Things are pretty rough around the edges at the resort, but they’ll get there I think, it’ll just take time…
It appears that only one-day fishing licenses will be sold at the resort this year. If you plan on fishing multiple days it is probably a good idea to stop atthe Ashland Bi-Mart or The Ashland Fly Shop before heading up the mountains. You can also get your license through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife online. Day and multi-day license can be purchased and printed out, season licenses will be sent to you through the mail, although you can print out a temporary license on the spot.
Sunday’s Medford Mail Tribune has an article by Mark Freeman about the changes at the resort. Click here to read the article.
Jackson County Parks has brokered an arrangement with Sweet Water Sanitation to provide a weekly pump-out service to campers at Howard Prairie Resort for the upcoming season. Contact Jackson County Parks for further details.
The Mt. Ashland Association will run the restaurant and store this coming season. Probably a very good thing!
Pending approval by the Board of County Commissioners, Jackson County and Jim and Judi Johnston have agreed to the transfer to Jackson County Parks of some of the equipment at Howard Prairie Resort that is owned by Jim and Judi. The equipment that will transfer includes everything that is needed to operate the business as a whole which will make it possible for the County to easily open the resort on April 15. It also includes the restaurant equipment which will make it possible for them to lease the operation of the restaurant to someone.
Among the things that will not transfer to the County are the “Schooner” trailers rented as lodging. I do not know if Jackson County Parks plans on providing lodging opportunities, so if you have schooner reservations or plan on making them I would give Jackson County Parks a call.
For what it is worth, if Jackson County doesn’t replace the trailers with others or another form of lodging, this will be the first time in over 4 decades that lodging at the resort won’t be available to visitors.
The offer made by Jackson County to purchase the equipment needed to operate the resort from Jim and Judi Johnston was just way too low for Jim and Judi so they declined the offer. Despite the County stating that they are not willing to negotiate to a mutually agreed upon reasonable price, Jim and Judi have made a counteroffer.
Jackson County Parks has been telling customers that have been contacting them, as well as proclaiming in the media, that this season at the resort the public will see what they have seen in the past (see the KDRV TV interview). Well, that is yet to be seen. For the sake of the resort customers I certainly hope it is, but it doesn’t bode at all well that the County hasn’t been willing to negotiate with Jim and Judi to a mutually agreed upon reasonable price to purchase all the equipment and merchandise required to do business as usual. Jackson County Parks, of course, can go out and purchase other equipment to get the job done, but the cost would easily be triple the cost they would pay for the equipment that is already there.
The County has until this afternoon (03.26.13) to accept Jim and Judi’s offer. I guess we’ll see what happens very soon.
Been a long dry spell regarding info, but we are on the verge of having a flood of it!
Late Friday (03.22.2013) afternoon Jackson County made a non-negotiable offer to purchase the equipment at Howard Prairie Resort, so all the restaurant equipment, boats & motors, lodging trailers, vehicles, the barge, merchandise and on and on. Considering the value of the equipment and the cost to replace it, I think almost anyone would consider the offer very very low, and as I noted above, the County is not willing to negotiate on it.
Jim and Judi Johnston have until Monday to accept or decline the offer. If they decline the offer they have been given until mid-April to remove all the equipment from the restaurant and store, and until mid-May to remove everything else.
Really the only thing to note today is that apparently the County isn’t, as of a couple of days ago, sure if they will be offering a pump-out service for RVs. (A pump-out service has been provided in years past so campers don’t have to break camp every few days to empty their holding tanks.)
Probably worth a call to Jackson County Parks if this is a service you use and would like to see offered in 2013. As far as I know, the pumping equipment is still there, the County would just need to supply the manpower.
Looks like we are again in an information shadow. It may be a couple of days, but we’ll see.
Not many changes, but a few things…
Camping: Jackson County Parks is still planning on opening for camping April 15. For reservations go to their webpage.
The Restaurant & Store: As far as I know a new concessionaire to run the store and restaurant at Howard Prairie Resort has not been selected. I haven’t heard how many people, if any, have put in proposals to take over these operations. It is unclear if the County is going to lease a turnkey business or if they are going to require the new operators of the restaurant to provide their own grill, fryers, dishwasher, tables and chairs, and other equipment and furnishings.*
Lodging: They are still renting lodging, but as far as I know they have not purchased anything to lodge people in.*
Moorage: The County has begun taking reservations for boat moorage. If you previously had a season (and maybe a multi-month) moorage last year, give them a call or go to their webpage and download the form and return it to them by April 1, 2013. If you were on the waiting list I would give them a call, they plan on starting a new waiting list beginning April 1. Reservations for all non-returning customers will either begin on April 1 or April 15, I’m not sure, they give 2 different dates, one on their webpage, another on the form you can download.
Boat Rentals: There is no information available on this, but as far as I know they have not purchased any boats and motors to rent.”
* Jim and Judi Johnston are still being told that they have until March 15 to remove all their equipment from the resort–trailers/lodging, boats & motors, merchandise, restaurant equipment/furnishings and etcetera. If they do not remove it it will be considered abandoned and the County will assume ownership. This is the same as it has been for a while, I only note it here because the County, by taking the equipment, could have lodging and boats to rent soon as well as a turnkey restaurant to lease.
Sorry folks, there isn’t anything to update today. We actually may be in a shadow for a few days, with no information being made public. I obviously don’t know this, it just feels that way to me.
1) The County’s online reservation system is now up and running. They say they are accepting reservations for lodging as well “rental unit” to be exact. Not sure what that is, or they are. (More to come on this for sure.)
2) They will be taking boat moorage reservations soon, shooting to do so beginning March 11. I’m not sure if they will be doing it on a first-come, first-served basis or giving first shot of season moorages to those that held them for years, and in some cases decades. (More to come on this too.)
Jackson County Parks is planning on operating the campground and moorage and leasing the restaurant and store to an as of yet to be determined private concessionaire.
I have no idea what their position is on lodging or boat rentals and there is nothing that leads me to believe they do since they have informed Jim and Judi Johnston that they have until mid-March to remove all their assets from the resort including the rental trailers and all the boats and motors plus a whole lot more– from restaurant equipment to merchandise on the shelves and maybe even including all the buoy moorage and too a couple hundred feet of dock. (I sure hope the wood pile hasn’t been stocked to its 120+ cords :)
And oh yeah, there’s 2-3 feet of snow there right now which, of course, makes getting a great deal of that stuff out in 2 weeks all but impossible. According to the County, what is left there after March 13 will be considered abandoned and therefore theirs. [Just a guess, but Jim and Judi will probably leave the miles of electrical, water and sewer lines :) ]
Similar to my musings in, “In Defense of Jackson County’s Actions,” the County is seemingly within their rights, but under no obligation, to demand that the assets be removed by mid-March. I mean, its not like they are in anyone’s way or anything!
1) I have been informed that Jackson County Parks is taking reservations for camping for the 2013 season.
2) This site has had over 750 visits since it went up a little over a day and a half ago. Thought you would all like to know you are not alone in your interest in the future of the resort.
UPDATE #1: Jackson County Parks is telling people that they will be honoring all reservations made before assuming control and to give them a call if you wish to confirm them. (541) 774-8183.
UDATE #2: Although I was told that Jackson County Parks is taking reservations, as of Friday morning (01 March 2013) the online reservation system, according to the County’s Howard Prairie Resort webpage, is still unavailable and asks people to come back in a few days.
So, in defense of the actions of Jackson County with respect to Howard Prairie Resort, their position is that they had a contract with Holly and Joel LeGrande to run the concession at the resort and Holly and Joel violated that contract by not paying their rent on time (and having a history of doing so, it didn’t just happen once). As a result they are completely within their rights to terminate the contract with Holly and Joel. And they are correct, it was completely within their rights, although they were under no obligation to do so. There is nothing in the contract that says failure to pay on time will result in termination of the contract, just that it may be terminated.
I’m not sure if the County feels that taking over the operation of the resort themselves is in the best public interest while Holly running it is not, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that they actually do feel it is in the public interest,… just not how you might think.
This is just speculation, and I admit I may be completely off base, but I suspect that the biggest reason, maybe really the only reason, Jackson County wants to assume control over the operation of the resort is that the campgrounds and moorage are good and consistent revenue sources with only moderate overhead.
Jackson County is considered to be at higher risk for financial distress than most counties in Oregon as stated by the Secretary of State’s 2012 Audit Report which you can read here…http://www.sos.state.or.us/audits/pages/state_audits/full/2012/2012-17.pdf . The section on Jackson County begins on page 35.
Again, I really don’t know the extent of the County’s thinking, but it makes sense that they would want to take control of an operation that in private hands was, to a greater or lesser extent, profitable for 53 years, and bring those profits into the County coffers… and if they could get most or all the resort’s assets for free as well, well…. (More on that in the next post a bit later today.)
In January 2013 Jackson County Parks, alleging that Holly and Joel LeGrande had violated the terms of the Concession Agreement with them, changed the locks on most of the buildings, evicting them and demanding that Holly sign over, literally give, all the resort assets to Jackson County, which Holly did not do.
On February 13, 2013 Jackson began claiming that they are now operating the resort. I use the word “claim” because it is, of course, not even close to being that simple (when is it ever?).
Holly and Joel were certainly the owners of the concession at the resort, but Jim and Judi Johnston, part of the long-time ownership prior to Holly and Joel, were and are the lien holders on all the assets. So Holly was right not to hand over the assets to the County, she actually couldn’t because she didn’t really own them, Jim and Judi Johnston do.
And it gets even more complicated, it is being contended that the County wrongfully terminated the Concession Agreement on at least two different fronts, which I’ll explain in a later post.
So, in a nutshell, although the County is claiming they are now operating the resort, them doing so really seems to be more than a bit premature.
As many of you are beginning to hear, some really big changes are coming to Howard Prairie Resort in 2013; I’ll try my best to keep you all informed here. As part of the family that owned and operated Howard Prairie Resort from 1960 to 2007, the resort is a big part of me and the place I consider home, just as it is for many of you. As such I feel it is my responsibility to share what I can about the dramatic changes that are on the horizon for our home and which will certainly impact your vacation and recreation plans for the coming year and years to come.