"Three Sisters Meadow"

Donated Jones property renamed


Heidi Khokhar

Brandi Crawford Ferguson of the McKenzie River Trust left, and Mary Ellen Wheeler of McKenzie River Locals Helping Locals had a lot to smile about last week.

Last Wednesday, April 26, a celebration gathering was held on the parcel of land known as the Jones or Seneca property. The 16-acre parcel was generously donated to the Blue River Community by Becky, Jody, and Kathy Jones, owners of The Seneca Family of Companies, and daughters of Aaron and Marie Jones. The Jones sisters donated the land at the end of 2021 with the proposed stipulation that with acceptance of the gift, the Community would collaborate on a plan for revitalization and development of the 16 acres. Several local organizations convened last Fall to address the Jones sister's donation request and collaborate on a plan moving forward. Those Community representatives asked the McKenzie River Trust, a neighbor, and local land conservation organization, to hold the land in trust as the Blue River Community moves through a visioning and planning process. The McKenzie River Trust is currently managing the land as a public open space until the Community is ready to assume ownership. Historically, the 16-acre parcel represents the east half of an old mill site that once included a green-end veneer plant, a sawmill, and a large log pond. Seneca Lumber Company acquired the land several decades ago and dismantled the fore-mentioned facilities. In the 90's, Seneca donated the west half of the property to the McKenzie Track and Field Committee. The MCTF developed the Aaron and Marie Jones Community Track venue, an eight-lane certified track venue capable of hosting world-class events. Marie Jones later donated the funding for the construction of the AMJ Building, which furnishes a track storage garage, restrooms, outdoor showers, a concession stand, a meeting room, and office space for the facility. The celebration on Wednesday included the presentation of a $20,000 donation from McKenzie Locals Helping Locals to McKenzie River Trust. The donation check was presented by MLHL President Mary Ellen Wheeler to MRT representative Brandi Crawford Ferguson and will be used by MRT to cover the hard costs related to owning and managing the donated property. MLHL utilized funds received from the residential log and wood fiber sales donated to it through the McKenzie Valley recovery process and in cooperation with Suulutaaq Inc. The attending Community representatives celebrated the gift of the land, progress made thus far and soon will embrace the process with community listening sessions. The group also brainstormed ideas for renaming the property and agreed, enthusiastically, on Three Sisters Meadow. This seemed a very appropriate homage to the three generous Jones sisters as well as to our three outstanding volcanic peaks, standing prominently to the East. In attendance (left to right in the attached photo), Tony Casad (Blue River Water, Sanitation, and Park Districts), Cliff Richardson (McKenzie Locals Helping Locals and McKenzie Community Track), Connie Richardson (O'Brien Memorial Library), Elaine Bryson (McKenzie River Community School), Joe Moll (McKenzie River Trust), Melanie Brite (Upper McKenzie Fire Protection District), Lane Tompkins (McKenzie River Community School), Brandi Crawford Ferguson (McKenzie River Trust), Jeff Dehne (McKenzie Community Partners), Val Rapp (McKenzie Valley Wellness), Priti Shah (FEMA), and unseen photographer, Heidi Khokhar (Rural Development Initiatives).


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