Protecting Gimpl Hill: a community comes together

Hilliary Giglio
Sat, 07/01/2017 (All day)

What would you do if someone tried to pave 133 acres of forest habitat and family vineyards in your rural community for 19 sprawling residential lots? 
Bob Cattoche called 1000 Friends of Oregon.
Bob Cattoche_Eugene_crop5 19 17Bob has lived in rural Lane County with his wife Annabelle for 28 years. They are deeply committed to protecting the 133 acres of diverse forestland adjacent to their small neighborhood. This forestland is home to bears, cougars, elk, birds and coyotes, as well as six acres of vineyards for Noble Estate.
These working and wild lands have been protected through Oregon land use laws – until now.

coyote_Summer AppealLast January, Bob and his neighbors received notice of a developer’s proposal to rezone their beloved forestland into 19 McMansion lots. In just 3 weeks, the proposal would go before the county planning commission.
Bob immediately thought of the area’s limited water supply, and the wells that were already drying up. He thought about the wildlife that calls the forest home, and he thought about the vineyard on the land. He also thought, “That timeline was absurd. I got mad, and said, OK – we’ll show you."
He began to organize his neighbors. 
Deer_Summer AppealHe recruited an overflow crowd to show up in front of the county planning commission. The commission was impressed and gave them a three-month extension to organize their work.

That’s when Bob called 1000 Friends of Oregon. Since February, we’ve been working with Bob and his neighbors to secure an attorney and all the specialists they need to defend and protect their special forest and farmland. They presented their case in May and are now waiting on deliberations and next steps, which may take nearly a year.
1000 Friends will be with them throughout this process. As Bob says, “Doing this work, it’s important to have a team of people helping out.”

As of October, the petitioner for a rezone has pulled their proposal from consideration.

Thank you for your dedication to supporting Oregon’s great communities, thriving working lands and iconic places. We couldn’t do this work without you

For 42 years, 1000 Friends of Oregon has focused on farm and forest protection. Our Circuit Rider Program takes a new approach by combining legal work with advocacy, providing access to the land use system for underserved rural communities.