Trailblazers: Rotary tackles Stayton’s Trail Master Plan piece by piece

November, 2018 Posted in Community, Nature
Volunteers led by Stayton Area Rotary working to improve Stayton’s trails.        submitted photo

Volunteers led by Stayton Area Rotary working to improve Stayton’s trails. submitted photo

By Mary Owen

A section of Stayton trails is coming to life, thanks to a project undertaken by local Rotarians.

“For the last three Saturday mornings, a small group of us has gathered to work on the trails,” said Rich Sebens, member of the Stayton Area Rotary chapter and Stayton police chief. “We want our community to be a place outsiders can enjoy. They can stop here to stretch their legs, visit a park, and maybe play some disk golf!”

Fellow Rotarians Mike Jaeger, branch manager at Columbia Bank, also wants to improve the city’s trail system for local citizens and visitors.

“We have beautiful parks and outdoor areas right in our backyard,” Jaeger said. “We want to capitalize on that.”

The city of Stayton’s long-time goal is to create a trail that “meanders around the edges of the city as well as cutting across the middle of it,” Sebens said.

“New housing developments have recently been installing sections of the trail when the ‘trail plan’ runs through their development, but there are sections of the trail that have never been developed in older parts of the city,” he said. “Rotary has taken these incomplete sections as a project to help put in these trials.”

The effort to improve the trail system started when the two men, joined by fellow Rotarian Dave Phelps, began looking at the city of Stayton’s Trail Master Plan and walking the proposed area. The men then met with NORPAC, which agreed to grant easements for the portion of trail on its property, Carole Sebens said.

“They also met with several businesses to get their buy in,” she said. “That got the ball rolling, and people have been working together to make their vision a reality.”

The section of the city’s Trail Master Plan the team is currently working on runs from Evergreen Street just south of NORPAC along the creek. The trail runs west about three-quarters of a mile, and will cross back over the creek and come out onto West Washington near Larch.

For the recent trail improvements, Emery & Sons cleared the land and loaned a chipper for the team of volunteers – Rotarians and others – to use, Carole Sebens said.

“Mike Jaeger recruited his son, Sam, and son-in-law, Gerard, to help,” she said. “Brian Quigley, Stayton City Council member, heard about it and wanted to join in. He’s worked on trails all over Oregon, but this was close to home for him. Long-time Stayton business owner Dennis Holm has had a passion for Stayton trails for years and wanted to be part of this vision. Having that large of a team made the difference – they were done an hour and a half earlier than planned!”

Holm is also donating a bridge and the bridge design, she added.

“This project is a great example of a community coming together,” she said, “The city of Stayton assisted with trail planning and design. Locally owned Oregon State Bridge Co. helped with trail preparation. [The] Boy Scout Troop is planning to build benches. The North Santiam Water Control is going to assist with clearing the banks of the creek. And a local citizen has offered to provide Oregon native plants to line the trails.”

Donations are still needed: more chips for the trails, equipment to move the chips, and more people for work parties, and signs.

“We’re always looking for more partners,” said Jan Fiedler, Rotary president. “Financial donations, equipment or supplies, or just good old-fashioned sweat equity.”

Future work parties will be listed on Stayton Area Rotary’s Facebook page.

“The trails are an excellent way for community members to get out and walk, stroll, or run through the community by themselves or as a way to connect with others,” Chief Sebens said. “Currently there are at least six organized runs that use parts of the trail system each summer.”

Work on the current section, once completed, will help improve these and other events as well, he added.

“We hope this will encourage other groups, businesses and individuals to get more involved in the community, whether it is to join in with Rotary on the trail system, organizing more ‘fun runs’ or organized bike rides, or some other project or event,” Sebens said.

Rotary’s objective is to “encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.” The service organization strives to meet this objective through activities in five service areas: club, vocational, community, international and new generations.

For information on or to support the Rotary trail project, call Mike Jaeger at 503-769-7307 or Rich Sebens at

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