City Says Preserve Development Retains Mac Forest Access

There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding The Preserve Housing Development envisioned to be built near McDonald Forest, above Timberhill off of 29th St. The online group Saving Open Space Corvallis has expressed concern that the current plan will take away the two access points into the forest from that area. 

The proposed development would occupy 41.45 acres and create a 45-lot subdivision for single family homes. According to the project builder and the City of Corvallis, there is nothing to worry about in regards to public access.  

Project Developer Jim Boeder said you can’t believe everything you read. “The claim that my proposed plan has no public trails through the property couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said. “And it’s representative of the misinformation being spread by a small group of opponents who certainly know differently.” 

Boeder said he is dedicating a public easement along the Quercus Trail, “connecting the Chip Ross Park side of my property to McDonald Forest; and I’m improving it, at considerable expense.” 

He added, “The Quercus Trail traverses through what will be a permanently protected, contiguous 20-acre oak and madrone savanna forest, containing a healthy population of Acorn woodpeckers. For all intents and purposes, it will be a public trail and nature preserve, at no cost to the public. There will also be a public path connecting to the Quercus Trail from NW Goldfinch Drive.” 

Paul Bilotta, Community Development Director with the City of Corvallis, confirmed that everyone will have access to the McDonald Forest system, suggesting that anyone concerned should look at the Find a Trail website 

There is only one official trail that touches this property, called the Quercus Meadow Trail,” Billotta said. “The City has a master planned trail facility to connect to the Quercus Meadow Trail that will be part of any development in this area. In addition, this developer is proposing a second entry point off of Goldfinch that will also lead to the Quercus Meadow Trail.” 

Is There Lost Wetland? 

Saving Open Space Corvallis claims that the developer has added another small lot and now states he will partially destroy the two most significant wetlands on the site. In addition, much of the trail access to the Mac Forest previously provided has been removed.  

Bilotta countered this claim, stating, “Now that the area is moving into the development phase, the surrounding neighborhoods will still have full access to the Quercus Meadow Trail, which is the only authorized trail that [owner of Mac Forest] OSU has that connects to this area. OSU has indicated it wants the Quercus Meadow Trail to continue to be the only access point to the McDonald Forest from this property. All other pathways that may be on the site now are unauthorized by OSU. With the City’s master planned trail and the additional trail proposed off of Goldfinch, no one is losing the ability to reach the McDonald Forest if the development moves forward.” 

According to Saving Open Space Corvallis, the Corvallis Planning Commission is slated to discuss “The Preserve” at their meeting on Jan. 19. They’re asking citizens to step up and protect the area and current trails. “We need as many community members as possible to submit written comments and/or testify.” 

To attend the virtual meeting, you can complete a form at the webinar webpage. 

By Jennifer Williams