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Sweet Home, Oregon
November 21, 2012     The New Era Paper
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November 21, 2012

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I  rn - November 21,2012 VouR COMMUNITV Page 9 m Forest From page 1 which is a portion of our economy. This could provide for expansion of that particular economic benefit," he said. Steve Bryant, a staff member for the Oregon Solutions program based at the National Policy Con- sensus Center in the Hatfieid School of Government at Portland State University, said the governor and staff members see "tremendous op- portunity" in East Linn County. He said the governor's team got interested when "several Sweet Home stakeholders began talking about working together in collabor- ative way with the U.S. Forest Ser- vice and other public agencies in the . area to try to build the Sweet Home economy with a focus on natural re- sources." The management team being established for the project will con- sist of a wide range of individuals from various government agencies, universitiesand private entities. Thus far, local members in- clude Glick, Martin; Sweet Home Economic Development Director Brian Hoffman; County Commis- sioner Will Tucker, Eric Hartstein of the South Santiam Watershed Coun- cil; Brian Carroll, director of the Linn County Parks and Recreation Department; and Dave Furtwan- gler of Cascade Timber Consulting, which manages thousands of acres of private timberland in the area un- der consideration. In addition, the group will in- clude Bryant and Oregon Solutions colleague Michael Mills, Cynthia Solie, executive director of Oregon Cascades West Council of Govern- ments, an association of miff-Wil- lamette Valley cities, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties and other gov- ernment entities; Thomas Maness, dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University; Nathalie Gitt of OSU, Maness' executive assistant; Emily Jane Davis of the University of Oregon, a rural eco- nomic development consultant; Eric White of OSU, a professor in the College of Forestry who specializes in enterprise projects and a holistic approach to using the forest in a healthy manner that produces eco- nomic benefits; Nikola Smith of the U.S. Forest Service's Pacic North- west Research Station; Dan Whelan of Sen. Jeff Merkley's office; Juine Chada of Sen. Ron Wyden's office; Nick Batz of Rep. Peter DeFazio's office; and Pat Moran of ODOT's Scenic Byways program. Also, Tucker will recommend some local citizens, including one from Cascadia. Bryant said the goal is to bring in representatives from Linn-Benton Community College and the Col- lege of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest in Lebanon. "The advantage of getting ev- erybody together in one room is we're focusing on the common benefits for all folks," Martin said. "Now that we've got potential ben- efits for all the folks at least pre- liminarily identified, it creates focus towards moving forward to positive solutions. It also helps minimize potential for conflicts and concerns that could potentially hamper the ef- fort." The fact that it is a collabora- tive effort also helps, because those involved have "common desires. looking at whatever the benefits may be," he added. "Everybody engaged in the process is a significant stakeholder, who has the potential to see a lot of benefits here." Tucker said the very fact that the team has been authorized is turning heads. "This is a big topic," he said. "I'm all for trying to find a way to make this work. Having the gov- ernor's focus also brings in federal connections, senators, the Forest Service, and a number of people from federal-level staff to help us as well. This designation helps strengthen our position with our federal partners. "We've done cooperative things - environmental, archael- ogical, in the Quartzville corridor - we've done a lot of broad topics before. I think we could have done this (community forest) but it would have taken many years to do what we could accomplish here in a year or two. "This brings people together who are trained in collaboration and facilitation. The governor is saying. 'I think this is an important project for the state of Oregon. I'm going to give you staff resources.' "We put the money up, but we're getting a team of forestry experts from OSU, managers from a regional solution center coming to our meeting. The management team is coming, saying, 'How can I help you?' Instead of calling.up the alphabet soup and trying to guess who we need to talk to, they're call- ing us."' The project will be chaired by two conveners - Maness and So- lie - and managed by Bryant and Mills. The various members, rep- resenting business, government and nonprofits, will meet every three or four weeks for the next six or eight months, with possible additional meetings for subcommittees, to agree on what role each can play to address the various needs. "We'll brainstorm ideas for throwing projects together that will help create jobs, tourism opportu- nities and protection for cultural resources," Bryant said. "We're very interested in gathering ideas and hearing from community, how we can help the community thrive by focusing on the assets that are there." Specifically, th e project has several possible components. Trails The team's goal is to establish a trail running between Sweet Home and Moose Creek possibly an- chored by the proposed county park planned for the property foreclosed by the county from Western States Reliance Trust. Bryant said one concept is to establish a network of trails "radi- ating out" from River Bend Camp- ground, including a route for hikers and bikers along the river. "Ultimately, a lot of people think it would be really beneficial to the Sweet Home community to have access from Foster Reservoir to the File Photo Nearly everyone at this preliminary meeting, held in June, has been appointed to the Oregon Solutions Team. Willamette National Forest," he said. "It might require some bridges across the river to get from one side or the other, to avoid private land. We could build on the historical as- pects of Santiam Wagon Road. Wouldn't it be wonderful to hop on your bike and be able to get all the way to Soda Fork? If you look at what Oakridge has been able to do to attract mountain bikers to the terrain around Oakridge, why not in Sweet Home? This is an opportunity to do that." South Santiam River "We want to create opportuni- ties so the public can not only go to the lakes, but go to the river," Glick said. "We want to create more access for fishing, swimming and canoeing in addition to hiking and other trail activities. "The river is where we get drinking water, but working together with different landowners, we want to make the water healthy - clean, cold water. We don't want to have a lot of littering and sediment en- try into the stream. We would like to restore the fishery that was here - winter steelhead and Chinook salmon." Bryant said some participants have already made a preliminary trip to Bend to talk about how its parks department developed use of the Deschutes River. "It's amazing, the amount of users on that river that then add to the local economy," he said. "They rent padd!eboards, kayaks, canoes, rafts. Then they eat at restaurants and stay in hotels. They then cre- ated that shopping area in the old mill district. "Sweet Home has similar op- portunities. It has an old mill site that has huge recreational potential. How that old mill site gets devel- oped is not part of this project, but it could easily serve as an anchor for the west end. The other end is where the old Tomco mill site is, which also has some river frontage. Something could happen there. "There are beautiful sections of the river with no public access. Peo- ple are using kayaks when the flows are high. Why not build on that?" Timber Industry Glick, who worked in Sisters before moving to head the Sweet Home Ranger District, said that, in addition to recreation, the local for- est could be providing "a multiplici- ty of outputs" - particularly biomass and special forest projects. "That's what a community for- est is all about - the community getting reconnected to the forest - a healthier forest through recreational access and creating jobs." Bryant noted that Glick likes to use the term "working forest." He said that concept is what has roused the interest of the OSU fac- ulty members. "What attracted them to the project is that we have a great labo- ratory - some of the best timber in the world," he Said. "They are in- terested in helping both private and public landowners to take advantage of the unique forestry environment and showcase how to manage the forest for the economic gain of com- munity." Caseadia Cave The primary "cultural resource" in the area is the rocky overhang that features petroglyphs from cen- turies ago. The cave, east of Casca- dia State Park, is on Cascade Timber Consulting-managed land and has been the object of looting and van- dalism by unauthorized visitors over the years, officials say. "There's a big collaborative effort with the current landowner, State Parks, the tribes, and all the other stakeholders interested in that unique cultural site," said Glick. The alphabet soup of govern- ment agencies, the wishes of various tribes and other factors have compli- cated discussion of what to do with the cave in the past, officials have said. They have said, privately, that an approach like the one provided by the team may be a way to work through the difficulties. "What's different about this is once they accept the project - and they have - the governor and federal partners are now aligned to make the project work more smoothly than it otherwise would have," Tucker said, referring to the project in general. Hoffman said the project pro- vides very obvious benefits for Sweet Home. "I really truly believe that our strength is our quality of life and this enhances our quality of life," he said. "Quality of life is what makes people want to live here and open up businesses here. This effort will re- ally connect all our natural assets to our community and really solidify that linkage." Bryant said the biggest chal- lenge will be focusing on manage- able projects. "There's no shortage of ideas and projects to work on," he said. Martin said the nature of this group and the effort promises lon- ger-lasting results, since putting the pieces together may take some time. "This is a longer, rather than shorter effort," but that usually means it will be more stable and sustainable in the future," he said. "There will be longer-lasting results, more benefits for all involved." Tucker said an open house/ town meeting will be held in "early December" to give local residents a chance to weigh in on things that are happening in East Linn County -"everything from the possibility of getting a Cascadia Post Office again to the fish ladder at Foster to, possi- bly, ODOT work on Highway 20. "I'm trying to put together a huge community meeting." "I think Sweet Home has been left out sometimes, but now it's in the center," he said. "This is not just a Sweet Home thing, though. In ad- dition to recreation, these jobs will help everyone. This is the tip of the iceberg, but this is an iceberg that's coming to town." 0220121782AC Kendall Holmes Lebanon, OR 541-451-5777 00.oJaLm kZT Z .... 5 ' FINANCIAL