by: Read The Dirt Posted on: November 07, 2013
To the reviewers of the ConnectOregon IV grant applications:
Norm and Mel Mc Dougal, in the form of Lost Creek Rock Products, have applied for a ConnectOregon IV grant for a rock loading facility in West Eugene. I have recently had very painful dealings with these men, and it is my hope that you will award the limited state grant funds to companies that show integrity and concern for Oregon’s people and lands, not to people like the Mc Dougals.
Here is my “story:” On November 1, 2011, sixty-eight acres of land that I owned for almost forty years became the property of Norm and Mel McDougal. The negotiations of the sale were handled by Greg Demers, a member of the “investment group” called Fern Hollow Farm, on behalf of that group.
This forested land has been a big part of my life. I bought it when I was 24 years old, and my (now ex-)husband and I built a house in the middle of those woods, and we cared for the trees and the ferns and the critters that lived there. Because of the depth of my feeling for the property, I did some research on FHF, with positive results coming from several sources. (I later learned that there are two Fern Hollow Farms in Oregon, both having to do with land, and the positive info I got was about the other one, not the one I was negotiating with.) I also got an email from Liz Kramer, the buyers’ realtor, who indicated that “although they may thin the trees, they don’t have any intention of clear-cutting the timber.” I accepted the offer (which was 18% lower than our already reduced price), and the buyers proceeded in doing their “due diligence.” They did a preliminary timber cruise, which was favorable, followed by a more complete cruise. After the complete cruise, the buyers reduced their offer another $100,000 (making it 28% lower than the asking price), saying that they hadn’t realized that some thinning had been done on the property. (My belief now is that they never intended to pay the amount we had agreed on, based on the facts that: 1) they had never asked if any timber had been cut (If that was important, why didn’t they ask?) and 2) In the preliminary cruise, it would have been obvious that thinning had been done.) Because they had indicated that they wouldn’t clear-cut, I accepted the reduced offer.
Next chapter: On October 31, the day before the property was legally theirs, the Mc Dougals were wreaking havoc on the land, putting in roads to do logging (perhaps using rock from their illegal mining operation at Parvin Butte?). When I talked with Norm the next day, he told me that they were indeed going to clear-cut, and “maybe he should have been more involved in the negotiations.” He also indicated that, this winter, they would replant six “super-seedlings” for every tree that they cut. By December 23, they had raped the land and resold it—without having replanted anything.
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