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3.5 acre former trailer park sits next to city park, sewer treatment plant



SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Duckworth property includes a half-dozen abandoned mobile homes like the one pictured here. Owner Michael Duckworth must have these and other debris cleaned up as a condition of the sale of the land to the City. The City of Wilsonville moved to add a valuable piece of Willamette riverfront property for future parks use Monday, as the city council approved the $1.1 million purchase of a former trailer park in the Old Town neighborhood.

The 3.49-acre property is in a strategic location as far as the City is concerned, nestled adjacent to its wastewater treatment plant to the north and the Tauchman House park to the west. Formerly owned by longtime Wilsonville resident Michael Duckworth, the property has been on the market for some time, but the City has not acted to date because of what was considered to be too high of a sale price.

More recently, however, Duckworth cut his asking price significantly, leading the City to re-approach him about a possible sale. Following a third-party appraisal, the parties settled on the $1.1 million sale price and a deal was quickly cut.

While the City does not yet have any formal plans for the property, it will likely provide valuable river access for the public in an area of the Willamette that features very limited access to boaters and other recreational users.

“This addition to public park space along the river is a potential valuable piece for the city in coming years,” Mayor Tim Knapp said at the March 2 meeting. “I’m pleased to be able to have this in front of us tonight.”

One caveat to the sale is the requirement that Mr. Duckworth remove a number of abandoned, rotting mobile homes from the property. Duckworth dropped his request for an as-is sale, and the city responded by tacking on an additional $25,000 to the purchase price to help him with demolition, removal and cleanup of the rotting structures (see photos).

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The entrance to a former trailer park the Wilsonville City Council last week agreed to purchase for $1.1 million. The property is on the Willamette River and next to an existing City park and wastewater treatment plant.  The property also has an existing walking trail, 440 feet of waterfront and a significant portion lays within a significant resource overlay zone, Assistant City Attorney Barbara Jacobson told the council. The entire transaction, she said, was in both parties’ best interests and did not take long to conclude.

“There was no discussion of condemnation, no threat of condemnation,” Jacobson said. “He was marketing the property as-is, and as you can see there are six old abandoned mobile homes still on the property and they are quite old. This park started in the ‘50s but some of these homes date back to the 70s. For the sake of getting a clean environmental site we did ask him to remove those sites and he agreed to do so.”

The next step is an environmental assessment that will take place immediately. If that proves favorable, Duckworth will begin the process of removing the abandoned mobile homes and other debris. When that is finished, the City will re-inspect the property for any lingering environmental issues. If all goes well, Jacobsen said, the entire process could take less than 60 days.

“We should be able to close this sale on or before May 1,” she said.

Finally, since Duckworth and his wife still live on the property they will be allowed to remain for an additional six months while they find a new place to live.

Because the transaction was not included in the current year’s City budget, the $1.1 million purchase price will be paid for with a combination of funding sources. $300,000 will come from the City’s general fund; another $270,000 will come from Parks SDC (systems development charges) contingency fund and $280,000 will come from a transfer of funds from a Metro grant that previously was allocated to Memorial Park improvements. Finally, the remaining $275,000 is set to come from Urban Renewal funding.

Councilors, though, didn’t blink at that complication. The resulting addition of valuable river access more than made up for it, said Councilor Scott Starr.

“I wanted to agree with your comments,” Starr told Knapp. “It’ll be nice to have a little more park area and open up some access for our citizens to the river.”


By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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