CPRD committee begins crafting plans for Rilee Park
When the Chehalem Park and Recreation District acquired 320 acres on Parrett Mountain from the Crystal Dawn Rilee Foundation in January 2014, the possibilities for the resulting park were practically endless.
However, there appeared to be nearly as many potential complications and issues to consider before CPRD could plan how it will develop the property, which is why the park board created an advisory committee in May.
The board initially appointed five citizens — Regina Shapiro, Missi Gregg, Rob Lewis, Brian Bowman and Mary Harwood — who met for the first time in June, at which point they added Wendy Wente and Jon Globig from the remaining pool of applicants.
"They're all really solid people," Lewis said of his new colleagues. "I think the board had a lot of wisdom in picking younger people, you might say, and people from diverse parts of the community. I think what's going to come out of this is something really good, something that the community can get behind."
The board considered appointing one of two applicants who wanted to represent the disc golf community on the committee, but neither David Aman or Burke Walls were selected by the then-five member group.
Aman and Walls were integral to the expansion and renovation of the disc golf course at Champoeg State Park and had previously told the board their group, PacWest Disc Golf, was willing to fund and provide labor for the installation of a course on the property.
Lewis said that disc golf, as well as the amount of representation from the neighborhood surrounding the park, was part of the discussion among the original five members, but that they ultimately chose to approach the decision based on the merits of each applicant and not where they lived.
The potential impacts of a course that would need to be considered include safety for other park users, especially trail users, increased traffic and even fire safety, but Bowman, who regularly disc golfed in the past, expects there "aught to be room to work something out."
The full committee met for the first time June 19, mostly to get aquainted and see a bit of the property.
To this point, CPRD board member Don Loving has chaired the committee, but electing officers, along with taking a more extensive tour of the property, will be the main order of business, after which Loving will remain involved on a limited basis, mostly as liaison to the board.
"I think we have a good diversity of points of view," Lewis said. "There are seven people on the committee. Three of them, generally speaking, qualify as being neighbors or Parrett Mountain area residents. We have folks from town that have kids. There's a person on the committee that's an event planner. We have an equestrian person. There's Rob Lewis, who's looking at some of the historical aspects of the property."
Loving said the preliminary discussions that have taken place have been good, but that the group is purposefully taking its time to approach its task, which is to produce at least an informal master plan to the CPRD board, which will have sole discretion on final decisions.
Loving said much of the work this fall will be to establish bylaws and operating procedures for the committee, which he thinks will be in place by the end of the year.
"I think this group can do some good work toward that without costing a fortune and having a better feel or sense for what we might want to do up there from a local perspective as opposed to hiring some people from Lake Oswego or whatnot," he said.
A few committee members have expressed a desire to begin the planning process itself by cultivating a shared vision for the park. What is clear already is that the committee members see the task at hand as a unique opportunity to serve the community.
"I think we have a good mix of people with diverse backgrounds that can contribute a great deal to how this park, how this land, how this opportunity can best be utilized for the benefit of all while protecting the environment and the neighborhood," Shapiro said.