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Disc golf course approved for Blue Lake Regional Park

Construction on the facility to begin in spring

A 70-acre section of Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview will become the home of a new disc golf course next year, which supporters hope will bring in new visitors and competitions as well as an economic boost to East County.

The Metro Regional Government council approved the funding proposal to build the 18-hole disc golf course at the 180-acre Blue Lake park, which would be open to the public for year-round use, in early December.

Justin Patterson, Metro's parks and property stewardship program director, said Metro is working with disc golf advocates on the final details for the new course to get it ready for construction in spring.

'We're hoping for an opening in early summer,' he said.

Designed by professional disc golf player and instructor Dave Feldberg, the course would be the first gold-level disc golf course in the Portland-metro area when it's completed. The gold-level designation, the highest ranking awarded to courses by the Professional Disc Golf Association, means that it's a more challenging course with par 5 holes, just as in golf.

The course would also be able to host local, national and international competitions. (A map of the proposed course is available at bit.ly/u65sFm.)

The total project cost of $74,095 will be covered by $57,915 from Metro's opportunity account of the general fund. The remaining $16,180 will come from a sponsorship by Next Adventure and the Stump Town Disc Golf organization.

Metro expects the disc golf course to generate $20,000 to $30,000 a year in revenue, based on estimated numbers of disc golfers paying Blue Lake's $5-per-day parking fee or the $40 annual parking pass.

In addition to championship tournaments hosted by the Professional Disc Golf Association, Patterson said the course would also be open to local and regional tournaments as well as classes and other activities. He expects the park will be able to accommodate the thousands of visitors a championship tournament could bring in.

'As word spreads (about the course), we'll see the use increase over time. That's our expectation,' Patterson said.

Patterson said maintenance costs for the course would be folded into the regular maintenance that Metro staff already does at the park.

The Fairview Parks and Recreation Committee first proposed the disc golf course in December 2008 after plans for a multi-million dollar golf learning center with a nine-hole golf course and driving range fell through because of the bad economy.

There are more than 3,000 disc golf courses in the United States, including several small courses in East County, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association.

Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick said disc golf has become a very popular sport, especially in the Pacific Northwest, and that Blue Lake park will be a nice venue for players.

'It's a wonderful opportunity to bring in tourists who might not come (to East County) otherwise,' she said, noting that area hotels, shops and restaurants could benefit.

Fairview City Administrator Joe Gall said he was happy to see Metro invest in more features at Blue Lake, noting that more features attract more visitors to the park and to East County.

What is disc golf?

• Just like in traditional golf, disc golf players try to toss flying discs from a tee area into baskets with the fewest number of throws as possible. As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive throw from where the disc has landed, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association.

Disc golf courses, ranging from nine to 18 holes, are located at several parks in East County including Vance Park, Rockwood Central Park, Dabney State Park, Benson State Park and Rooster Rock State Park.