Local News

Commissioners Baertschiger and West Refuse to Approve Pipe Fork Land Sale

It appears a years-long effort to sell the Pipe Fork property near Williams to a nature conservancy ended today when two of the three members of the Board of Commissioners refused to approve it.

During its weekly business session this morning, Commissioner Dan DeYoung made a motion to approve a purchase and sale agreement with The Conservation Fund along with a contribution agreement with the Williams Community Forest Project for a total of $2.32 million for the 320-acre forested property.

Commissioners Herman Baertschiger and John West refused to second DeYoung's motion so it died and no second motion was made. Baertschiger said he could not support the sale without deed restrictions that prohibit logging the property and guarantee that the land would remain open to public access. West claimed that Port Orford Cedar Root Rot Disease has already infected trees on the property.

The Board was facing a July 15th deadline to approve the sale as funding to pay for the property will no longer be available after that date.

During the public comment period, the Board heard from several supporters of the Pipe Fork sale as a large contingent of Williams residents was present in the Anne G. Basker Auditorium. Two members of The Conservation Fund were standing by via Zoom, but they were not consulted by the Commissioners.

In other business, the Commission unanimously approved three annexations to the Josephine Community Library District. One property in Wolf Creek and two in Murphy were added by petition of the landowners, increasing the size of the library district by a total of 44.84 acres.
Posted on 7/10/24 12:33PM by Sam Marsh