Breaking News-ECC passes motion for Amazon Creek Headwaters!

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Breaking News-ECC passes motion for Amazon Creek Headwaters!

Postby Kevin » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:20 pm

2007.0418 - Eugene, Oregon

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Just after 12:30pm today, during the regular Eugene City Council noon worksession, and after substantial discussion, the council approved a motion by Councilor Taylor directing the city manager to start the process to use eminent domain for acquisition of two key natural parcels in the Amazon Headwaters. The vote was 'four-plus-one' in favor.

The next big step in this historic process toward protecting the Amazon Creek Headwaters East Fork Forest (Joe Green property) and the Amazon Creek Headwaters Keystone (Beverly property) will be a public hearing on the special ordinance required to authorize park-acquistion eminent domain. Our current impression is that this hearing will be held on or around May 21, 2007. *** Please mark your calendar, and stay tuned for details! ***

A white paper by Southeast Neighbors summarizing the unique case for eminent domain for these rare remaining pristine pieces of the Amazon Creek Headwaters is available online at: ... 070416.pdf

... and the plain text of that piece is copied below for your convenience.

More than three generations of activists have worked long, long, and hard to save these beautiful, fragile parts of Eugene's primary watershed, pouring hours, hearts, souls, and pocketbooks into the process. Today we moved one big step closer.

Thanks to all, and congratulations!!!

all best wishes,

Kevin Matthews
Lisa Warnes
Deborah Noble

Southeast Neighbors
Friends of Eugene
...on behalf of Eugene's current and future children, pileated woodpeckers, river otters, red-legged frogs, ancient firs, savannah oaks, thousands of species of invetebrates, rare flowers, mosses, and lichens, and all our brothers and sisters of local wild nature.


White Paper on the Amazon Headwaters . 2007.0416

Why should Eugene take action to protect the Green
and Beverly properties in the Amazon Creek Headwaters?

1) Protecting the headwaters of Amazon Creek is vital to the water quality and environmental health of the whole watershed.

> From a watershed view of the Amazon Creek ecosystem, which is the defining geographic province for about 60% of the area of Eugene, preserving the remaining fraction of ecologically intact headwaters is critical. The remaining natural headwaters of our primary local watershed are a core community asset. We have a responsibility to preserve this core asset for future generations.

We have protected substantial portions of the wetlands in west Eugene. We have protected the Amazon Greenway to the west and to the south of the downtown area. Protecting the headwaters is critical to realizing the environmental value of these other community investments.

These special remaining headwaters areas also include old growth trees and oak savannah habitats which are some of highest quality wildlife habitat in the metropolitan area, home to several rare and sensitive species, and are important to preserve simply for these reasons.

This is the last chance to create a public green corridor for the main channel of Amazon Creek to connect from the ridgeline to the greenway.

2) Major earthflows overrun and threaten both the Green and Beverly properties.

LIDAR earth scanning by Sky Research out of Ashland, Oregon clearly shows large active earthflows that would complicate and threaten development in either property. One earthflow system originates high on the western flank of Baldy, continuing down through the middle of the Green property. Another earthflow originates high on the north side of Spencer Butte itself, which has historically flowed down the valley to overlay much of the Beverly property.

At the least, adequate engineering to accommodate development of these steep, wet, unstable sites would be unusually expensive. In addition, the City could have significant liability for allowing dwellings to be constructed in these known geological hazard areas.

3) Independent testing of soil and runoff samples has shown that both properties contain substantial excess arsenic which could be released into Amazon Creek by development processes.

Given that Amazon Creek already has too much arsenic by EPA standards, causing significant new releases could trigger Federal violations, as well as harm life downstream.

4) The properties have already been demonstrated to be not-developable according to the wishes of the current owners.

The developers of both properties have had a fair chance to develop under the City code, but have submitted excessive development plans that have been denied through extensive and expensive public processes.

The recent Green PUD application for the Amazon Creek Headwaters Forest area was denied by the hearings official, then appealed to the planning commission which upheld the denial.

The Beverlys have submitted development applications for the Amazon Creek Headwaters Keystone area twice before, both denied. Their latest application called the Deerbrook PUD is little-changed from the previously denied plans, and city staff have again recommended against approval of the application.

5) Reasonable attempts have been made for willing-seller acquisition.

The city has made repeated good faith offers in the past to buy some or all of each site for storm water and natural resources protection on a willing seller basis, but the developers have declined to substantively negotiate, let alone sell.

Both properties are vacant, and were purchased by the current owners simply as financial opportunities. In both cases there is no current residential occupancy or active business occupancy which would prevent the owners from being made whole by a public buy-out at fair market value.

In both cases, the current market value buy-out price would be substantially more than the purchase price paid by the current owners, so in both cases a fair value buy-out should leave the owners with significant capital gains.

6) Preservation of critical elements of our open space system and natural ecological infrastructure is consistent with established City of Eugene plans and policies.

In particular, Growth Management Policy 17 says, "Protect and improve air and water quality and protect natural areas of good habitat value through a variety of means...". The Metro Plan Diagram has for years shown a habitat corridor to be preserved connecting the Ridgeline park and the Amazon Greenway. Both of these areas are bisected by Goal 5 waterways which would be damaged by development.

Going back to the 1970s, when most of the south hills were still in a natural undeveloped state, the community consensus of South Hills Study outlined the important of upland forest preservation for all of Eugene, as well as the inherent problems of developing on our steepest slopes.

7) Funding for a public buy-out is currently available.

Primary funding for public buy-out, expected to cost under $2 million, is available now in the $7.75 million natural areas allocation in the 2006 Parks Bond Measure.

In addition, stormwater funds may be available for stream corridor acquisition, and grants from other state, federal, and private sources may be available to supplement or replace parks bond funding.

8) The time to take action is now.

At least three generations of community members have worked tirelessly for more than ten years, at great expense, toward the protection of these fragile areas. These unique headwaters areas are much more valuable to the community as they are now, for safety, open space, special habitat, and water quality reasons, than they would be if developed with new roads and a couple of hundred houses that could be sited elsewhere, in a less costly, less dangerous, and less sensitive site.

Virtually any other legal sites in the metropolitan area would be less costly, less dangerous, and less sensitive than these irreplaceable last remnants of the Amazon Creek Headwaters.

Despite their sensitivity, importance, and high public value as natural open space, both of these properties are under imminent threat of development. Right now, in fact, they are being degraded by pre-development construction activities.

Using eminent domain with a "quick take" process, the City of Eugene can take these properties out of jeopardy almost immediately, and save them once and for all. As recently as April 9, 2007, the Eugene City Council has considered use of eminent domain for critical park land acquisition.

Just as previous generations in Eugene are honored today for their foresight in preserving Hendricks Park and the upper parts of the two buttes, so as time goes by, our children and theirs will only value and honor the decision to save the Amazon Headwaters more and more.

-- KMM with Southeast Neighbors and Friends of Eugene

Southeast Neighbors
Working to together to preserve the livability of our most
immediate surroundings, for all the people and creatures
therein, and for generations to come.

Please help save Eugene's threatened Pileated Woodpeckers
and Amazon Creek Otters! Support headwaters stewardship
and upland wildlife habitat protection.

Please help stop destructive infill development. Support
the South Hills Study, design standards, and design review.
Think globally - Act neighborly! (tm)
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Postby miscreant » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:03 am

i just wanted to provide this link ... earch.aspx because there are a lot of options for someone who wants to go to Eugene and it's a seriously beautiful place, so you should know at least one person (me) appreciates the work done - -Fishfool @ The Reef Tank
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