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Land swap is currently off the table

Chris Fritsch via the Pendleton School District

PENDLETON, Oregon – The land swap between the city of Pendleton and Pendleton School District 16R is shelved, at least for now. Superintendent Chris Fritsch says the land owned by the district between Southwest Frazer and Southwest Emigrant avenues adjacent to the Pendleton Early Learning Center will not be swapped with the city for McKay Neighborhood Park next to the elementary school.

The city and the district were considering the swap to give the city possession of developable land that could be used for housing. In exchange, the district would control the park, which is already used during school hours as a playground. In the future, if owning the park land could make it easier for the district if it needed to expand or replace McKay Creek Elementary School.

Both groups were stymied because the land near PELC owned by the district has a much higher assessed value than the acreage that comprises the park.

“We just didn’t feel like either one of us was in a position to make up a significant difference, and so we’re just going to hang on to that as an asset,” Superintendent Chris Fritsch said.

Earlier, city officials said the talks for the land swap had ceased. Fritsch says the district is content to wait and see what the future holds.

“We might end up needing that property,” Fritsch said. “We’re not really in a hurry and for the time being, we’re just going to hang onto it.”

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