News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Testing waters for forest development

The last remnants of proposed development in Camp Sherman is slowly — and tentatively — moving forward.

The Ponderosa Land and Cattle Company is the holder of 17,000 acres located north of Highway 20 and several miles east of Camp Sherman and the Metolius River.

The property was purchased by the Colson family in about 2007 from Weyerhaeuser when they were divesting themselves of holdings in Central Oregon. About the same time, Dutch Pacific Resources purchased 647 acres on the west side of the Metolius Basin and proposed building an eco-resort named The Metolian (see story on page 1).

The Colsons initially announced plans to develop an extensive 3,000-acre resort similar to the nearby Black Butte Ranch, including as many as 2,500 high-end homes, a lodge, and multiple golf courses.

Jefferson County had identified the Dutch Pacific property and the Ponderosa property as two parcels for possible destination resort development. A protracted political battle followed, ending in the Metolius Basin being declared an Area of Critical State Concern (ACSC), blocking any large developments.

Additional legislation allowed the Colsons to develop a greatly scaled-down project of 120 housing units, with no golf courses. Nothing was done for over a decade but Brad Colson, a builder and developer based in Vancouver, Washington, recently confirmed to The Oregonian that his family company is in the process of extending electrical power and other services to land on the east side of Green Ridge. It is the first step in what could result in 120 housing units.

Several months ago, Jefferson County Community Development Director Scott Edelman told The Nugget they had received a notice of a Land Use Compatibility Survey to drill test wells to determine the availability of water.

Last week, Assistant Planner Tanya Cloutier said that any development of the Colson property “would require lots of discussions and there is a whole process they will have to go through.”

She also said, “If there’s no water, there will be no build.”

“We haven’t yet made the final decision of whether to go ahead with it,” Colson told The Oregonian. “But we’re bringing out the infrastructure.”

The Colson family made their fortune building senior housing facilities throughout the U.S. Brad Colson’s father founded Holiday Retirement Corp. which he sold in 2007 to Fortress Investment Group for $6.9 billion.


Reader Comments(0)