“Land Use Bill Passes Sub-Committee of the House”On April 16th, SB 1139 “Wallowa Forest Service Compound Conveyance Act” passed the sub-committee of the house. The purpose of SB 1139 is to provide for the conveyance of a Forest Service administrative site to the city of Wallowa, Oregon.
In 1936, the city of Wallowa donated to the Forest Service approximately one acre of land in downtown Wallowa where the Forest Service sought to construct a ranger station and associated buildings. The Civilian Conservation Corps subsequently built a ranger station, bunkhouse, warehouse, storage building, and gas house on the site. The Wallowa Ranger Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 28, 2009.
The site was used for many decades by the Forest Service, but now sits vacant and has accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in deferred maintenance needs. The Forest Service recently identified the property for sale under the Forest Service Facility Realignment and Enhancement Act, which requires fair market value for any conveyance.
The Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center has proposed using the compound for local historical and cultural preservation, interpretation, and education. The Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the rich early 1900's history of the multicultural railroad logging community of Maxville, Oregon, and similar communities in the Pacific Northwest. However, the Forest Service needs legislative authorization to convey the property for anything less than its fair market value.