Oregon Dept. of State Lands
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News Releases
State Land Board approves sale of Bend property, camping restrictions on Willamette River in Eugene and Portland - 12/11/19

SALEM, Ore. – The State Land Board yesterday approved the sale of 382 acres in Bend, and approved restrictions to overnight use and camping on the banks and islands of the Willamette River in Eugene and the Swan Island area of Portland.

Sale of the acres at Stevens Road and 27th Avenue is a significant opportunity for Oregon schools and the city of Bend, Department of State Lands (DSL) Director Vicki L. Walker told the Land Board. The property is school lands, managed to obtain the greatest benefit for public education. Sale proceeds will go to the Common School Fund, which sends twice-yearly distributions to Oregon’s K-12 public schools.

The 382 acres to be sold were brought into Bend’s urban growth boundary in 2016. Bend’s comprehensive plan calls for those acres to be developed into a complete community with a mix of housing and employment types. Bend Mayor Sally Russell said that plan, along with housing policy and funding tools, will ensure the land provides the full range of housing types needed by Bend’s rapidly growing community.   

“We ask the state to expeditiously solicit proposals for private purchase and development of this land, and to accept the proposal that best meets the state’s Common School Fund obligations and the many needs of the local community, none more important than housing,” Mayor Russell said.

DSL anticipates sale of the acres through a purchase agreement with an extended contract period to allow for completion of planning and annexation processes. This approach helps ensure progress on development of the property and allows the state to obtain the best value for schools.  

Marketing of the 382 acres will begin in January 2020. The remaining 261 acres of the Stevens Road property, which are outside the urban growth boundary, will remain in state ownership.  

The Land Board also adopted permanent rules to close the banks and islands of the Willamette River in Eugene, and the Swan Island area in Portland, to overnight use. The rules also prohibit camping and fires at all times. Temporary restrictions on overnight use, camping and fires have been in place since May 15 in Eugene and July 1 in Portland and remain in effect. The permanent restrictions go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Stakeholders and the public supported the use restrictions. Rules advisory committees met in summer 2019 to provide input on potential changes and develop draft rules. DSL also sought public comment during hearings and a public comment period in October 2019.

The Land Board yesterday also heard an update on exploration of the Elliott State Research Forest concept and significant progress made over the past year. Read the Elliott update news release.

Exploration of potential Elliott State Research Forest to continue - 12/10/19

The Oregon Department of State Lands and Oregon State University will continue to explore transforming the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned state research forest

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) and Oregon State University (OSU) today updated the State Land Board on exploration of the Elliott State Research Forest concept and significant progress made over the past year.

This progress includes the development of a draft research charter and development of guiding principles related to forest benefits of recreation, education, local economy, conservation and governance. The potential research forest concept has also been incorporated into ongoing habitat conservation planning.

The Elliott State Forest Advisory Committee delivered a unanimous joint statement to the Land Board and recommended that work continue to transform the Elliott into a publicly owned state research forest.

“Our individual perspectives on the Elliott State Forest and our priorities for its future may differ. However, we agree that OSU should be provided the opportunity to address outstanding issues, and determine if terms required to address those issues are consistent with the Land Board vision for the Elliott,” the committee’s joint statement read.

In addition to the work of the advisory committee this past year, DSL and OSU have engaged tribes, local governments, state agencies, stakeholders, and the public in initial conversations regarding a potential Elliott State Research Forest.

Last December, the State Land Board directed DSL to work collaboratively with OSU to develop a plan for transforming the Elliott into a research forest.

The Land Board vision for the forest includes keeping the forest publicly owned with public access; decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund and compensating the fund for the forest; continuing habitat conservation planning to protect species and allow for harvest; and providing for multiple forest benefits, including recreation, education and working forest research. A successful research forest proposal is expected to be consistent with the Board vision.

The Advisory Committee noted that continued work was needed to resolve complex outstanding questions, such as how the forest will be decoupled from the Common School Fund and what a governance structure for the forest should look like.  

“While outstanding questions remain, there is enthusiasm around continued pursuit of an Elliott State Research forest,” says DSL Director Vicki L. Walker. “Diverse interests have expressed commitment to seeking a future for the Elliott in a research forest.”

As exploration continues, Oregonians can stay up-to-date via the Elliott State Forest website or by joining the Elliott State Forest updates email list. Increased opportunities for the public to provide input, both as part of the continuing exploratory process and during the formal habitat conservation planning process, are anticipated.

Land Board to hear Elliott State Forest update on Dec. 10 in Salem - 12/03/19

SALEM, Ore. – The State Land Board will hear an update on ongoing exploration of a potential Elliott State Research Forest during its Dec. 10 meeting in Salem.

The Board in December 2018 directed the Department of State Lands (DSL) to work collaboratively with Oregon State University (OSU) to develop a plan for transforming the Elliott into a research forest. During next week’s meeting, DSL and OSU will provide updates on the research forest exploratory process and ask the Land Board to provide guidance on next steps.

The Board will also consider adopting permanent use restrictions for the state-owned banks and islands of the Willamette River within the city of Eugene and in the Swan Island area of Portland, and sale of a portion of the Stevens Road property in Bend.

The meeting will be held:
Tuesday, Dec. 10
10 a.m.
Department of State Lands
Land Board Room
775 Summer St. NE, Salem

Meeting agenda and materials are availlable on the DSL website. To live stream the meeting, go to the State Lands YouTube channel.

This meeting will be held in a facility that is accessible for persons with disabilities.  If you need assistance to participate in the meeting due to a disability, please notify Arin Smith at 503-986-5224 or in.n.smith@state.or.us">arin.n.smith@state.or.us at least two working days prior to the meeting.

Visitors are not permitted to bring backpacks, bags, or large purses into the Department of State Lands building prior to, during, or following Land Board meetings. Purses, medical bags, and diaper bags are permitted, but may be subject to inspection by the Oregon State Police.

About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands: The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno and State Treasurer Tobias Read. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.