A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council sells neighbors Hazelwood Park

Written September 22nd, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The future owners of Hazelwood Park (the five on the right) and some of their neighbors gathered at the park one day in early July.

Hazelwood Park will be sold to three families living next door for $120,000, the Albany City Council decided on Wednesday.

Theirs was the only offer after Creating Housing Coalition withdrew its offer of $350,000. The nonprofit plans to build a village of tiny houses for the homeless, and it realized that developing the 2.58-acre park site at 1999 Queen Ave S.W. would have cost too much.

The three families — the Schukows, the Pulvers, and Zeller-Bray — live on 17th Avenue adjacent to the north boundary of the little park. They plan to divide the property in three and add each segment to their yards, preserving the natural scenery including tall oaks, firs and other trees.

The families wowed the council with video presentations on how much the property meant to them, and how they and their children had used it and taken care of it over the years.

The vote to sell it to them was unanimous. Council members were impressed by the neighbors’ passion for the park. They also expressed their admiration for the gracious way the housing coalition had dealt with the families and bowed out of the purchase competition.

This is the first time I can remember — going back 40-some years — that the city of Albany has sold a developed —  albeit minimally developed — park.

Hazelwood is out of the way, at the western edge of the city, and gets little use by the public. Mayor Alex Johnson II said that before he went there to check it out, he had never known the park existed.

Albany’s master plan for parks said Hazelwood was not needed in 2006, and the recently updated version of that plan said the same thing. So the council declared the property surplus and put  it up for sale.

I would guess it will take a little while for the sale to close. So if you want to see Hazelwood Park before it becomes private property, better get out there soon. (hh)

Looking at the wooded section of the park from the unpaved parking lot.


14 responses to “Council sells neighbors Hazelwood Park”

  1. Jim Engel says:

    Begs the question. Now that they own the whole enchilada would would then prevent them from “developing” it into home sites at a later date?? Place looks big enough for 2 – 3 park like home sites.

    • Lily says:

      Nothing would prevent them developing it, as with any property buyer. Similar to when buyers purchase other properties with nefarious intentions throughout the entire process but don’t disclose to sellers. I suppose time will tell.

      • Nicole says:

        You are both correct, however we have no plans to develop any homes. Our goal from the beginning was to save the trees from development. I cannot imagine living in my home without those trees behind my home. I completely understand your concerns and all I can say is we plan to clean up but actually taking care of the trees, weeds, and not just the open grass area.

  2. HowlingCicada says:

    Thank you, Lily and Jim, for saying exactly what has bothered me — I was too cowardly to start it. I realize that the electrical easements and nearby stuff have affected the property value, but I still think the price to be paid is far below fair market value. There doesn’t seem to have been a process to encourage other potential buyers.

    Could there be a conservation easement (or something like it) imposed by the City whereby additional development would require payment to the City to bring the total up to fair market value? That way the people buying it could have what they said they wanted at the price they offered.

    The reason I’m being seemingly negative is that I want a world that is fair to everyone possible, not just to those who have a “good story” and media savviness.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      I totally believe you don’t understand. People that actually care about a piece of property and are willing to PAY PROPERTY TAXES on it VS somebody with their hand out begging.

      Why all the concern about what Albany does. Do you feel you have Corvallis screwed up enough????

      • HowlingCicada says:

        “””People that actually care about a piece of property and are willing to PAY PROPERTY TAXES on it VS somebody with their hand out begging.”””

        Where in my comment do I support “somebody with their hand out begging?” The tiny-house issue at this location is now moot. The time for trolling and bile is over.

        “””Why all the concern about what Albany does. Do you feel you have Corvallis screwed up enough????”””

        Because Corvallis is boring. Other than the fight over NIMBYism like in Albany, there’s no consequential politics here. (OK, I’m wrong, but it sounds good).

        Albany is interesting. Real left-right debate. Wild voting swings. A wonderful place to visit (but not sure I’d want to live there — Corvallis bicycling is much better;). And you have a great forum with astute comments from much further than Corvallis; all the better that Gordon and I mostly disagree.

    • Tyler says:

      So, this was a very open process. The sale of this property has been discussed in various public forums for months/years.

      They were the only other offer made. Others could have thrown their hat in the ring as well, like the property with the old concrete water tank that sold for so cheap.

      Development would have to go through zoning first. That area is RS 6.5. 3.020 states “ RS-6.5—RESIDENTIAL SINGLE-FAMILY DISTRICT. The RS-6.5 District is intended primarily for low-density urban single-family residential development. The average minimum lot size is 6,500 square feet.”

      • HowlingCicada says:

        “””The sale of this property has been discussed in various public forums for months/years.”””

        Correct, I’ll even give you a good source from 2017. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in this place, with some interesting comments:

        Then, apparent silence until earlier this year when the tiny-house group wants to buy and the City wants to sell:

        Then, only a day or two of public notice from the $350,000 withdrawal to the decision to sell for $120,000. There wasn’t time for anyone else to consider making a better offer. Sept. 2021 is a very different time in the housing market than June, 2017. No one will ever know if anyone was interested in persuing new housing here because it wasn’t fairly tested.

        About the existing 6500 sq.ft. zoning: 2.58 acres = room for 17 single-family houses. Maybe a little less because of utility easements; I don’t know how that works. This limitation is further eased by the new state law.

        The “property with the old concrete water tank that sold for so cheap” is encumbered with a big potential liability. At Hazelwood, if a transformer blows up in someone’s face, Pacific Power is liable, not the new property owner.

  3. Abe Cee says:

    They should use the $200k+ they saved and create a homeless village at the site….or more likely, put in some ADUs they could rent out to “more desirables” and make their money back.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      They didn’t SAVE anything, since they never would have offered $350k.

      It’s going to be THEIR backyard. It’s going to be NONE of your business.

      • Abe Cee says:

        It was a joke, Bill. Take a deep breath and step away from the cliff.

        • HowlingCicada says:

          The problem with sarcasm is that there’s often a disconnect between what the writer intends and what the reader perceives. It’s especially problematic when the tone seems to shift midway, as in your comment. The only evidence that all of it might be sarcastic is the scare-quoted “more desirables.”

          Back to reality, I can hardly imagine a better — or more lucrative considering the land price — ADU location in all of Albany. With market-rate rent, even the most sarcastic conservatives should have no problem with “desirability.” If they do, I really want to hear about it.

  4. Jake JJ Jack Johnny Hartman says:

    Just more “inside the white privileged beltway stuff. No one in Albany should be shocked or surprised by this outcome. Homeless Shelter supporters show compassion and present a possible solution and are summarily resisted by the power structure. Pleasant, non-threatening white people offer a massive underbid on a valuable piece of property and the Council rushes to sell off before too many catch on. Nothing new to see here folks.

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