A few days ago I rode my bike down Lake Rd. which is up above Lacamas Lake. If you travel southeast from the Prune Hill area, it's a long downhill ride through second growth forest. On the side of the road there's a sign put up as a public announcement, concerning a "proposed" subdivision bordering Prune Hill. The sign is easy to miss if you're on a bike, much less in a car, and I would guess almost no one walks up or down this hill, so in effect the sign is useless. It's about 20 ft. from the road, in among the trees and fern.
The proposed development is quite large, and apparently has already begun, as I saw somewhere on the web that contractors have asked the city of Camas for access to the site. Actual groundbreaking may not have begun though.
The info from the sign:
Lakeridge North-110 single family residential lots from 10,502-19,787 sq. ft.-to be surrounded by 4 open space tracts totalling 38.6 acres
931 SW King St.
Portland, OR 97205
Contact: Ryan Zygar (503) 221-5353
17355 SW Boones Ferry Rd.
Lake Oswego OR 97035-2517
Contact: Don Hanson (503) 635-3618
City of Camas Planning Department
From looking at the map on the sign, the actual development will be 40-50 acres, with surrounding "open space tracts."
This forest would likely have been converted into a neighborhood much earlier, except that it's a steep hillside. I hiked through the area, and it's mostly a maze of old logging cuts and game trails. I didn't see any old growth, but plenty of old growth stumps from the last time it was logged, probably early last century.
I would imagine the forest here is an important part of the Lacamas Creek watershed, which flows into the Washougal River, and then into the Columbia. Across the Lacamas Creek valley is Round Lake Park, and some areas of that park are so ecologically sensitive that they're off-limits to everything except foot traffic.
The surprising thing is not that there's a new subdivision planned in a rural area, but the sheer size of these planned McMansions--10,502-19,787 sq. ft. It defies logic why people need these things, much less BRAND NEW ones out in what used to be forest.
We use the term McMansion, but I think this really underestimates, or trivializes the damage that these subdivisions do to the physical landscape and the social character of their host communities. As bad as McDonald's is, they never built a 20,000 sq. ft. restaurant in a sensitive watershed. Of course, I'm sure they would if they thought it would be good for business.
This has been a public service announcement.