Conservation Corruption

Welfare for Wildish:
"protecting" Wildlish company land along the Willamette

The Bonneville Power Agency and other government agencies , plus the Nature Conservancy (a tax shelter for large polluters) are giving the Wildlish sand and gravel mining company over twenty million dollars to purchase land along the Willamette River. This will allow expansion of Lane County's Buford Park (Mt. Pisgah).

However, this deal is overpriced -- at almost twenty thousand dollars per acre. The land along the Middle Fork that is supposed mitigation for habitat destruction elsewhere is directly below dangerous dams and therefore does not have much real estate value. One can buy F2 land (impacted forestland) with houses on it for less money per acre.

The Wildlish land is overpriced, since it's mostly floodplain and it's below dangerous dams. The very real risk of flooding is the reason it was never built on (for subdivisions). It's shameful that Wildish is getting too much tax-deductable money for their greed, if the environmental groups had more backbone this acquisition could have happened for much less money. But if there was more acknowledgement of flooding risks there would be fewer fantasies of overdeveloping other parts of the floodplains. There might even be recognition that the upstream dams need structural work and are not designed for the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

It makes more sense to fix the original problems caused by the Columbia River dams. Giving the Wildish family a lot of public money doesn't mitigate these problems. Fish habitat in the Columbia River is not improved by changing the ownership of gravel pits and floodplain in a different watershed.

If the zoning of the Wildish family's lands reflected the inability of real estate speculators to build homes in floodplains immediately downstream of dangerous dams this land would have less financial value and be cheaper to acquire for conservation purposes.

The Oregon Nature Conservancy had paving enthusiast Randy Pape on their board of directors at the same time that Pape was pushing for approval of the West Eugene Porkway through endangered habitat. Pape was on the Oregon Transportation Commission , which sets policy for ODOT, while supposedly advising the Oregon Nature Conservancy on ecology policies. To my knowledge, the Oregon Nature Conservancy never publicly objected to the proposal to build the West Eugene Porkway through endangered species habitat -- they certainly didn't make public objections during my involvement in the issue from 1999 to 2007.

An uncritical report, including maps and details of the deal, is at
www.bufordpark.org/wildish_announcement