- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A Chicago developer is considering buying a popular Boy Scouts property on Oregon’s north coast to build a new golf course.

The Oregonian reports (https://bit.ly/1Y8LbXh ) that Mike Keiser is in talks with the Portland-based Cascade Pacific Council of Scouts about building a 200-acre, 18-hole beachfront course in Tillamook County.

Keiser owns the Bandon Dunes golf resort in Coos County along with courses across the U.S. and abroad.

Council leaders say they are considering leasing the coastal strip because revenue shortages have left them with more properties than the organization can afford. The 790-acre property includes the Meriwether and Clark scout camps.

The prospective deal comes three months after Keiser abandoned a plan to buy 280 acres of state parkland south of Bandon for a 27-hole course.



A contingent of Scouts has mobilized to fight the proposed lease, with more than 2,000 signing a petition. Opponents say fragmenting miles of undeveloped coastline to build a golf course goes against the code that compels scouts to be conservation minded.

“I support their need to generate revenue, but this is not the way to do that,” said Jonathan Linch, an Eagle Scout who launched the petition and says he “grew up” at Camp Meriwether. “It goes against the ideals of scouting.”

Situated on forested oceanfront land surrounded by state parks and federal forests, the camps host scouts year-round for activities such as camping, boating and target practice. Outside groups rent the property for retreats, festivals and private functions.

Council leaders say leasing the land to Keiser would provide money to bolster programs and make improvements. Keiser has also agreed to rebuild the ranger’s residence and other structures that would be razed for the course.

“This project is under consideration because of our mission to provide the best and safest programs to our 21,000 kids - today and for years to come,” Council CEO Matt Devore said in an email to The Oregonian.

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Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com

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