A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council puts Hazelwood Park up for sale

Written April 14th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Some of the trees at Hazelwood Park as they looked on April 6. The council has voted to sell the park.

Close neighbors told the Albany City Council Wednesday how much little Hazelwood Park means to them, so much so that they have taken to trimming the grass and keeping ivy from climbing the trees. Half an hour later the council voted 5-1 to put the park up for sale.

The 2.5-acre park is hidden at the end of a gravel driveway between S.W. Queen and 17th avenues, and it’s sandwiched by two electrical substations. The council also voted to dispose of an undeveloped pond off Ridders Lane in North Albany.

Only Councilman Dick Olsen voted against having the city dispose of both park properties. He believes their neighbors appreciate both sites.

Parks Director Kim Lyddane said she had been contacted by parties interested in both properties. The council authorized her to determine the details of the selling process, and then to report back with proposals in three months.

When that time comes, secrecy is likely to shroud the process. City Attorney Sean Kidd recommended that the council consider offers to buy the properties, including the price, in executive sessions. Such meetings are closed to the public, and under Oregon law reporters are allowed to attend only on condition they don’t report what is said.

One party that has expressed an interest in Hazelwood Park is the Creating Housing Coalition, a private nonprofit that wants to build a cluster of tiny houses there to help people who otherwise might be homeless.

The group’s president, Stacey Bartholomew, was appointed to the council in January. On Wednesday she voted with the majority to declare both park properties surplus and offer them for sale. (On two subsequent motions — leaving the sale arrangements to the parks director, and allowing her three months before reporting back — Bartholomew did not vote either yes or no.)

Before the properties can be sold, the council must conduct a public hearing. But that does not take place until a proposed sale has been negotiated, so usually the hearing is a formality. (hh)

The story has been edited to add that on two other motions regarding how to proceed with the park sale, Bartholomew did not vote yes or no.

8 responses to “Council puts Hazelwood Park up for sale”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Was conflict of interest even discussed? The appearance certainly exists.

  2. John Klock says:

    Very, very short-sighted on the part of the city to sell a piece of land. While the city has 40+ parks they are not equally spaced and unless you live right beside those parks, you have to cross busy street after busy street to find any respite and peace of mind. Shame on the city. In the end, it is not about making Albany a livable place, to the city council, it is about making Albany a congested, concrete jungle and unlivable for anyone. If you are an elder and have to face the traffic on any one of the city’s crosswalks, you know what I mean. Shame.

  3. Jill E Morgan says:

    Well, that sucks….shouldn’t the counselor, Stacey Bartholomew, have excused herself from voting since she has an interest in this as president of a non profit who is interested in buying this property? I see a law suit in the future….

  4. Dave Ferris says:

    I have no position on the sale or future use of the Hazelwood Park property. I agree with others that have pointed out the seemly obvious conflict of interest in Stacey Bartholomew voting on this issue. Hasso, are we missing something here?

  5. Albany YIMBY says:

    If you build there 50 units, you’ll house at least 150 people, and that will help rent affordability in Albany. Better that than allowing for 10-20 tiny homes to be built in the same space. If they are going to use a park to get more housing at least they can do it well.

  6. David Cross says:

    Something seems shady here. Hazelwood Park’s mature fir and oak trees present a fair number of thirty two foot, knot free, saw logs, with large diameters measured from five feet up. Merchantable timber prices are reduced as much as 60% when there is distance and difficulty encountered getting trees to mill. The greatest difficulty encountered at Hazelwood Park’s tree stand will not be the cutting, loading or transportation, but getting the money into the pockets of the rightful owners… the taxpayers.

  7. Mae says:

    I see a definite conflict of interest and secrecy going on with this. Also, has anyone gotten a definitive answer from the Creating Housing Coalition on the two locations in SE Albany that they are also looking at developing instead of Hazelwood Park? I haven’t been able to get a straight answer on that. I heard Waverly Drive and Grand Prairie – but where? I think transparency in this situation could help build up trust in the CHC.

  8. Jeff Senders says:

    Its a done deal! The Council didn’t even care about the conflict of interest as proof.

    So now the question becomes infrastructure, and who bears the cost of same, CHC or the taxpayer?


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