By JONAH SVIHUS
On Oct. 16, the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees approved the sale of the college’s riverfront property.
At their most recent meeting, the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees propositioned subdividing the property into two lots (collectively about three-quarters of an acre) and selling each of these lots for approximately $500,000 each, according to the ASLC Vice President Leann Knapp ’16.
The land that LC owns was acquired during John Howard’s term as president in 1974. President Howard, closely advised by the Vice President of Development Glenn Gregg, secured tax exempt status for the land during the 1976-1977 tax year under the Oregon tax law 307.130. When LC acquired the property, it was purchased for $25,000. The property had developed docks at the time that LC purchased it; however, LC needed to improve and repair the docks in order to be used.
The original motivation for purchasing the riverfront property was to provide a home for the burgeoning sailing team which had won multiple tournaments in the Northwest Intercollegiate Sailing Association during the early 1970s, according to letter correspondences between President Howard and Glenn Gregg. Owning riverfront property allowed LC to offer sailing classes at an affordable price and at a convenient location.
Currently, LC still uses the docks at the riverfront property for sailing classes. Brad Davis ’18 enjoyed taking advantage of the sailing classes at LC.
“The dock and facilities are awesome, but in need of conditioning and repair,” Davis said.
The disrepair that Davis speaks of is apparent to more people than the students in the sailing class. At the Board of Trustees meeting, it was estimated that repairs and rebuilding of the current facilities on the riverfront property would total to $75,000.
When asked about the effect this would have on the LC sailing team, member Robin Gropp ’16 believed that the sailing team wouldn’t be affected at all.
“[The sailing team] does not use the docks because there is better wind further north at Willamette Sailing Club, and sailing at the Club allows us access to other teams and resources, etc,” Gropp said.
While the revenue that the college could receive from the sale of the property seems enticing — especially as the other uses for the property are limited —there are certain members of the community who are worried about selling the riverfront property.
The property that LC owns is 100 feet south of the Powers Marine Park which has become home to the popular “riverfront parties” normally held at the beginning of the year.
Steve Adamou (‘15) has fond memories of being down by the river.
“None of my state school friends have anything like the memories I have,” Adamou said. “I just worry that actions like selling off our riverfront property makes us more and more like every other liberal arts school in America and that is not the direction I would like to see this school take. Let’s keep LC weird,” Adamou said.
The river parties associated with the river will theoretically still be able to continue due to their placement on the Powers Marine Park which is open 5 a.m. to midnight 365 days a year.