June 21, 2004

Wyden-Smith Bill on Bend Pine Nursery Approved by House of Representatives

Bill sets price for the Bend Pine Nursery at $3.5 million, saving local taxpayers $2.3 million

Washington, DC - Legislation authored by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) to set the price for the Bend Pine Nursery at $3.5 million - saving local taxpayers $2.3 million - was approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives. A vote on S. 1848 is the final legislative step in a years-long effort to transfer the Pine Nursery from the U.S. Forest Service to the Bend Metro Parks and Recreation District at a reasonable cost for the community. The Wyden-Smith bill won approval by the full U.S. Senate earlier this year, and now moves to the President for signature into law. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) sponsored similar legislation in the House and shepherded S. 1848 to a vote today. "The Forest Service's $5.8 million demand on taxpayers for the Bend Pine Nursery simply didn't pass the smell test, so I couldn't be more pleased that the House acted on our bipartisan bill today," said Wyden. "Greg did a great job navigating this bill on the House side. When the President signs it into law, the end result will be that Deschutes County taxpayers will have saved $2.3 million and the Forest Service will continue to be able to meet its office needs in Bend." "Central Oregonians will soon be able to enjoy the school grounds, sports fields, and other recreational areas this land will be to this growing community," said Smith. "Special thanks go to Congressman Walden for his efforts to get this bill passed in the House of Representatives." In early November 2003, Wyden and Smith introduced legislation to set the sale price for the Bend Pine Nursery at $3.5 million, saving local taxpayers $2.3 million versus the Forest Service asking price of $5.8 million. Since Wyden and Smith initially passed bipartisan legislation in 2000 to authorize the sale of the Forest Service property to the Bend Metro Parks and Recreation District, the Forest Service's asking price has almost doubled from a $3 million estimate to the current $5.8 million price tag.