City may use eminent domain
The Klamath Falls City Council may use eminent domain to acquire land owned by the developers of TimberMill Shores on Lake Ewauna if no agreement is reached by Sept. 30.
The property in question, 60 acres of former Modoc Lumber Co. land, is owned by Pine Cone LLC.
Council members voted 4-1 to pass a resolution Monday night allowing the city to acquire the property, regardless of the outcome of ongoing negotiations.
The city wants to turn the site into wetlands to replace wetlands near Klamath Falls Airport runway 32 . T he c it y offered $100,000 for the property, based on an appraisal.
Council members say they hope an agreement is reached.
“Eminent domain is always kind of scary,” said Councilmember Bud Hart.
Councilmember Bill Adams voted against the resolution, saying the Modoc Lumber site isn’t the only one available.
“I certainly support the abatement,” he said, but noted the site didn’t fill his requirements for eminent domain. It wasn’t like a highway construction project that acquired all the property it needed, but one small parcel, he said.
“As far as I’m concerned this is not in the same category,” he said.
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All council members agreed that eminent domain should only be used as a last resort.
“The urgency is that we have funding mechanisms in place,” said Airport Director Derek Martin.
The city needs to own the property by Sept. 30 to ensure funding from the Federal Aviation Administration’s discretionary funds. Money also will come from FAA entitlement funds and the Oregon Air National Guard.
The cost of the bird strike hazard mitigation project is about $6.2 million.
It’s a safety hazard, Martin said about the current location of the wetlands.
The wetlands attract birds and other wildlife, which can get caught in turboprop and single engine planes that fly in and out of the airport.
“We do other things to scare them off,” Martin said. The airport has used devices that sound like a shotgun firing to scare away the birds.
In the long run, the project will be more cost effective, he said.
Pine Cone officials could not be reached for comment.