SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – The State Land Board approved a land exchange Tuesday between the state and Deschutes County. The transaction will allow the county to expand its Redmond Fair and Expo Center, as well as its ability to provide emergency services, officials said.
The exchange traded 140 acres of the state’s South Redmond Tract for 137.27 acres of industrial land in Redmond, properties of equal value.
Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang told the Land Board the fairgrounds have been crucial for recent emergency response. More than 100,000 people have received COVID-19 vaccines on-site. Circuit court proceedings have been held at the fairgrounds, to accommodate social distancing needs. The fairgrounds also provided refuge for hundreds during the 2020 fire season. Chang anticipates it also will shelter future Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake evacuees.
“This land exchange will expand these possibilities — it will expand what our fairgrounds can do for our community,” Chang said.
The transaction is part of a collaborative effort between the Department of State Lands, Deschutes County, the City of Redmond and other partners to plan for the use of the South Redmond Tract, a 940-acre parcel of state-owned land southeast of Redmond.
Planning has resulted in the creation of new large-lot industrial land that will enhance economic development, as well as the sale of land to the Oregon Military Department for a new readiness center. This, along with the fairgrounds expansion will support emergency services in Central Oregon.
Other Approved Items
The Land Board also approved a permanent easement for a bridge at the crossing of Oregon Route 34 over the Willamette River in Corvallis that would replace the Van Buren Bridge. The Oregon Department of Transportation applied for the easement to create a new two-lane eastbound bridge with a multi-use path. The new bridge will be built slightly north of the current structure.
Additional approved transactions included the sale of 15.23 surface acres at North Tongue Point in Astoria to Bergerson Construction, Inc. for the appraised value of $188,000, as well as an exchange of rangelands in Harney County. The state traded surface rights to approximately 164 acres for 160 acres of similarly valued privately owned rangelands. The exchange will allow for more cohesive management of the property for DSL and the private owner.
Update to the Territorial Sea Plan’s Rocky Habitat Management Strategy
DSL also presented on efforts to update the Territorial Sea Plan’s Rocky Habitat Management Strategy. The strategy supports coordinated protection and management of Oregon’s unique coastal rocky habitats by identifying sites that may be designated for marine research, education, or conservation. Efforts to date have included engagement with the public to determine priorities for rocky habitat site designations and resource protection, an update to coastwide policies that protect resources, like kelp and eelgrass, and a review of proposed sites. The Oregon Policy Advisory Council has recommended the adoption of two new designated rocky habitat sites, Coquille Point Marine Garden, near Bandon, and Cape Blanco Marine Research Area, located near Port Orford. Rulemaking by DSL and other state agencies will be needed to implement these new designations.
About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands:
The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and State Treasurer Tobias Read. Established by the Oregon Constitution in 1859, the Land Board oversees the state’s Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the Land Board’s administrative agency, managing the lands and resources that help fund Oregon’s public schools and protecting the state’s waterways and wetlands for the many benefits they provide.