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Activists Urge Purchase of Amazon Headwaters

The Amazon Creek Headwaters appear doomed following the latest Oregon Court of Appeals decision, but local folks who have been fighting for more than a decade to preserve this pristine area next to the Ridgeline Trail have not given up. They are urging citizens to email or write the Eugene City Council to ask them to set aside the money that is in the voter-approved city parks bond for natural areas to purchase at least 18 of the 47 acres owned by Martin and Leslie Beverly. The family is reportedly asking $2.5 million for the 18 wooded acres.

“This is not just a southeast Eugene issue,” says Emily Fox, one of the opponents of development. “Leaving a green belt of natural area around Eugene will help slow global warming,” she says. “This is also the only park area accessible by foot, bike and bus.” 

Opponents say development of this area will heavily impact the Amazon Creek, which flows into Fern Ridge Reservoir, the Long Tom River and ultimately the Willamette. All these waterways are already compromised. The Amazon Headwaters were originally zoned forest/agriculture and were changed to residential single family about 30 years ago. “At that time the public was not as educated about the value of headwaters, wetlands, natural resources and open space issues,” Fox says.

Dan Snyder is the attorney for Southeast Neighbors and says that there are too many inherent problems with developing the property, from the presence of the headwaters to the steep slopes prone to erosion. Snyder says another key point is that “it is the Amazon Headwaters, an outstanding natural resource that the city should be protecting, not turning over to the developers to turn into upper-scale homes.”

The Be Noble Foundation also has been raising money to aid in the purchase of 26 acres of the Amazon Headwaters. See an earlier story on the property at http://wkly.ws/1m7 and find out more about the foundation at http://be-noble.org.