Communities, Front Page, Oakridge/Westfir

Westfir planners find outdoor-oriented projects a bit hot to handle; reschedule hearing for Feb. 15

Share this article
westfir,proposed campground
The proposal’s site plan includes potential spaces for campers, vans/RVs, cabins and restrooms. An area would be dedicated for food trucks and food carts, fire pits and an outdoor entertainment area. Trans Cascadia Excursions

By GEORGE CUSTER/Correspondent/The Herald  —  Two Westfir development proposals designed to attract mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts are being reconsidered in the wake of opposition by a number of local residents and a request for more information by planning commission members.

Plans to develop approximately 11 acres of land west of the City Hall will be considered by the Westfir Planning Commission on Tuesday, Feb. 15. Action on the proposals was postponed on Nov. 22 and rescheduled to give applicants time to provide more information requested by commissioners.

Nick and Jessi Gibson of Westfir and Blair Banker of Bend submitted one of the applications. David Marchi of Bend is the second applicant. The Gibsons plan a campground on 11 acres on the north side of Westoak Road west of the City Hall.

The proposal includes potential spaces for campers, vans/RVs, cabins and restrooms. An area would be dedicated for food trucks and food carts, fire pits and an outdoor entertainment area. A portion of the land that fronts Westoak Road on the eastern portion of the plan would remain as mixed-use.

The proposal, if accepted, may require a conditional-use permit from the City of Westfir for the campground. The proposal could also be determined to fit within the definition of “mixed-use,” the current zoning for the property.

The 11-acre site in the heart of Westfir lies mostly undeveloped. Herald photo

Trans Cascadia ready to develop

The Gibsons own and operate Trans Cascadia Excursions www.transcascadiaexcursions.com, a mountain biking shuttle and guide service in Westfir. A tentative site plan and a copy of the area’s plat map was supplied to the commission along with their application.  Numerous letters in support, and opposition were submitted for inclusion in the minutes of the meeting.

The second proposal was submitted by Marchi, a Bend resident.  Marchi plans to develop land that lies adjacent to the Gibson site.  The tract includes the building that houses the Westfir post office, the vacant Westfir store and adjacent parking on the east side of that building. A portion of that land would be dedicated to seasonal food carts and food trucks. The proposal request that the store be reopened. A portion of the building would be used as a “tap room.” The store also would double as a bike shop.

Marchi owns and operates a similar establishment in Bend. Part of the support for his proposal was submitted by several persons familiar with his current operation, which also is called Crow’s Feet in Bend crowsfeetbend.com. 

Nick Gibson acknowledged during telephone interview that a number of people may be hesitant about supporting the proposed development of an improved campground in Westfir.

“We’re putting our hearts and souls into this,” he said. “We want to take the 11 acres and make it shine. We think a lot of people don’t understand mountain biking and what it means.” The applicants are willing to compromise on several issues to help the process, he said.

“This is not going to be an RV park,” he added and commended the planning commission for giving everyone an opportunity to comment on the proposed development. “They have done a great job of being objective.”

The two proposals have touched a nerve with many of the Westfir and surrounding residents. Many appear to be mountain biking enthusiasts who support the projects.  However, the commission received a petition signed by 42 persons who oppose an open-air stage.

Interviews with residents

A number of Westfir residents were interviewed about how they viewed the proposed developments.

A woman, whose husband attended the meeting, said they are concerned with an increase in noise, traffic and fire hazards.

A man who grew up in Oakridge and has been back living in Westfir for four months, opposes the project based on his concerns that “if the project goes south, what happens then?” He said there are better uses for the land and that “the campground won’t bring much to the local economy.”

Another resident who has lived in Westfir for more than 40 years and is a former Westfir resident, said the revenue is needed and that the land has sat vacant too long.

A woman who is a long-standing resident and lives next door to Trans Cascadia Excursions’ current location, said, “They have been wonderful neighbors,” and “have been the most courteous people. They always shut down by ten o’clock. They’re quiet.”

A resident, who has lived in Westfir for 80 years, is “leaning against it.” She is concerned with property values being affected negatively and is also concerned about the sewage situation.

A man who moved to Westfir four years ago, said that “they ride by on their bikes and drop stuff (trash) all the time.” He is also worried about the sewage issue.

George Custer is a founding board member and president of nonprofit Highway 58 Herald.

Comments are closed.

Lane County Libraries The Power of Partnership throughout Lane County Oregon

graphic: Classifieds

GARAGE SALE: Tell folks about your upcoming garage sale here.

LANDSCAPING SERVICES:  It’s that time of year.  Let everyone know what services you have to offer.

JOB OPENINGS: Need to let the community know that you need help. Post your job openings here.

 

OFFICE SERVICES AVAILABLE:  Copying, Scanning, Emailing & Faxing Services are now available at The Herald’s office in Oakridge.
CLICK HERE for details.

graphic: Classified Ad Posting is Now Available - For Sale • Help Wanted • Landscaping • Rentals • Homes for sale • Repairs • Remodeling • and More! - Post your classified ad with us today.

Follow H58H on Social Media

The calendar is temporarily disabled due to a rendering error. Please reload the page.