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home : current news : current news April 29, 2016

4/15/2014 1:26:00 PM
Creekside campground out of legal limbo
By John Griffith and Jim Cornelius

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has cleared Sisters' Creekside Park for continued operation.

The status of the park had been in limbo due to questions surrounding restrictions placed on the property by a 1983 deed that granted the property to the city with a series of conditions.

City Manager Andrew Gorayeb told the city council in a workshop last Thursday, "We had a meeting Tuesday with Oregon Park and Recreation. They have been very kind and generous in one, allowing us to maintain the campground and two, to hold the annual Easter egg hunt.

"But," continued Gorayeb, "they stated very clearly and with no uncertainty at all that we were not to operate the campground as a campground until and unless they gave us authorization in writing."

That authorization came through on Monday, April 14. The deed to the property requires that a master plan be prepared for the property. The City has minutes from 24 years ago that indicate that the planning commission approved a draft master plan for the park. The minutes indicate the city council subsequently approved the plan.

The City has a draft of that agreement, but there is nothing in the city or the state records that indicates approval by the State.

Monday's OPRD letter states that the City is in compliance with the key provision of the old agreement: "Unequivocally, we can agree that there has been no conversion of the land to uses other than public park, scenic or recreation purposes." Click here to view PDF of letter.

OPRD property specialist Kammie Bunes told The Nugget, "The State is not asking the City to keep the park closed. We see the park as a benefit to area residents and visitors and believe the City is providing a high quality of service in the park. We don't see our role as dictating how the City operates the park, rather to ensure it remains used for the intended purposes and that future development, if any, is in accordance with an approved master plan."

OPRD asked the City to "refrain from further development or addition of structures until we've approved a master plan and can compare any possible proposals with a master plan."

If the City cannot find the adopted master plan from 1990, OPRD indicates they could use a draft amended with a cover letter or develop a new master plan and submit that for approval.

But in the interim, the park can operate as it has been.

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