“Plans should provide for the preservation of natural areas consistent with an inventory of scientific, educational, ecological, and recreational needs for significant natural areas.” quote from DLCD/Goal 5, Natural Resources
Bear Creek is a symbol of all that is wrong with Molalla’s disregard for natural resources – you know, that pathetic attitude that “pollution is traditional in Molalla” expressed by ex-mayor Foster at a City Council meeting on Scott’s pollution. I am revisiting an earlier post after receiving a message from the DEQ rep working on pollution issues at the abandoned and now for sale 100+ acre Floragon mill site on S. Molalla Ave that has impacted Bear Creek.
What is so disturbing about the pollution along Bear Creek is that apparently the long time owner and polluter – Avison – gets a pass on the cost of testing and cleanup at the site. Don’t you wish you could pass your “mistakes” down the pike to a new buyer and leave them holding the pollution bag? What’s up with that – an owner gets to suck the life out of an environmentally sensitive site along Bear Creek for decades and by virtue of a recent sale gets to walk away from the problems he created?
Below is the message from DEQ about the current testing. I am certain that plannin’ dude Potter is working hard with TEAM to find fantastic ways to enhance and protect poor old Bear Creek for the future generations. I heard long ago that DLCD will expect Molalla to find new uses for the copious large lot polluted sites around town, like Floragon, Scott’s and the Avison site south of the library. We are always fed the line that Molalla is a fantastic place for business to locate, so let’s get the “locating” going – what’s the holdup Molalla? Let’s get those creek side human friendly trails created and fill those ugly spaces with vibrant, well designed commercial development. Sadly, I expect most of these sites are too polluted to ever be residential; what a sad loss of what should have been great green space/residential/recreational areas.
Quote from DEQ last week, answering question about the status of testing at Floragon:
“Your question is perfectly timed, as I with met with Floragon and their consultant late last week and received preliminary analytical results. Overall, things look good. Data indicates very modest contamination in the northern 2/3 of the site (north of Bear Creek). Contaminant concentrations are generally below DEQ screening values for industrial or commercial use, indicating that environmental cleanup may not be necessary.
South of Bear Creek, elevated levels of chemicals/contaminants are present including petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorophenols (from the former dip tanks). Dioxins and furans, a impurity in the former dip tank chemicals, have also been detected at very low levels (but above our screening values for industrial site use). The impacted areas are primarily around the former dip tanks.
A formal investigation report is expected in a month or two. In the meantime we will be discussing followup investigation for the southern part of the site with Floragon, and look at whether DEQ can issue a no further action determination for the northern site. Based on analytical results, the site does not pose a risk to property neighbors. We have detected both low-level dioxins and petroleum hydrocarbons in the on-site portion of Bear Creek. Followup investigation and analysis will be necessary to determine whether contamination poses a risk to ecological receptors within the creek.
Please feel free to call or email if you have additional questions.
End DEQ quote.
As we await the circus that will occur when plannin’ Potter attempts to defend the abortion called “comp plan/urban reserves” at County hearings, I’ve been thinking of Bear Creek as a fantastic example of all that is wrong with the “plans”.
One of the least addressed Goals in the Molalla ground-hog day comp plan is Goal 5 – “Natural Resources, Scenic, and Historic Areas, and Open Spaces”.
Last summer, at a hilarious 2 hour “event” in Salem where the Molalla CPO grilled DLCD as Potter and Atkins sat like sad sacks who had just had the wind kicked out of them, DLCD made pointed comments about Molalla’s LACK of anything resembling Goal 5. Keep in mind that comp plans must COMPLETELY ADDRESS ALL THE Goals to be deemed worthy of County adoption – and any lack of content will get ground-hog day kicked back to foolish Molalla like dust in the wind. (Last email from DLCD to plannin’ Potter asked “where ARE the goals?” so I am a thinkin’ that there is a LOT MORE MISSING than we even know!).
Goal 5 isn’t about allowing vague promises or the scanty information plannin’ dude has submitted as a supporting document. Goal 5 demands SCIENTIFIC teeth (see below for the complete Goal from DLCD’s website). “Oh, no, not science, not facts” screams plannin’ Potter in his nightmares.
Bear Creek was once a glorious waterway well used by Native Americans. The entire area surrounding Molalla is rich in archaeological evidence, wetlands, and fish bearing streams. Even “intermittent” Kaiser Creek hosts native minnows and crayfish. Bear Creek can be used as a prime example of how much work Molalla will have to do to satisfy Goal 5.
Talking with a long time rural Molalla resident today, we had some laughs about poor old Bear Creek. My friend said that perhaps Molalla can promote the “creek” as a Disneyland-esque thrill ride for aquatic life – think of it as a long black tunnel where what was once a wild and free fish bearing stream now shoots under roads and development till it again finds the light of day: “Hey brother salmon, what was that LONG DARK TUNNEL THROUGH HELL – help! was that leaking SEPTIC WASTE HITTIN’ US IN THE FACE?”
Hey plannin dude – how did you miss the need for a PLAN to outline the crimes done to poor old Bear Creek? Silverton has a fantastic waterway that anchors the downtown – Molalla has an ugly Bear “Creek” ditch running through a highly polluted abandoned mill that turns into glorified underground sewer pipe till it finds the light of day next to the water treatment plant. How does that “treatment” of what should be a premier natural local feature fit with this quote from Goal 5: “These resources promote a healthy environment and natural landscape that contributes to Oregon’s livability.”
I’d say Molalla’s failed management of good old Bear Creek has missed this part of Goal 5 as well: ” Fish and wildlife areas and habitats should be protected and managed in accordance with the Oregon Wildlife Commission’s fish and wildlife management plans. Stream flow and water levels should be protected and managed at a level adequate for fish, wildlife, pollution abatement, recreation, aesthetics and agriculture.”
Wow – did you get the part about “aesthetics”? Molalla gets an F- on aesthetics – I don’t think underground Bear Creek meets the stream flow and protection elements, either. How about that “pollution abatement” part, that hot also, isn’t it?
I heard a cute story about how a local businessman recently wanted to name his new city road after BEAR CREEK because the creek was right next to the new road. Guess what – plannin’ bozo said “NO” because, story goes, he is terrified about calling attention to the way Molalla has abused what should be one of our most protected and treasured urban watersheds. Gee, plannin’ dude – just because you hide it underground doesn’t mean there can’t be a groundswell demanding restoration and protection. Scary thought for plannin’ dude I guess! Those deficit $$$$$ and legal fees will keep a mountin’ up, I’d say.
Here’s another zinger: “Plans should provide for the preservation of natural areas consistent with an inventory of scientific, educational, ecological, and recreational needs for significant natural areas.”
And one more that Molalla has refused to face : “Plans providing for open space, scenic and historic areas and natural resources should consider as a major determinant the carrying capacity of the air, land and water resources of the planning area. The land conservation and development actions provided for by such plans should not exceed the carrying capacity of such resources.” Someone should take the plannin’ dude and TEAM aside and explain what “not exceed the carrying capacity of such resources” really means.
Google West Linn and look for their Goal 5 for a great and complete Goal 5 inventory – then take a look at the garbage Molalla has posted as a fake Goal 5. Yet again, the train left the Molalla plannin’ station with the greedy “let’s try to trick the officials” speculators winning out over a “we don’t have a clue about Goal 5″ reality check.
Bear Creek is only the most prominent example of Molalla’s failure to produce a real Goal 5 component. Read below and compare Molalla’s “practice” with the reality of Goal 5 demands. Anyone ready to start planning for “open space” and “resource protections”? I’ll bet my bottom dollar that BEAR CREEK will be a battle cry and a prime way to attack Molalla’s Goal 5 FAILURE.
Read on for the actual Goal text (boy, it sure sounds COMPLEX AND EXPENSIVE TO DO IT RIGHT, doesn’t it?) As you read, compare Molalla’s practice with the Goal 5 demands (are you listening TEAM? Where were you when Goal 5 WASN’T ADDRESSED?):
Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goals & Guidelines
GOAL 5: NATURAL RESOURCES, SCENIC AND HISTORIC AREAS, AND OPEN SPACES
(Please Note: Amendments Effective 08/30/96)
To protect natural resources and conserve scenic and historic areas and open spaces.
Local governments shall adopt programs that will protect natural resources and conserve scenic, historic, and open space resources for present and future generations. These resources promote a healthy environment and natural landscape that contributes to Oregon’s livability.
The following resources shall be inventoried:
a. Riparian corridors, including water and riparian areas and fish habitat;
c. Wildlife Habitat;
d. Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers;
e. State Scenic Waterways;
f. Groundwater Resources;
g. Approved Oregon Recreation Trails;
h. Natural Areas;
i. Wilderness Areas;
j. Mineral and Aggregate Resources;
k. Energy sources;
l. Cultural areas.
Local governments and state agencies are encouraged to maintain current inventories of the following resources:
a. Historic Resources;
b. Open Space;
c. Scenic Views and Sites.
Following procedures, standards, and definitions contained in commission rules, local governments shall determine significant sites for
inventoried resources and develop programs to achieve the goal.
GUIDELINES FOR GOAL 5
1. The need for open space in the planning area should be determined, and standards developed for the amount, distribution, and type of open space.
2. Criteria should be developed and utilized to determine what uses are consistent with open space values and to evaluate the effect of converting open space lands to inconsistent uses. The maintenance and development of open space in urban areas should be encouraged.
3. Natural resources and required sites for the generation of energy (i.e. natural gas, oil, coal, hydro, geothermal, uranium, solar and others) should be conserved and protected; reservoir sites should be identified and protected against irreversible loss.
4. Plans providing for open space, scenic and historic areas and natural resources should consider as a major determinant the carrying capacity of the air, land and water resources of the planning area. The land conservation and development actions provided for by such plans should not exceed the carrying capacity of such resources.
5. The National Register of Historic Places and the recommendations of the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation should be utilized in designating historic sites.
6. In conjunction with the inventory of mineral and aggregate resources, sites for removal and processing of such resources should be
identified and protected.
7. As a general rule, plans should prohibit outdoor advertising signs except in commercial or industriaL zones. Plans should not provide for the reclassification of land for the purpose of accommodating an outdoor advertising sign. The term “outdoor advertising sign” has the meaning set forth in ORS 377.710(23).
1. Development should be planned and directed so as to conserve the needed amount of open space.
2. The conservation of both renewable and non-renewable natural resources and physical limitations of the land should be used as the basis for determining the quantity, quality, location, rate and type of growth in the planning area.
3. The efficient consumption of energy should be considered when utilizing natural resources.
4. Fish and wildlife areas and habitats should be protected and managed in accordance with the Oregon Wildlife Commission’s fish and
wildlife management plans.
5. Stream flow and water levels should be protected and managed at a level adequate for fish, wildlife, pollution abatement, recreation, aesthetics and agriculture.
6. Significant natural areas that are historically, ecologically or scientifically unique, outstanding or important, including those identified by the State Natural Area Preserves Advisory Committee, should be inventoried and evaluated. Plans should
provide for the preservation of natural areas consistent with an inventory of scientific, educational, ecological, and recreational needs for significant natural areas.
7. Local, regional and state governments should be encouraged to investigate and utilize fee acquisition, easements, cluster developments, preferential assessment, development rights acquisition and similar techniques to implement this goal.
8. State and federal agencies should develop statewide natural resource, open space, scenic and historic area plans and provide technical assistance to local and regional agencies. State and federal plans should be reviewed and coordinated with local and regional
9. Areas identified as having non-renewable mineral and aggregate resources should be planned for interim, transitional and “second use” utilization as well as for the primary use