Land use — The 327-acre Bob and Crystal Riley Park could open as soon as July after foundation sells land at a fraction of its worth

The Chehalem Park and Recreation District took an important step toward the opening of its newest park, finalizing the purchase of Parrett Mountain Farm from the Crystal Dawn Smith Riley Foundation on Jan. 29.

CPRD secured the 327 acres of land, estimated to be worth $6 million, from Bob and Crystal Riley at a purchase price of $280,000. That money will go to cover the foundation’s remaining bills and debt that arose as a result of the embezzlement case involving its former executive director, Liz Rhode.

“This decision to give the land to CPRD was made by the foundation as a positive answer to the best future interests of the community, following the wishes of Crystal Riley to benefit people and allow them to enjoy the land she’d acquired,” said Mary Dugan, vice president of the Crystal Dawn Smith Riley Foundation. “Crystal wanted people to enjoy the land and the beauty of nature there and was adamantly against any future residential or business development on the property. So, she would be very pleased to have it become a park.” 

The park, which will become the 23rd in the district, will be a scenic nature park with trails that connect to the Chehalem Heritage Trails and could open as early as July.

“This generous donation from the foundation will become a valuable legacy for our community,” said Kat Ricker, CPRD public information coordinator. “Not only will the equestrian community return to the trails it has previously enjoyed, but the public is sure to be impressed with the opportunities our board and staff are already planning for this spectacular property.”

Parts of the property will still be leased for farming and a historical museum, preserving the history and farming heritage of the land. The property also includes equestrian trails and potential rental facilities for special events.

Contract Publishing

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