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State Parks + Recreation Commission Meet In Coos Bay
The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission will hold its third meeting of the year July 16-17 at the Mill Casino in North Bend. The July 16th session meeting will begin at 8:30am with an executive session to discuss acquisition priorities and legal issues; this session is closed to the public.
On July 17, the commission will convene its regular business meeting at 8:30am. This portion of the meeting is open to the public and includes time for comment on matters not on the agenda. During the meeting, the commission will consider–but not vote on–a proposed land exchange affecting part of the Bandon State Natural Area near the town of Bandon 25 miles south of Coos Bay. Bandon State Natural Area is a 902-acre property composed of dunes and seasonal wetlands. The property is plagued by gorse, an aggressive, noxious invasive plant. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has spent $67,000 since 2011 to control gorse and restore native plants.
Under the proposal, 280 acres of property closest to Highway 101 would be traded to Bandon Biota, a corporation owned by golf course developer Mike Keiser. Bandon Biota intends to develop a 27-hole walking-only golf course on the property. In exchange, Bandon Biota would pay at least $300,000 for gorse control on nearby state park properties, transfer two land parcels near Bandon totaling 208 acres into the state park system, and pay as much as $2.95 million to help purchase two other properties: oceanfront property in Lincoln County known as Whale Cove, and 6,100 acres of forest, prairie and riparian bottomlands in Grant County for use as a future state park.
According to a state rule approved by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission, property exchanges must provide an overwhelming public benefit. Commissioners will hear a staff presentation on the proposal, and then turn the floor over to public comment. People who wish to comment on the proposal can do so in person at the commission meeting, where speaking time is limited to 3 minutes per person, or in writing by sending comments to: OPRD, Attn: Bandon Proposal, 725 Summer Street Suite C, Salem OR 97301. Comments may also be sent by email to OPRD.firstname.lastname@example.org . Comments submitted by July 15th will be delivered to the Commission before they meet. The deadline for all comments is August 9th, 5pm.