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Residents raising funds to preserve land.

Byline: CITY BEAT/EUGENE By Edward Russo The Register-Guard

A group of Friendly Area residents are looking for financial help to preserve a natural area in the middle of the city.

Residents need to raise $220,000 by year end to get control of two acres of undeveloped land at West 22nd Avenue and Madison Street. Their goal: keep the property, which they call Madison Meadow, from being developed for houses.

Residents for years have enjoyed the property for walks and blackberry picking, or just to get away from the bustle of urban life. Kids have a bike ramp there. Nature lovers estimate that fruit and nut trees on the property attract 100 species of birds.

Youngsters "are not going to get this kind of experience in a manicured park," said Craig Haines, one of the fund-raising organizers. "The city wants to focus on open space, but the city doesn't have much money to buy land, so we are trying to help out."

Developer Paul Niedermeyer bought the property last year for $450,000, putting $200,000 as a downpament and giving an IOU to the seller for the rest.

Residents are forming a nonprofit group to buy the land from Niedermeyer by paying him $220,000 and taking over the mortgage, Haines said. Residents would need to raise another $250,000 in the next three years to make a balloon payment to the original owner.

For more information, visit www.madisonmeadow.org or call 683-3430.

Flush with cash

The price of a flush is on the rise.

Under proposed rates to take effect July 1, the average household monthly sewer bill in Eugene will increase to $16.59 from $13.84.

A typical household uses about 5,000 gallons of water a month that needs to be treated after it goes into the sewer line and ends up at the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission plant off River Road.

Also, a one-time sewer fee on new development will rise from $529 to $997. Developers pay the fees but usually pass them along to homebuyers or renters.

The increases are necessary to pay for sewage treatment plant improvements. The plant handles sewage from Eugene and Springfield. Springfield also is raising its rates.

Among other things, the capacity of the main plant near the Willamette River and Belt Line Road must be expanded to accommodate growth in the region for the next 20 years. Other upgrades are needed to avoid sewage runoff into the Willamette during heavy rains, and to meet more stringent regulations on ammonia pollution and the temperature of water discharged in the river.

Wastewater charges don't cover the cost of treating stormwater - the runoff from paved parking lots and public roads. An average Eugene residence is charged $7.08 a month for that purpose. Look for a possible 21-cent-a-month increase in that charge this summer, said Fred McVey, of the city's Public Works Department.

The hike, tentatively proposed by the Eugene Budget Committee, would fund cleanup of riverside debris such as junk at homeless camps.

Edward Russo can be reached at 338-2359 or erusso@guardnet.com.
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Title Annotation:Government
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 23, 2004
Words:517
Previous Article:BRIEFLY.
Next Article:CALENDAR.


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