Acquiring Acreage

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Acquiring Acreage

Post by wrv on Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:38 am

Mr. Stonehouse, isn't it about time we learned of a resolution to the Triangle Park-Zidell property dispute? I know you have commented that the U cannot afford to litigate . . .my retort is why would the U file suit then? At some point you have to weigh risks. The first step is filing, and the second is moving forward because you cannot reasonably resolve the issue which led you to file. At some point, you may have no alternative and cannot afford to do other than litigate, as much as you understand there are risks.

In Oregon and in Multnomah county, there exists a strong policy to move cases to resolution within one year of filing; you can get around that by having the case designated as complex or by placing the case in abeyance because of something unexpected that will delay the ability to present the case. We are now 20 months beyond the filing of suit by the U against Zidell, and nary a word in the news. Is this matter close to resolution?

I assume the U is anxious to get this issue resolved, particularly given the plans for the property. I am hoping you have an update that you feel free to share. I am among those alums excited about the plans for the property. I am a little concerned at how long the matter has remained unresolved. What say you? And, btw, thanks . . .


Last edited by wrv on Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Otherwise it would have been XXX rated.)

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Re: Acquiring Acreage

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:59 am

wrv - I feel your pain on this one. I think everyone involved would love for it to finally be settled. I do know that talks are still ongoing, but I really don't know a lot of specifics.

It's no surprise that liability is a big issue... how much should UP be on the hook if more pollution is found in the future? How much should Zidell? He only bought the land in 1993 or so. What about the EPA? So it's a thorny problem and that involves a lot of different parties - gov't agencies, insurance companies, etc. So naturally that takes more time than usual.

I still believe it will be resolved at some point, especially since if it were to eventually go to a judge I think the University has the much stronger position since Zidell was the one who got cold feet at the last minute. Is there a chance it could fall apart if UP can't get the guarantees they need in terms of liability? I suppose so. But you've got to remember that EVERYONE wants to see UP get control of the land - the city, the governor, our Congressional delegation, the EPA, the neighborhood, etc etc. It could be a completely landmark situation where fallow, abused land could blossom under the care of the University. And not just that land, but an entire area of the city that is 100% underutilized and could become something really special. So yeah... I think it will still happen. When? Can't say, but hopefully before the end of the year.

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Thanks

Post by wrv on Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:20 am

I suppose if the issue is who is responsible for the clean-up should the site be more polluted than anticipated, it is no small matter potentially involving some complex negotiation with multiple parties. I only hope that the time spent since suit was filed has moved this case in a positive direction. Though I really know little about the issues, I suppose I am still surprised (perhaps I shouldn't be?) at the length of time it is taking. I am also surprised that no word appears in the news somewhere about the state of affairs between the parties . . . I am anxious for the U to get its hands on the property so that work may begin. While I may be wrong I understand there is some consideration of building two women's softball fields on the property, which suggests to me that someone, somewhere in Pilotville is thinking of adding a sport., or two.

Thanks for your insight once again.

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Re: Acquiring Acreage

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:21 am

Oh it's definitely taken longer than anticipated... that is due to the seller, not UP. But the fact remains that the purchase-and-sale agreement was set to go through on Jan. 1, 2007 and it still hasn't happened yet.

The plans for the site are all very exciting. Here is a list of things that will likely happen down below:

* A greenway trail that will be open to the public
* The maintenance building will be moved down there with new facilities for the paint shop, carpenters, building mechanics, auto shop, and housekeepers. (The current Physical Plant building will then be converted into lab space for the new Shiley Engineering Hall.)
* A new environmental science building that will use the land and water as a "living" lab.
* Additional parking

Here are things that may happen, though probably with a longer time frame:

* A new baseball field
* New practice/intramural fields
* A crew house with a dock for boats (I think if a sport were to be added it would be crew not softball, since the WCC sponsors rowing)
* A cross country/track training area. Not sure if it would be a full track, but there would be something down there for them to use

Just think... what would the main campus look like if the baseball field, part of the parking lot, and the physical plant could all be relocated down below? So much more space for academic buildings, the new Howard Hall, and even more open space.

No doubt about it... getting that land would secure UP's future well into the 22nd Century. Could UP survive without it? Of course. But with it, the college could become something so much more than it currently is.

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Re: Acquiring Acreage

Post by SciFi on Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:18 pm

Not to mention the fact that it would make future expansion of Merlo Field and the Chiles Center a little easier. . .

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