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Powell Butte growth out of control

To the editor: Buck up Crook County taxpayer — you may get the chance to subsidize another developer’s get-rich scheme. The agricultural area of Powell Butte is under assault again. On Wednesday, May 9, the planning commission will hold its second hearing on Ray Shumway and Jacquie Bushong’s proposal for a 260 house subdivision. Powell Butte only has about 700 houses right now. 260 more would obviously have a huge impact. We’ll bear the burden of more bond levies for new schools and roads, as well as sheriff and fire protection, as newcomers demand services to this far-flung corner of the county. Every new house out here strangles the livelihood of remaining ranchers who struggle to feed the nation and withstand the pressures of greed and sprawl. Increased traffic is a safety hazard for cattle operations and rural drivers alike — in an area that has already suffered numerous traffic fatalities. And the drastic water situation on the west side of the butte is legendary. Jeopardizing existing neighbor’s wells when it costs $20,000. for a new one is cutthroat business. Some of you may remember the exhaustive efforts and years spent working out the Powell Butte Land Study and Rezoning. Ranchers, developers, the county, and the DLCD forged an agreement and shook hands. Approximately 3,100 acres were rezoned with that agreement. So far, the participants have honored the integrity of that mediation, the good word and hard work of all those involved. Some of Shumway’s land was included in that rezoning, but evidently not enough for them. Now they are attempting an end-run. Standing by an agreement used to be the code of ranchers and cowboys —- maybe development is costing us more than our pocketbooks. Write the planning commission with your concerns. Show up at the meeting at 7 p.m. at city hall. Everyone who lives in Powell Butte and Crook County will be affected if this application is approved. JoRene Byers Powell Butte