CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Construction is underway on a second exit for Crooked River Ranch, but not all residents are pleased with the project. John Stevens has lived in CRR since 2013. He says, "It's a controversial project and there's an undercurrent here of funny businesses and misinformation and disinformation that most people aren't grasping."
He believes community leaders have not been transparent about the process and they moved forward with little to no input from residents. He tells KBND News the community was told the new Quail Road route would be a secondary emergency access road, "Why are we going from a gravel, graded road, which we were originally told was going to be expended through grants or other sources, to a Million Dollar road? Only after we called it the 'Million Dollar mile' did they start reducing that number; and I think now it's somewhere around $980,000, give or take." He adds, "You're looking at a project that's kind of morphed, where a lot of folks believed one thing was going to happen, and then something else happened. And then, while trying to obtain more accurate, or reliable, or timely information, it created some blowback, and there were some processes at work here that just weren't really all that transparent."
The growing price tag was part of the issue, "Each county [Jefferson and Deschutes], I believe, is throwing in $100,000. However, there's still going to be $700,000 or $800,000 that the Ranch members are paying for. A lot of folks are saying, 'Wait a minute! This is not even on HOA property, it's on federal Land, BLM land!' and the BLM ultimately has control over what happens on that land." But, Stevens says, there's also frustration about how the project was justified. Stevens says the people who live on the Ranch were told it was necessary to provide another route in case a wildfire breaks out and residents have to evacuate. But, he says, it was sold to lenders as a boon to tourism, allowing visitors easier access to recreation areas. "If Ranch officials and their government partners really thought this was necessary, why not be honest and forthright, and just say what we need and what it's going to cost and quit playing games?"
Construction of the new Quail Road access road is expected to be done in October.