Sid Friedman with 1,000 Friends of Oregon said the proposed development could irrevocably change the character of the area and disrupt surrounding agricultural and timber uses. He also fears the impact such a resort would have on endangered salmon and steelhead, as well as the drinking water for Stayton and Salem.
Wildlife biologist Nancy Taylor prepared a report for the Marion County Planning Division stipulating that unless certain mitigation measures are adopted, the project potentially could have an adverse impact on native fish and wildlife species.
In 1984 the original owner of the land, Don Cutler, received approval to create an 18-hole golf course and a destination resort. The golf course was built but Cutler died in 1998 before he could complete the project. Pacific Security Capital has designed the development in compliance with the 1984 approval.
Friedman believes the development would not be approved under current laws that protect forestland and wildlife habitat.
“The applicants want the county to apply outdated standards that existed 25 years ago,” Friedman said. “They are conceding some of today’s standards and are asking for exceptions.”
Management Director with Pacific Security Capital Rick Dyer said no specific plans have been drawn up because it is too early in the process. But they are designing a water recycling system that would retain storm water to be used to irrigate the golf course.
“We have said we want to utilize sustainable building practices and we will seek LEED certification for the main buildings and clubhouses. We think we’re going about it as responsibly as we can and we intend to be good stewards.”
Salem city officials have said they will install a monitoring station to keep track of quality in the city’s water supply.
Executive Director for the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center Tom Atiyeh said they support the development.
“We’re the oldest operation in that canyon and we always have concerns about any changes here,” Atiyeh said. “We started looking at their plans and they’re doing a pretty good job of adopting sustainable practices and addressing green issues. I know a lot of people are concerned about it because it means change.”