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RV park proposed – Project planned for property near Mark Twain

By James Day

The City of Silverton is considering a proposal that could add a 22-space recreational vehicle parking area on land just north of Mark Twain Elementary School.

The 1.52-acre, triangular-shaped site, if the project is approved, would be used for temporary lodging for RVs and movable accessory dwellings.

The piece property between Mark Twain Elementary School and the Forest River plant that might be used for an RV parking/storage facility.   james Day
The piece property between Mark Twain Elementary School and the Forest River plant that might be used for an RV parking/storage facility. James Day

Approval of the project does not require Silverton City Council involvement. The staff decision, however, could be appealed by either proponents or opponents of the project to the Community Development Department. Further appeals would go to the city’s Planning Commission and then the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

Former Councilor Jim Sears spoke about the project at the council’s March 6 session during the public comment period. Sears expressed concerns about code issues that related to the project while also noting that any code changes that might result would not affect the current proposal.

No information was available regarding when the Community Development Department might render a decision. The project site is mainly pasture land. All of the oak trees in that area are part of the Mark Twain property and will not be affected should the RV parking project be approved.

The public comment period on the project ended March 13.

In other action from its March 6 meeting the council:

• Unanimously approved a new agreement with the police officers union which gives officers a 6 percent raise this year and 5 percent in 2024. The deal was discussed at the Feb. 6 meeting but tabled because of concerns about attrition in the ranks because of compensation issues. Councilors reviewed the issue at a Feb. 23 executive session. The March 6 meeting included participation from labor attorney Diana Moffat, who helped negotiate the Silverton deal, as well as comments from Silverton Police Chief Jim Anglemier and community members Rob Wood and Morry Jones. Four members of the SPD were in the meeting room, but they did not address the council.

The general tenor of the discussion was that although recent losses of officers was frustrating and costly because of training requirements, a wide array of reasons existed for the departures. Also, looking ahead, it was noted that additional benefits for officers could be an item that the Budget Committee could review.

• Gave final approval to its goals for the 2023-24 fiscal year as well as the city’s five-year capital improvement plan. The six goals are: community engagement, transportation connectivity, parks and rec upgrades, implement city master plans, address housing needs and a Main Street urban renewal project. 

Key capital improvements planned include a new water treatment plant and improvements to Second Street
and A Street.

• Heard a presentation from Terrance Hawley of the Salem Area Trail Alliance (SATA) on a possible collaboration with the city on a trail system at Pettit Lake, which lies between the Rogers Wayside and the Oregon Garden. SATA worked with Oregon State Parks on some new trails at Silver Falls State Park. Councilors reacted favorably to the SATA offer, but no agreement was finalized.

• Unanimously approved the creation of an advisory committee that will craft a parks and recreation master plan. Key projects that the committee will look at include the Pettit Lake trails, a disc golf course and pickleball courts.

• Unanimously backed moving forward with a plan to expand the urban growth boundary and annex 40 acres off of Ike Mooney Road into the city’s stock of land. The complicated process requires Marion County and state approval as well as the backing of the Silverton Planning Commission and City Council. The site is seen as a possible home for a disc golf course. 

The land was donated to the city by developer Larry Epping with the stipulation that it be used for recreational purposes.

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