Residents of Blake Ranch, a small Morrow County community, protested plans Wednesday for a 310 wind-turbine farm.
The four stood with signs outside Heppner City Hall, where Chicago-based wind power developer Invenergy, LLC at the second of two public information sessions unveiled its plans for 61,000 acres east of Heppner.
The proposed Heppner Wind Project along Highway 74 would produce 500 megawatts, according to Invenergy. The prospect of a massive wind farm nearby left the Blake Ranch residents unhappy.
“We moved here because it was beautiful and natural and we don’t even have hardly a powerline to look at,” said Ellen Ellenberger. “And now we’re going to have wind farms.”
Mike Frink, one of about a dozen Blake Ranch property owners who attended the meeting, said that he isn’t opposed to wind energy in general, but is concerned about the project’s proximity to his property.
“That’s going to put a real scar on that land,” Frink said. “I’m not opposed to wind energy, (but) I’m not in favor of the project close to where my residence is. “
“That’s the reason why I bought my property – for natural, scenic views,” he said.
Tom Severns, also of Blake Ranch, a community about 23 miles south of Heppner, said Invenergy met a month ago with about five Blake Ranch residents.
“He was just talking about what it was,” Severns said. “He didn’t ask us what we thought of it.”
Severns said that he moved to Blake Ranch to retire and doesn’t want the wind turbines in his view.
The next step is a project order from the Oregon Department of Energy, Energy Facility Siting Council. However, more public hearings will be scheduled.
“We own these power plants for the long term,” said Thomas Metzger, Invenergy project manager. “We’re trying to enhance the community, not divide the community or fracture it.”
There was no public comment at the meeting; however, attendees were able to submit written comments to the Oregon Department of Energy.
“We would like to know what consideration has been given to Blake Ranch,” Ellenberger said.
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