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Drone photo by Daryl Moistner.
Future of 55 logged acres in Welches up in the air posted on 02/01/2018

A 55-acre swath has been logged at the nexus of Birdie Lane and Welches Road.

The property was purchased in September 2017 by Chilton Logging Inc. of Woodland, Wash., and the logging operation began in early October, with the work finished in November.

The property is zoned Mountain Recreational Resort by Clackamas County which clears the way for different recreational and residential uses.

Craig Chilton, owner of the logging and development company, reached out to the community in a telephone interview with The Mountain Times.

“We want to work with the community,” Chilton said. “We want to be nice, fit in as much as possible.”

In the beginning, Chilton indicated in an email that first and foremost (regarding the purchase) was the fact that it was a great piece of timberland.

“As we progressed from purchase to harvest, the development potential of the property began to stand out – particularly once the trees were harvested,” Chilton wrote. “The land has so much potential: gently sloped, near to the highway and the neighboring resort and golf course. It’s a very unique property … which presents us with a lot of options moving forward.”

Chilton added that he is still researching how best to develop the property. “We try to look at all our options. Everything from developing the property ourselves, selling it to another party to develop, or working with one of the established resorts already on the mountain to create a recreational community … our options are fairly wide open. Whatever we do we want it to be a quality development. Something the people in this area can be proud of.”

David Lythgoe, owner of Merit Properties in Welches, gave The Mountain Times his view of the operation.

“For loggers, I think they did a good job,” Lythgoe wrote in an email. “They did not totally clear cut which they could have done. I wish they had left a few more evergreen trees. It now looks open to maple, cottonwood and alder re-forestation.”

Chilton indicated the single biggest obstacle has (and will be) codes and regulations.

“This isn’t to say that we are out to avoid regulations, or do work in violation of state and local regulators,” he wrote. “We work and respect those rules. The concern is that many land use laws regulate to the lowest common denominator. We pride ourselves in the quality of our developments, but a lot of time, energy and money is spent essentially proving to agencies that you aren’t out to make a quick buck and damage other property owners. In the end, it raises the cost of development unnecessarily for everyone – from the developer right on down to the homeowner.”

Chilton Logging Inc. has been family owned and operated for five generations. Craig Chilton acquired the company from his father in 1990, and in 2000 launched a custom home construction division.

“It was shortly after launching the custom home division that we realized the opportunity that lay between forestry management and homebuilding: land development,” Chilton wrote. “It was a logical connection, and it allowed us to create quality developments for the placement of custom homes – from forestland to neighborhoods.”

The company has grown over the years, and now employs approximately 85 people.

By Larry Berteau/MT

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