there, hike there, or just sit there and enjoy the peace of a place that isn't "developed." I've watched the Bend area change dramatically in the past ten years and I have to ask--how many more exclusive "units" do we need? How many golf courses? How can we justify destroying natural resources for developments that could be built anywhere?
The efforts of proponents of this development to confuse the issue by offering a ludicrous amendment to "protect the Metolius" by developing around it should be seen for what they are--greed and disregard for ordinary people.
Our current land use policies will not adequately address the issues posed by this development, which is why it is so critical to pass SB 30 as it is written. I hope that you will support this legislation and vote for SB 30.
Thank you for your attention.
Andrea M. Scharf
Unfortunately, that paper's editorial board seems tobe suggesting that it's possible to save the Metolius using the state's land use system. Unfortunately the prospects for doing so are practically zero - the state's rules for destination resorts don't provide any means of doing this, neither do laws governing water use in the basin.
The Eugene Register Guard however has decided to support SB 30. That paper's editorial board seems to understand that SB 30 is the only way to save the Metolius from the impacts of these resorts, and understands that drastic times call for drastic measures.
Their editorial is online here, but we've posted the text to this post for your convenience.
Protect the Metolius
A Register-Guard Editorial
Published: Saturday, June 9, 2007
Willamette Valley residents have an enduring and powerful connection to the Metolius Basin, which for eastbound travelers is the first glorious sight that greets them after they've crested the Santiam Pass and begun their journey into Oregon's High Desert.
For Lane County residents, the basin's broad landscape of jagged basalt and yellow-bellied pines offers vivid contrast to the verdant forests and fields to which they're accustomed. Then there's the Metolius, a federally designated wild and scenic river that emerges abruptly from a mysterious confluence of springs near the base of Black Butte and muscles its way 17 miles north and east to Lake Billy Chinook and the Deschutes River.
When Jefferson County commissioners last year set aside two large tracts near the Metolius River for destination resorts, the move understandably raised eyebrows in Lane County - and across the rest of Oregon. As state Sen. Ben Westlund, D-Tumalo, noted, "The Metolius is not just a jewel in Jefferson County's crown - it's a treasure for us all - an Oregon treasure."
Conservation groups, local tribes and area landowners expressed justifiable concerns about potential harm to the river's unique headwaters, and depletion of the region's finite water supply. Westlund responded by introducing a bill that would bar new resorts within roughly three miles of the Metolius Basin. The bill passed in the Senate last month and is pending in the House, which should approve it.
Concerns about how the proposed resorts would affect schools, traffic, emergency services and the rural quality of life in the sparsely populated county are legitimate. But it's water that has emerged as the focal point of debate over Senate Bill 30.
The resorts, which would include golf courses and thousands of new homes, have so far applied for a combined total of 10.5 cubic feet of water per second. That's enough, say critics, to supply the cities of Redmond and Sisters with water - or to fill a glass of water for every Oregonian every 45 minutes.
Despite developers' insistence that their resorts would have negligible impacts, it's clear that they would risk inflicting significant damage upon the very river on whose presence they seek to capitalize. A U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist has testified that extensive groundwater pumping "most likely will result in diminished discharge at principal spring complexes that occur at the head of the Metolius, along the main stem, along many of the tributaries, and near the confluence of the Metolius and Deschutes Rivers."
The bill has sparked a fierce debate in Jefferson County - and in the Legislature in Salem - about county rights and the integrity of the state's land use process. Resort proponents argue that Westlund is meddling in a land use matter that has already received extensive consideration at the local level. They also accuse him of riding roughshod over Jefferson's County's economic development interests.
However, Westlund and other resort opponents have raised serious questions about the legitimacy of the process that the county used to approve the resort zoning. More than a dozen appeals have been filed with the state alleging discrepancies and errors in the process.
Westlund also rightly notes that the state's land use and water conservation laws inadequately address the Metolius Basin's unique hydrological and geological features. While water restoration methods such as mitigation may be successful in most watersheds, they're a poor fit for spring-fed waterways such as the Metolius.
Westlund, who has favored development of Central Oregon resorts in the past, compares legislative intercession to protect the Metolius Basin with the state's move to protect Oregon beaches four decades ago.
He's right. The Legislature should intercede to protect an iconic treasure that belongs not just to Jefferson County, but to all Oregon- ians.
Please pardon my 'mass mailing' but I understand time is sort for the issue of which I write you now.
I have been following with great interest the progress of SB 30, the bill to restrict Destination Resorts in the Metolius Basin. I am an ardent supporter of this bill, as it is drafted. I AM aware that one or more developers have made representations and offered certain 'considerations' in an attempt to have the bill amended.
Do NOT weaken this bill! It is intended to protect an extremely fragile State Treasure, and it is our (YOUR) obligation to see it protected. The amendments proposed will NOT provide protection to the Metolius Basin. If you are at all unsure of this fact then please have staffers study if most carefully. Once this special place is developed further their will be no way to get it back. The uniqueness that draws Oregonians and other visitors both nationally and internationally will be gone forever.
Vote in favor of SB 30.
Thank you for your careful study and vote of support on this important issue, in the interest of Oregonians.
Jefferson County AND Multnomah County Tax Payer
Visitor to the Metolius for over 35 years
I am writing out of sense of complete outrage and dismay at the possible development of the Metolius River area, and am asking for your support of SB 30. I am a native Oregonian who has experienced tremendous amounts of backcountry throughout the Cascades, Wallowa's, Kalmiopsis and most of Oregon. Further I have led numerous 20 plus day backpacking trips in Yosemite, Death Valley, the Appalachian Trail of both Maine and New Hampshire, as well as trips in Vermont, Alaska and Utah. Of the many places I have been blessed to experience, no place, - NO place, is more dear and cherished to me than the Metolius and Three Sisters Wilderness. I could try to bolster my argument with descriptions or comparisons, but let me be forthcoming and say I honestly don't know why - it is simply something one feels in the heart. If one has any ability to feel a connection with the land, (and this ability has nearly gone extinct in our species I believe), there is just something profoundly special about that area.
It has been excruciating to watch this endless paving of Oregon, from abundant ecological wilderness to greed-stained wasteland, over my 54 years. The hopes many of us had in the McCall era with the passage of Senate Bill 100 and the onset of Land Use Planning, has been bulldozed over. What happened to the strength of character in individual legislators who could STAND UP to shortsighted, monied interests trying to sacrifice public benefit for private gain?!!! Back then legislators worked to create whole systems such as the Bottle Bill, the Willamette Greenway and Land Use Planning. Nationally efforts were made to enact the Wild and Scenic Rivers bill, the Clean Water and Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Protection Act. Some courageous efforts, albeit flawed and imperfect legislation, were put forward by truly heroic and memorable legislators. Bipartisan efforts with people like Gov's McCall, Straub, Sen Hallock, Sen MacPherson, who used genuine passion and power of belief in the rightness of the cause, to persuad their peers to enact STATEWIDE, systematic legislation to comprehensively address the onslaught of developers and mindless consumerism.
And now legislators and citizens are reduced to fighting over this incessant incremental erosion by 100 acre parcels in a thousand different places, and civic government today even gets bulldozed over by these single penny-ante developers. I place a call for the return of some courageous legislators with the strength to hold the line set forth by those who brought forth the vision of an unspoiled state, saved from the fate of New Jersey and California. Those who once called this state the "Pacific Wonderland".
Truly, if these beautiful ridges and slopes of the Metolious die under the pavement and plastic, there will be a part of me that dies as well. I plead for some legislators and legislation that will stop this cancerous assault on our wildlands. Protect the Metolius, and lets get development back into the cities, where it belongs!!!! Please support SB 30!
Most sincerely yours,
Hal C. Darst
I strongly support Senate Bill 30 because the aquatic health of the Metolius River requires a high quality watershed that is incompatible with the development of nearby destination resorts. The Metolius River’s cold clean water and high quality spawning gravel support a world-class fishery that attracts fisherman from around the United States and the world.
The Metolius currently supports a threatened bull trout population, while the tributary waters, particularly Fly Creek, are exceptionally important because of the existence of isolated populations of native redband trout. These trout are uniquely adapted to the area and are a valuable genetic resource for the state of Oregon. According to the USGS, deep and shallow groundwater from the Colson parcel flows toward, and discharges into, Fly Creek and other Metolius tributaries. Development of destination resorts and associated golf courses is likely to discharge wastewater carrying contaminants such as nitrate into the tributaries of the Metolius. These discharges will damage the pristine water quality of the Metolius and threaten the survival of the trout populations, especially bull trout.
In addition, the water quality of Whychus Creek will be impaired by the development of destination resorts. Sediment from soil erosion during construction, roads and other results of development at the potential destination resorts poses a serious threat to spawning gravel and aquatic health. Since the creek is one of the primary destinations for recently reintroduced native Steelhead, development is incompatible with the reintroduction program. The program is a nationally significant opportunity for re-establishing native fish in habitat that has been blocked from anadromous fish access for decades and is the product of the extensive Pelton–Round Butte relicensing negotiations.
The Metolius River and surrounding area is a pristine nature sanctuary that has been enjoyed by Oregonians since the late 1800’s. To allow the development of nearby destination resorts will irreparably damage one of Oregon’s and the nation’s great natural treasures. Once this treasure is lost, it can never be recreated and Oregon will be much poorer for the loss. The watersheds of the Metolius including Fly Creek, and Whychus Creek, are of such high quality that they deserve to be protected forever. Senate Bill 30 creates this much needed protection and I strongly support its passage.
The Oregonian’s Sunday editorial promotes process over protection, a questionable process that was set in motion by Measure 37. The Metolius is a state and national resource that deserves protection now, it cannot wait while our state-wide land-use planning process is reconstituted.
Thank you for supporting this important legislation.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
PLEASE! DO NOT pass an AMENDED SB30. Vote for SB30 AS PASSED BY THE SENATE! This is the only way to preserve this pristine area for Oregonians - and the state's visitors. As a member of the travel profession I am well aware how rampant development of an area can destroy the very things that made it attractive to developers.
It is abhorant, that an empty promise, such as the Ponderosa Cattle Company offers can even be considered by and to intelligent folk!!! All that they want to do is get a huge bundle of money out of their land that they bought at'forest use' value and then not let anyone else have a chance. Let's face it, THEIR OR ANY development in the area is counteradvised both environmentally and socially! Even Sisters, whose merchants may have the most to gain by more 'shoppers' recognizes that such growth would take away any and all character of their city. PLEASE, DO NOT LET THIS CHANCE OF SAVING AN OREGON TREASURE SLIP AWAY. SUPPORT s.b. 30.
Peter and Magda Schay
Camp Sherman, OR
As a Representative you are supposed to represent the people. Sending back the responsibility of a decision about the Metolius to LUBA is not what I would expect of a Representative. You know very well that the vast majority of Oregonians want to protect the Metolius. So please do not serve special interests wanting to get rich at the expense of our environment. We have seen enough of that in Oregon. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ! Support SB30.
Have a good day.
I am writing in support of SB 30.
Recently, letters and editorials have been feverishly written about SB 30. Residents of the Camp Sherman area and many politicians are very concerned that further development of the Metolius Basin will spoil the waters of the Metolius River, as well as further tax the already strained aquifer. This should not be a “Republicans vs. Democrats” issue. The issue should be to do what is right for the future and generations to come. There seems to be a serious lack of communication and lack of long term responsibility.
I grew up at the headwaters of the Metolius River. Since the early 1900’s, my family has owned the land surrounding the headwaters. My sister, Sen. Betsy Johnson owns it now. One might wonder why my sister owns that land and I do not. Our family decided it would be wrong to “overdevelop” it. By “overdeveloping” we would have divided it into two 75 acre parcels. That’s a far cry from what Jefferson County is willing to allow.
This area is unlike any other I have ever seen. It is also the most delicate area I have ever seen. Because of its fragility, my parents, Sam and Becky Johnson, donated the land around the headwaters to the State of Oregon. Our family simply could not care for it in the manner that it required. Well meaning visitors unknowingly did considerable damage to the ferns, foliage and natural beauty of the area. Sam and Mother wanted visitors to continue to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the headwaters.
Whenever I come back to visit “the river”, one of the first things I do is lie on the footbridge that crosses the river in front of the cabin and take a drink of water. Yes, I take that drink right out of the river. There are not many places in the world where this can be safely done.
The people who live in Camp Sherman know what I am writing about. They know how fragile it is. They love that beautiful place with their hearts and souls and do not want to see it harmed. To allow development to such a pristine and incredibly unusual place, no matter how “eco-friendly” is irresponsible beyond words. True, it might bring some tax revenue for Jefferson County in the short term, but the long term consequences will be very detrimental. I wonder if Jefferson County actually realizes what a jewel they have in the Metolius Basin. I do not believe they do.
As far back as I can remember, conservation and environmentalism is a way of life with our family. I still turn off the water while brushing my teeth in order to conserve. My parents, sister and I spent hours caring for the land around the river. When I was 11, my father paid to have fingerling salmon dumped near the headwaters, hoping to see them return to spawn as they did by nature in the past. (A few of them did return, and it was exciting)! I recall walking through the woods with Sam and learning the names of trees, how to care for the forest, and how to conserve. “This is not our land” he said. “It belongs to God. We are His caretakers.”
I encourage you to keep with the traditions of previous legislation that has kept Oregon nationally recognized as a conservation minded state. In this way, we can proudly continue to keep Oregon the gem of the United States of America.
Please vote YES on SB-30B Metolius WITHOUT AMENDMENTS
Protect the Metolius
A Register-Guard Editorial
Published: Saturday, June 9, 2007
Please vote YES on SB-30B Metolius WITHOUT AMENDMENTS
Protect the Metolius
A Register-Guard Editorial
Published: Saturday, June 9, 2007
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my message regarding the Metolius and SB 30B.
Please reconsider your position. To protect the Metolius and it's tributaries destination resorts must be prohibited. I say that as a professional hydrological engineer who worked on these issues for over 30 years. My work addressed groundwater and surface-water hydrology, water quality, nonpoint sources of water pollution and habitat loss, erosion and sedimentation, watershed best management practices and the design of runoff control facilities.
The proposal you refer to in the Senate would not in any way protect the Metolius River Basin. It's proponents are engaging in deception.
Your concerns are:
• I am opposed to the bill as written because I do not support using the Legislature to overturn local decisions.
• I believe there are two issues related to SB30. One is protection of the Metolius River Basin and the second is opposition to a resort. The opposition to the resort can be resolved through the Jefferson County planning process. Then, the protection of the Metolius River Basin can be assured with a reduced protected area, which was discussed in the Senate debate on SB 30. The proposed reduced protected area was described in an amendment, which I could support.
The Legislature has overturned or precluded local decisions on numerous previous occasions, so this is nothing new. Examples follow:
• Current exceptions or preclusions in the destination resort law (ORS 197.455):
• Within 24 air miles of an urban growth boundary with an existing population of 100,000 or more;
On a site with 50 or more contiguous acres of unique or prime farmland;
• Within three miles of a high value crop area;
• On Class 1 or 2 forestlands;
• In the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area as defined by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Act, P.L. 99-663 (This is essentially the same as SB 30B for the Metolius);
• In an especially sensitive big game habitat area as determined by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
• The Oregon Legislature pre-empted local jurisdictions from attempting to control timber harvest methods on private lands (ORS 527.722).
• The Oregon Legislature pre-empted cities from annexing specific properties in White City, Medford and Beaverton.
• The Oregon Legislature removed the authority of local governments to site prisons or energy facilities.
Oregon has the authority over land use in the State and has wisely delegated much of the implementation of State land use authority to local jurisdictions but also wisely keeps control for statewide issues.
Oregon controls water quality, air quality, the public’s fish and wildlife resources, and the rights to use the public’s water. It makes no sense for Oregon to attempt to protect the public’s fisheries in a world-class area like the Metolius without also protecting against watershed disturbances that seriously threaten those fisheries. Severe losses in the Metolius and Whychus will occur as a result of the destination resort disturbances if SB 30B isn’t approved, as they have occurred at hundreds of other locations throughout the world. Some can be mitigated somewhat, but very serious damage would still result.
The “reduced protected area” referred to ignores the groundwater quality threats to the superb Metolius; it’s tributaries and the neighboring Whychus Creek. All would still be very vulnerable to water quality and habitat degradation from surface water runoff and ground water. It ignores the fact that groundwater doesn’t follow surface divides and keeps moving until it reaches a discharge zone like First, Lake, Fly or Whychus Creeks.
Whychus is the focus of $80 to 100 million of investments to restore steelhead and adequate flow. It’s a magnificent giant recovering from decades of abuse and a destination resort would be more abuse of a very serious kind.
Tom Davis, PE
Friday, June 8, 2007
I have just received a copy of a flyer the Ponderosa Land & Cattle Company is passing out at the State Capital to try and suggest a "compromise" for Senate Bill 30 - Metolius. I am just a private citizen who cares deeply about the State I live in. I do, however, work in the advertising world and I know a good marketing campaign when I see one! The brightly colored and soothing font, the cheerful positive message, the illusion this will be a positive improvement for everyone. The "look what we are giving up" message is all just a just a brilliant, well thought out design to sell you a cheap bag of goods! Please, don't fall for it! Just like the late night television infomercials, someone has been paid a great deal of money to mislead, or convince the consumer, or in this case, the "voter" into believing he or she needs this "answer to everything" solution. Again, don't fall for it!
The Colson land has value in its original purchased condition - as a timber harvesting agreement. Senate Bill 30 is about protecting a treasured river, a landmark for the State of Oregon! We should be proud to have it! If the Colson Cattle Company had purchased land which was meant for resort development, this issue may deserve different attention - but they didn't. This is a rezone, and a poorly made decision (in my opinion) by a county which probably had good intentions, but didn't have the manpower, forethought or funds to investigate the long term ramifications of their decision.
The voting, tax paying Oregonians would like their voices heard and expressed by our elected officials. We do not have the money to hire marketing experts to hand out flyers at the State Capital. We do not stand to make millions of dollars off of resort development real estate sales.
What we do have, is faith that our voices will be heard and expressed through you, our elected Representatives! If our voices are heard, we stand to gain a protected piece of Oregon that we, hard working, tax paying Oregonians can escape to. A place to walk the banks of an unspoiled, unpolluted federally wild and scenic river. A place to recover from illness with the peace and solitude of nature. A place to show our children what nature is on its own. A place to replenish our souls from the madness of trying to "make it". A place that we can afford, because the only price of admission is the promise to keep it as it is.
What do you stand to gain by listening to the voters which helped put you into office? The promise we will forever cherish, remember and honor you for making the right decision by not amending a bill which will protect a piece of our valued State. The promise that when there is an important piece of legislation that is close to your heart, we will listen, support you and be your voice. Please DO NOT amend or support any amendments to Senate Bill 30!
Thursday, June 7, 2007
The reason an appeal is being made to the legislature is because the only purpose for the proposed rezone of this pristine area is to promote private developer interests and limited county economic interests at the inordinate expense of all Oregonians and nature itself. This shocking subsidy requires legislative intervention. Frankly, your constituents didn't elect you to sit back and not get involved in local issues when local decisions reflect promotion of private party interests at shocking public expense. The local agencies who are overseeing this decision are subordinate to the commissioners who made the decision in the first place so there is little reason for confidence in the objectivity of agency or appellate review.
I ask you one question - what is the benefit of this proposed rezone to Oregonians? Now consider the cost - the irreversible loss of the natural, pristine and untarnished Metolius River Basin, a cost which is completely unacceptable to your constituents. Your constituents want you to explain why you would support a local measure which is so clearly out of balance with the public good. Your constituents want you to explain why you, the person they elected to balance such questionable displays of power at a local level, won't stand up and do what they elected you to do.
Nature has value. It has much more value to your constituents than private profit for a couple of developers. We expect you to stand up and defend our values and protect our beautiful Metolius River Basin from being destroyed forever.
Please consider taking a hard stand on this issue and suporting SB30 as your constituents desire.
Rebecca B.W. Hardesty
[Sent In Reponse To:]
Thank you for your message. I appreciate that you took the time to contact me.
The Metolius Basin is a beautiful area, and I do understand your concerns. Senate Bill 30 is currently in the House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee awaiting a hearing. I am opposed to the bill as written because I do not support using the Legislature to overturn local decisions. Also, the decision by the County Commission to allow the two proposed developments has been appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeal. I believe we should give the courts time to sort out the issue.
I would support a compromise to ensure the protection of this pristine area but I cannot support the bill as written.
[copied to all Representatives]
I write today to request that you cast a yes vote in support of SB30. As a fly fisher and professional entomologist I am very much concerned that construction of large destination resorts near the Metolius River, and the associated ground water pumping, will result in lower flow rates in this pristine river and its associated creeks/streams. The large number of residences planned also will likely add unwanted pollutants to the ground water. Such pollutants eventually could negatively impact the river and its associated creeks/streams.
John R. Anderson
I am writing to express my support of SB 30 and to ask that you support this bill as well. As an Oregonian for the last 8 years (and I plan on many more), I appreciate the diverse and beautiful landscapes that are found in Oregon. The Metolius River and surrounding forest is one of my favorite areas to visit, as it is not far from my home in Bend and offers wonderful hiking opportunities along the river. Coming from a state where natural resources were viewed as a commodity to be developed and profited from and the resulting harm that came from those activities, I can tell you that the natural resources of Oregon are very precious - and outstanding examples, such as the Metolius should be protected from further development forever.
Take a moment and consider what draws people to Oregon - it is the natural beauty of the state - and the fact that there are undeveloped areas where people can get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. They are drawn to Oregon because it is unique in its diversity of landscapes, abundant in recreational opportunities and because of the forethought of our early leaders, much of it has remained undeveloped.
As special as Oregon is, naturally people want to move here and live or stay in the places that speak to their souls; But that does NOT mean that we should allow the outstanding areas of Oregon to be developed into resorts and housing! With each area such as the Metolius that we allow to be developed, Oregon loses a little bit of its uniqueness and becomes a little be more like the places that people are trying to get away from.
Oregon's early leaders had the forethought to protect some of Oregon's special places and I hope that our current leaders will have the same forethought to protect even more of the state from needless development. Keep Oregon special - a place that is different - a place where outstanding natural areas remain open to everyone who is willing to get out of their car and walk around a bit and not just the folks who can buy a view of the mountains and membership to a private golf course. Support SB 30!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
This piece originally appeared in the June 6th Bulletin on Page C6. It can be found online (subscription only) at the Bulletin's website here.
Why resorts, Metolius River don’t mix
By Erik Kancler / Bulletin guest columnist
Published: June 06. 2007 5:00AM PST
It’s not often that a place as extraordinary as the Metolius River is so unnervingly threatened by plans for massive residential developments. In Oregon, of all places, these sorts of things aren’t supposed to happen.
Yet, every so often they do. And when local protection either isn’t feasible — or local governments fail to grasp the big picture — higher powers must step in. Otherwise, amazing places like the Metolius River, Oregon’s beaches, Hells Canyon, Crater Lake or the Columbia River Gorge would be severely and irreparably degraded.
In the case of Jefferson County and the Metolius River, the issue is both bigger and smaller than county officials care to acknowledge. Smaller, in that for years, county officials in Madras have ignored the voices of Camp Sherman, a small community nestled along the banks of the Metolius and geographically isolated from the rest of the county. Bigger, in that the Metolius is a home of sorts for thousands of families, anglers, hunters and others not just from Central Oregon, but from all over the state and the nation who visit the Metolius regularly and have been coming for generations.
These people, a great many of whom have been voicing staunch support for Senate Bill 30 and who oppose destination resort development in or near the Metolius, cut cleanly across the social and political divisions that usually define “environmentally oriented” issues. The debate over the Metolius isn’t Republican vs. Democrat or wealthy vs. middle class — those types of distinctions simply aren’t relevant here.
Sen. Ben Westlund — SB 30’s primary sponsor and most vocal advocate — has received, he says, more letters supporting this bill than he has on any other issue since taking office. And for every hundred letters of support, on average, only one is sent in opposition.
Central Oregon LandWatch has received more than 200 letters from concerned citizens to their lawmakers. We’ve banked them online along with images, personal stories and historical accounts at www.noresorts.blogspot.com.
What these citizens want, without fail, is a complete ban on destination resorts in or within three miles of the Metolius River Basin. SB 30 in its current form doesn’t go quite that far but does call for a total prohibition where it matters most.
What they all recognize is that resorts in or near the Metolius will have dramatic impacts on wildlife — terrestrial and aquatic; cost government millions in fire prevention; create tremendous traffic impacts in the basin and in Sisters; work directly against millions of dollars being invested in stream restoration and fish reintroduction in the Metolius (and Whychus Creek); and irreversibly alter this remote, unique and completely sustainable combination of low-level human activity and ecological splendor.
So why then is SB 30 controversial?
The biggest problem, it seems, is the belief by some that the state is unduly stepping on the toes of a local government that has followed the rules. The state, however, clearly possesses the power to protect places of broad importance against local threats when the local government isn’t willing to do so. True, these powers should be used only when absolutely necessary, but they are undeniably real.
The last time the Legislature prohibited destination resorts from a particular geographical area was 20 years ago when they were banned from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. That decision was, and still is, lauded as landmark protection. So it can neither be argued that the state has no business using these powers nor that it has historically been heavy-handed on such matters. Twenty years is a long time.
Given the unwillingness of Jefferson County officials to look beyond their own economic interests, the massive threats posed by resorts, the unique beauty and ecology of the Metolius River, and the statewide importance of preserving places like this, surely the Metolius, like the Gorge, meets all the fundamental criteria for state-level protection. Eleven out of our 30 state senators voted against SB 30 on May 22. What they were essentially saying was that were SB 30 not about the Metolius, but rather about protecting Crater Lake, Hells Canyon, the Gorge or Oregon’s beaches, they would leave them open to development. They would let the locals rule, regardless of their aim. That’s not leadership — that’s an inexcusable lack of it.
As Sen. Westlund has been fond of saying: Let’s keep Oregon Oregon. Without unspoiled places like the Metolius River, Oregon wouldn’t be Oregon. At least not the Oregon we know and love. SB 30 is fair and just, it is badly needed, and it deserves our full support.
Erik Kancler, erik@centraloregon landwatch.org, is the executive director of Central Oregon LandWatch.
Many of you have been reading, probably with a great deal of disgust, the Bulletin's harsh treatment of the proponents of Senate Bill 30, most signficantly, of Senator Betsy Johnson, over the past several months.
The Source Weekly's H. Bruce Miller, in his piece The Big Smear lays this "red herring" bare for all to see. The piece was published in this week's edition of the Source Weekly and is posted in its entirety here with the author's permission.
The Big Smear: The Bulletin’s campaign of deceit against the Metolius bill
red herring (n.) – something that distracts attention from the real issue (from the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs)
When it comes to red herrings, you won’t find any that stink worse than the one The Bulletin is using to delude people about Senate Bill 30.
Senate Bill 30, whose principal sponsor is state Sen. Ben Westlund (D-Tumalo), aims to protect the Metolius River and its environs by barring destination resort developments close to it. Immediately affected would be two proposed resorts, a 3,500-acre monster planned by Ponderosa Land & Cattle Co. LLC and one of more than 600 acres proposed by Sisters resident Shane Lundgren’s Dutch Pacific Resources LLC. The bill has passed the Senate and is headed for a crucial committee vote in the House.
The Bulletin, which historically has supported the sacred right of developers to build whatever they want wherever they want (except at Broken Top, but that’s another story) has pulled out all the stops in a desperate effort to derail SB 30. I’ve been in the journalism business for 40 years, and I have never seen a supposedly reputable newspaper engage in such a sleazy campaign of deceit, distortion, misrepresentation and character assassination.
The main personal target of the campaign is Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), whose family has owned about 160 acres near the headwaters of the Metolius since the early 1900s. Johnson, according to Bulletin editorials, has a conflict of interest because SB 30 – which she supports, although she’s not a sponsor – supposedly would increase the value of her land by preventing development nearby. (It also would prevent her from developing her own land, but never mind that detail.)
The red herring – the phony non-issue designed to deflect attention from the real issue – is the claim, which The Bulletin keeps peddling in editorial after editorial, that SB 30 is “special interest” legislation designed to benefit Johnson and a handful of others who own property near the river. As the paper sneered on May 15, SB 30 “suits Sen. Betsy Johnson and the scores of people who'd like to turn the Camp Sherman area into a gated community. Their gated community.”
There is, of course, no fence around Camp Sherman or the Metolius. Thousands of people go there every year from all parts of Oregon and the world to fish, hike, bike, camp, or just enjoy the scenery of one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
And those people are backing SB 30.
Westlund’s office reports it has received more than 600 letters supporting the bill and only seven opposing it. Johnson’s office said Friday that it’s gotten “easily” more than 100 messages in support and only two in opposition – “and one of those was from a Lundgren.”
According to Central Oregon LandWatch, at least a dozen groups have expressed support for SB 30, including Friends of the Metolius, WaterWatch, the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG), the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), Oregon Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the Native Fish Society, Trout Unlimited, the Trust For Public Land, Central Oregon Flyfishers, 1000 Friends of Oregon, the Sisters City Council and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
LandWatch’s blog, noresorts.blogspot.com, has posted more than 250 messages supporting SB 30. They have come from Bend, Redmond, Portland, Enterprise, McMinnville, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Eugene, Salem, Philomath, Tillamook, Seattle, Boise, Palo Alto, CA, Fort Collins, CO, Brooklyn, NY – you name it.
“Special interest” legislation backed by a few Camp Sherman property owners? Hardly.
Curiously, while it continues to slime Betsy Johnson and other SB 30 supporters for their alleged “conflicts of interest,” The Bulletin seems rather nonchalant about conflicts on the part of those who attack the bill on its opinion page. On May 29 it published an “In My View” piece by former watermaster Duane Clark under the headline: “Development miles away will not harm the Metolius.” Coincidentally – or so he says – Clark is a good friend of the Colson family, principals of Ponderosa Land & Cattle Co. LLC, and has done paid consulting work for them in the past. And he’s also a Central Oregon real estate broker. (For all the juicy details see The Wandering Eye.)
Last Friday The Bulletin debased itself to a new level, committing one of the cardinal sins of journalism – spinning the news to push its editorial agenda. A story on the front page of its Local section headlined “Sen. Johnson finds herself in a swirl over Metolius bill” was a classic example of what’s known in newspaper parlance as “a hatchet job.”
The opening paragraphs described at length and in colorful detail how Johnson gave Sen. Vicki Walker, chair of the Senate Education and General Government Committee, a flight over the Metolius in Johnson’s private plane. The obvious intent was to give the impression there was something unethical, maybe even illegal, about the flight.
But if you had the persistence to read down to the 18th (!!) paragraph you would have found this: “The plane trip didn’t run afoul of any rules because legislators can provide transportation to each other for official business, according to the Government Standards and Practices Commission.”
The real “swirl” you hear is the sound of The Bulletin’s credibility and reputation as an ethical newspaper going down the toilet.
I’ve pondered long and hard about The Bulletin’s possible motives for its brazenly deceitful campaign against SB 30. As I mentioned earlier, the paper is rabidly pro-growth and always has been. But that doesn’t seem like enough to explain the calculated viciousness – not to mention the hysterical tone – of The Bulletin’s attacks. The paper has weighed in on other development issues without resorting to such vile tactics. Which leads me to wonder whether there might be some more powerful motivation, either personal or financial, at work.
The Bulletin likes to paint itself as a champion of openness and full disclosure, so maybe its editorial board will join me in calling for Ponderosa Land & Cattle Co. LLC and Dutch Pacific Resources LLC to disclose the names of all their investors and lay any nasty suspicions to rest.
But I won’t be holding my breath.
I am writing to stress the importance of your vote on Senate Bill 30-Metolius. As you may know, this bill will prohibit siting a destination resort in or within three miles of the Metolius River Basin. I urge you to vote yes on this bill and the reason is simple: the Metolius River Basin is just too special a place to mess with any further. The consequences of the proposed development in the area would be devastating and irreversible.
When Jefferson county officials voted to rezone the area to permit the proposed development, I believe they were trying to act for the good of the county, economically. They saw dollar signs and the revenue that 3500 new homes would bring to county coffers. Unfortunately, I do not believe they gave the rezoning issue the due diligence or conducted the research required for a proposal of such enormous magnitude.
Fortunately, for the rest of Oregon and the World, this is not just about Jefferson County. What we‚re talking about here is an Oregon treasure, a jewel- unique in its place on tiny planet Earth. What we‚re talking about here is a National treasure- a World treasure- a place people come to from all over the globe to visit its pristine serenity. Oregonians should consider themselves blessed to have such a place to call their own. When I travel, I tell people, "We have this place in Oregon, the Metolius River, it's unbelievable". I pray I never have to say, "We had this pristine place once, the Metolius River, but it was forever changed by a irrational land use decision". Please help keep the distinctness of the Metolius in the present tense.
If you have never been to the Metolius River Basin, you must go. You will experience something special- too special to alter. Every summer, our family vacations at a Central Oregon destination resort, one of many in the area. We always make a point of visiting the Metolius, an entire river that drips out of the side of a hill in what must be the most incredible Ponderosa Pine forest on Earth. Crystal clear water and World-class fly-fishing attract anglers from countries around the globe. Our small children delight in its mystique and explore with great curiosity its natural wonders. I hope that their children and grandchildren can experience the area in the way that they have been privileged enough to. I hope that your children and grandchildren can do the same.
As an elected representative of our state, I believe it is your duty to act on behalf of the will of the people of Oregon. This is not a partisan issue, as a "yes" vote benefits everyone- Republican or Democrat. Please do not politicize this, as your Republican colleagues in the Senate did (not a single Republican Senator voted in support of SB30 despite overwhelming public support and minimal public opposition for the bill). This is not a Jefferson county issue. If it were, you would not be asked to vote on this bill on behalf of your constituents. This is an Oregon issue. Our Oregon.
Thank you for your consideration and I'm putting my faith in you to make the
Registered Independent Swing Voter
I have lived full time in the Metolius Basin for 18 years & have actively worked to protect it from environmental and social damage since I moved here. It is a unique area in many, many ways and deserves statewide, if not national, recognition. Our Jefferson County officials do not seem to care if the pristine water quality, wildlife and flora, clean air, dark nights, quiet, views and more... will be compromised, just for their short term goals of quick cash from un-needed resorts . Traffic on our narrow roads, overpopulation on the Wild and Scenic Metolius River, safety, and increased fire risk in surrounding National Forest are a few things that unneeded development will certainly bring to this entire area.
The Metolius deserves, needs, to be protected for ALL people to enjoy for future generations, not just two developers and their clients who would benefit if ill conceived destination resorts were allowed to be built. No one stands to benefit from this bill except the special interests of the developers and a few county officials!
Please vote in support of SB 30 and create a lasting, living legacy of a permanently protected Metolius River and Basin for ALL citizens!
Camp Sherman, OR
I am writing to urge you to support, without amendments, Senator Westlund's Senate Bill 30.
Powerful development companies, planning to build destination resorts near the Metolius River, are even now lobbying the House in an effort to weaken or kill Senate Bill 30.
One such resort, containing over 3000 homes and 2 Golf Courses, is sited directly above the Metolius. It will need water, alot of it, and the wells it drills could tap into the aquifer that is the source of the Metolius River. Any draw down of this aquifer threatens the flow of the River and all those creatures dependent upon it.
This [See image] is the headwaters of the Metolius River.
Thousands of visitors a year come to walk the banks and marvel at a river that springs full blown from the side of a hill. A river whose water flow is constant and clear, providing habitat for one of the strongest populations of native trout in Oregon. Osprey, Eagles, Ducks and Geese call this river home, as does the tiny community of Camp Sherman, all of whom would suffer the impact of development.
This development will sit in the middle of national forest lands. In such cases, the Forest Service has a mandate to protect life and property in case of wildfires and, as the B & B Complex fire proved, this area is prone to wildfires. Fire fighters will have to divert precious resources to protect such a development, putting more of our forests at risk. Who pays the Tens of millions of dollars it costs to fight such fires, not the developer, it is the citizens of Oregon.
On the surface you may see this as a local land use issue and prefer not to revisit the reasons why Jefferson County rezoned a timber parcel for a housing development, a "destination resort". It comes down to money. Money for the tax base of Jefferson County and Money in the pockets of developers who will, based on other developments of this class, price just the bare land for each home at $500,000 X 3000=1.5 Billion dollars.
Seven years ago when this land was purchased, it could not be subdivided and was originally zoned for logging of all trees 21" or less. Jefferson County's rezoning of this land has increased it's value 100 fold.
The danger that 3000 new homes pose to the fragile ecosystem of the Metolius Basin cannot be underestimated. The impact on the water table alone should give one pause for thought, as well as the damage to the river's water quality from sewage and fertilizer run off.
How ironic that the very reason the developers chose this pristine site for development
would be diminished forever by their very presence.
I have lived my entire life (45 years) in the state of Oregon and I have never spoken out on a political issue before. However I cannot remain silent while this magical jewel of a river is threatened. I have fished rivers and streams through out the State and have not seen anything to match the clarity of the water in the Metolius.
I am not alone in recognizing the attributes of this area. Just before the Normandy invasion of Europe in World War II Gen. George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, called up a friend, Erskine Wood, and said that he expected in a short time to be extremely busy and wanted a few days rest. He asked to spend that time at Erskine’s camp on the Metolius because he could think of no more restful spot.
At the turn of the century the majority of the Metolius River Basin was privately owned by lumberman intent on clear cutting the area. They waited for a rail line to go through on the Santiam Pass to move their timber to market. That rail line never came. The land remained, the trees remained, and this magical river runs through it all. The Metolius River Basin is a gift to us from the past, a twist of fate has left it to the citizens of Oregon intact.
The River flows past Indian reservations, past county lines, into the Deschutes River, and from there into the Columbia. It is designated a wild and scenic river by the federal government.
Generations of Oregonians have brought their children here to experience the beauty of nature first hand, and those children have returned with their children.
1.5 Billion dollars, it's easy to see why the land was rezoned by Jefferson County.
But I live in a state who has been represented in the past by legislators with the vision to see beyond immediate profit. I live in a state that that has led the nation in forward thinking, the Bottle Bill, and Public Beaches to name a few examples. I live in a state that had the forethought to make "Quality of Life" a tangible idea and protect it.
Governance is by no means an easy task and I am fully aware that you face enormous pressure from your constituency. However, you are also empowered to act in the best interest of Oregon's future citizens, and that future includes making wise decisions despite the vagaries of business interests or public opinion.
And now it falls to you representative, will you protect that which cannot be replaced? Will you stand up as your predecessors have done and protect the things that make Oregon, Oregon?
Who speaks for this river and it's pure waters.
I ask you for your support for Senate Bill 30.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I painted this watercolor of the Metolius River Basin (near Camp Sherman) this month and am sending you a file containing the picture. Please feel free to use it as you wish in any correspondence or otherwise (you have my full permission to reprint) in support of SB 30. I think visualizing the scenic elements helps people relate to the purpose of SB 30.
Please call or email me with any questions.
Rebecca Biddle Wood Hardesty
I am writing to urge you in the strongest possible way to pass SB 30 to protect the Metolius River Basin from resort development. Oregonians are looking to you as their elected representatives to protect this one of a kind, unique and pristine land from permanent destruction. This beautiful and calm river basin contains unmatched scenic beauty which Oregonians and people from all over the world treasure. The scenic and ecological wonder of the huge ponderosa pines, the deep pools of water filled with bull trout and other fish, the lazy logs stretching across the river, the Indian paintbrush and Mt. Jefferson looming in the background will never be the same if speeding past the river and through the forest are thousands of cars making their 35,000 daily car trips (the amount attributable to a resort of 3,500 homes), if exhaust from the human imprint muddies the beautiful blue sky, if trees are cut to build resort McMansions, if the road system and infra structure is improved to accommodate the new population boom. .. . and the list goes on. Consider the painting above with cars driving on roads through the forest. Would it be the same? Of course not. Nothing would ever be the same in the Metolius River Basin.
Please consider what is driving the resort rezone - solely private profit and limited county economic interests. Solely money. Is private profit a legitimate reason to forever give up this natural treasure? No.
Consider the legacy you as representatives of Oregonians will create by standing up and protecting one of the most beautiful places in the world. Do Oregonians care about advancing one or two developer's private profit interests? Of course not! This is not why we elected you! Do we care about protecting this treasure? Of course we do!
The passing of SB 30 will become a most honorable part of Oregon's history and a matter of legacy which future generations will admire and appreciate.
Thank you for your strong and courageous leadership.
Rebecca Biddle Wood Hardesty
I am writing to you about a piece of legislation that is very important to me. My fondest childhood memories are from my family’s summer trips to Camp Sherman. Every summer, my parents took my brother and sisters and me to the Metolius River where we camped or rented a cabin. I don’t own any property there, but I have been returning ever since for 30 years to camp, hike, fish, and ride my bike.
The Metolius and Camp Sherman are unique because the area is an incredibly beautiful natural wonderland where there is a perfect balance between accessibility and a quiet experience in a part of nature that, if you’ve ever been there I think you would agree, is paradise. I was shocked to learn that Jefferson County has decided to permit the development of destination resorts in the Metolius Basin with thousands and thousands of houses, golf courses, etc. I am not against development, but the Metolius River Basin is one of the greatest natural treasures in this state; it is the wrong place to build destination resorts because that would forever ruin the special character of this unique place, with overcrowding, traffic, noise, and pollution. You can walk across the tree-studded little parking lot of the general store to the wooden bridge at Camp Sherman and fed the huge trout swimming below it. That bridge could not accommodate the 33,600 additional daily car trips the proposed destination resort would bring. The Jefferson County Planning department uses the Institute of Transportation Trip Generation Manual to assign 9.6 trips per day to each house and if 3500 houses are built in a destination resort (as in one currently proposed), that will generate 33,600 vehicle trips per day on the Camp Sherman road. What will that cost in road maintenance and expansion, traffic, pollution, and carbon emissions? Someone actually has to pay these costs and that someone is Oregon citizens and taxpayers.
The sleepy little village of Camp Sherman would be changed forever into something more like downtown Sisters where it is hard to even cross the road. I cringe to think of what the crowds would do to the banks of the river.
I am writing to ask that you give energetic support to SB 30 and preserve one of Oregon’s greatest natural treasures for generations to come.
Thomas H. Anderson
Law Offices of Thomas H. Anderson, P.C.
Dear Chuck - Please do everything you can to support SB 30 in order to
protect the Metolius watershed. The Metolius is a unique Oregon
heritage. The clarity of its water creates reflective colors that awe
me and my family, friends, and visitors, whenever we have the privilege
of walking beside it. Special places like this do more for the economy
and the quality of life in Oregon, in the long run, than
inappropriately sited resorts.
Thank you for your support, Betsy
I strongly urge you to support the passage of SB 30 to prevent the development of destination resorts in the Metolius Basin.
I own 10 acres of unimproved property in the lower reach of the river that I purchased four years ago. I have also been a summertime visitor to the Metolius for nearly every one of my 55 years.
I find the Metolius to be unique in many ways. One of these is how little it changes from one year to the next and from one generation to the next. It is one of the very few constants in life. The Metolius does not have second home mansions like are found in so many other parts of Central Oregon. The homes are simple, many historic. Social stratification is nonexistent at the Metolius. Residents and visitors alike share a strong common bond: their love for the River. We consider ourselves stewards of the Metolius who seek to preserve this special place for the benefit of future generations. There is no doubt that the introduction of destination resorts in that area would forever alter the character of the area and destroy the unique qualities that are held so dear.
Jefferson County clearly erred when they recently changed the land use designation to allow such resorts to be developed in the basin. It is an injustice to the taxpayers and citizens of Oregon that a unique asset of statewide, even national significance will be compromised so that one County can raise a few tax dollars while several Johnny-come-lately developers get rich. I respect the rights of Jefferson County to make land use decisions, but when those decisions promote the special interests of a few to the detriment of the entire state, then I would expect our state representatives to intercede, as SB 30 would rightfully do.
I also respect the rights of property owners to develop their property. However, these properties had never been developable until the land use designation abruptly changed a few months ago. What a windfall for the fortuitous developers who recently acquired these properties! Prohibiting the development of these properties into destination resorts will not make victims out of these property owners. They will end up with exactly what they bought to start with…forest management land.
Introducing developments of these magnitudes into the midst of forests is the antithesis of sustainable development…no matter how “green” the proposals claim to be. Such developments also gravely threaten the ecology of the forests by fragmenting and bifurcating habitats. These developments further strain the resources of the Forest Service, the agency who must now be on alert to suppress wildfires near such developments (at taxpayers’ expense).
It is simply wrong that a special area like the Metolius Basin should be irreparably degraded and exploited so that Jefferson County can try to solve it’s economic health issues. Please help create your own legacy by voting to support an unaltered SB 30. Future generations of Oregonians will be forever grateful.
John C. Hogan
Laguna Hills, CA
Saturday, June 2, 2007
A few days ago, the Bend Bulletin published an "In My View" by a Bend resident named Duane Clark.
In his letter, Mr. Clark informed his readers that he is a former watermaster with extensive experience in the Metolius basin, thus attempting to establish himself as an authority on water in the Metolius, which he may well be. What he didn't inform his readers of - or the Bulletin, it seems - is the fact that he is a close friend of the Colson family and that he was worked for them as a paid consultant on water-related issues before.
The Source Weekly has just reported on this matter, you can find the story here.
The point of the piece isn't to discredit Clark, per se, but to raise legitimate questions about his partiality on the matter and ask the readers to decide for themselves where they think he stands.
When I first read the piece, I thought to myself, "Well, here's the first real opinion piece I can recall where an impartial observer - a regular and probably well-informed citizen - has come out against SB 30."
As it turns out, that may not be the case. The letter got me wondering just how strong the support for SB 30 is amongst people, and left me thinking that if this is all the other side can muster up, they must really be struggling. Even Senator Ted Ferrioli - in his floor speech on SB 30 - couldn't claim to have talked to any consituents in his district who were against SB 30 and who were not local government officials or who otherwise stood to gain in some way from the developments going forward.
As has been reported previously, Sen. Westlund's office has received more letters of support for SB 30 than they have in support or opposition of any other bill. This was true as far back as a month ago, and he's certainly received many more letters since. When last I checked, those letters of support outnumbered those opposing SB 30 by 100-1.
On this blog alone, we have received over 260 letters of total support for SB 30 and a ban on resorts in or near the Metolius basin. Those letters have come from Republicans and Democrats from districts all over the state.
And numerous public interest groups have lined up to support SB 30 as well. Not Just Friends of the Metolius and LandWatch, but Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Trout Unlimited, The Native Fish Society, WaterWatch of Oregon, OSPIRG, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, 1000 Friends of Oregon, and numerous others. Not a single group has staked out opposition to SB 30.
Where this leaves us is that support for SB 30 among unbiased citizens - those who don't stand to gain politically or financially from the bill - seems to be near unanimous. And contrary to what the Bulletin has suggested repeatedly on its editorial page, this support extends far beyond Camp Sherman, both geographically and in number of supporters. The only real detractors of SB 30, it seems, are the owners/developers of the Dutch Pacific and Colson properties and their associates, local officials in Madras (but not in Sisters or Warm Springs!) and Republicans in the state legislature.
It's understandable why the developers are against SB 30 and why Jefferson County is opposed given the position they've staked out for themsleves, but given how the general public feels, why haven't any of the Republicans in the legislature come around? They all voted against it in the Senate, and I'm not aware of any in the House who have expressed any intent to support SB 30 when it comes time to do so. So what's holding them up?
At this point it's hard to say, but it certainly isn't their consituents.
Executive Director, Central Oregon LandWatch
Friday, June 1, 2007
This message is to implore you, as a member of the House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee to vote to pass, UNCHANGED, Senate Bill 30, a measure passed by the Senate and now in the House. This bill protects the precious Metolius Basin from rapacious development by landowners who have cowed Jefferson County into submission and whose only real interest is in creating profits for themselves and their cronies.
For the last 30 years we have seen the Metolius Basin community slowly grow and the growth has been well managed and it's effects on the basin have been minimal.
The proposed development of no less than 3000 homes on on the 3500 acres of the Colson property and over 300 units on the 640 acres on the Dutch/Pacific property are simply outrageous. The destruction of wildlife habitat, the creation of colossal traffic overloading of the roads, the degradation of water quality and availability, and the additional pollution created by so many new residences in the now pristine area are mind-boggling. This unique basin would be overwhelmed and it's pristine character, a precious possession of ALL THE STATE AND, INDEED, THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, would be forever lost. All for a pitiful modest inflow of tax dollars to the county.
I encourage you to vote for the original uncompromised version of Senate Bill 30 and place a total prohibition of any destination resorts in or within three miles of the Metolius Basin watershed.The Metolius basin is a unique and precious asset to the state and the country...we cannot let it be destroyed by greedy, unthinking and uncaring so-called "developers".
Michael H. Graham, MD