CANNON?BEACH - Leaders in Cannon Beach are moving forward on the acquisition of 800 acres of forest land in the Ecola Creek watershed east of the city, which is owned by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The latest details were outlined at the Cannon Beach City Council meeting Tuesday night.

As part of the deal, the city was required to purchase forest land of equal value to swap with ODF for the Ecola land. On Tuesday, the Council agreed to Hampton Affiliates' $3.2 million purchase price for the parcels of forest land required for the swap, Mayor Mike Morgan said.

"It will be a wonderful addition to our forest and watershed," Morgan said.

He said the next big step for the city will be purchasing the first of the parcels of forest land, which will cost $1.6 million. That must be done by May 1. By July 1 of next year, the rest of the replacement parcels must be purchased, he said.

Money for purchasing the forest land comes from a $4 million bond measure approved by Cannon Beach voters in November 2008.

In other business Tuesday, the Council approved findings of fact necessary for a conditional use permit to construct a controversial pedestrian trail at Elm Street that will run from East Second Street to East Monroe Street.

Councilors Wendy Higgins and Nancy Giasson both voted in favor. The mayor and the other members of the Council, Sam Steidel and Melissa Cadwallader, recused themselves because they own property nearby.

Opponents have 20 days to appeal the decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals. Morgan called the vote something of a formality. "We're glad to have it behind us," he said.

The Council also voted to amend the city's 2010 parking and traffic management plan to designate a space in the city's downtown parking lot exclusively for Zipcars during the summer. Zipcars is a membership-based car sharing enterprise where members rent vehicles by the day or the hour.

Noting that there are 10,000 Zipcar members in Portland, Morgan said for every Zipcar in service, an estimated 15 to 20 private cars are not on the road.

"It's an exciting concept," Morgan said.


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