Developer, state reach deal for unprecedented land swap

The man who built the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort completes agreement for about 280 acres of public land on the southern coast.

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The developer who built the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has completed an “unprecedented” land-swap agreement for about 280 acres of public land on the southern coast.

Mike Keiser plans to build “Bandon Muni,” which he said would bring jobs and affordable greens fees for local residents.

From the Associated Press:

The state parks commission has agreed to accept several parcels of land, $2.5 million in cash for future land acquisitions and money to clean up an invasive plant species. In exchange, the state will privatize 280 acres of the state’s public coast so developer Mike Keiser can build a golf course. The land is currently the southeastern third of the Bandon State Natural Area. The deal is still subject to approval by the federal Bureau of Land Management, which gave the land Keiser wants to the state in 1968 under the condition it never be used for anything other than a public park.

Keiser’s arrangement is unusual in a state where coastal land is so beloved that the state Legislature voted in 1967 to keep the shoreline public, then bought additional acreage all along its 363 miles. The result is a network of more than 80 properties, seven of which are in Oregon’s 10 most-visited parks.

Negotiations lasted more than five years, according to

The deal highlights the conflict between preservation and development on Oregon’s south coast, where unemployment rates of 7.6 percent in Coos County and 9.1 percent in Curry County are in the state’s bottom third. Kitzhaber and his staff pushed the sale as part of his economic development initiative, arguing another golf course in Coos County would create badly needed jobs. Multiple Bandon and Coos County officials added their support.

“This has been a long time coming, and I think it would be a wonderful thing for the local area,” Bandon Mayor Mary Schamehorn said in an interview.

Not everyone was so enthusiastic about the deal as environmentalists were dismayed by the trade. Others indicated Keiser’s political influence may have swayed the state’s decision unfairly.