Churn Creek Bottom Residents Deliver Petitions Protesting Shopping Mall

Opponents of a shopping mall planned for the Churn Creek Bottom area south of Redding delivered petitions bearing 11,329 signatures — far more than the 6,500 needed — to the Shasta County Elections Department today (Aug. 30). Below, read what some of the approximately 70 people gathered had to say:

Cynthia Ogrey, 68, public health nurse and Churn Creek Bottom resident since 1997: I think we’ll have more traffic, more people wandering through our neighborhoods and it will change our whole rural feel. It’s going to be a significant change for us. My thought is that if you left to a populated area, and you wanted to move to a rural area, why would you suddenly want to put all the Trader Joe’s and all the other things that you left back there? I just don’t understand that theory. We’re in our 60s and 70s and we probably won’t be spending the next 50 years there. But what are we going to leave our children?”

Tom Reents, 61, Churn Creek Bottom resident and farmer: “We have very little farmland in Shasta County. That farmland is very special. It was formed by years and years of floods before Shasta Dam. That’s how all that soil got there. My top soil is 16 feet deep where I live and then there’s the water. My walnut trees reach the water and they use about 150 gallons of water a day each. So I don’t have to irrigate very much because they’re down in that water. I grow just about everything; watermelons, squash, peaches and walnuts. I take very good care of the land and plow it in every fall. You can go to the 99-cent store and you can find produce from China, and we can grow it here.

“They (Shasta County’s Board of Supervisors) don’t seem to care about the farming aspect or the problems that the mall will cause us. They only seem to care about one thing, and that is tax money. And I believe that tax money would be taken away from the cities to the county. It’s not new money, it’s just money that gets moved around … I think a lot of people are from out of the area and they don’t want this area to look like where they came from. I came from Sacramento and it’s just wall-to-wall businesses, houses and people. You can’t even find an open, natural area – or any open area – and I just think people don’t move up here for that kind of lifestyle. One of the reasons we got so many signatures is that people recognize that it’s ridiculous to build more stores when we have so many that are empty.”

Co-organizer Rod Evans, 63, of Redding, about the petition’s aim: “The purpose is to qualify for both an initiative and a referendum for ballot measures in the future. And that would occur on January 5th, 2012 when all citizens of Shasta County would have an opportunity (to vote) on two measures we anticipate – that would be a referendum to overturn the Board of Supervisors’ decision last August 2nd to approve the shopping center in Churn Creek Bottom, certify the EIR and to change the General Plan and the zoning from part-time Agriculture to Commercial.

“The initiative is separate and would actually protect that same land and the land surrounding it in Churn Creek Bottom for a period of 25 years. What it would do by protecting it is simply say that the current General Plan could not be altered or changed. People can still develop their land … people can still commercially develop the land at that location, just in a reasonable size. We’re not saying ‘no’ to everything; (we’re saying) just keep it within the General Plan. Which falls within the long term planning document that the citizens and county agreed to long ago on the way our area should be planned.”

Redding Councilmember Patrick Jones: “I know these are tough times and the county and city are very concerned with capturing as much needed revenue as possible, but there’s a right way to do this to minimize the impact for the neighbors and this was not the right way. I’m very happy to see that the public has taken the time not only to come out and support but also to put this on the ballot and let the Supervisors know just what they think. I think this is going to show poorly for the supervisors. Especially for the supervisors that this is their district and they didn’t stand with the people on this.”

Jones, regarding the difference between Churn Creek Bottom and the Oasis Road project: “For me at the city and from my colleagues at the city, one of our top priorities to finish the infrastructure required at Oasis, it was a very similar type of I-5 interchange. The difference there was the surrounding land was mere rock and not valuable bottomland. And we didn’t have a homeowner’s association saying “No.” But it took us many, many, many years to go through and get CalTrans’ approval, to get a project study report done and finished, to get EIRs signed and completed. It’s not fair that we did all the work but the County chooses not to. It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not appropriate. And they would be litigated one way the other over this mess – and certainly we will see litigation from this. Besides what we see today, I guarantee you, as we speak, litigation is being prepared. By whom? That will follow.”

More from co-organizer Rod Evans: “We need to look at real economics here. Number one, look around at all the empty retail space we currently have all around the county. The developer stated this would create revenue for the county, and in fact that may be true. It would create revenue strictly for the county – not for the whole county – but just for the unincorporated county, not for the cities. So when that happens, most likely, stores in Redding or Anderson would be closing, or prospective stores would not be opening within our cities but opening at the newest shopping center that looks the best. It’s going to be a shift of jobs and revenue to one side of the line from within the cities to the other side of the line to the county. I think that is a bad way to plan it. I think that the county and the cities need to arrive at a revenue and sales-tax sharing agreement where the planning wouldn’t then be dictated by who can grab the commercial properties and put them on their side of the line … That’s faulty thinking.”

Interviews and photographs by Alan Ernesto Phillips.

Alan Ernesto Phillips is a proud son of Shasta County, a proud father of two daughters, and a local musician. He is a parenting educator, chemical-dependency counselor, victim-awareness counselor and developmental-asset builder and trainer. He also is a Clio and Telly award-winning filmmaker who produced and directed political campaigns for congressmen, senators, governors and one president (Ronald Reagan). His clients also included Coca-Cola, NIKE, CBS News and NOVA documentaries. He is a current board member and public affairs officer for the Northern California Hispanic Latino Coalition.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Alan Ernesto Phillips
Alan Ernesto Phillips is a son of Shasta County and proud father of two daughters. He is a Clio and multi-Telly award-winning filmmaker who produced and directed political campaigns for congressmen, senators, governors and one president (Ronald Reagan). His national clients also included Coca-Cola, NIKE, CBS News and NOVA documentaries. He is a former Board Chairman and Public Affairs Officer for the Northern California Hispanic Latino Coalition. Alan currently serves as Director of the 27th District Agricultural Association and as a north state liaison to the Hate Crimes Task Force under the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.
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15 Responses

  1. Thank you to all those who took the time to sit at different locations with petitions to sign. When I signed the petition it had nothing to do with more traffic and people in the area. It had to do with the Churn Creek bottom land being invaluable and irreplaceable as farmland, as Mr. Reents points out. Trader Joe's is a welcome addition to Redding from my perspective (I also signed petitions asking them to open a store here), however, their store is not built on farmland. There is no comparison.

  2. These are not right wingers or left wingers or tea people or libtards or any of those other ridiculous names people call each other. These are AMERICAN common folk who have banded together to use our political system the way it was intended to right a tremendous wrong. Folks from all walks of life WORKING TOGETHER to try and make things right and just. What a concept! Power to the people indeed…

  3. Avatar Robert Hovey says:

    I love the determination, comradary and since of right these people have banded together to display. I aagree with them that they should be able to protect their lifestyle since they were there first.

    I have witnessed this kind of orginazation many times in this area, people here seem to have vey strong will , they are doers not talkers.

    One thought crosses my mind though, why can this community not ban together in this manner for the much more urgent and consequential purpose of protecting our children from corupt courts and "CPS/CFS" ?

  4. Avatar rmv says:

    THANK YOU ALAN & Doni!

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! 🙂

    And don't forget "supervisors?", the ELECTIONS are coming!! 🙂

    I think YOU have forgotten WHERE YOU CAME FROM?? 🙁

    THIS IS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, GOD BLESS IT!!

    GOD BLESS AMERICA 🙂

  5. Avatar 2R's says:

    Nothing wrong with Trader Joe's..But They Should Listen to these residents. If Shasta seeks revenue,make what you have Better.Redding could use a little work,A real shopping Mall,and a upgrade or restoration of Downtown,(not for more courthouses or removing 200 year old trees) it is the Main city around here.What are there 3-4 decent hotels here, for visitors and guest to come thru,and spent thier valuable vacation dollars? This Area Is beautiful,and we should use it wisely and do the right thing,as well.

  6. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    Yesterday was a proud moment in Shasta County history. Let the people decide whether they want precious soil covered forever to become another Fairfield, San Jose, San Fernando. This the fourth time since we moved here in 1974 that Churn Creek Bottom has been imperiled by the threat of land use which is ill considered, unwanted and not needed. Perhaps, soon, this matter can be determined by today's residents and put to rest for another generation to consider many years from now.

    Thanks to Rod Evans, Brenda Haynes, Mary Occasion and the army of people they harnessed to make this outcome possible.

  7. Avatar Wayne Russak says:

    Atta Boy, Tom! I agree with you 110% and signed that petition as well. We left LA because we wanted more open land, more mountains and lakes, more countryside and more farmland where we could survive a famine if it ever happened. Ya gonna grow veggies in a parking lot? If you want to shop, drive a little and save a lot… of our farmland!

  8. Avatar Linda Masterson says:

    Yes, thank you! Are we really all just one label or a mix of many?