Friday, April 13, 2007

Jefferson County Greed - Albert H. Krause, Sisters

(Click for a larger image)

The Ills Of Amenity Migration - Darcy McNamara, Bend

Senator Walker,

Thank you for holding hearings on the Metolius destination resorts. I have lived in Central Oregon for 9 years. Like many, I came because of the beauty of the natural resources in the area. Prior to moving to Oregon I was the Natural Areas Manager for the South Puget Sound Region for the Department of Natural Resources and prior to that an environmental planner for King County Washington. Since moving to Bend I have managed several community visioning projects and done a variety of consulting projects including the Goal 5 Inventory for the City of Bend. I sit on the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council Board and am the founding president and current board member of 106.7 KPOV, Bend Community Radio. I hold a bachelors degree in botany and a masters in forest resources.

I would like to share with you some recently published research on the topic of "amenity migration" as it relates to the Metolius and Central Oregon and I would pose the following question:

Did the decision makers in Jefferson County review the existing research on amenity migration and the impacts of large-scale resorts prior to making their decision to permit them? If not, then perhaps a time-out is in order.

"Amenity migrant" is a phase coined in the 80's by social scientists to describe people (like me) who seek to move into areas with high natural resource quality such as the Metolius. The rise in amenity migration is occurring in the West primarily due to increases available wealth, time (retirees), and availability of technologies such as Internet connectivity in previously remote areas.

The recently released textbook The Amenity Migrants, edited by Laurence Moss, documents the environmental, social and economic impacts to mountain communities resulting from the mass migration of people seeking to live in beautiful places like Santa Fe, Whistler, British Columbia and Jackson Hole. This is the first book to gather the knowledge about this movement. In the book, you learn that while amenity migration is a worldwide phenomenon, most jurisdictions are barely aware of the concept -- and are suffering because of it.

Some cities, such as Santa Fe, ignored the warnings of the impacts of amenity migration twenty years ago in their policy decisions and today are suffering the consequences. And for better or worse Bend, Oregon is being cited as a "poster child" of amenity migration on a USDA website along with Jackson Hole and Sedona. (

A quote in The Amenity Migrants caught my eye: "Existing information about amenity migration indicates it is bringing about considerable physical change in the natural environment and human settlements of mountain areas. And the more this population grows, the greater is its likely impact."

An increase in destination resorts is a manifestation of the amenity migrants. While the focus of much of the debate surrounding the Metolius is about the environment, the social change that comes with a huge population influx of amenity migrants who will flock to the resort on a full-time or part-time basis is also an issue. The detrimental effects on society that result from a flood of amenity migrants are being documented by social scientists and researchers. These effects include:

• stress on traditional norms and behaviors resulting in turmoil and conflict in the community
• conflict between the core values of newcomers and the locals
• consumption of resources increases dramatically
• displacement of locals by price increases that are beyond their means (esp. real estate prices)
• profit by some but hardship results for many locals
• tensions rise over the expectations of migrants who will expect or demand a higher level of public services than the local jurisdictions can afford.

The study of amenity migration is an emerging field of research and the social, economic and environmental impacts of destination resorts are just beginning to be understood. A quote from another USDA website states: "Mobility and amenity-driven migration are major forces reshaping many rural areas. The more mobilized nature of employment, retirement, and lifestyles, which increasingly involve circulating through geographically extended social networks, has enormous impact on public lands and amenity landscapes."

Senator Walker, I strongly support your efforts to learn more about the impacts of destination resorts at the Metolius. But please do not stop there. Because much of Oregon has high quality amenities, it is very vulnerable to the impacts of amenity migration. Defeating one set of resorts in the Metolius won¹t save Oregon from an uncertain future.

I urge you to consider forming a task force to review the phenomenon of amenity migration as it effects Oregon so we can learn from other communities and not be the next example of failed planning in a textbook.


Darcy McNamara
Bend, OR

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Personal Thanks - Ervin Siverson, Portland

Dear Senator Walker:

I am writing to personally thank you for your time and effort in regards to addressing Senate Bill 30. I read your posting on Hinesight, and it is obvious you care about understanding as much as you can about the pros and cons of Senate Bill 30. I was there at the public hearing, and I can understand the predicament of trying to have everyone speak about such an emotional issue. I felt honored to be able to participate in the legislative process by showing up; and by being able to turn in my written testimony. I also want to acknowledge how professional your committee staff has been, I made several phone calls to Dana Richardson and she was top notch. I don't own any property in the Metolius Basin, I don't want to develop, I just love the river, its fish, all its plants and animals and I don’t want it to be affected. I don't believe anyone should live there, it should be a place where Oregonians should come and visit, get a sense of being restored, and leave it the same way it was before they came. Again, thanks for you time and effort.

Ervin Siverson
Portland, OR

Please Support SB 30! - Mark Dohrmann, Portland

(Sent to Senators Morse, Kruse, and Metsger:)

Please support SB 30! Don't let Jefferson County, in it's need for revenue, sell off Metolius Basin development rights to destination resort developers.

Proponents of Destination Resorts would have you believe that the State's interests were served by the process when local hearings where held. Did you know the Camp Sherman Local Advisory Group was NOT consulted? The County, fully aware of the Group, chose NOT to hear from them.

Did you know that the preponderance of testimony was AGAINST destination resorts and large scale development in the basin as injurious to the fragile nature of the Basin?

Holding hearings does NOT mean local interests were considered! It's a check box check off on a list of 'must do's' for the County before going forward.

I am PRO private property rights; always have been, always will be. I don't support injuring special places that are so fragile they simply can't stand Resort Development pressures of water, auto and foot traffic.

Please be sure you understand the impact Destination Resorts will have on the Metolius Basin BEFORE deciding on this very important bill.

Thank you

Mark Dohrmann: Portland, Oregon

Long time visitor of the Metolius River Basin

Keep the Faith - Mark Dohrmann, Portland

Dear Senator (Betsy) Johnson:

I was there last week for your testimony on SB 30; please know that, of course, the MRFHA is doing what it can through its members and in support of Senator Westland, the Central Oregon Landwatch, and FOM to see that protections are afforded the Basin from Destination Resorts and other large scale development.

I personally can't imagine how anyone who understands the fragile nature of the treasure that the Metolius truly is would allow it to be threatened that the County and developers might make a buck. You can count on our support for this measure. Many of us are sending letters regularly and will drive long distances to testify if there is a chance it might help.

Keep the faith in the people of Oregon, as will I; perhaps this battle can be won.

Most sincerely,

Mark Dohrmann, Pres. Metolius River Forest Homeowners Assoc.