Treehouse Campground: A Large Development in the Hills

Treehouse Campground Location Aerial Photo. Courtesy of Tillamook County

On April 25, 2022 the Tillamook Board of Commissioners heard the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the Oregon Treehouse Partners campground project. The Board did not reach a decision, and has continued the hearing. The next hearing will be in June.

The initial application for this campground was vague and sloppy, containing almost none of the information Tillamook County ordinances or state law requires; nevertheless, the county planning commission waved it through their hearing with few questions and no probing of potential problems with the site. This lack of specific information led a Tierra del Mar resident to appeal the decision to the Board of Commissioners.

At the initial BOC hearing, it seems Treehouse Partners realized they would not be able to get an application approved without providing more solid details about this large commercial campground. They provided more detailed maps, showing the locations of fifteen tent sites, nine for geodesic domes and six with other tents; and four “accessory cabins.” The proposal also includes a “support cabin with a viewing deck,” a common area bath house, picnic area, and twenty-six parking slots.

They have promised a geotechnical report, which they say “will be underway soon.” They also said they have contracted for a wetland delineation, which is required by the Department of State Lands before any permit by that agency can be considered for this site. Treehouse also has provided somewhat more detailed information on water and sanitation infrastructure

Unfortunately, tourism saturation is already a serious problem in Tillamook County, and the last thing the county needs in this area is another commercial campground; there are others in the vicinity. The likelihood is that this development, if it goes ahead, will just become a Short Term Rental (STR) campground used for the kind of weekend parties for which STRs have become known. The sanitary and water requirements for such STR use are likely to be much greater than would be necessary for a regular campground. Furthermore, STRs will bring an even larger number of tourists than an ordinary campground would. Furthermore, the quiet, unincorporated community of Tierra del Mar is directly across Sandlake Road from this development, and developers have thus far brushed aside the impacts on its community, as well as its infrastructure. The county has not yet taken these kinds of problems into consideration.

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