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PeaceHealth ready with plan for service costs.

Byline: City Beat / Springfield by Matt Cooper The Register-Guard

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a week makes.

Last Monday, the City Council hesitated to approve an annexation request by PeaceHealth, which wants 59 acres brought into the city next to its planned $350 million hospital site near the McKenzie River in Gateway.

Councilor Fred Simmons led the push to continue a public hearing on the question, concerned that the city and PeaceHealth hadn't come to terms on who would pay for what services in the area.

The PeaceHealth annexation request will be back before City Council on Monday - this time with the goods on what PeaceHealth brings to the table.

The health organization will:

Pay $10.2 million for off-site transportation improvements.

Help pay for the extension of Pioneer Parkway through the area.

Provide sanitary sewer, water, electricity, storm drainage facilities and other utilities to the site.

Perform a flood-plain study to determine the effects of filling the flood plain, and how impacts on neighbors will be prevented.

Provide a payment, in lieu of taxes, to offset the cost of city services through 2020, or until property tax revenue generated by properties near the hospital equals that of projections for development of the site for housing.

Pave a street running east and west and aligned with Cardinal Way.

Pave a street running north and south in the area of Baldy View Lane.

If the council recommends the annexation and forwards it for approval by the Lane County Boundary Commission on June 6, it will do so with the understanding that the conditions are binding.

This annexation agreement "provides assurance that urban facilities will be extended to serve the site prior to development," City Manager Mike Kelly wrote Friday in a report to council.

Thurston annexation

The PeaceHealth annexation isn't the only sensitive one before the City Council on Monday.

In early February, it nixed an annexation request for a Thurston-area subdivision, in part because of flooding concerns.

Flood-plain maps indicated the site was clear of risk; neighbors said no.

The council later rescinded its decision - then dove into an analysis of the maps citywide and a study of whether the city's flood-plain development policy was adequate to guide major projects up and down the McKenzie River.

On Monday, the council will again be asked to support annexation of Eagles Flight, the 30-unit subdivision planned on five acres north of 66th and Thurston roads.

Why now, when it could take a year or longer before the city has new flood-plain maps?

For one thing, City Engineer Al Peroutka said, all indications are that the site is beyond the flood plain. For another, even if the site is found to be in the flood plain, the city will enforce flood-plain development conditions.

During the recent crash course on policy, Peroutka checked out the conditions for development in the flood plain and found them adequate.

With that in mind, the council is expected to be a lot less jumpy when it considers the annexation request.

"They understand that the subdivision can be reconditioned if there is some finding" that the site is in the flood plain, Peroutka said.

Growing gardeners

Tomorrow's gardeners need help today.

The Meadow Park Children's Garden, an all-volunteer effort in cooperation with Willamalane Park and Recreation District, needs vegetable seeds and starts, easy-to-grow flower seeds, garden crafts and other gardening supplies.

And a special thumbs-up to anybody who can provide child-sized gloves and garden tools.

Neighborhood children meet at the garden weekly during the summer to plant, make garden crafts and plant seeds in pots to take home. Produce is shared with the public.

This year, organizers plan to bring Children's Garden projects to area elementary schools. Volunteers are welcome. To participate, donate or volunteer, call Pat Greene, Willamalane park planner, at 736-4044.

Springfield reporter Matt Cooper can be reached at 338-2317 or by e-mail at
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Title Annotation:Government
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 4, 2002
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