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State OKs sale of Stevens Road tract, outlines plans


Will go on the market next month, for a 'complete community' development

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The State Land Board on Tuesday approved the sale of 382 state-owned acres in southeast Bend, laying out its plans for putting the property on the market next month.

The board also approved restrictions to overnight use and camping on the banks and islands of the Willamette River in Eugene and the Swan Island area of Portland.

Sale of the acres at Stevens Road and 27th Avenue is a significant opportunity for Oregon schools and the city of Bend, Department of State Lands Director Vicki Walker told the Land Board.

The DSL-managed school lands are managed to obtain the greatest benefit for public education. Sale proceeds will go to the Common School Fund, which sends twice-yearly distributions to Oregon’s K-12 public schools.

The 382 acres to be sold were brought into Bend’s urban growth boundary in 2016, the western part of a state-owned 640-acre parcel.

Bend’s comprehensive plan calls for those acres to be developed into a complete community, with a mix of housing and employment types. Bend Mayor Sally Russell said that plan, along with housing policy and funding tools, will ensure the land provides the full range of housing types needed by Bend’s rapidly growing community.   

“We ask the state to expeditiously solicit proposals for private purchase and development of this land, and to accept the proposal that best meets the state’s Common School Fund obligations and the many needs of the local community, none more important than housing,” Russell said.

The mayor was joined in testifying to the board in support of the land sale by state Rep. Cheri Helt and state Sen. Tim Knopp, both of Bend.

DSL said it anticipates sale of the property through a purchase agreement with an extended contract period to allow for completion of planning and annexation processes. It said the approach helps ensure progress on development of the property and allows the state to obtain the best value for schools.  

Marketing of the 382 acres will begin in January. The remaining, eastern 261 acres of the Stevens Road property, which are outside the Bend urban growth boundary, will remain in state ownership.  

The Land Board also adopted permanent rules to close the banks and islands of the Willamette River in Eugene, and the Swan Island area in Portland, to overnight use. The rules also prohibit camping and fires at all times.

Temporary restrictions on overnight use, camping and fires have been in place since May 15 in Eugene and July 1 in Portland and remain in effect. The permanent restrictions go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Stakeholders and the public supported the use restrictions. Rules advisory committees met in summer 2019 to provide input on potential changes and develop draft rules. DSL also sought public comment during hearings and a public comment period in October 2019.

The Land Board yesterday also heard an update on exploration of the Elliott State Research Forest concept and significant progress made over the past year. Read the Elliott update news release.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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