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