"To protect the Oregon coast by working with coastal residents for sustainable communities; protection and restoration of coastal and marine natural resources; providing education and advocacy on land use development; and adaptation to climate change."

Oregon Coast Alliance is the coastal affiliate of 1000 Friends of Oregon

Oregon Coast Alliance Newsletter

Massive DEQ Violations in Tillamook County and Bandon Resort Hearing

Treehouse Partners LLC Rapped by DEQ for Major Land and Water Violations

Gravel Point Resort: Hearing February 21st

Legislature Begins Soon and the Issue is Housing: Hearing Probably February 8th

Treehouse Partners LLC Rapped by DEQ for Major Land and Water Violations

DEQ photos of the Treehouse Partners Violations at Two Capes Lookout. Courtesy DEQ

You might recall that in April 2023, the Tillamook County Board of Commissioners summarily granted final approval of a 19-slot campground on property just east of Tierra del Mar to Oregon Treehouse Partners LLC. The land use proceedings were controversial, and the county refused to require Treehouse to submit a geological hazard report as required, despite the area being both landslide-prone and having extensive wetlands and Aquatic Resources of Special Concern. ORCA took the county decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals, which agreed that the county must require a geological hazard report. The county barely reviewed it before approving the project a second time. 

Treehouse applied for and received a 1200C construction permit from DEQ in December — but, as DEQ learned later, they lied about the number of affected acres in order to avoid public scrutiny on the permit. DEQ did a site visit after issuing the permit, and discovered that Treehouse had airily gone ahead with construction in the most careless, destructive way imaginable. DEQ forced the company to stop work, stabilize the site and barred all construction while the enforcement process is pending. On December 21, 2023 DEQ issued a pre-enforcement letter detailing the violations — all of them Class I violations, the most serious — and it is not pretty reading.

As required, the company had submitted an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, and then failed to implement any aspect of it. They bulldozed an industrial haul road over an unprotected stream; they allowed a “mass discharge of sediment to the creek and associated wetlands,” and completely ignored visual monitoring requirements in at least 23 instances. DEQ made it clear these violations “pose the risk of significant environmental harm,” and is beginning formal enforcement action. This can include a penalty of up to $25,000 per day per violation.

DEQ is also requiring Treehouse to restore the creek and associated wetlands to prior ecological function, along with providing DEQ with a restoration and monitoring plan for review and approval. They must also undertake the obligatory visual monitoring.

ORCA has called upon Tillamook County to rescind its land use permit for this campground project, as the county permit is contingent on the applicant obtaining all needed permits and complying with “applicable rules and regulations" — which Treehouse has flagrantly refused to do. Tillamook County cannot stand by and let its permit stand when the company has acted in so grossly irresponsible a manner.

Gravel Point Resort: Hearing February 21st

Bandon Beach Sunset. Courtesy Ian Parker/Evanescent Light

After the Bandon planning commission approval of the proposed Gravel Point resort on some 25 acres in town on Beach Loop Drive in Bandon, both ORCA and a local resident appealed the decision to Bandon City Council. Council has scheduled a de novo hearing for February 21st at 6:00 pm. Anybody may bring any evidence to Council during the hearing or in testimony. To review the documents, see here.

Many local concerns have focused on the serious traffic problems that will result from this application, if the resort is built. The developers, Perk Development, held an Open House in late January where these concerns were discussed thoroughly. But there are many other questions about the resort proposal that the planning commission, in refusing to apply responsible decision-making to the project, did not weigh, consider, or even mention. These concerns come down to the question: is this resort too big for Bandon? It will have to fit inside the city’s streets, schools, housing availability, infrastructure and so on. Information thus far provided indicates this is going to be problematic. Let us hope City Council takes a more serious look at the project than the planning commission did.

Legislature Begins Soon and the Issue is Housing: Hearing Probably February 8th

Oregon State Capitol. Image courtesy of M.O. Stevens (Wiki Commons)

The Oregon Legislature meets for its short session the first full week of February. As it adjourns the end of March, its time is limited to dealing with major issues and agency budgets. There are several major issues on the plate, but one of the biggest is housing. Governor Kotek has indicated this is a major concern for her. The problem is that her proposal — narrowly defeated in the 2023 Legislature by a single vote — includes a dreadful element that would allow any city in Oregon to expand its Urban Growth Boundary up to 150 net acres (depending on city size) for housing, or 600 acres for Metro, without going through the normal land use process for UGB expansions. This is a terrible idea.

ORCA and many other advocacy groups strongly oppose such a careless destruction of Oregon’s cherished land use laws for an ill-defined goal that it will not even meet. Oregon needs about 140,000 housing units, but they need to be the affordable, middle-income housing of which Oregon has an insufficient amount. Housing in an expanded UGB will most likely be upper income housing and/or Short Term Rentals, rather than affordable housing closer to needed city services. A key limiting factor in housing is infrastructure. Lands inside UGBs are already prepared with urban infrastructure, or lie closer to it, than lands outside, which are in rural areas and zoned for rural uses. Houses on the UGB edge are also much more susceptible to wildfire than those safely inside the urban area.

ORCA and many advocacy organizations are standing by to present arguments to the Legislature as it considers the Governor’s housing options, which are spelled out in SB 1537. The bill has many good, strong aspects, but it also contains the UGB-busting provision. As a result of that one seriously inappropriate provision, the Oregon Conservation Network has labeled SB 1537 a Major Threat, and many organizations (including ORCA) will be providing testimony to the Legislature on the concerns about it. The initial hearing will likely be February 8th before the Senate Housing Committee.

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Contact Executive Director Cameron La Follette
by email or phone: 503-391-0210
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