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LandWatch Has Our Backs 

This week's letter comes from Hillary Garrett who piggybacks on last week's feature story and points out some of the additional accomplishments that Central Oregon LandWatch has wracked up over the years. Thanks for the letter, Hillary. As this week's winner you're entitled to a bag of gourmet coffee courtesy of Strictly Organic roasters. Stop by our office, 704 NW Georgia, to collect your grounds.

Thank you for featuring last week's piece, "The Green Machine," and for bringing attention to the tremendous work of Central Oregon LandWatch.

Having been around for a long time, 1000 Friends of Oregon has achieved numerous accomplishments and has strong name recognition around the state. But in Central Oregon LandWatch, the region has something unique: a locally bred, rural-based, land-use advocacy group that has proven successful at both the state and local levels.

Landwatch directed last year's campaign to protect the Metolius and brought us the Skyline Forest bill with their work in Salem. Were it not for Paul Dewey's decade of successful legal challenges to development applications in the Skyline Forest area, there wouldn't be a Skyline Forest left for anyone to protect. For his many contributions that enrich our community, he was previously lauded as the Source Weekly's "Man of the Year," and in 2008 was honored as an "Earthstar" by the Central Oregon Environmental Center.

The steady involvement of Landwatch in Bend's Urban Growth Boundary expansion process over the last three years has gone largely unnoticed, but has proven tremendously influential. DLCD and then LCDC have worked to address the City's proposal while Landwatch spent countless hours providing testimony. When a remand comes back later this summer that forces the City of Bend to reconsider its costly, sprawl-oriented approach, it will be largely to LandWatch's credit.

Not many people will remember that LandWatch, then the Sisters Forest Planning Committee, led the successful effort to designate Whychus Creek as a Wild and Scenic River or fought to protect old growth ponderosa forests in the Metolius Basin and won. As a long-time supporter of LandWatch and of Paul Dewey, I can say that Central Oregon has been incredibly fortunate to have them, and would not be the same place without them.

- Hilary Garrett, Bend

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