The Eugene City Council on Monday, Nov. 24, agreed to acquire two lots of property in the Martin Street area to add to the Ridgeline Trail system. In addition, Be Noble Foundation will acquire a contiguous third lot. The three lots, totaling about 26 acres, feature two main branches of the Amazon Creek headwaters as well as habitat for wildlife.
The newly acquired natural area will supplement existing public park and natural areas in the vicinity of the Amazon headwaters, including Frank Kinney Park on the north side of Martin Street and more than 100 acres along a main tributary of Amazon Creek to the east and south of the newly acquired area. Amazon Creek, which drains about 60 percent of the city of Eugene, flows through a diverse mix of land uses including forested headwaters, highly urbanized lands, parks, natural areas, and farmland on its 22-mile westward journey to the Long Tom River.
“For over a decade many people in the community have wanted to see this property come into public ownership,” said Craig Carney, director of the City’s Parks and Open Space Division. “This parkland acquisition will both enhance natural resource protections in the headwaters of Amazon Creek, and provide more recreational opportunities for all Eugene residents to enjoy.”
“Erin Noble, a beloved member of the community, had committed to assist in the efforts to preserve this important ecological area before he tragically died in a light plane crash on June 23, 2012,” said Charlie Tebbutt, local attorney and spokesperson for Be Noble Foundation. “He was, among his many talents and interests, an avid hiker who frequently trekked through the headwaters area to the Ridgeline Trail and Spencer's Butte summit. Erin’s parents set up Be Noble Foundation to carry on Erin’s commitments to preserve Eugene’s version of the Amazon headwaters.” Tebbutt said Be Noble will submit a request to the City asking that the area be named in Erin’s honor.
Heather Sielecki, president of Southeast Neighbors Neighborhood Association, added “after so many years of uncertainty, to have this area added to the Ridgeline Trail system for all Eugeneans, present and future, to enjoy, is remarkable. We thank the Nobles and the City for this important legacy.”
“The community has struggled to acquire the property for public use for almost 15 years,” Tebbutt said. “The property once belonged to Frank Anderson who donated the land to the LCC Foundation with a vision that the piece would be retained for public use. Somehow that vision went awry along the way, but the vision is now restored and fulfilled.”
The City of Eugene will pay $1.125 million, funded by $1.1 million from the parks bond measure passed by the voters in 2006, and a $25,000 donation from the Lane County Audubon Society. Be Noble Foundation will pay $625,000. Some of the land will be owned by the Be Noble Foundation, with the City to be granted a permanent conservation easement that provides for public access and forever prohibits development on the Be Noble property.
Photo caption: (From right) reporter Ed Russo, Deborah Noble, Kevin Matthews, Charlie Tebbutt