Tag Archives: SatelliteView

February 4: Planning Commission to Consider Proposal to Increase Density for a 5-acre Parcel (P44-2014, at 1118 Toliver Rd.)

20150201cpy.. 1118 Toliver cropped taxmapThe Molalla Planning Commission meets at 6:30PM, on Wednesday February 4th, at City Hall. At this meeting, they will again hear a proposal that was tabled in early January, on a proposal to rezone a parcel in northwest Molalla, to allow high-density residential development.

The site is a single-family residential property measuring nearly six acres total. The property is roughly triangular. A long curve of the abandoned Molalla Forest Road is to the southwest, the Elementary School is to the east, and Toliver Road is to the north.

The development proposal is being handled by Frank Walker, for the Donald Itschner family estate. The site is relatively level, with a small yard and garden area near the house and shop building. Roughly half of the property is in mature deciduous forest. It is adjacent to a school, a ballfield, and an abandoned corridor (the historic Molalla Forest Road). There is a small creek running through the center of the property. As is typical of the area, there are wetlands with soils that are seasonally saturated with water.20150201scp.. 1118 Toliver Molalla, Google Map with outline of entire propertyAs shown on the Google satellite image below, the property (orange ellipse) is one of the only natural and forested areas within walking distance of hundreds of densely packed homes to the north (large area outlined in red). There are no parks serving this large subdivision area.20150201scp.. Google Map with markups for 1118 Toliver, large area view Here are three close-up satellite views, from Google Maps. The first shows the home/garden in the northern portion of the property. The second shows most of the southern portion of the property. The third shows the western half of the apartment complex to the north, in the middle of the large Molalla subdivision area; this is what high density development would look like, if the City approves the zoning change.:20150201scp.. 1118 Toliver Molalla, Google Map of northern portion of property20150201scp.. 1118 Toliver Molalla, Google Map of middle portion of property20150201scp.. Meadow Drive Apts Molalla, Google Map of western portion of property

A Better Plan

The location and natural qualities of this property make it an absolute no-brainer for the City of Molalla. We need to develop this property as a valuable asset for this area: a corridor trail to serve the community with parks, recreation, and wildlife habitat. City of Molalla should work toward acquiring most or all of this property. Generous grants are available (from both state and federal sources), but the City needs to provide the see money for those grants. Thus, the City should NOT be granting property tax emptions, as the City Council did on January 28th for ‘Pacific Fibre Products, Inc.’.

The City’s goals should be to:

  1. preserve the forest area as a refreshing wildlife habitat and nature-viewing area;
  2. develop picnic and play facilities on the non-forested southern portion of the parcel;
  3. make minimal improvements to the Molalla Forest Road between Highway 213 and Highway 211, as a bicycle and pedestrian corridor, to accommodate the recreational needs of area residents;
  4. over time, pursue expansion of this bicycle and pedestrian corridor, using the historic Molalla Forest Road, all the way to the Molalla River Recreation Area.

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Who is Potentially Impacted by the MSTP Wastewater Outfall Pipe in the Molalla River?

Coleman Ranch Impacts upon Molalla River

In late 1999, an agreement was signed between Coleman Ranch and the City of Molalla. The agreement called for Molalla to pipe their recycled sewage treatment plant wastewater, to be used during half of the year as irrigation for pasture at the ranch. The pipe used to deliver this water was later extended, creating a new Molalla sewage treatment plant (MSTP) wastewater outfall. Thus, while all MSTP wastewater was pumped into Bear Creek prior to 2006, once the new outfall was finished, the wastewater was pumped into the Molalla River. The northbound river flow is indicated by the blue arrow in the image above.

How does this impact local citizens? Well, during hot summer days, locals commonly swim in the Molalla River, just upstream from the Highway 211 bridge (see above aerial view, at “1”). People park near the 211 bridge and hike in, using trails on both the east side and west side of the river. Another popular site, for those willing to hike further, is at “2” above, where there is a rope swing over a pool. Both of these swimming sites are downstream from the MSTP outfall pipe, which is at the orange square (see “3” above).

MSTP is not allowed to discharge during the summer months. However, the same outlet pipe is used to supply treated sewage water to Coleman Ranch, for summer irrigation of cattle pastures. So, water quality for swimmers depends on the effectiveness of the valves on the MSTP discharge line. Also, over the years, MSTP has had repeated events where the ponds are too full and, due to heavy rain, MSTP has needed to open the valves and discharge into the river. Oregon DEQ is helpless to deny their requests, as MSTP cannot let the ponds overflow into the Bear Creek drainage. Consequently, it is conceivable that some may swim in the Molalla River in late Spring or early Fall, unaware that the water includes wastewater discharged  by MSTP.

Satellite Images for Bear Creek

A series of satellite images has been compiled to help readers learn the geography covered by Bear Creek.

The images are in two sets.

One set shows satellite images upstream from the Molalla STP. This is the headwaters area, from Coleman Ranch west to the western edge of Molalla.

The other set shows satellite images downstream from the Molalla STP. to the convergence with the Pudding River (just south of Aurora) and the north flow into the Molalla and Willamette Rivers just west of Canby.

June 2013: A News Article about ‘Shorty’s Pond’

A good place to explore the upper reaches of Bear Creek is at City of Molalla’s Ivor Davies Nature Park. It’s basically a large flat area with a high water table, with a few trails and some added plants. Nothing awe-inspiring, but nonetheless a good place to get outside and walk the dog or take a jog or stroll.

(click on image to view area at Google maps)

(click on image to view area at Google maps)

Perhaps the most prominent feature of this park is a large and somewhat muddy feature that dries up in the hottest summers, called ‘Shorty’s Pond’ (orange circle, above). Here is a copy of a news article done by Henry Miller at the Statesman Journal:20130605.. Shorty's Pond article, by H.Miller at StatesmanJournal, p120130605.. Shorty's Pond article, by H.Miller at StatesmanJournal, p2


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