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State Parks panel set to decide Grouse Mtn deal

The state Parks Commission will consider the Grouse Mountain Ranch acquisition at a meeting next week in Salem.
Scotta Callister

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on January 28, 2014 1:49PM

SALEM – The Grouse Mountain Ranch acquisition is one of two real estate proposals up for consideration next Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission meeting in Salem.

The panel will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

The other proposal is a land exchange involving properties on the Oregon Coast, including a portion of the Bandon State Natural Area.

The coastal land exchange would include a $2.5 million contribution from coastal developer Bandon Biota to go toward the state agency’s purchase of 6,300 acres – the Grouse Mountain property – for a state park in Grant County.

The Grouse Mountain acquisition has sparked considerable debate locally since it was proposed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department last year. That prompted Gov. John Kitzhaber to weigh in for the economic and conservation values of the proposal last November, and he urged the department to work with the county on local concerns.

The Grant County Court formed a task force to work out a variety of issues regarding taxes, fire patrol and the future use of the Grouse Mountain land. The panel is focusing on a proposed memorandum of understanding between the county and the state agency that addresses points also raised by the governor.

The task force is still working on the details.

The state commission in November decided the ranch deal meets the acquisition standards set by the state’s administrative rules. At that session, the commission directed the department to continue “good faith efforts to address local community concerns as reflected in the Governor’s letter …”

The department’s report on the property describes the acquisition as an opportunity “to preserve and restore a place that encompasses the diversity of the surrounding unprotected landscape.”

The commission order prepared by the department staff calls for approving the purchase for $4.5 million, or less if appraised for less.

Anyone planning to testify at the Salem meeting should provide 12 copies of their written statement to vanessa.demoe@state.or.us for distribution to commissioners. Anyone needing special accommodations to attend should call the agency at 503-986-0719 at least three days in advance.

The meeting packet is posted on the agency’s website.


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