Deschutes Land Trust buys Whychus Creek Land | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Deschutes Land Trust buys Whychus Creek Land

+ Tobacco 21 law moves forward & Deschutes River Alliance Lawsuit moves forward



Deschutes Land Trust purchases land along Whychus Creek

The Deschutes Land Trust has purchased 130 acres of land along Whychus Creek near Sisters, as part of the organization's ongoing campaign to restore and enhance the creek and its floodplain. The purchase, part of the new Willow Springs Preserve, includes close to one mile of waterfront along Whychus Creek.

In addition to donations, DLT was able to purchase the land by leveraging funding from nonprofit funder Craft3.

"Early donors to the Campaign provided the essential private funding which allowed us to work with partners to quickly secure the property," said Brad Chalfant, DLT executive director, in a Tuesday release. "The Campaign is now in the final months and we need the community to continue stepping up, donating to the Campaign and helping us achieve this important community vision."

DLT is currently developing a management plan—which includes community use and restoration—for the Willow Springs Preserve. In the meantime, the public can access the Preserve through guided tours. Visit for more information.

Deschutes River Alliance Lawsuit moves forward

A Federal District Court judge has rejected a motion by Portland General Electric to dismiss a Clean Water Act lawsuit initiated by the Deschutes River Alliance.

Last summer, DRA filed a suit against PGE, alleging that PGE is failing to uphold state water quality requirements at the Pelton-Round Butte dam complex. According to the suit, the facility's Selective Water Withdrawal tower above Round Butte Dam is elevating temperatures in the Deschutes River, as well as altering pH and dissolved oxygen levels—causing "severe ecological changes in the lower Deschutes," say DRA representatives.

PGE countered by arguing that citizens do not have the right to enforce Clean Water Act regulations for hydroelectric projects. Judge Michael Simon rejected that argument, citing the Clean Water Act's "citizen suit" provision.

"Tobacco 21" moves to Oregon House

The Oregon state Senate has voted in favor of the bill that would raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco to 21 in the state. The bill is now under review by the House Health Care committee. Members of the Oregon Senate voted in favor of Senate Bill 754 A on March 23. Nineteen senators voted in favor of the bill, while eight—including Bend's Sen. Tim Knopp—voted against. At a town hall in Bend Mar. 31, a local resident asked Knopp about his position on the bill.

"Is this because you take money from big tobacco?" Penny Pritchard, who lives in Bend, asked.

Visibly taken aback, Knopp reacted with, "Really?" and then said, "No."

Members of the state House heard the first reading of the Tobacco 21 bill Mar. 27. According to the Oregon State Legislature website, no further readings were scheduled as of the date of publication.

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