MARION COUNTY PARKS COMMISSION MEETING
June 10, 2004
Attending: John Brandt, Wynn Cudmore, Robert Garrett, Laura Graves, Michael Higgs, Tanya Beard, Orville Rice, Jeff Bickford
Absent: Jyll Smith, Nick McDonough
Recorder: Diana Craig
City of Salem Parks Master Plan Presentation by T.J. Newman.
Proposed BMX facility at Rogers Wayside Park, presentation by Jason Franz.
Introductions: The special guests were introduced to parks board members with apologies for the change in the original meeting date; the BOC will make every effort to attend the next meeting.
Presentation/Discussion: Cooperation and partnering, TJ Newman, City of Salem.
Our Marion County Parks Commission would like to make every effort to work in cooperation with City of Salem to coordinate our efforts for a new park’s master plan. This cooperative effort would allow us to work together on joint projects. We would like to start to develop our Park’s Master Plan with two specific areas. The first would be to determine an appropriate ratio of park acreage to the number of citizens living in Marion County that we serve. TJ shared with the group and gave examples of how their Master Plan continues to be developed. The City of Salem just updated their Parks Master Plan in 1999. They are already considering updating the levels of service by changing the ratio from 8 acres of parkland per 1000 persons to a ratio of 5.5 acres per 1000 persons for developed land to meet the demands of our growing population.
Listed below are excerpts from Salem’s Parks Master Plan: http://www.cityofsalem.net/~parks
At the direction of Salem’s City Council, their park’s system goal would serve an area about ½ mile for each park including the park’s needs within the urban growth boundaries. Also identified are park areas - mostly school parks. The intent is to provide parks close to elementary schools in that area. The Four Corners and upcoming additional unincorporated areas will be coming into the county’s responsibility for future cooperative planning. As they get annexed into the city they can include these areas with parks. Salem has been working on the trail adjacent to the Willamette River, as proposed in their Master Plan. However, there are so many obstacles to overcome. In conjunction with a proposed development, Salem’s Regulatory Deployment State Lands Proposal could potentially develop a trail along Mill Creek Recreational Path and could include a water path as well. There are already numerous small trails within the city. Minto Brown and Eola Bend Parks are mostly used for recreational trails. As an example of SDC funding, Windy Crover Park was developed last year and named after “Windy” as she helped set up the park’s $250,000 grant and SDC funds. The city is still looking for funding for a proposed trail development planned along an old railroad line. Phase 1 of that project will start construction soon. The I-5 freeway creates a disconnection for a possible trail that could connect the city’s parks system. The estimated cost will be $4 million just for Phase 1, while an estimate for the entire project is $7-8 million. Railroad passage could potentially connect a trail; we need to check with our traffic department on that feasibility. There used to be a tunnel under I-5, however, ODOT didn’t want to maintain the tunnel. With development on both sides of Lancaster, land for parks development is scarce. The old mushroom plant property will most likely be very expensive as there has already been a lot of interest in that property for development. If a connection at that end of town could be developed it could possibly create a loop. Plans to make that happen don’t look very promising at this point.
We will be able to reference the City’s example to reflect and complement our Park’s Master Plan. They can be a great resource to our plan. It is critical that our plans are complementary to each other as that could increase our chances of funding future projects together. The City of Stayton would like to be included in our new master plan. Their upcoming planned development for a Santiam Canyon Trail could potentially tie in with the City of Salem’s trail and connect the trails all the way up the canyon to the City of Mehama. Jason said the bike shops would be helpful in support for these upcoming bike/hiking trails. The City of Eugene was listed as a great example with their bike trail system. A bike system could be a great resource for our community by enabling bike commutes to and from work as well as promoting healthy family recreation. It may also be a great to help with folks who would like to ride to work along with more chances to have family interactions by biking. Tanya asked T.J. what the city could do for us? John again asked about SDC funding and what can they be used for. Salem’s City Council decided their SDC funds have been allocated for property acquisitions for new parks. The city has been paying fair market value for every inch of land for parks, approximately $100,000 an acre for undeveloped areas. Developers are not happy with using these properties for park areas as they could yield higher profit by selling them as lots. Tanya asked how did you determine the acreage per person for parks areas? TJ responded that the national standard is about 10 acres per 1000 person for parks. Salem’s Parks has determined their goal is an estimated 8 acres by the city’s standard. Mike talked about how things were handled. TJ suggested that we talk to Rick Scott from his department about their SDC and come up with some ideas for justification to change SDC levels. We need to get involved with our community’s city council meetings and motivate their groups to help us with our parks. Would we like to see if TJ could arrange for Rick to talk to our folks? Perhaps at our next meeting with the BOC scheduled to attend. He helped develop the new Master Plan for the City of Salem. Rick has a good rapport with county staff, and now is the time to identify key parcels to be developed as recreational trails. Even the governor has approved and would like to christen the trail connections at Minto Brown and our new Eola Bend Park. The group thanked TJ for his input.
Presentation/Discussion: Jason Franz, BMX track at Rogers Wayside in Silverton.
Jason Franz, a local bicycle shop owner, will be giving this presentation. He has been trying to work with the City of Silverton to provide a local area for skateboards, mountain bikes, etc. Rogers Wayside Park is the focus of where he would like to build a track. He has previously raced BMX bikes professionally. He would like to give kids a chance to ride on a track that is comparative to a professional facility. With this park’s close proximity to Silverton, it could provide the area’s children transportation to the park by bicycle. The park is in a natural setting that could provide an ideal location to construct a BMX facility. The park is currently underused and abused with not much upkeep being provided by the county. He would also like to change the public’s current image of the park. He stated it does not appear that this park has been a priority for the county, but also understands that with our limited funds for maintenance it is an uphill battle as there are so many parks we need to maintain. His group would not be asking for money as they have already gathered a majority of the support needed from different areas in the community. This proposal could be a unique opportunity for his community to better utilize this park. With his networking connections to the bike race industry, he feels that his group could put this project together if he could just get the property to use for this venture. He has been working with Oregon Department of Forestry to develop additional biking trails near Silver Creek Falls. As president of Mountain-Street-Dirt-Crew (MS-DC), a local group in Silverton, his commitment to this project is not just motivated financially by his bike shop. There is currently a waterway through the park; their proposed construction would not affect this area. His group would like to acquire at least ½ of the park’s area for use for this proposed bike track. So far, there has been no opposition from the Silverton’s City Council. Orville shared with the group that the City of Silverton had previously asked to use the property for overflow parking for the Oregon Garden. Jason said that if the BMX facility was constructed that MS-DC would provide any maintenance for the facility. Orville stated that water would have to be attained as it is not currently available at the park. It was noted that there is a recreational clause from our Legal Council, Scott Norris stating that we could not charge for use of the track. If we charged for the use of the facility, it could potentially create a liability for Marion County. Our Park’s budget already plans to replace the current pit toilets with a new restroom facility. Questions were asked about the track design plans, i.e. are most of these designed as loops and how would the design connect the route? Orville said that the baseball diamond would most likely need be removed as it is in very poor repair. Any changes to the park would need to consider the areas proximity to wetlands before any earth moving construction could be done. It would potentially take up to 1/3 of the park’s total area. It is possible that playground equipment could be installed, which would most likely increase the park’s usefulness. Wynn asked about the culture of BMX riders. Their group explained that it is very family-oriented and includes activities for young children with a regular crowd that follows the use of these bike areas. The construction of this track would include a variety of riding areas that would serve different skill levels. Several questions were asked regarding this proposal. Could there be a trail around the entire park for just normal bike riding that was not just for BMX use? Have there been any other city’s that have done this kind of project already? Is the City of Silverton interested in supporting this idea? The successful BMX facility at Mollalla was given as an example. The group asked how long the park at Mollalla has been set up? That facility is maintained by a private entity. Their group is not considered non-profit. The group has set up a board that is responsible for any problems that could come up. The City of Salem's skateboard park was partially financed by the National Guard. Laura asked, over the long haul, who would maintain the facility if it were approved? The area is somewhat isolated from the community.
One of the first critical steps that Jason’s group needs to complete is to contact the adjoining property owner, including the Oregon Garden. They will need letters of support from the City of Silverton and the Oregon Garden, too. Another concern was brought up - what is the road access? As there is no shoulder along the highway at the Oregon Garden, could any improvement be done there? You can also access the park from Pettit Lane. The speed limit is 45 mph at that point. Maybe the county could extend the lower speed limit to make the roadway safer to bicyclists. Orville said that he has access to a large stockpile of asphalt grindings. The board members suggested that the BMX group contact Brian from Silverton for a letter of support. Jason said he has already talked to him and could provide a letter if needed. He will go back with the letters of support/approval from Oregon Gardens, adjoining landowners, and Silverton City Council. The park’s board let him know that the final approval will need to come from the BOC and they would only be able to make a recommendation after all of their concerns have been properly addressed. The community needs to know well in advance what the plans for the facility would be. Maybe the City of Silverton could help with cost of putting a well on the property. There is a well drilling company very close by. There is already electricity available for a well that could be put in. With our long rainy season, will the facility be just seasonal?
Jason wrapped up his presentation by sharing his personal interest in the being involved in the project. He is very motivated to get this project going ASAP. Laura commented that the group’s homework would need to be completed ahead of the project, before the Park’s Board could go forward with any recommendations to the BOC. Wynn was glad to hear about the project as he was skeptical about the idea initially. He enforced the need for support from area residents. There will be 2 phases to present this idea to the BOC. The facility in Cottage Grove has been a very positive for their community. Laura gave suggestions to Jason as to how to present these ideas to the people he needs to approach. American Bicycle Association might be contacted to obtain a sign requesting input regarding park’s proposed upcoming use.
Jeff asked the group for their ideas about the proposed project. He felt that the group’s goal is unrealistic for the time frame mentioned. Letters would need to be sent out to residents and businesses ¼ to ½ mile of facility within the neighboring area. The county staff would need to follow up verifying contacts have been made with the adjoining neighborhood. Wynn suggested we could put together a checklist if all these criteria’s are met. The group could possibly meet soon to address these ideas; landowner’s support, addressing access information, who would the agreement be made with (an incorporated group). The City of Silverton might even be considered as a possible partner. There are several critical issues that need to be addressed: liability, professional review of the actual design, and a plan in place to ensure the property’s sustainability and maintenance. This proposed facility could offer an opportunity to make use of the park in a unique way. Should this occur, how will this affect existing aspects of the park? How will our survey pan out for interest in biking versus just making use of the park in a natural setting? It is imperative that we find how the Oregon Garden feels about the idea. Our department could call The City of Mollalla and see how their facility is set up and give us any ideas on what we might face in putting this idea into use, Tanya will follow-up. Jeff asked when soon would the group be available to meet? We plan to set up a meeting during the first or second week in August and consider inviting Jason if he can complete the group’s preliminary requests in time for that meeting. Diana will set up a park’s meeting for that time frame and contact everyone on the meeting time and date. The next step is to coordinate a meeting with the BOC, and possibly set up a public hearing after the BOC reviews. Updates Maintenance, Restoration, Projects, Master Plan Process, Other topics:
(Power Point Presentation) (PDF format for PPT)
Power Point Presentation from the survey questionnaire presented on Earth Day at the Oregon Garden included feedback on the numbers for the park. Orville was asked if he picks up garbage at all the parks for the summer? He responded that our summer student will be coming on board soon and taking on this responsibility. Orville made the suggestion that we need to consider changing the name of Minto (canyon) Park so as not to confuse folks that it is not the city’s Minto Brown Park. We would then need to change the survey from the presentation to clarify “Minto Park”. We are just getting a general idea from folks and get input for their ideas for how they would like to use our parks. The group offered some support in putting this survey out to other areas. Laura suggested that other groups could get involved. Can we make use of our summer students to do some of these surveys? If folks would give $1 per household from taxes, from just this small amount, it would double the park’s current budget. John would like to take on presenting this survey at an upcoming event. Although the feedback from this survey was promising, a larger more diverse group needs to be surveyed using similar questions that would provide a more accurate analysis of what Marion County citizens would like to see as priorities for our park’s future master plan.
Pictures shown on the PPT presentation included an Aumsville Pond, (now called Waldo Pond #4), that was adopted from Waldo Middle School. This project was funding from grant money raised from Subco. They contacted our parks department and asked if we had potential projects to use their grant money. We, of course, were happy to provide this project. Their group hired an experienced crew to go in and do some excavation from the side of the pond. In addition, added some extra logs to the pond. Great news - Orville has seen up to 4 turtles. This has been a great project, which is still ongoing, and being supported by a teacher (Mike Weddle) from Waldo. He will introduce a new class next year to continue on with this project.
Vault project at Bear Creek - Orville shared with the group the difficulties in placing the facility. The crane broke down and created some very complex problems, with no radio and no mechanic. It was a challenge to hotwire the engine and only 2 ½ hours later they had the crane going again. A few problems were encountered with boulders, so they just moved the location of the vault. All around the area is a natural plant area and the project was partially funded by grant monies.
Review of Parks Commission Bylaws: Originally scheduled for this meeting, will be addressed at the next planned park’s meeting as other topics did not allow adequate time for this discussion. Tentatively the next meeting will be planned for early August.