Oregon Golf Club Threatened Neighbors Could Close Without ‘Financial Support’, Homeowners Vote Against Plan

SALEM, Oregon – Residents of Creekside Golf Club, a country club in the Oregon state capital less than an hour’s drive from downtown Portland, voted overwhelmingly against financial support from the club.

Club owner Larry Tokarski, who had threatened to close the 18-hole course and develop the property without that support, Now says the club can remain open in the short term.

In a letter posted to the club’s website Wednesday night, Tokarski said he will buy out partner Terry Kelly and lease the job to the club’s general manager, Danny Moore, and controller, Shelly Elliott.

“This option has become available in recent days thanks to the dedication and commitment of Creekside Golf Club members,” Tokarski wrote.

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In recent weeks, club members have raised approximately $1.25 million to address deferred maintenance and employee wages.

That’s far less than the $4.2 million that Tokarski had asked the homeowners’ association to approve, and the letter indicated he will again ask neighbors to help.

“Danny Moore will be committed to working with the Creekside community to get feedback as we develop a long-term plan that reflects all of our desires to keep the club thriving,” he wrote.

Neither Tokarski nor Kelly responded to interview requests.

Creekside Golf Club and the Creekside Estates neighborhood were created by the same developer but have no other legal or financial connection.

But many club members live nearby, and those overlooking the golf course have an interest in avoiding development. Some residents said they bought their house because they thought the golf course would always be there.

Golf course owners Tokarski and Kelly have been threatening to close the course and develop the property for years.

(Brian Hayes/Salem Statesman Journal)

In 2016, they asked the 588 members of the Creekside Homeowners Association to contribute $60 a month each to the club in exchange for limited memberships.

When that failed, they asked the city of Salem to lower the rate the club charges for water, shifting the cost to residential customers. That proposal also failed.

First, each owner would have paid $90 per month, or $1,080 per year, for five years to help support the club. That failed 334 to 170.

Second, a transfer fee of 1% on the house sale would go to the club. That failed 406 to 97.

In return, the club’s owners said they would pause plans to develop the property into housing for five years.

The 153-acre golf course was built in 1993. It was designed by touring golf professional Peter Jacobsen.

Tracy Loew is a reporter at the Statesman Journal. She can be reached at [email protected], 503-399-6779, or on Twitter at @Tracy_Loew.

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