Mapleton land will be used for new access to state park

After six months of back-and-forth dialogue with Clackamas County, the city may finally be set to acquire a new access point to Mary S. Young State Park in the Robinwood neighborhood.

In a letter dated July 30, Clackamas County Board of by: VERN UYETAKE - By the end of the year, residents should have a new access point to Mary S. Young State Park thanks to an easement from Clackamas County.Commissioners Chairman John Ludlow wrote to the West Linn City Council and offered a proposal to develop an easement on the soon-to-be sold property at 4600 Mapleton Drive, which would be used to install a new entryway at the park.

The easement would be conveyed free of charge from the county, with the rest of the property sold via auction.

“I am pleased,” Ludlow wrote, “that we have been able to find a solution for this property that will provide a public benefit for the Robinwood community and also put the property back on the county tax rolls.”

Now, according to West Linn Parks and Recreation Director Ken Worcester, the city and county will work together to find the right location for the easement.

“The next step is to get together with the county planning department and our planning department to find the best location for the easement,” Worcester said, “so it works for us but also the potential development of the property. You don’t want to just run it right down the middle of the best lot.”

Worcester said the city likely won’t need more than 12 to 15 feet for the new entryway, although “where it ends up will help determine the width we need.”

The Robinwood neighborhood has made clear in the past that it desired a better entrance to Mary S. Young State Park, largely because the closest access point now is about 500 feet downhill.

Though there is no strict timetable yet, Worcester expects the project will likely be completed at some point before the end of 2013.

In February, the city was set to purchase a 3-acre parcel of land at the foreclosed Mapleton property for a heavily discounted price of $47,533.

The parcel of property was approved six years ago for a seven-lot subdivision, but the development never occurred and the property fell into arrears. Clackamas County foreclosed on it early this year.

The parcel is heavily treed and drops in slope about 40 to 50 feet toward Nixon Avenue. The city had originally hoped to construct a path or trail leading from Mapleton to the state park while leaving the rest of the property undisturbed.

However, at a Feb. 26 meeting, the Clackamas County commissioners decided the land was too valuable to sell at such a discount and instead chose to put the property up for auction.

After more discussions with city officials, the commissioners had a change of heart.

The easement for a park entrance comes about as a means of compromise, and the county still plans to sell the rest of the property at a public auction.

“The goal is to try to add property whenever we can,” Worcester said. “But if not, property access and easements are always second best.”

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