Please consider keeping Witham Oaks as open space. If we don't act now, we may not get another chance.

Witham Oaks is about 90 acres of undeveloped land, including wetlands, across from the Oregon State University cow barns and near the LDS church on Harrison Boulevard.

The company that planned to develop it went bankrupt, so the land will be auctioned off on Jan. 29, 2010. We hope to raise about $2 million quickly to save the property.

Consider the city's future need for parks. In 1991, the city set a policy of 35 acres of parks/open space for every thousand people. By this standard - even with the large land purchase from the 2000 Open Space bond measure - we now have about the amount of park land we need. However, several hundred acres of the purchased property is either not open to the public or not easily accessible.

As the city grows, it will need more park land. Witham Oaks probably meets this need better than any other property. It is near public transportation and within walking distance of thousands of residents.

A multi-use path already goes through it and it already has an access road and a parking lot and is handicap accessible. Many are already using it as a park.

If you want more information about preserving this open space, see www.withamoaks.org.

John Foster, Corvallis

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