Wildlife vs. Development Debate
by Keely Chalmers
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Time is ticking for the future of West Hayden Island.
Should the city keep it an unoccupied open space or turn it industrial? Mayor Sam Adams says he wants to do both.
The area in question is about 800 acres west of Jantzen Beach.
Environmental groups say the land is rich with diverse wildlife including endangered species.
But for years the Port of Portland, which owns the land, has been pushing to build a new marine terminal there. In order to do that it needs to annex the land to the city of Portland to get services.
Environmental groups have long urged the city to preserve the entire area for wildlife. Mayor Sam Adams wants a compromise. He wants to allow 300 acres to be developed and keep the remaining 500 acres as open-space.
"We are in desperate need of jobs ... this could produce 1,200 jobs at the same time we have these environmental values and I think that both can coexist," said Adams.
The Port of Portland says it's willing to work with Adam's Proposal.
But many call the plan flawed. Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director for the Audubon Society of Portland says the compromise is by no means a win-win situation.
"Taking 300 acres and converting it to parking lots is not a compromise its a recipe for further degrading our already degraded river," said Sallinger.
The Port of Portland says it's all for the mayor's compromise. The city council will hear public comment on the proposal at their July 29th meeting.
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