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The truth about the Mt. Hood Community Park and Rec facility

Our subcommittee members appreciate your newspaper's recent coverage regarding our proposed Villages at Mt. Hood Community Park and Recreation Facility, and we would like to provide you with some additional information and comments.

First, contrary to the misconceptions of some people, we are not proposing a county park and the site we requested for our proposed community park is not along the Salmon River. It is more than 1/3 of a mile away from the Salmon River on county land just south of Highway 26 that is west of Mt. Hood RV Village and Miller Road.

We recently inspected that land area again and determined that by rearranging the layout for each of our proposed recreation and infrastructure facilities, we can reduce our land requirement from 15 acres down to just 12 acres. We are now revising our initial request and asking the county to grant our use of the 12-acre land area just west of Miller Road that measures 4 acres in length westward along Highway 26 and extends south to a depth (or width) of 3 acres.

Although this land is within the county's Cedar Ridge tax-foreclosed property, we would like to point out that all county-owned land belongs to the taxpayers of this county, including land the county has transferred, traded and sold over the years without the benefit of a vote of all the citizens of this county. Local real estate agents here also tell us the Cedar Ridge land is not worth $10 million in today's market. The 12 acres we are now requesting along Highway 26 are actually the least valuable in that section, and they also happen to be within the county sewer district and near the Mt. Hood RV Village Water Company, so water and sewer services are available.

We intend to make this a nature park and will retain as many evergreen and shady deciduous trees as possible, and the park would also serve as a security buffer in front of the remaining property the county would sell to the Western Rivers Conservancy (for eventual sale to and control by the Bureau of Land Management).

We are convinced the park will be self-sustaining because funds for its development, operation and maintenance can be obtained from county, state and federal financial grants; corporate grants; private and business donations; and fund-raising events and activities. Just using the park's large parking areas as a SNO-PARK for skiers and snowboarders in the winter months can produce revenues of more than $250,000 per year to pay operating and maintenance costs.

Our proposed community park will benefit all Clackamas County citizens by providing them with additional entertainment and recreation facilities they can enjoy, and the park will also produce excellent economic benefits for our tourist industry, our local businesses and the county. Granting our request for the 12 acres we need within the Cedar Ridge property for development of our community park will result in a win-win solution for all concerned, including the county.

Keith Schacher is chairman of the Subcommittee for Development of Villages at Mt. Hood Community Park and Recreation Facility.