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Six firms to vie for east side project


   Six firms met the Dec. 20 deadline and are in the running to be considered for development of a master-planned community on the east side of Madras.
   "This is way better than any of us had a right to expect," said City Administrator Mike Morgan on Monday, after five additional submittals arrived.
   The developers sent in qualification statements after the city of Madras published a request for qualifications for developing 820 acres owned by the city and the Bean Foundation.
   The city purchased 620 acres on the south side of Ashwood Road, south and east of Jefferson County Middle School, in 2003. The land was purchased in preparation for the siting of the Madras prison, several miles east on Ashwood Road, which will substantially increase the city's need for land for dispersal of treated wastewater.
   The Bean Foundation owns 200 acres in the same area, which will be developed along with the city's land.
   Contractors submitting qualification statements include: Newland Communities of Bend; Madras Land Development Company of Madras; Costa Pacific Communities of Wilsonville; Greenstone of Liberty Lake, Wash.; Pahlisch Homes Inc. of Bend; and KCS Development LLC of Battleground, Wash.
   "There's a modest number of organizations that can plan and develop on this scale and they actively look for opportunities," said George Neilson, board member for the Bean Foundation.
   The city and Bean Foundation, along with consultant David Leland, will select finalists from the six on Jan. 7, and the finalists will give oral presentations on Jan. 18.
   "We want to move forward with reasonable dispatch, but we also want to act with care," said Neilson.
   Final selection of the qualified developer is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 21, and the city and the Bean Foundation hope to have a memorandum of understanding with the selected developer signed by the end of March.
   Between March and July, the groups will negotiate a development and disposition agreement. "That's when we'll talk about money and design guidelines," Morgan said.
   The development, which will include about 1,700 homes ranging from affordable single units, to multi-family units, to expensive, custom homes, will unfold over the next 10 to 15 years. It is expected to have open spaces -- parks, trails, and a golf course -- as well as a small area of commercial development.