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Chehelam Parks Empire
When property tax dollars are taken from consumers they consume less

Chehalem Parks and Recreation District currently has taxing authority over a little fewer than 40% of Yamhill County property owners. Most are in Newberg or Dundee. In 2020-21, $3,286,290 of local property taxes went to CPRD. Among their operations are parks, a pool, youth sports, playgrounds, golf, preschool, and adult sports. The legislature set aside $1.25 million last session to build their new Community Center. Debt service on a $19.9 million bond is an annual obligation.

Just how much of that bond was for acquisition and development of the 18 hole golf course isn’t identified on their website. The annual costs for maintenance, personnel and a share of administrative overhead for the golf course are just over $2 million a year. Golf revenue in 2019-20 was reported at $1.25 million. In 2020-21 revenue was listed at $1.5 million. The 32,500 citizens living in the CPRD taxing district are subsidizing golf to the tune of 25-30% for those that choose to play golf at CPRD. It’s a good deal for the small percentage of citizens that golf there.

Is it a good practice for government to provide non-essential services that compete with private enterprise? When property tax dollars are taken from consumers they consume less. Reduced spending diminishes the local economy lowering local GDP. Consumers have fewer choices and less economic freedom. Still, CPRD argues their golf course stimulates the local economy.

CPRD has allowed themselves to become part of a failed project of the County. They are studying the possibility of acquiring and operating the once hoped for bike path, Yamhelas Westsider Trail, between the communities of Carlton and Yamhill. Since each of five LUBA decisions decided to protect farmland over recreation on Yamhelas Westsider Trail you’d think the matter concluded. The last LUBA decision ordered the County to pay opponents legal fees. Legally, it’s game over for the County, but not necessarily for the taxpayers.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A small private group, Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, paid for a survey about the bike path but had CPRD sponsor the survey to give it some much needed legitimacy. The survey asked touchy feely questions of people who know little to nothing of land use law. Those respondents know nothing of the history of non-transparency leading up to the waste of time and money for this assault on farmland. Respondents may not properly understand that using tax dollars on a project to benefit a few, that would otherwise stimulate the economy if left with consumers is actually a financial drag on the local economy. Respondents might not understand that diminishing output of a primary industry -- farming -- has a negative multiplier further diminishing all local economic activity.

Of concern is that CPRD has plans for a third nine holes of subsidized golf and that they have grand designs on a system of bike paths through farms that would violate the very land use laws that scuttled the Yamhelas Westsider Trail debacle. Also concerning is the fact that the Yamhelas Westsider Trail debacle is outside the CPRD taxing district. Why is CPRD so intent on what some see as empire building in inefficient golf and illegal trail activities? Why are they and their Board of Directors meddling in matters outside of their taxing district?


--Tom Hammer

Post Date: 2021-09-13 13:06:36Last Update: 2021-09-13 22:56:36



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