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Letter to the Editor: Protection needed for Sevenmile

— To the editor:

I write to draw attention to a Wasco County Commission meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 5. The commission will consider whether or not to support a close vote by the Planning Commission to allow a rezone at the top of Sevenmile Hill, which would allow over 20 additional home sites.

At least the commission will have the input from the agencies that was lacking at the Planning Commission meeting, that of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Land Conservation and Development and the Oregon Department of Forestry. They did not submit testimony because they were not notified of the Planning Commission hearing. They have submitted written testimony for the county commission meeting, which is not supportive of the re-zone.

This is forest land protected with an F2 designation. It is home to a plethora of wildlife, some of which are unique to the pine-oak habitat. This is part of the Big Game Winter Range on which the deer and elk are dependent in harsh winter weather.

Many in the neighboring area report water problems, several have dry wells or have had to drill a second well. Water is a concern as far north (downhill) as Mosier.

Agencies who monitor fires report that fires are more often caused by landowners, so an increase of over 20 homes would just make a fire more likely. As we saw with the Blackburn Fire, these types of areas are not easy to defend.

If you are interested in this issue, please attend the meeting or submit testimony to the county commission in person or before 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

This resource deserves protection.

Sandee Burbank



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