Water is life. The Douglas County Planning Commission has approved the destination resort known as Pegasus Equestrian Resort and Venue and will be sending it to the Board of Commissioners for final approval. They will undoubtedly approve the project: Just because they have the power to do so does not mean they should.

This multi-disciplinary equestrian combined driving and cross-country course with grass polo fields for competitions, plus a 150-room hotel resort and spa facility with on-site restaurants, meeting rooms and convention facilities, and other associated uses will encompass more than 2,800 acres located off Metz Hill Road (west of exit 142 on Interstate 5).

Just to put this into perspective for my readers: Douglas County Parks are approximately 2,800 acres, but they do not need to be kept green for polo matches.

The Millegan Brothers, LLC need not prove there is adequate water to get the planning commission to grant the initial request to begin development of this destination resort. That comes later when they file for final permits with the Oregon Water Resources Department.

According to the approval memorandum from the planning department: “Prior to final site plan approval, the applicant shall provide certification and copies of any necessary water permits for proof of adequate water supply to serve all of resort amenities, irrigation requirements and fire flow standards necessary for the operation of the DR.”

This process is backwards.

Previous attempts to create a destination resort on this property resulted in a failure due to concerns about water.

So, why not just require the Millegan Brothers, LLC to complete the required surveys and research at the beginning of the process and be done with it? Their proposed solution of a 12.8 acre reservoir to serve as the main water supply is questionable at best. This reservoir will be created by damning up a non-fish bearing stream (see Pegasus Proposal).

This is simply wrong. Non-fish bearing streams flow into fish bearing ones. The two types of streams are part of an ecosystem that cannot be severed.

Our climate crisis has already caused detrimental harm to our salmon run and our aquatic ecosystems. This reservoir will only result in even greater harm.

We are in a period of prolonged drought, resulting from the ever-increasing effects of global warming and ecological collapse.

So, their first solution creates great harm to an ecosystem we must protect and take care of so it can take care of us.

Second, there is a well on the property, but we do not know how strained use will adversely affect the neighbors.

A neighbor spoke out at the first hearing, expressing great concern that this destination resort create negative effects on his well due to structure and location. It was a legitimate concern that was brushed off as nothing to worry about.

Also, a woman from the Oakland area told me that she and most of her neighbors have low-flow wells because of the water shortage in the area. She expressed concerned over this whole project revolving around a need to keep green 2,800-plus acres, a revolving door of 5,000 guests who will be showering/bathing regularly, or more, plus enjoying a spa or two, and, not to mention the 2,400 guest horses that will also require regular baths as well as being watered, fed and watered even more.

To keep that much acreage green in polo and competition fields and that many people and horses in bubbles, suds, miracle mud and wet will require no small drop of precious water in the luxury bucket.

If the people who live around Metz Hill are already taking precautions to conserve water, why are the residents of Douglas County not demanding a more rigorous screening process for such a development project that will put scarce water even more in jeopardy?

The city of Oakland pumps from the Calapooya and it gets very low.

Millegan Brothers, LLC, has claimed that Drain is willing to sell them an unlimited supply of water; they can just pump to Metz Hill to solve any problems that might arise.

What impact will this increased consumption have on the Umpqua River? Again, they did not have to prove any of this to get the project approved by the planning commission.

But any way you look at it, we are in an ecological crisis and our water resources are becoming scarce. If this project achieves legs, the water will be diverted for the benefit of a wealthy few at the expense of all of Douglas County.

Water is life and we in Douglas County need to preserve our life as a community, not sell it off to wealthy outsiders who will exploit it for shareholder profits and the elite few.

Community Rights Douglas County urges our County Commissioners to protect OUR water and life and reject this project.

Kimberli Holmquist is the community outreach education organizer for Community Rights Douglas County. She lives in Tenmile.

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(6) comments

CitizenJoe

Kimberli,

You and the commenters are right. This project is insane, puts the cart ahead of the (polo) horse, would kill native plants and animals, ruin homeowners' wells, etc, etc.

Watering grass for polo ponies and their $%^ people in this region is an affront. The rest of this proposed horse project is similarly unsustainable. It has a broken leg; do what's required.

Wretched722

This resort is a joke. NO ONE is going to come here for polo. And I am also tired of seeing ODOT water the grasses at the interchanges....how about just planting some low-growth native plants that tolerate this climate and low water?

CitizenJoe

Wretched: exactly right!

Mike

[thumbup]

Jmbailey

This is laughable at best. Water aside, there isn’t any real polo in oregon so thinking you can create a destination polo resort must be an attempt to con investors to fund it.

With regard to water, the north Umpqua at Winchester was nearly 85 degrees at this week with dead trout laying on the bottom of the river so Douglas County needs to wake up and reduce all non ag watering during these times. From where I found the dead trout I could see neighboring homes pulling water from the river for the sake of green grass - this must stop. Let’s save the water for fish and agriculture and not for the vanity driven pursuit of green grass.

Momos

That horsey park is going nowhere. Their focus right now is staying out of prison. Ask ODOT how many gallons of potable water they're wasting to keep the freeway interchanges green. It's documented, they pay the bills. Start with the Garden Valley interchange. Then ask why. A complete waste of money and scarce water.

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