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Lane County Parks searching for funding

 Buford Park, one of Lane County's most popular parks near Springfield.
Rachael McDonald
Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah is one of Lane County's most popular parks.

Lane County Commissioners will consider changes to fees and / or a property tax levy to keep parks open and safe.

Lane County’s nearly 70 parks are run with money from fees and tourism taxes, but deferred maintenance has piled up. Devon Ashbridge with Lane County said in early 2020 they assembled a funding task force. “They spent almost two years learning about our parks system," she said, "looking at how other communities and other places fund their parks at a level where they can be maintained to meet community expectations.”

The group made several recommendations. Commissioners will consider raising camping and permit fees, adding fees for garbage or utilities, and a possible $6 million dollar property tax levy, costing the average homeowner less than $40 per year. She said the next County Commissioner work session will be, quote, “soon,” adding that it’s a complex problem that needs a long-term solution.

Ashbridge said the task force also took into consideration the results of a report by a contractor that specializes in park maintenance. That report said the four parks with the most infrastructure need just under $16 million dollars of investment to upgrade their poor condition. The parks that were assessed are Armitage Park near Coburg, Baker Bay Park on Dorena Lake, and Orchard Point and Richardson Park at Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Summaries and videos of past task force meetings are on the County's website, here.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.