Jones family makes another big gift
16 prime acres donated to Blue River
January 6, 2022
BLUE RIVER: The Jones family (owners of the Seneca Family of Companies) has donated 16-acres of land for community rebuilding and revitalization after the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire. Blue River community members have asked the McKenzie River Trust to conduct the due diligence needed to accept the donation of land, to be the interim holder of the property, and to manage it while a regional visioning and planning process moves forward.
In response to the Jones family's offer to donate the land this past summer, a range of possible uses were suggested ranging from affordable housing to a state certified child care center, as well as multi-use office spaces, community drinking water and septic infrastructure, and more. The 16 acres are adjacent to the Aaron and Marie Jones Field/McKenzie Track, built on land donated decades ago by Aaron and Marie Jones. The recent land donation was made by Jones Girls LLC (Becky Jones, Kathy Jones-McCann, and Jody Jones) in honor of Aaron and Marie.
After the Holiday Farm fires, the Jones sisters said they supported efforts to help get community members back on their feet, before deciding the ultimate gift they could give the community was the 16 acres they held in the heart of Blue River. Both the track and the newly transferred land were the former site of a plywood mill and veneer plant operated between 1954 and 1972. The McKenzie River Trust said it will manage the site with community partners as open space while community planning continues for the larger Blue River area.
"We're thankful for the continued support of the McKenzie community from the Jones Family. We're excited to have the opportunity to make the donated 16 acres a centerpiece to community resilience after the Holiday Farm Fire," according to Lane Tompkins, McKenzie School Superintendent
Tompkins added that, "We're also thankful for the willingness of the McKenzie River Trust to partner in this endeavor by holding and stewarding the land while the community completes a visioning process for the property's uses. Initial work by community stakeholders identified numerous potential uses for the property to bolster community health. We are looking forward to continuing these discussions."
Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust agrees. "The Holiday Farm Fire opened all of our eyes to broader local and regional community needs," he said. "We're thankful for opportunities like this one presented to the community from the Jones family, to consider the basics of land and water in the reimagining and rebuilding of a community."
Beginning September 7, 2020 the Holiday Farm Fire burned over 173,000 acres in the McKenzie River Valley, destroying over 400 homes and leaving only the school and a handful of homes standing in the Blue River community. The McKenzie River Trust already holds over 350-acres of land in conservation that also burned in the Holiday Farm Fire.