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home : opinions : opinions November 16, 2018

6/23/2015 12:46:00 PM
Surveyed majority at BBR support paved trail
By Cathy Ellis Guest Columnist

As a family of walkers and cyclists, the path from Black Butte Ranch (BBR) to Sisters will benefit my family personally and BBR families and guests alike. It would be a wonderful amenity to the Ranch, providing a safe, scenic trail which links BBR to the commercial services of Sisters.

The majority of owners support the path, despite some having concerns over increased public access. It is no wonder the trail has majority support when the top two family activities on the Ranch are No. 1 walking at 91 percent and No. 2 cycling at 84 percent. When asked "How likely are you and your family to use a paved, multi-use trail between BBR and Sisters if one were built?" 63 percent responded "likely."

The facts listed are the result of a second BBR owner survey open to respondents September 5-14, 2014. The opposition, who believed the first survey results from a 2013 survey were not a true reflection of the homeowners' position, requested the second survey. In response, the BBR Board of Directors hired CFM Strategic Communications, Inc., located in Portland, to create and administer the second survey. A BBR committee worked with CFM generating questions and contributing to the survey's design. The committee's homeowner reps included Isolde Hedemark, of the opposition and Clark Brody of the proponents.

Owners, spouses, and partial owners, about 1,785 who had registered email addresses with BBR, were asked to participate in the second survey. According to BBR management about 93 percent of all homeowners had one or more registered email addresses.

Survey question put to BBR owners: "The Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) is proposing to build a paved, multi-use trail between Sisters and BBR. Motorized vehicles and horses will be prohibited. The path would be built on United States Forest Service (USFS) land and would end on USFS property adjacent to the BBR Welcome Center. The STA is seeking grant money to pay for construction of the trail and maintenance of the trail would be the responsibility of STA and its volunteers. The Ranch would incur a small cost to tie the trail in to the existing path near the Welcome Center. Based on this information, do you favor or oppose the construction of a paved, multi-use trail between Sisters and BBR?" Choices: FOR - OPPOSED - UNDECIDED.

The September 2014 BBR Homeowner Survey Results:

1: The survey found 61 percent in favor, 25 percent opposed and 14 percent undecided regarding the multi-use trail. The CFM consultants indicated that such a large response rate, 813 of 1,785, is statistically significant. More owner participation would not significantly change the percentages for, opposed, or undecided.

2: Of the 813 BBR owners who completed the survey, 218 respondents or 27 percent were concerned about increase use of BBR pools and fitness facilities by the general public, unauthorized use of BBR paths 26 percent, risk to BBR's safety and security 22 percent and impact on tranquility 21 percent.

3: On Sept. 26, 2014, the BBR Association Board of Directors passed, for a second time, a unanimous motion in support of the proposed path. The motion reads: "The Board maintains its philosophical support for the proposed path from Sisters to Black Butte Ranch, subject to resolution of some issues of access that have been raised."

As evidenced by BBR's survey of September 2014, the majority of BBR owners support the proposed multi-use trail entering the Ranch in the public area near the Welcome Center. The majority has set concerns aside in favor of what the trail offers their family and guests. It is time for all parties at BBR to come together with Commissioner Alan Unger and discuss the best way to mitigate concerns and stand behind the majority's wish.

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