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City accused of failing to provide legal notices on construction project

To the editor:

Molalla’s recent failure to provide proper legal notice for a land use hearing and failure to stop a developer from breaking ground without permits is alarming.

On Oct. 22, a hearing was held for StonePlaceStorage LLC’s proposal to build about 200 garage/storage units with surface parking on an 8 acre parcel that fronts S. Lowe Rd and Ona Way. The site is bisected by a high functioning section of Bear Creek, listed in Molalla’s wetlands survey as a locally significant wetland area. Historic Jackson Cemetery (with pioneer graves from the 1850’s) is enclosed within the property.

An ethical city would ensure that a “sensitive site” (as defined in Molalla’s codes) would be carefully evaluated before any earth was moved; it would give proper legal notice to the Pioneer, neighborhood organizations, County road engineers, and the State Historic Protection Office (SHPO). Molalla ignored notification and evaluation requirements.

Before the hearing, the developer mutilated the site without permits. House pads were carved and three houses were moved and placed on blocks. Massive amounts of dirt were moved, triggering removal and fill violations. Most egregious, the developer, without oversight from SHPO, blazed a giant driveway along the cemetery, creating access to S. Lowe Rd.

The few citizens who learned about the hearing raised multiple valid concerns. City Manager Huff, impatient and apparently catering to the developer, pushed for a decision and the Planning Commission voted to approve the project.

This proposal has been appealed because of outcry from the rural Ona Way neighborhood. Anyone may comment at a Dec 11 hearing at 7 p.m. at City Hall; send written comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Issues include increased traffic on substandard County roads, the need to buffer rural areas from encroaching commercial urban uses and protection for irreplaceable historic and riparian resources.

Susan Hansen

Molalla




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