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Proposed Bend Trap Club receives final public testimony

Opponents concerned about impact on ranching
The Crook County Planning Commission met Wednesday to hear final public testimony on the proposed construction of a local trap club one mile east of Millican Road.
   It was the second public hearing for the site and a final motion will be passed next Wednesday.
   The Bend Trap Club is seeking approval on a development that would include 100 cabins, a campground, an RV dump station, a trap shooting range, a sporting clay field, an indoor firearms training facility, a clubhouse, a nonfarm caretaker residence and associated facilities.
   Their proposal has been met with concern from neighbors who fear the development could have a negative impact on their ranching livelihood.
   Environmentalists originally drew ire that the development would cause harm to wildlife, but the club has worked with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to appease these concerns.
   "It appears that any wildlife issues have been pretty much resolved," said Bill Zelenka, Crook County planning director.
   The property was obtained by the county on March 26, 2001. A 40-acre portion of the southern part of the property was leased to the Oregon Hunter's Association on July 22, 2002, but this lease is no longer in force.
   The Bend Trap Club is attempting to purchase 633 acres, 80 of which would be dedicated to the complex. According to club president Dano Saarinen, their facilities would take up about eight acres.
   Saarinen said the club is willing to work with neighboring landowners to keep its noise and intensity of use to a minimum. He mentioned that they would be willing to move their sporting clay fields to a more remote location during the winter months but stated that closing down the club during this period, an action some are calling for, was not a possibility.
   "Target shooting is an acquired skill," Saarinen said. "It is a sport that, like golf, requires a lot of practice."
   He added that shooting throughout the year is almost a necessity for any shooter wanting to stay sharp.
   Neighbors argue the additional traffic will harm their livestock.
   "The more people that come through here, the more problems we have," said Chad Penhollow, a rancher on part of the adjacent land.
   He, along with several other adjoining landowners, fear the noise could affect the weight of their cattle.
   The planning commission will attempt to determine whether or not these impacts will be significant enough to deny the Trap Club's proposal.
   Zelenka said no testimony will be heard Wednesday night as the commission plans to go straight to deliberations.
   The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Crook County meeting room.