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Oregon Zoo undecided on elephant sanctuary

Investigation continues of Roslyn Lake site for project


After several years in the making, Oregon Zoo employees are still in the process of looking into an elephant sanctuary at the former Roslyn Lake site near Sandy.

In December 2012, the Metro Council unanimously approved the purchase of the site from PGE as an off-site facility for the zoo’s elephants.

As of now, the project planners are still in the process of deciding if Roslyn Lake is the right location. The option to purchase the 240-acre site from PGE stands through the end of 2014.

“This is a long term project for us,” said Heidi Rahn of the Oregon Zoo. She said the project began as early as 2009 with a feasibility study.

The Post previously reported that there were animal rights activists present at the 2012 vote who were leery of moving forward, but Rahn said the zoo does not want to rush into anything.

“We’re still looking to make sure it would be a good place for the animals,” Rahn said.

Among other research into the site, zoo employees are looking at permitting and what it would take for the allowance of the large animals on site.

Planners also are looking at water drainage, making sure the site would be safe for the animals and neighbors. Rahn also said that they are coordinating with PGE on future power usage and talking to neighbors.

The biggest variable still in the works is that of revenue, Rahn said. The annual operating costs of the sanctuary are expected to be about $1 million.

Rahn said it’s important for the zoo to find a sustainable source of revenue for the site before taking the next giant step.

There are no proposals for how to bring in revenue, “But if you have any ideas, let us know,” Rahn joked.