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Statesman Journal: Salem Buys 307 Acres For Park


Minto-Brown Island property, owned by Boise Cascade for decades, has become the newest addition to Salem’s park system.

Mark Becktel, Salem’s parks and transportation services manager, confirmed that a deal to transfer 307 acres of island property to city ownership closed Monday.

The property is located on the northeast end of Minto-Brown Island, next to Minto-Brown Island Park. The city’s latest acquisition, called the Minto Island Conservation Area, will eventually have park trails.

Funding for the $836,000 real estate purchase — plus $375,000 for ongoing maintenance of the property — came from a Bonneville Power Administration conservation program.

BPA purchased the property from Boise Cascade. Ownership of the land was officially transferred to the city on Monday with the understanding that the property would be preserved as a conservation area.

“It will be a wonderful place to watch birds and enjoy that natural area,” Salem City Manager Linda Norris said.

The property currently is overgrown with brush, but as early as next year the city may begin establishing some soft trails, said Mike Gotterba, a spokesman for the city. It will remain a natural area, he said, without landscaping or development.

Under the agreement to acquire the property, Salem is required to create a conservation management plan for the island.

Removing invasive plants, such as blackberries and reed canarygrass, will be part of city’s efforts to protect natural resources.

Over the next 18 months, the city will work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to prepare the conservation plan.

In August, Salem City Council agreed to execute a purchase agreement to bring the island property into city ownership. The island’s northern tip is still owned by the Salem Audubon Society.

mrose@StatesmanJournal .com (503) 399-6657 or follow on Twitter @mrose_sj

 

Minto Island trail

Plans to construct a bike and pedestrian bridge to Minto-Brown Island are moving forward on a separate track

In November, the Oregon Transportation Commission will review the bridge project and determine if it qualifies for $1.5 million in “ODOT Enhance” funding. It would be the final piece of funding for the proposed $10 million Minto Island bridge and trail.

The bridge and trail would complete a link connecting 1,000 acres of parks and more than 20 miles of off-street trails between, stitching together South Salem, downtown, and West Salem.

—Michael Rose

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