Eco-friendly resort developers' goal
- Holly M. Gill
- Madras Pioneer - News
It may be years before they get final approval to build Jefferson County's first destination resort, but Shane Lundgren and Jim Kean, the co-managers of Dutch Pacific Resources, will be ready.
Already, the partners have put together a Web site and attractive brochure, touting the advantages of what they describe as a "unique outdoor community."
On a 627-acre parcel in the southwestern portion of Jefferson County, Lundgren and Kean are planning a low-impact, environmentally sustainable destination resort, geared toward people interested in outdoor recreation, which will be called "The Metolian."
"We actually think we can create a different example of how a destination resort should be," said Kean, 46, of Portland. "For instance, we won't have a golf course. We think we can cater to a rapidly growing affluent, well-educated market."
Eco-tourism, he explained, is considered the fastest growing category of tourism. "There aren't any (resorts) that cater to that in Central Oregon," Kean said. "They're all golf-oriented."
Under Oregon law, developers of large destination resorts are required to spend $9.83 million on public recreational facilities -- which usually ends up being a golf course.
Instead of a golf course, which requires a tremendous amound of water, Kean and Lundgren intend to spend that money on enhancing the environment -- cleaning up the streams that run into the Metolius and creating wildlife habitat.
"Everyone was chasing golf course communities, and now there's a shifting demographic of people who are interested in eco-tourism," said Lundgren, 46, of Camp Sherman. "Young people don't have time to golf. There's room for other ideas."
At a conference in Arizona that Kean attended earlier this year, he learned that most master-planned vacation communities currently under development have a "green theme."
"Golf as an amenity is kind of dying," he commented. "The number one thing people rate as their favorite amenity is a well-developed trail system for hiking and biking."
The property is located off Highway 20, north of the entrance to Suttle Lake, at the gateway to the Mount Jefferson Wilderness and the Deschutes National Forest.
Kean has long been impressed by the extensive network of trails in the area. "It's one of the most wonderful things about Jefferson County, is the sheer amount of trails," he said.
Former commercial property
The property, formerly owned and logged by Weyerhauser, was purchased in November of 2005, with the intention of repairing the damage done by years of clearcutting.
"We just didn't want to see someone else buy it," said Kean, pointing out that it was zoned as forest land, and "it hadn't been well cared for."
When the county held zoning hearings in the summer of 2006 -- for the first time mapping areas for possible destination resorts -- they began to consider a different type of resort.
"Our idea is extreme low impact, zero carbon footprint," Lundgren explained.
With the changing Oregon economy, he said, people need to look at the benefit of using resources wisely. "We've had a positive response to the whole concept," he added.
Although they could put in up to 2,500 residences, "we think that's way too much," said Kean. "We don't see doing more than 500 residences. Of the dozen odd destination resorts in Central Oregon, we'd be the smallest."
"The average home uses 300 gallons of water a day," said Kean. "The average destination resort home uses 1,200 a day, and our goal and what we're engineering for is to be under 150 (gallons a day). There are communities out there doing that."
Lundgren and Kean have put together a development team including project manager Jon Skidmore, of Bend; civil engineering firm Bussard Williams, of Bend; Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects, of Portland; marketing and public relations firm Gard Communications, of Portland; government affairs firm Government Relations Strategies Inc., of Portland; and Steve Pfeiffer of the legal and land-use firm Perkins Coie, which has offices around the world.
"As the first part of the plan, we want to have an inn, or lodge," said Lundgren. "There will be onsite employee housing, so you cut down on fuel use and commuting time."
In their outdoor community, they plan to incorporate solar and geothermal energy sources, while encouraging conservation.
"With this resort, if you create a constituency of people with money, then you have an economic resource," Lundgren observed.
That money could be used for environmental restoration projects in the Metolius basin, such as retrofitting the cabins to prevent pollution from outdated septic systems.
"It's a pristine and special place, and it deserves something for the next 100 years," said Lundgren.
When he speaks about the Metolius basin, Lundgren knows what he's talking about. A longtime resident of Camp Sherman, he and his family have owned a 200-acre parcel on the Metolius for nearly a century.
His great-grandfather, John Zehntbauer, who founded Jantzen Knitting Mills in Portland with Carl Jantzen in 1910, purchased the property in 1915.
Zehntbauer regularly visited the property, which had a tented camp, and later, three cabins, which still remain.
Relating some interesting family history about the family resort, where his father currently lives, Lundgren noted, "Kirk Douglas and Ernest Hemingway used to come there in the '30s."
After growing up in Bend, he moved to New Mexico with his mother and stepfather, and attended the private Albuquerque Academy. At the University of San Diego, he earned a bachelor's degree in history, while also obtaining his pilot's license.
When he became qualified as a Boeing 737 pilot in 1982, at age 21, he was the youngest 737 pilot in the world. Since his father and grandfather, Kim and Leonard Lundgren, owned Berlin Air, he immediately stepped into a job as a pilot for the company, based in Germany.
He and his wife Wendela have three children, two daughters ages 13 and 12, and a son, 5, all born in his wife's native Holland.
Kean met Lundgren at his real estate office, the Dutch Pacific Group, in Sisters, when Kean was inquiring about property in the area.
Kean attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, where he earned a degree in international business and economics, before earning a master's degree in 1991 from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H.
A technology executive throughout the 1990s, Kean started the largest healthcare Web site -- WebMD -- for consumer and professional healthcare.
From 1999 to 2001, he worked as a venture capitalist in Palo Alto, Calif. "We didn't like it down there, so we came back to Portland," he said, noting that he has lived there since then.
Both Lundgren and Kean have traveled extensively throughout the world, and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities.
In the summer of 1999, Kean, an avid outdoorsman who is familiar with many of the West's trails, walked the 2,700-mile Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mexican border to Canada.
He and his wife Maggie have two children, a 7-year-old son, and a 5-year-old daughter.
Confident of approval
The developers are confident that Jefferson County's Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance -- which was appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals shortly after it was adopted by the county in December of 2006 -- will ultimately be approved.
"The good news in the (Board) of Appeals was 90 percent of the stuff was thrown out," said Lundgren, noting that the chairman of LUBA, Michael A. Holstun, wrote the opinion.
LUBA remanded the county's comprehensive plan for some minor changes last month, but before any changes could be made, the original appelants indicated that they intended to appeal the entire LUBA decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
While they await the results of the lengthy appeals process, Kean said, "We're proceeding ahead. We're doing our planning."
"We basically get three to five e-mails a week from people asking if (the cottages) are ready yet," said Lundgren. "With our investors and everyone we speak with, we say it's a long plan. We expect to have a master plan by the end of summer."