Oregon Chapter Opposes Thornburgh Resort Proposal

What's proposed?

  • 1,425 dwelling units, including 900+ permanent, 425 overnight and 50 room Hotel.
  • Three 18-hole golf courses
  • 20 Acre water ski lake
  • Ten-fold increase in vehicle traffic on Highway 126 and Cline Falls Road, at completion.

Why this Matters: Many of our conservation partners and the general public oppose this sale.

The land in question is considered by the Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to be "Biological Wintering Grounds” for mule deer--this land is extremely important to deer survival. The area is also home Elk and many other species of wildlife including birds – most occupying it year-round1.

Mule deer populations have been in steep unrelenting decline for the last two decades in central Oregon. So much so it’s been the subject of local and statewide media over the last few years. Why the decline? In large part this is due to loss of wildlife habitat at an appalling and frightening rate, along with other human pressures. When the habitat is gone, it is gone forever, along with all the wildlife which rely upon these critical lands.

Perhaps most important is the one thing all life requires - WATER. Less than 2 months ago, ODFW expressed very deep concerns with the 1200 Acre resort meeting its previously required and agreed mitigation requirements. ODFW’s concern has only grown as the drought worsens. To add an additional of 400 acres of public land to the project in spite of ODFW’s warning would be unconscionable1,2.

The Thornburgh Resort reached an agreement over water use with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) in 2008. The resort claimed it would rely on certain cold-water sources. However, it appears that those water sources may no longer be available. To protect fish and wildlife, the County requires the resort to either: 1). Demonstrate that the terms of the original fish and wildlife mitigation plan are still in place, or 2). If the water sources have changed, the County must require the resort to reach a new agreement with ODFW to show that any negative impact on fish and wildlife resources from the new water sources will be completed mitigated.

To also ignore the lessons which the state should be learning from the third-year of severe drought declarations, there are extremely serious water issues unfolding in many central and eastern Oregon counties. A resort of this magnitude impacting groundwater would be an egregious disregard for ecological and human welfare, after looking at the Governor’s own drought declarations4.

 

Read the full testimony here.

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