This article was written by a broker in my office regarding the local rule that is to be voted on March 10, 2008. The media is making this to be an issue that it is not…. before placing your vote – please educate yourself and know the real facts. You are being led to believe that the vote is all about South Deschutes County – specifically La Pine – however it is all of Southern Deschutes County.
I agreed to write this op-ed piece since I have been involved with this issue since the mid 1990’s when Deschutes County staff organized the South County Regional Problem Solving Study. At that time, there were several issues that were to be studied, including ground water, dust abatement, fire in the Interface Zone, and wildlife management.
The County staff quickly zeroed in on the ground water issue using out-dated information and statistics, including, as a center piece, a map showing “higher than background levels of nitrates plumes in the South County area.” In a Realtor’s Seminar a few years later a County staff person, when questioned about the map, said “there never were any plumes, just individual wells placed too close to drain fields”.
This was just one case in which the County staff misstated facts about the nitrate issue. They also released news articles quoting a 1950’s period article about nitrates causing “blue baby syndrome”. This has been exposed as false in many scientific articles and when confronted with the facts, the County staff has finally backed away from that stance. Not so, for our County Medical Director or the “scientist” from USGS. They last year still quoted that article from the 1950’s.
The County staff has steadfastly discounted or refused to consider any testimony or scientific evidence that has not supported their hypothesis that we are polluting our ground water. Nobody in South County wants to see the ground water polluted! Several scientists have testified as to the manipulation and misinterpreting of the USGS model.
I served on the TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) where we discussed and studied the Ground Water Model. The County Staff took and recorded the minutes of those monthly meetings. They constantly omitted any comment or presentations that did not agree with their hypothesis.
Now we are hearing from the County that we are polluting our rivers. Even the USGS Study, in their rivers report, found no evidence of that. I asked the question back in the nineties, if we are concerned about nitrates in the rivers why approve a golf course (Crosswater) where tons of nitrates are applied each year and run off directly into the Big Deschutes and Little Deschutes Rivers.
We need to spend more time in looking at this issue, and work to repair those specific septic systems that are leaking and creating unhealthy environmental situations, rather than painting a whole region with the same brush. I urge you to Vote NO on the Local Rule March 10th.
Ted Scholer, Broker, RE/MAX Sunset Realty 541-536-0117