Metolius destination resort ban hits the lege

Carla Axtman

(This is the fourth in a series of posts on destination resorts at the Metolius River Basin in Central Oregon. The first three posts are here, here and here. An additional piece providing a news update on the issue is here.)

The effort to ban destination resorts at the Metolius has moved into the next phase. House Bill 3100 would approve the recommendation of Land Conservation and Development
Commission by designating the area identified by commission as area of critical state concern.
This also included adopting the management plan recommended by the Commission and prohibits the citing of destination resorts in the area.

I'm contacting my State Representative to let them know I want them to support this bill. I hope everyone reading this contacts their State Rep to get their support, too.

The lead sponsors of the bill are Reps Brian Clem and Ben Cannon. Both have been good on the environment, historically. It's especially fantastic however to see other House members stepping up on this issue to cosponsor: Jules Bailey, Phil Barnhart, Debbie Boone, Peter Buckley, Chris Garrett, Mitch Greenlick, Nick Kahl, Tobias Read, Chuck Riley, Mike Schaufler, Jefferson Smith and Carolyn Tomei.

The 2007 bill to ban destination resorts at the Metolius only included only two of these folks: Boone and Clem. I'm really looking forward to seeing who else works to get this bill passed. All will be deserving of our support.

The Metolius is a treasure for Oregon. Good on these folks for being a key part of this.

Representative Cannon and I spoke about the bill late last week. Cannon said that the Metolius is a very special place for him. He remarked, "There are very few places like it left. We have an obligation to our children and our grandchildren.." to protect it. Cannon also noted that destination resorts threaten the environmental integrity of the region.

Cannon said that the bill came together because he and Representative Clem were approached independently by folks from Central Oregon on the issue. They then started coordinating.

As I understand it, the wording in the bill that bans destination resorts is key. The Dutch Pacific resort is claiming to be an eco-resort that won't impact water or wildlife. I'm dubious as to how a development does this, but if they can bring the scientific proof to the table, its worth viewing. But if they can't get it together and decide to sell the land and this ban doesn't happen, the new owners could build an enormous, multi-home golf course resort that will permanently scar the area.

That is, if they manage to convince the courts that the re-zoning map granting development rights is legal.

Along those lines, Central Oregon Landwatch has a new online short subject film entitled Deep Water: Protecting the Natural Springs and Native Fish of the Deschutes Basin. Take some time to check it out.

  • SCB (unverified)

    I am not one to favor destination resorts. I like the Metolius just like it is.

    But ....

    When the State plays Big Brother, and tells a local jurisdiction what to do, when that jurisdiction has been playing by the rules as written ...

    e.g. changing the rules mid stream ...

    I have to hold up my hand and say, "not so fast".

    Jefferson County is suffering from serious job losses with the cut backs at Brightwood, the lowering of the number of jobs at the new State prison, and the general shut down of the construction business and of businesses that provide for construction materials. I don't think that a bunch of minimum wage jobs for maids and grounds keepers at a remote location is the way to solve that problem. I don't think that any destination resort up on the Metolius is a good idea.

    But the principle that should be maintained is to let the local jurisdiction have jurisdiction.

    Will the State pay for property tax revenue lost due to no resorts? No.

    What if the State were this heavy handed, stepping into a local jurisdiction, if that jurisdiction was yours?

    The State has an over-reaching interest in Education. Should the State decide which schools stay open in Portland?

    The State has an over-reaching interest in our rivers and streams. Should the State ban all boats on the Willamette River?

    The State has an over-reaching interest in transportation. Should the State ban trucks from using State roads during commute hours?

    -- Once you take away local jurisdiction on the principle of an over-riding State interest, where to you reset a boundary between State and local?

    I think that the State should work in partnership with Jefferson County on the Metolius issue. Perhaps a County initiated ban on resorts might just follow a State offer for increased business incentives in Jefferson County, more job training, ??? - They should negotiate.

    And if the State negotiates, they it will win the praise of the people of Jefferson County. If not ... another rural County gets screwed, again.

  • karl (unverified)

    Glad to see you supporting this ban... The last thing Oregon needs is economic activity and resort jobs. I'd like to see the overall number of resorts in Oregon scaled back to maybe 3 or 4.

  • rural resident (unverified)

    karl .... you're right about that terrible economic activity stuff. Especially in rural areas. We don't want jobs there, do we? Eliminating all employment in Oregon off the I-5 corridor is the only way Oregon can truly demonstrate its commitment to "environmentalism."

    The Metolius resort situation is exactly what land use planning is all about in Oregon. Local jurisdictions are free -- in fact, are encouraged -- to make planning decisions. That is, as long as the decision they reach is the one favored by DLCD and other state agencies.

    If local government has different ideas, then tough. The heavy hand of the state lands on them.

  • (Show?)

    Looks like it's about sensible sorting here, and I couldn't be happier.

    While it's easy enough to argue that any and all development degrades the environment in some way, a bunch of McMansions around a golf course at the north east corner of the Tumalo Reservoir is actually an improvement over the previous man made situation on that land.

    Introducing that sort of development around the headwaters of the Metolius will almost certainly degrade the (almost) pristine current state of that land and that watershed.

    Huge difference there.


    Also bemused by Rep. Schaufler's name on the bill, but glad to see it..........

  • (Show?)

    SCB, I completely agree with THIS part of your statement:

    "Jefferson County is suffering from serious job losses with the cut backs at Brightwood . . . I don't think that a bunch of minimum wage jobs for maids and grounds keepers at a remote location is the way to solve that problem..."

    As I said in the first of these posts, destination resorts only create jobs for serfs. Great for Clem & Cannon to keep their eyes on the prize--family wage jobs.

  • Jägermeister (unverified)

    Excuse me, but as another 'rural resident', I'd like to chime in and say I support this ban. The Metolius is truly one of Oregon's treasures. I go up to Camp Sherman every summer to do a couple of days worth of fishing, and I would absolutely not go there if there was another Sunriver a half a mile away.

    Also, what resort is eco-friendly? It doesn't matter if the resort is, but whether the people living there are. It's hard to imagine a resort with 400+ units is in any way going to be eco-friendly. You still have people fowling up the ground water with fertilizers, lawn chemicals, garbage, etc. Is the resort who's prime objective is to make money going to tell people what they can and can't do on their own land? Not bloody likely...

    Also, don't frame this is a local-vs-state debate. It's not. We have state planning laws for a reason, and if Jefferson County wants yet another resort that is why DLCD have offered to open up the area around Round Butte which is currently restricted. How's that for responsive government compromise from the 'heavy hand of the state'?

  • karl (unverified)

    Comrads, I'd also like to add that the RV Manufacturers in The Peoples Republic Of Oregon also deserve to go out of business. The Peoples Republic Of Oregon doesn't need this type of economic "activity". We need green union jobs. You people in the rurals need to move to larger population centers and let the wilds be reclaimed. Small towns will be shutdown and assimilated as part of a larger strategy.

  • (Show?)


    The state is not changing rules midstream. In fact, they're working to make the changes in advance of the land speculators obtaining destination resort rights. And they're doing so in response to a public outcry from citizens who live there, as the piece notes.

    I agree that Jefferson County has employment issues and a thin/narrow tax base. But do the cost-benefit analysis here: is it really worth it to completely undermine a pristine region of Oregon for some minimum wage jobs? Other destination resorts in Central Oregon are having economic troubles already--adding these additional ones certainly won't seem to solve the problem of unemployment.

    Rural Resident: Local jurisdictions are driving through enormous loopholes in destination resort law in order to flout local, state and federal environmental regulations to make the destination resort land use decisions you're talking about. And locals are stepping up in droves asking that this not be allowed to happen. If the local politicos don't have to abide by the law and won't listen to the citizens..then its perfectly legit for the lege to step in.

    While your comments are bemusing, they seem rather divorced from reality, especially on this issue.

  • (Show?)

    "I'd also like to add that the RV Manufacturers in The Peoples Republic Of Oregon also deserve to go out of business."

    If the people of rural Oregon had quit voting for Republicans over the last 20 years or so, maybe Fleetwood and Monaco would still be alive.

  • Jägermeister (unverified)


    We're here. We're green. Get used to it.

  • karl (unverified)

    Jager: I'm with you. I'd work to work vs. biking (metal and rubber involved in manufacturing there). But I don't have a job and don't care to engage in capitalism thankyou.

  • DSS (unverified)

    In response to SCB's questions:

    The State has an over-reaching interest in Education. Should the State decide which schools stay open in Portland?

    If a few of those schools were shown to utilize waaay too many resources and serve too few students and the local school district was shown to evaluate them in a slipshod manner that seemed to be overly biased towards the profit of those running said schools? I would only hope that the state would step in.

    The State has an over-reaching interest in our rivers and streams. Should the State ban all boats on the Willamette River?

    Maybe not that far, but keeping them from drying up as a result of nearby destination resorts pumping water out of their aquifers might be a nice start.

    The State has an over-reaching interest in transportation. Should the State ban trucks from using State roads during commute hours?

    If those roads already ban trucks at those hours, then I think the state is well within its rights to codify that in statute if there are plenty of alternative roads available.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    SCB slips into conservative commentator lingo. The correct phrase is "overriding interest", not "over-reaching interest".

  • Cafe Today (unverified)

    I'd like to know how the %&$$( they got Schaufler to sign on to this bill...

  • alcatross (unverified)

    torridjoe says: If the people of rural Oregon had quit voting for Republicans over the last 20 years or so, maybe Fleetwood and Monaco would still be alive.

    Now let me get this straight... When the state economy does well, it will be credited to the chief executive first (if a Democrat) and/or the legislature second (but only if controlled by Democrats) If neither a Democratic chief executive or legislature is currently serving, any success will be credited to the policies of the last serving Democratic chief executive and/or legislature.

    Likewise, when the state economy tanks, it will be the fault of the chief executive first (if Republican) and/or the legislature second (but again, only if controlled by Republicans) If neither a currently serving Republican chief executive or legislature is available to blame, then the fault obviously lies in the policies of the last serving Republican chief executive and/or legislature.

    That about it, torridjoe?

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Ditto Pat Ryan.

    Jamais, tiring of Rep. Cannon's use of the "F" word too? Don't you know that only out of touch trolls notice/object to that?

  • Clackamas (unverified)

    I would disagree that Brian Clem "has been good on the environment," at least recently. He is one of the chief sponsors the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR) resolution in the state legislature. This is a Bush-initiated logging plan that seeks to return to widespread clear cutting and old-growth logging on BLM lands in Western Oregon.

    The WOPR has been opposed by Governor Kulongoski, the federal EPA, the US Fish and Wildlife Serice, and NOAA Fisheries (the federal agency in charge of salmon recovery).

    Clem may be good on destination resorts, but a guy that is cheer leading for a return to old-growth logging is hardly pro-environment.

  • SCB (unverified)

    TorridJoe writes, "If the people of rural Oregon had quit voting for Republicans over the last 20 years or so, maybe Fleetwood and Monaco would still be alive."

    Not that I think keeping these businesses alive is a "good" thing, but to the point that Republican voters have destroyed the economy ...

    Joe, there are two reasons that voters in rural areas of Oregon vote for Republicans:

    1. They are in the solid 40% radical right religious/home school/Russ Limbaugh & Lars Larson listening/Ron Paul supporting cluster of people that do not think about any election but just vote. There are currently more of these people per capita in rural areas than urban areas in Oregon. Our curse, your luck.

    2. There is a reactionary group that see a continuing pattern of Federal and State interference in local activities that are blamed for job losses. This goes back to the Spotted Owl, environmental laws, numerous State initiatives including stream fencing, logging practices, Cougars and Bears, etc. This group includes Democrats and Independents.

    Together, these two groups tend to blame Democrats for various problems, and create the majority that gets Republicans elected in rural areas. The Republicans are very much aware of this, hence their playing up of social issues such as abortion and equal rights for gays and lesbians, and blaming Democrats for every job loss in rural Oregon (and elsewhere).

    So Joe, in that context, we have votes in the perceived "self-interest" in a world that is not based upon facts but are based upon falacies and deceptions. You can (and did) blame the voters, but in reality the Republican Party should be blamed for their playing into this stuff, and the Democrats for not effectively responding.

    So Joe, it's just as much your fault that these RV dealers are going under as it is rural voters, because you fail to address the situation.

    You can blame the ignorant for their ignorance all you want, but if you don't offer a solution, you just perpetuate the problem.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    Take every legislator's name off the bill that represents a district west of the Cascades or on the I-5 corridor. If "local" interests have issues with development in the Metrolius, then they should get their representatives to carry the water (pun intended).

    I'm not in that area, but if the Portland/Eugene crowd tried this bs on Southern Oregon I'd be up in arms.

  • (Show?)

    Kurt...why? It's pretty clear that there's a lot of locals that don't want this--and that they've approached legislators willing to fight it. If their local folks don't have what it takes..then they should find people who do.

  • John Forbes (unverified)

    I hope these folks are being fair and rational and not giving a favor to Betsy Johnson in return for a $5,OOO DONATION.

    I'll bet the legs. spend time at Sunriver and elsewhere, probably in the past on Paul Romaine's dime and others. Let's protect the historic Willamette and tell residents of the valley to vacate their homes that they have to vacate their homes.

    I'm afraid this will add to the image of Democrats as being against any economic development. Many rural folks have felt that way for 20 years, and the results showed in the voting patterns for Roberts , Kitzhaber, and the state leg. in the 90s . (We had almost no seats outside of Portland and college towns).

    We’re not talking about a smelter here, but about relatively small green resort.

  • JHL (unverified)

    Kurt, this issue was brought up initially in 2007 by then-Senator for the area Ben Westlund and then-Rep for the area John Dallum in the form of SB 30. Not to mention a resolution in support of the ban came from the immediately-nearby City of Sisters.

    Even though Dallum and Westlund both moved out of the legislature, this is certainly a seed that was planted locally.

  • (Show?)

    Mr. Forbes:

    Which folks, specifically, received a donation from Senator Johnson? And what evidence do you have that any donation to any sponsor or cosponsor of this legislation has to do with supporting a ban on destination resorts at the Metolius? Having spent some time on the C&E's of legislators associated with this legislation, I'd like to see what you're talking about.

    I know for a fact that Tobias Read and Chris Garrett both received campaign donations from interests seeking to build destination resorts in the region. Yet they're cosponsoring this legislation.

  • chinafashion (unverified)

    Sell 2009 fashion boots E-mail: [email protected] Webpage: china-fashion-shop . com

    Credit card accepted-Retail/wholesale replica designer boot 2009 design,fashion women boot including coach boots,gucci boots,chanel boots,louis vuitton (lv)boots,burberry boots and ed hardy boots.All 99% mirror copy image and fine quality.

    Detailed: 1.All designer boots Come with boxes,dust bags;carebooklets 2.Same day shipping when orders subbmitted before 09:00 3.Size available: Eu36 Eu37 Eu38 Eu39 Eu40 Eu41 Eu42 4.Discount would be made if moneygram or western union used

  • JHL (unverified)

    John Forbes seems to be under the impression that there is only one small resort planned, which is incorrect. There is a moderately-sized "green" resort planned plus a mega-resort.

    The problems with the mega-resort are obvious. The self-determined "green" resort, I'll admit sounds like a wonderful idea. The problem, though, is that it's trying to get approval under an extremely permissive zoning designation... which means that in a few years if it gets sold or if its owners decided to step up the construction, it's pre-zoned for mega-resort status.

    I think that we need a separate zoning designation for what the smaller resort is trying to do. That's not incompatible with HB 3100.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    Carla, I am adamantly opposed to "central planning" of just about any sort. Look what that theme at state and federal levels has done to public education. Why should representatives from Portland, Medford or Coos Bay have a spot in sponsoring a bill that affects only the Metrolius? I'm not saying that they shouldn't vote on the bill, just that they have no business in sponsoring such a bill.

    Waring Hyperbole alert!

    That would be as ludicous as Sal Esquival and Peter Buckly teaming up to sponsor legislation governing the Portland MLS financing by the city of Portland.

  • DSS (unverified)

    Kurt, if we carry out your concerns to their logical conclusion, you're suggesting that the state is divided into 30 or 60 tiny baronies, each with a State Senator and State Representative acting as tiny despots, nixing or authorizing any policies affecting their kingdoms.

    In 2003, Len Hannon (R - Ashland) led the charge against the ill-imagined Portland baseball stadium plan. Why? Because he was a Ways & Means Co-Chair who understood the intricacies of the funding scheme better than most.

    Policy should be discussed on its merits; not on the zip code of whose name happens to be on top of the bill.

    (Besides, as JHL mentioned above, this is obviously an effort started by Central Oregon legislators anyway.)

  • replica handbags (unverified)
    <h2>replica handabgs online shop. can supply top quality replica designer handbags with low price</h2>

connect with blueoregon