Land banking is what governments do when they purchase property without knowing how it will be used. The practice is not without controversy, but in an area where the state has restricted land uses and population is growing, land becomes more expensive and purchase in advance of need becomes important. It's a good thing that Metro will not keep the land locked up but will make it available to the taxpayers who paid for it - for their own use and enjoyment.
Public input wanted on how Metro should use natural areas
The Oregonian, December 2, 2014 By Stephanie Yao Young
Voters helped to put four separate natural areas in the North Tualatin Mountains in the public domain, thanks to Metro bond measures passed over the years. Now, the public is invited to give input about how that land will be used.
The areas are former timber land containing a network of old logging roads. They are the Burlington Creek Forest, McCarthy Creek Forest, Ennis Creek Forest and North Abbey Creek Natural Area. Along with currently restoring native habitat, the regional government wants to hear from neighbors as well as recreational users to know why people visit the area, what they do there and what brings them back.
[Dan] Moeller says some uses he knows about in the area are hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. With four completely separate parcels of land encompassing 1,300 acres, he thinks there is room to care for the habitat while carefully planning opportunities for people to enjoy it.
There will be two more meetings, in the spring and summer of 2015. Online comments also accepted here: https://naturalareas.wufoo.com/forms/
Metro hopes to have a comprehensive plan in place by the fall of 2015.