Three families who live near Hazelwood Park joined together to buy it from the city of Albany for $120,000 in September.
It's a property the city has been looking to unload: The park was slated for divestment as surplus in the 2006 Parks Master Plan and again in the 2021 plan.
The Schukow, Pulver and Zeller-Bray families proposed purchasing the 2.58-acre plot off of Southwest Queen Avenue after the nonprofit Creating Housing Coalition pulled out of a plan to buy it for $350,000 and develop a tiny home village for “very low-income persons,” according to city documents.
The families live on Southwest 17th Avenue, just north of the park. Separately, they submitted a letter to the city expressing their desires to continue using the property for family recreational activities rather than see it developed. They plan to divide it into three sections, extending their current properties, and add gated fencing to limit access.
“After many meetings with other concerned neighbors and other Hazelwood [bordering] neighbors, we decided we would do anything in our power to preserve the trees and privacy in the park,” Nicole and George Schukow’s letter said. The letter went on to describe their children’s future hopes for the park.
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“We have always considered the park an extension of our property,” Sami Pulver and her father-in-law Todd wrote. “We go back there to take family photos, play, adventure, and sometimes just enjoy the shade and quiet. … [My] family has had this park to love and use for 30+ years.”
In their letter, Jill Zeller and Stephen Bray pledged to preserve their portion of the property, hoping to promote the advantages of wildland preservation. They cited the proximity to the park as a major factor in their decision to buy their home, saying it made the nearby power substation “a little easier to bear.”
After a presentation from the families at the Sept. 22 regular session, the Albany City Council voted unanimously to sell Hazelwood Park to them. Comments from the council and mayor highlighted the civility of dealings between the families and the Creating Housing Coalition in pursuing the park property.
“This 2.5-acre copse of Oregon oak, Douglas fir and pine is a rare wildland asset for the city and its residents,” Jill Zeller said in a presentation video. “Adjacent to a wetland frequented by great blue herons and other birdlife as well as Oregon tree frogs in spring, this property is unique with its relative untouched status.”
In July, the City Council voted 5-1 approving sale of its North Pointe property, on the other side of town adjacent to Northwest Ridders Lane, to Lisa Thompson, who owns property next to it. She offered to buy the lot for $77,500, according to city documents. In her proposal letter, Thompson said the property would be preserved as a refuge for local wildlife.
Cody Mann covers the cities of Albany and Lebanon. He can be contacted at 541-812-6113 or Cody.Mann@lee.net.
“Adjacent to a wetland frequented by great blue herons and other birdlife as well as Oregon tree frogs in spring, this property is unique with its relative untouched status." ~Jill Zeller, Albany resident