First Waterfront Park for Stayton (OR)

STAYTON, OREGON – 2/3/04 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization, has protected a 51-acre riverfront property in Stayton and transferred ownership to the city last week. Marion County will hold a conservation easement on the property that ensures its natural values will be preserved. The site will provide the citizens of Stayton their first public access to the river.

“I am overjoyed that, with the Trust for Public Land’s help, Stayton residents now have a beautiful new waterfront park that will be enjoyed for generations to come. Protecting this piece of land has been a priority for many years and I am very pleased we were able to make it happen,” said Stayton Mayor Gerry Aboud.

In addition to public recreation value, the property offers habitat for endangered bald eagles and many state sensitive species including western meadowlark, western pond turtle, red-legged frog, willow fly-catcher, and yellow-breasted chat. A biologist’s on-site survey reports that more than 135 species may use the land for nesting, foraging, roosting, or migration.

Interest in protecting the property goes back to at least 1989 when the Riverfront Task Force recommended that the City acquire the land. A year later the site was included in the City’s Master Parks Plan. The People’s Alliance for Livability in the Santiam Valley wrote a letter to the City in 1996 asking for a public referendum to bring the property into public ownership. In 2001, the Stayton City Council made acquiring the land one of ten goals and enlisted TPL’s help. In addition, Marion County designated the property as one of 15 sites in its Natural Heritage Parks Plan due to its high riparian value.

“The Stayton Waterfront project fit closely with the County’s goals for community partnerships, economic development, and environmental stewardship,” noted Marion County Commissioner Patti Milne. “We are pleased to help enhance Stayton’s livability through this project.”

“This project was a pleasure to work on,” said TPL Project Manager Brenda Brown. “The support, dedication, and spirit of the community really drove it forward and were essential to its success.”

Funding for the $1,080,000 acquisition came from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the City of Stayton, Marion County’s Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Local Government Grant Program.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.5 million acres of land in 46 states. In Oregon and along the Columbia River Gorge, TPL has protected more than 75,000 acres. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.