more than 200 people attend an online hearing; all speakers oppose sale of state land to Thornburgh Resort

(Update: added video, comments from public hearing; clarified some details)

Another public hearing has taken place, as the developer seeks to add property to a controversial project

REDMOND, Ore. (KTZ) — After nearly 20 years of proposals and calls, the back-and-forth over a planned resort west of Redmond continues.

The planned Thornburgh Resort near Eagle Crest has been a long-debated topic among central Oregonians, and a state Department of Lands public hearing on Thursday night brought out many opponents of the potential plot sale. totaling 400 acres to Central Land and Cattle Company, developers of the proposed Thornburgh Resort.

The planned resort complex sits on 1,970 acres southwest of Cline Butte, near Eagle Crest.

The resort was originally proposed in 2005 to include 475 overnight accommodation units and three golf courses, but has come under criticism from some residents and local organizations over its planned water use and Other problems.

The Oregon State Land Department is considering a request to sell 400 acres of public land to the developers of Thornburgh Resort. There have already been several public hearings on the matter, which have proven to be controversial.

During the public hearing, representatives of the State’s DSL stated that there were no endangered, threatened or sensitive species in the territory under study and no mineral or energy resources of value. on the spot.

The agency also noted that no archaeological sites or artifacts were found on site during investigations – but because such cultural resources have been found on nearby land, there is a “moderately high likelihood that they are present”.

The department assesses these factors to assess their impact on the value of the property and its ability to generate income through the Common School Fund, should the property be sold.

More than 200 people attended the session, and all who testified opposed the possible sale, with many citing worsening drought as a factor in such developments.

Deschutes County is experiencing the most extreme drought conditions in 127 years. Some residents are concerned about where the water it will use for man-made lakes, golf courses and other amenities will come from.

“I live just south of the proposed land sale, and we don’t need three more golf courses consuming all this water,” one attendee said. “Six million gallons – up to six million gallons just isn’t sustainable. Will you pay for my well when I need to dig a deeper well?”

Others were concerned about land use itself. If the resort is approved, recreation on the grounds and trails in the area will only be permitted for people staying at the resort, not the public.

Central Oregon LandWatch, an organization that monitors planned developments, lumber sales and water use in the area, has long opposed the resort, saying in a statement that “beloved public lands don’t belong behind a fence”.

As with other state-owned land, the property the resort is seeking to purchase benefits the Common School Fund, land that was granted to Oregon by the federal government to generate revenue for that fund to K-12 education.

One participant said that if the land is sold, it will be a short-lived boost to the school fund. If it is not sold and continues to be rented, the value of the land will increase.

“It’s money that could be raised for the Common School Fund, basically forever,” he said.

Bend Councilman Anthony Broadman also commented.

“Generations to come will reflect on this moment in Oregon’s land use history, on the decisions we make now in parts across our state,” he said, “and will ask us if we have followed the Oregon land use system and honored the land.”

“So I would ask: would you consider what we need as a region instead of what very few want. Growth for growth’s sake is a cancer cell ideology,” Broadman said.

Central Land and Cattle Company LLC, developer of Thornburgh, currently leases the state-owned land it seeks to purchase. Deschutes County approved a master plan for the station, which was appealed by longtime station nemesis Nunzie Gould to the County Land Use Appeal Board. ‘State. If she wins, the plan returns to Deschutes County for another round.

DSL also told the audience that there are no water rights or permits associated with the parcel. The applicant will need to apply to the Oregon Department of Water Resources to purchase or transfer water rights.

While the county has held several public hearings over the years as it makes land use decisions regarding the proposed compound, the State Land Board will make the final decision on whether the land is sold.

After nearly three hours of testimony, a DSL spokeswoman said written comments would be accepted until March 17 and the sale would be submitted to the three-member State Land Board – consisting of the Governor, State Treasurer and Secretary of State – at their June meeting, at the earliest.