FAQ: Conservation Resource Center project

Frequently asked (and answered!) questions (FAQ)

What was here before?About the propertyPreparing for constructionWhat is the CRC project?What are the impacts of the CRC project?Future
Q: What was the property used for before?
A: There is evidence that sometime prior to 35 years ago, the property was used as an apple orchard.  When the previous owner purchased the property, he improved it for raising llamas.
Q: Was the pond always there?
A: The pond visible from Beavercreek Road and Ferguson Road was developed by the previous landowner.  Interestingly, it is fed entirely by groundwater sources.  The other pond was built by the previous landowner to capture runoff during the spring. He built a waterwheel to use the energy from the pond but that system remains unfinished.
Q: Why did the District choose this property?
A: The Clackamas SWCD chose to build on the already developed part of the property so that farm fields and open space would be retained. When the property was up for sale in 2013 it was marketed as a possible subdivision. The District’s purchase of the property prevented the loss of open space that would have occurred if a subdivision had gone in.
Q: How long have you owned the farm property?
A: The District purchased the property in 2013.
Q: How big is the property?
A: The Beavercreek Demonstration Farm covers 15.15 acres. This includes the footprint with buildings, the small woodlot, and the two ponds.
Q: Where is the small woodlot?
A: A small woodlot exists in the southwest corner of the property where a stand of Douglas fir trees provides habitat.  The District has no plans to remove trees unless needed to maintain tree health.
Q: Why were buildings removed?
A: The Clackamas SWCD chose to build on the already developed part of the property so that farm fields and open space would be retained. To retain open space, the District had to remove old buildings that were not usable for a public agency.
Q: Couldn’t the buildings have been saved?
A: We offered the buildings to the local community, hoping that someone might want them. The cost of upgrading the structures to meet current building codes and to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act was more than they are worth. The most prudent use of the public funds entrusted to the District is to remove those buildings. We are saving some of the most useful outbuildings. The District is committed to preserving the century-old barn. We have already invested tens of thousands of dollars to keep it standing. More work remains to be done!
Q: How can the District build an office on this site?
A: The site is zoned RA-2 which allows us to build through a conditional use provision specified in the Clackamas County zoning and development ordinances.
Q: What is the CRC project?
A: The Clackamas SWCD created a permanent conservation center to better serve our constituents in Clackamas County. We hope to also house the USDA Farm Service Agency and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service so that the facility becomes a one-stop shop for our customers.
Q: How big is the building?
A: The new Conservation Resource Center is nearly 11,000 square feet in size.  It includes space for the District’s employees and has a wing for use by partners.  A 1,500-square-foot meeting room is included in the facility.
Q: Are there pictures available?
A: Yes!  Hover over the Conservation Resource Center menu choice to see month-by-month photo sets.
Q: Is the District the only tenant in the building?
A: At this time, yes.  We hope to be able to bring our federal partners into the space so that we can provide “one-stop shopping” to our customers.
Q: How long did the project take?
A: The District purchased the property in 2013.  Active planning for the project began in 2017.  Financing and permitting occurred in 2018.  Construction started in February 2019 and was largely completed by the end of December 2019.
Q: Why do you have a gate on the driveway?
A: On behalf of Clackamas County taxpayers, we need to protect the assets in our care.  A gate is one way to help achieve this when the office is closed.
Q: How much will this cost?
A: The total cost of construction is projected to be $5.7 million, including site preparation.  Project funding is through a loan to the District.
Q: How does this save taxpayer money?
A: Once the building loan is paid off the cost of maintaining the property will be far less than projected leasing costs.  The money saved will be used to expand services to people in the Clackamas County community.
Q: Did you have to remove the old farmhouse?
A: We miss the old farmhouse, too.  As explained above, we did have to remove it.  We replaced the white fence on the driveway with a new white fence.  We saved some of the trees along the driveway and planted new ones.  We replaced the old flagpole with two modern flagpoles.  We also retained most of the open space that was available and we are committed to maintaining the old wood barn.
Q: How has the community been informed of this activity?
A: We have discussed this many times at Hamlet of Beavercreek meetings. It has been featured in the Beavercreek Bulletin and in Pamplin Media newspapers. We have presented our plans during events held at the site. It has also been featured on our website. As part of the conditional use process, neighbors were contacted by Clackamas County for their comments.
Q: Won’t it be noisy? What about extra traffic?
A: We don’t expect that activities at the new facility will be any noisier than before. A traffic study showed no significant impact to existing traffic on Beavercreek Road.
Q: What about light at night?
A: We are currently programming the lighting system.  Right now, lights go off at 10 pm and come on again at 6 am.  This may change as we fine-tune the automated lighting system.
Q: Why were trees along the driveway removed?
A: We had to remove trees to widen the driveway to accommodate emergency and service vehicles. We have planted replacement trees and look forward to seeing them grow!
Q: Will the space compete with that offered by other organizations?
A: We encourage people to use the Beavercreek Grange for their meetings.  Adding the District’s meeting space means more people may patronize local businesses.  We also have our equipment rental program at the farm where we are able to provide equipment to farmers that is not available from local rental companies.
Q: Will the facility be open to the public?
A: We are a public entity and once construction is complete we will welcome visitors. The large conference room may be made available in the future for workshops and educational events. We will hold an open house for the community in 2020.
Q: Can I have my wedding at the farm?
A: The Clackamas SWCD does not allow wedding-related events to be held at the farm.
Q: What will the fields be used for?
A: For now, the fields provide open space and grass hay. There is ample room for additional demonstration projects. We look forward to creating demonstrations of various farm and ranch practices.
Q: Will you continue to hay the fields?
A: While the fields are in grass, we expect to continue to produce hay, but not every year.  Removing the nutrients captured in the grass eventually depletes the soil of nutrients and carbon.  Some years we will cut the grass and let it return to the soil.
Q: Will you have livestock on the farm?
A: We need to rebuild some infrastructure to have livestock on the farm.  Someday, we hope to use livestock to help cycle nutrients and build better soil.
Q: How do I get more information?
A: Please use our contact form at https://farm.conservationdistrict.org/contact to reach us.

For more information

Please contact the Clackamas SWCD for more information.