Medford, Ore., — “That’s what I look at everyday, as I look out my window I look at the hills.”
David Watts lives right next door to the open land currently being used for farming.
“They do a lot of farming so we get all the dust from the farming, and the fertilizer is not too healthy.” said Watts.
Now a Florida based company – Origis – wants to convert that land, all 95 acres of it, into a solar power generating facility.
It’s something Watts is on board with.
“The choices it could’ve been put there, I mean, this is one of the best choices I think. Because it’s not gonna make any noise.”
Origis says the facility would have minimal impact on the farm land, and has the capability to generate power for thousands of homes.
And create at least 100 temporary jobs.
But the Department of Land Conservation Development is against the project.
“We would like to see them be cited on other locations that don’t serve to occupy this irreplaceable resource which is our high value farm land.”
While the group isn’t against solar farms in general, it’s their job to protect viable farm land in Southern Oregon.
And though Origis says the land could easily be returned to its original state, John Jinings isn’t sure.
“I think this industry is new enough that we haven’t seen them go through their full life span and seen them be recovered, so we don’t know it’s gonna happen, and think it’s an uncertainty.”
But Watts thinks looking into the future is a good thing.
“In the foreseeable future, this is renewable energy we’re doing, we’re not burning coal or nuclear facility. I think it’s an advancement in the right direction we should go.”
While it’s out of their hands, and on the Jackson County Commissioners to make the decision, Jinings just wants the best outcome.
“We’re hoping the commissioners make the best decision for Jackson County and we’re really hoping we can inform their thinking.”
The commissioners voted to approve the project with some limitations, but there will be a first and second reading before it moves forward.