A bill slated to protect the Oregon Trail from future development was amended in Salem last month, prompting a sigh of relief from opponents. The new compromise between bill sponsor Sen. Brad Avakian (D-Beaverton) and opponents defers protection of the trail for two years, allowing the Parks and Recreation Department to survey the 400-mile stretch within the state and determine which key historic campsites and wagon stops to protect. Realizing that the original bill “would have wiped out most of [Pendleton’s] downtown,” Larry Dalrymple, Pendleton’s economic development director, was relieved by the more selective approach to preservation. The original bill proposed a 100-foot construction buffer zone along both sides of the trail, raising concerns among economic stakeholders ranging from farmers and city officials to wind-energy developers.
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