The saga of Thornburgh, a destination resort proposed to the west of Redmond more than a decade ago, took another turn Monday as the developers attempted to prove that the project met the requirements for water in Whychus Creek.
A public hearing Monday afternoon reopened the record on the resort’s approach to using water on the Deschutes River tributary, one of the last remaining questions about the 12-year-old application.
Paul Dewey, a lawyer representing Deschutes County resident Annunziata “Nunzie” Gould, said prior to the hearing that the project’s master plan calls for 106 acre-feet of water to be added to the stream to offset the resort’s potential impact. However, the added water could affect temperatures for steelhead and other fish.
Kameron DeLashmutt, the property’s developer, along with a gaggle of consultants and land use lawyers, argued that plans for the resort’s summer water use meet the standards set for water use in Whychus Creek, ensuring that the project would not have a significant effect on the temperature of the creek. DeLashmutt said the proposal would affect the water temperature by a fraction of a degree during peak usage.
“We feel the science is solidly on our side,” added Liz Fancher, a lawyer representing the applicant, Central Land: Cattle Co. LLC.
Dewey countered by pointing out that the analytical data being used by the applicants originated in the 1990s, and didn’t properly address the impact on the groundwater.
“What we have now is outdated and really isn’t consistent with how we got here,” Dewey said during the hearing.
The project, which occupies 1,970 acres on the south and west portion of Cline Buttes, near Eagle Crest Resort, has attracted more than its fair share of controversy since 2005, when the first application was denied by a Deschutes County hearings officer. The development was the subject of seven appeals between 2006 and 2015, primarily revolving around whether the project met various state and county requirements. In 2015, a hearings officer denied approval of the property’s master plan. The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals remanded the decision back to the hearings officer, saying three out of four issues in the denial were incorrect.
The master plan for the development calls for 1,000 homes, 475 overnight units and three golf courses, according to The Bulletin’s archives.
Hearings officer Dan Olsen ruled that the parties will have until the end of the day on Monday, Nov. 13 to submit new evidence to the record. The record will be closed on Nov. 27. The county must issue a formal decision on the application by Jan. 16, 2018.
— Reporter: 541-617-7818, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated the unit of measurement for water used for mitigation in Whychus Creek, and misstated the nature of Oregon land use decisions in 2015.