SALEM, Oregon — Neighborhood residents of Creekside Golf Club, a country club in the Oregon state capital less than an hour from downtown Portland, have overwhelmingly voted against financially supporting the club.
Club owner Larry Tokarski, who had threatened to close the 18-hole course and develop the property without that support, now says the club can stay open in the short-term.
In a letter posted on the club’s website Wednesday night, Tokarski said he will buy out partner Terry Kelly, and will lease the course to the club’s general manager, Danny Moore, and controller, Shelly Elliott.
“This option was made available in recent days due to the dedication and commitment of the Creekside Golf Club members,” Tokarski wrote.
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Over the past few weeks, club members have raised about $1.25 million to start addressing deferred maintenance and staff wages.
That’s far short of the $4.2 million Tokarski had asked the homeowner’s association to approve, and the letter indicated that he will again ask neighbors to pitch in.
“Danny Moore will commit to working with the Creekside community to gain feedback in the development of a long-term plan that reflects all of our desires to see the club thrive,” he wrote.
Neither Tokarski nor Kelly responded to interview requests.
Creekside Golf Club and the Creekside Estates neighborhood were created by the same developer, but otherwise have no legal or financial connection.
But many club members live in the neighborhood, and those with golf course views have an interest in preventing development. Some residents said they bought their homes thinking the golf course would always be there.
Golf course owners Tokarski and Kelly have been threatening to close the course and develop the property for years.
(Brian Hayes/Salem Statesman Journal)
In 2016 they asked the 588 members of the Creekside Homeowners Association to each contribute $60 per month toward the club in exchange for limited memberships.
When that failed, they asked the city of Salem to reduce the rate it charges the club for water, shifting the cost to residential customers. That proposal also failed.
First, each property owner would have paid $90 per month, or $1,080 per year, for five years to help support the club. That failed 334 to 170.
Second, a 1% transfer fee on home sales would go to the club. That failed 406 to 97.
In return, the club’s owners said they would pause plans to develop the property into housing for five years.
The 153-acre course was built in 1993. It was designed by touring golf professional Peter Jacobsen.
Tracy Loew is a reporter at the Statesman Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-399-6779 or on Twitter at@Tracy_Loew.