Citizen's View: Shaull property is a money pit
The city of Gresham is adhering to its internal process to potentially acquire property known as Shaull Woods next to Southwest Community Park on West Powell Boulevard.
Everyone can agree flora and fauna need to be protected for current and future generations. Everyone interested needs to read the City Due Diligence Report on this potential purchase. The purchase of 7.82 acres is fraught with problems.
The parcel is appraised at $2 million plus. The current owner is asking for market value and his other costs, which appear to be greater than $2.5 million.
The city will be deeded 3.3 areas — plus or minus — of wetland if the development moves to completion.
This begs the question; should Gresham purchase the remaining 4.5 acres for $2.5 million, plus with known environmental remediation exceeding current documented estimates of $500,000 to $800,00?
Add to the cost of remediation the costs to remove 130-145 foot tall trees. There is a minimum of 20 to more than 160 trees that may need to be removed due to root rot. Some of these trees threaten 14 homes on Southwest Hartley. Can we read the liability in this situation and to whom it now falls upon?
Does the city of Gresham buy into unknown costs and liabilities should it purchase the full 7.82 acres or does the city acquire at no costs 3.3 acres of critical wetland adjacent to park property it already owns for no cost donation by the developer?
Public sentiment is to save trees at any cost and a forth coming opinion survey may provide insight. Anyone from anywhere could reply to the Gresham Parks survey. Are the results tainted before they are even analyzed?
The city should minimize its cost while protecting precious wetlands as the developer assumes the risk of falling trees and environmental hazard clean up.
Resources can better be allocated developing hard structures and trails in existing parks. Stop the boondoggle now.
Wes Bell of Gresham is a former member of the Gresham Planning Commission.
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