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|Articles - July 2010|
|Thursday, June 24, 2010|
Page 4 of 6
“The new resorts were clearly geared to living there full-time, and not geared to the public,” says Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem. “I grew up in Coos Bay and I don’t think the only option is to have to move to a city to get a job. I want to see tourism helped, and resorts may end up playing a role, but they can’t be about permanent second homes.
“I tried to go to Pronghorn and the guard at the gate wouldn’t let me in.”
The gated Pronghorn, located between Bend and Redmond, has become for some a prime example of resorts gone wrong. Sen. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland, said during a May resort work group meeting that Pronghorn hasn’t met its requirements, including a hotel, and should never have been approved. Deschutes County planning director Nick LeLack says the development “met the letter of the law.”
Pronghorn, which was approved by the county in 2002, has two operating golf courses, 60 of its 374 homes built, and 48 of its required 192 overnight units completed. It has an extension by Deschutes County until 2013 to build its hotel. Managing partner Tom Hix says they will meet that timeline. “We don’t survive unless we have a public component, but you can’t build a hotel on day one,” he says. “You can’t finance it.” He adds that Dingfelder’s remarks are “short-sighted” because the local economy benefits from the resort’s 85 year-round jobs, the $2.5 million it paid in taxes last year and the $700,000 its foundation has given to the community so far.
And those gates that keep out Rep. Clem and presumably other members of the wandering public? Are they conducive to attracting tourism? “There are gated resorts all over the country, all over the world,” Hix says. “Being gated is a natural situation because you have a lot of money invested.”
Alarm over the rapid proliferation of resorts reached a peak statewide and in the Legislature in 2009 when Jefferson County attempted to bring destination resorts to its economically beleaguered county. “They looked at their opportunities,” says Mike McArthur, executive director of the Association of Oregon Counties, “and there were few.”
Jefferson approved two destination resorts in the Metolius River basin in 2006. One was developer Jim Kean’s Metolian, located inside the basin, comprised of 450 homes and a 180-unit lodge. The second, the Ponderosa, planned 2,500 homes and 1,000 overnight units. The fight to stop the resorts went all the way to the Legislature. It was an emotional, heated fight that called into question the motives of legislators with homes in the area. Thousands of Oregonians protested the resorts and the county sued the state, saying it had violated its own planning laws. In the end, the Legislature made the basin an area of critical concern, stopping the Metolian and downsizing the Ponderosa.
In the same session, a resort reform effort that would have removed some regulations on resorts but overall tighten the rules was defeated. Sponsored by Rep. Mary Nolan, D-Portland, and supported by Jackie Dingfelder, the bill called for removing the current requirement for a large footprint, the $10 million for recreational amenities and the minimum number of overnight units. It also required developers to address workforce housing, emergency services and traffic impacts, and banned resorts in some irrigation districts (which would prevent water rights from farmland being transferred to developers) and wildfire areas. And it gave the state Land Conservation and Development Commission additional say in determining whether a resort was appropriate.
The Sierra Club endorsed the bill saying it would “assure that the future resorts are built on the model of Sunriver and Black Butte Ranch, which are genuine visitor-serving facilities, instead of the Pronghorn model which is really a gated luxury golf community for second homeowners.” There’s a bit of irony in the reference to Black Butte, which was started before the state wrote its resort rules. “In 1960, we needed four governmental permits,” remembers Mike Hollern of Brooks Resources.
Monday, September 28, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE
Controversial track star Nick Symmonds is leveraging his celebrity to grow a performance chewing-gum brand. Fans hail his marketing ploys as genius. Critics dub them shameless.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT
We get the education we deserve.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
BY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED
The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction.
Monday, September 28, 2015
BY GARY FISH
Over the years, many mentors have taught me lessons that have helped shape the way I view the world of work and our business.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released a report on the vitality of rural Oregon this week. Media reports focused on the number of Californians moving to the "Timber Belt," but the document contained other interesting insights regarding regional challenges and successes.
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