Planning Dept. Allows Developers to build on Wetlands.
Comment by Bill Eagle

Note the woody vegetation in the background.  This is a wetland area along Highway 30 on the Northern boundary of St. Helens, and is located just South of Liberty Hill Road.  It is an area where permits have been issued to build a car wash and a series of storage buildings.   It is also an area that has been described as a perched wetland… a very rare form of wetland, and one that contains many unique plants and animals. . 

The whole concept of land use planning is to protect people.  Planning exists so that people don't dump their problems on others, or create problems for others.   Wetlands are never a good place to build, and they are particularly a bad place to build storage buildings.  Most people who store things, like to keep the things that they store dry.  Clay soils shrink and swell with the seasons; these soils are a very poor place lay pipes, or build walls and foundations. 

Federal and State laws have been created to protect wetlands.  Wetland areas have long been recognized as valuable wildlife habitat areas.  They are considered to be good places for water storage, they provide an active place for filtration of pollutants, biodiversity, and flood protection. In addition to other benefits, wetlands can add aesthetic value.  When we lose wetlands, we lose a valuable natural resource.     

The bottom line is that wetlands are not a good place to build shopping malls, schools, car washes or storage buildings. .. But developers like them, because they can be purchased for a fraction of what it would cost for good, well drained land…  This particular property is not unique.  Numerous wetlands areas are being allowed to be developed all along the Highway 30 Corridor.

Eliminating wetlands can be costly.  It not only costs a great deal of money to build on them, but it also costs the tax payer money when their loss results in increased flooding, lost wildlife habitat, and road repair.   

Personally, I would think twice before choosing to store my valuables in a storage unit built on wetland, and I would think twice about buying or building a home on the site of former wetlands… If you are wise, you might want to think twice about this as well.