2nd Update: Transportation and Parks Director Mark Becktel sends:
This is to let you and your folks know that the staff report to Council has been pulled and will not go before the Council tonight (Monday 6/22/09). We have requested additional time from the USDA/NRCS to work through some issues regarding the conservation easement, both related to issues your group brought up and concerns our legal department has with the easement language itself.ORIGINAL: It's not clear why or how it happened, but the agenda for Monday night's City Council meeting (June 22) has chickens (action in the consent agenda to refer it over to the planning commission, as was decided some three weeks ago on May 26) but nothing about the proposed easement-for-cash trade that would lock up precious farm land on Minto Island.
I will let you know when the staff report is scheduled to go before the Council in the future.
Note that there already a Master Plan for Minto that calls for continuation of agriculture. (Oddly, not available on the city website.) More than that, there's also a City of Salem Parks Master Plan, which proposed more trails on the island, trails that this easement deal would prohibit.
So it may be that there's good news, and the city staff has realized that you can't just junk the master plans created with lots of citizen participation just because the feds wave some freshly-printed borrowed money at you.
Updates posted here as soon as available. Meanwhile, the map above is Figure 4 from the City of Salem Parks Master Plan. Note the proposed "primary" trails on Minto that have yet to be developed -- and could never be if we accept this "stimulus."