Thursday, February 28, 2008

Save The Metolius....Again

Here is the scenario folks. Let's take a pristine wilderness area with the most wonderful trout river in all of Oregon and do what with it???? Make a couple of destination resorts!!! Hell yeah! We need a few more damn golf courses so rich fat cats can chase a little white ball all over what used to be Ponderosa pine forests.
All in the name of money. Thing is most common middle class Oregonians will not be able to afford to even stay at places like what they are planning to build.
I have to wonder is anything sacred anymore? Must we spoil the truly magical and beautiful places we have left?
They say minimal impact huh? We'll see but the point remains that these resorts bring hordes of people to an area where the human footprint has been minimal.
For those of you not familiar with the Metolius river and the area surrounding it just picture a trout stream bubbling up from deep volcanic caverns. Crystal clear water and so breathtaking in it's beauty that one can literally shed tears over this place.
It's a damn shame!

Article from "The NuggetNews" Sisters, Oregon

The decision rendered last week by the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) appears to be little more than a speed bump in the road to building two destination resorts within a few miles of Sisters. One of the developers is pleased with the results of the decision, and the other is cautiously optimistic about the ruling, which will require further work by Jefferson County on identifying wildlife habitat and descriptions of forest zones.
Nothing in the remand ruling would appear likely to derail resort plans.
The two "Final Orders and Opinions" were issued on February 11. One document consisted of 48 pages and the other was 49 pages in length. The various parties are still studying the documents to determine the finer points of the decisions, and in some cases it may be a few weeks before each of the parties has determined the full implications.
Ponderosa Land and Cattle Company, with a 2,500-acre development in the Green Ridge area has expressed cautious optimism but is waiting until their legal representatives have had the opportunity to examine the decisions in detail.
"We haven't yet gotten together to really go over it as our lead council is on vacation. We expected it to come back and are pleasantly surprised that it is a manageable short list, but it will take some time to unravel all of what needs to be done," said Rick Allen of Ponderosa Land and Cattle Company.
Oregon Landwatch is both pleased and disappointed by the final order and is considering whether to appeal the decisions which must be filed by March 3.
"We haven't yet completely digested the decisions or talked yet with our clients. Obviously, we were pleased with the remand that we got, but the significant decision that we are not happy with is that Code 5 doesn't protect the water," said Paul Dewey of Oregon Landwatch.
Friends of the Metolius are in much the same situation. They still haven't had the time to fully digest the information.
"We will be getting together to discuss the decision and see where we will go from here," said Gregory McClarren, the president of Friends of the Metolius.
Sisters-based Dutch Pacific Resources has already examined the two opinions in some detail and is pleased with the decisions on several fronts.
"We were very pleased with the decisions, especially that most of the complaints were dismissed by the Land Use Board of Appeals and the one that was remanded was really more of just a request for more data," said Jim Kean, co-manager of Dutch Pacific Resources.
Kean also believes that the decision was an important one for Jefferson County that created the furor through its development of a new comprehensive plan for the county that included destination resorts.
"Jefferson County went overboard in their process to comply with state law when they adopted the mapping amendment. The main contention was that Jefferson County ignored everyone and didn't do a good job and it was incomplete. I think that Jefferson County has been vindicated. They (Jefferson County) knew that it was going to come to this and went the extra mile with their process. For a small and under-resourced county, it was no small achievement to develop such a comprehensive plan," Kean said.
During the time of appeals and while waiting for LUBA's rulings, Dutch Pacific has not let the grass grow under its feet.
"We have been quietly working on the project, and there have been tons of people who have come out of the woodwork wanting to be involved. We have a really top-flight team working on our project, and we have received tons of invitations to come to charrettes (meetings) about sustainability and water use. I think we are in an exciting time," said Kean.
The Dutch Pacific destination resort development is called "The Metolian" and is unusual in that it is designed to have minimum impact on the land and the environment. Sustainable principles and green building practices are at the heart of the development, and it is believed by the owners that this kind of development may serve as a model for future resorts in the growing eco-tourism market.

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