Updates - Decemberr 2010



1. Full Details of Legislation protecting Cooper Spur (Omnibus Public Land Managment Act of 2009)

In the Spring of 2009, the Omnibus Public Land Managment Act of 2009 was passed by the US House of Representatives.

However, parts of the bill were challenged in the Senate and currently are "in-process". Full details of the SB 22 (Omnibus Public Land Managment Act of 2009) can be found at the Library of Congress THOMAS website.


2. Tilly Jane Boundaries

On February 20, 2004, the State Advisory Committee for Historical Preservation (SACHP) (a subcommittee of the State Historical Preservation Office), reviewed the request to adjust the boundary of the Tilly Jane Historic District. The SACHP endorsed the boundary adjustment as requested.  A request was sent to Mike Dryden, Forest Service archeologist, Parkdale, Oregon, for final drafts of mapping.  After mapping, the matter will be referred to the Forest Preservation Office in Washington, DC, which reviews all applications for the National Register. After review by this office, the nomination will go to the National Park Service; the final decision will be made by that office.

The archeologist has finished the mapping. The Vision Committee of the Cooper Spur Wild & Free Coalition will now move to the next step.

It is important to acquire this historic district boundary adjustment to give greater protection to the Tilly Jane Trail. Historic Landmark designation is the next step. Historical Background about Tilly Jane

3. Cooper Spur Destination Resort

The proposed destination resort at Cooper Spur continues to be a hot issue for the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition.  Although Dave Riley, the "point man" for the developer, Mt. Hood Meadows, hints that plans for a scaled-down proposal are being considered, the Coalition has not yet seen the new plans.  Members of the Coalition have indicated even a scaled-down rendition is not acceptable.  They feel a destination resort of any size is the wrong development for the mountain.   

3. Land trade issue in 2002 still "in process"

Hood River Valley residents won an important victory in an ongoing lawsuit over a 2002 land trade between Hood River County and ski resort operator Mt. Hood Meadows.

On June 3, 2004, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the Hood River Valley Residents Committee could sue the Hood River County for making the trade.  The decision reverses a local lower court ruling dismissing the suit on a motion by Mt. Hood Meadows.

In 2002, Mt. Hood Meadows traded 729 acres of forested land in the Parkdale area for 620 acres of County-owned forested land near the small Cooper Spur ski area on the northeast side of Mt. Hood. Hood River County Commissioners valued the land at $325/acre at the same time that land in the valley was selling at $60,000/acre, and in addition, paid the developer more than $1 million for the difference in timber values. Many residents of the Hood River Valley regard this was a "sweetheart deal", both due to the under-evaluation and because the public was notified only after serious discussions between the developer and the County Commissioners had taken place. Hood River Valley Residents Committee (HRVRC) took the matter to court. The case is not yet settled.

4. The Watershed

In 2003, the Crystal Springs Water District mapped the "zone of contribution" for drinking water for the Crystal Springs Water District. This water district provides water for approximately 2500 residences in Hood River County. Although a number of different maps purport to identify the area for the Water District, the Crystal Springs map was accepted by the Oregon Department of Health. This map, known as the "Yinger map", was produced by Mark Yinger, P.G., Hydrogeologist, an Oregon registered geologist who worked for the Crystal Springs Water District for this project.

The map shows the zone of contribution for the watershed includes almost all of the 620 acres traded by Hood River County to Mt. Hood Meadows, a significant part of the Cooper Spur Ski Permit Area around the Tilly Jane Trail (which is leased by Mt. Hood Meadows), and a portion of property known as the Dillard property, which is owned by Mt. Hood Meadows. In sum, the Crystal Springs Zone of Contribution underlies most of the area originally slated for extensive development.

5. Initiative 14-15

In November 2003, the voters of Hood River County passed Initiative 14-15 which said that any development of 25 units or more that would be built on land zoned forest would need the approval of the voters of the county. The ballot measure passed by 62%.  Oregonians in Action, an anti-land use planning organization, appealed to LUBA (Land Use Board of Appeals). LUBA ruled March 31 that Initiative 14-15 was not valid because Oregon's land use planning laws take precedence over any local law passed by the voters. The ballot measure is significant because it clearly shows that the public overwhelmingly wishes the opportunity to judge Meadows' planned destination resort. 

6. New Land trade proposal by Meadows - 2004

There was so much opposition to development within the Crystal Springs watershed that Meadows has now made a proposal to trade most of the 620 acres involved in the County trade for 120 acres of Forest Service land in Government Camp. Title to the 620-acre property, however, is "clouded" by the on-going court case (see #3 above), and therefore Meadows ability to trade the 620 acres is somewhat uncertain.

The 120 acres of Forest Service land in Government Camp has been zoned for residential development.

Mt. Hood Meadows asked the Coalition to enter into mediation regarding the new proposed land trade.  The Coalition declined mediation for several different reasons, chief of which was its mission is to protect the Cooper Spur area of Mt. Hood. Issues affecting areas other than Cooper Spur, including development proposals and land trades involving Government Camp, are of great interest, but not the Coalition's mission.

7.  HOOD RIVER COUNTY - Goal 8 mapping

The Goal 8 mapping process has been delayed at the Hood River County Planning Commission, apparently at the request of Mt. Hood Meadows. The Coalition also believes the process should be delayed, until a clearer understanding is reached of issues in the southern part of the Hood River Valley affecting Cooper Spur. Three hearings were held in 2003, but the mapping on which those hearing were held was badly flawed, postponing final recommendation regarding what land is eligible for destination resorts in Hood River County.. The Goal 8 map needs to be redone as the County Planning Department did not map correctly the first time.

UPDATE:  Measure 37, sponsored by Oregonians in Action, the anti-land use planning advocacy group, passed on November 2, 2004.  This measure essentially negates land use planning laws on land owned by long-term property owners in Oregon.  Hood River County Commissioners never adopted Goal 8 as hearings were never completed.  Now that Measure 37 has passed, any further discussion regarding Goal 8 is doubtful.  We will need to watch and wait to see what policies Hood River County Commissioners will put in place, if any, to protect Hood River County farm and forest lands.

8.  FOREST SERVICE - Master Plan for the Cooper Spur Ski Area

As of June 16, 2004, the Master Plan for the expanded ski facilities at Cooper Spur has been postponed indefinitely, according to General Manager of Mt Hood Meadows, Dave Riley.

The ski permit area at Cooper Spur includes 1400 acres of national forest. The new Master Plan for expanded ski facilities would apply to all 1400 acres.

Nearby, Mt. Hood Meadows owns approximately 157 acres, purchased from Dan Dillard and therefore usually referred to as the Dillard property.  It includes about 2.5 acres on which a lodge and cabins exist.  Mt. Hood Meadows also acquired an additional 620 acres adjacent to the Dillard property from Hood River County in a disputed land trade.  The 157 acres of the Dillard property and the 620 acres, nearly 800 acres altogether, were at one time intended for development as a destination resort of 450 residential units, golf course and recreational facilities, and retail stores in conjunction with an expanded ski area at Cooper Spur.  The current status of that proposal is unclear.

Steps in the Master Plan process for the Cooper Spur Ski Area include:

  1. Mt. Hood Meadows will submit their Master Plan proposal to the Forest Service. (estimated date: indefinitely postponed)

  2. The Forest Service will publish Notice of Intent in the Federal Register, which is a nationally published newspaper.

  3. A Scoping Letter with the Master Plan proposal will be sent to the public.

  4. The Forest Service will allow public comment for a year to a year-and-a-half on the scoping letter and the Master Plan proposal.

  5. The Forest Service will begin work on a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The preliminary work in preparation of the draft EIS will take two "field sessions" (e.g., two summers, 2005 and 2006).
    NOTE: The "spotted owl callings" protocol requires three callings a year for two years.

  6. The Forest Service will allow public comment regarding the draft EIS for about 45 days (to be established by the Forest Service).

  7. The Forest Service will prepare the Final EIS and issue a Record of Decision (ROD).

  8. The Appeal Period of the EIS could be between 45 - 120 days (to be established by the Forest Service).

  9. The earliest that anything could happen "on the ground" (i.e., bulldozing), would be 2007.


updated: 12/2010

Comments? Questions? mailto:webmaster@cooperspur.org

Site map
Click banner for homepage