Eugene developer planning resort along S. Santiam River

Eugene developer Dan Dessler and Mallard Creek Golf Course owner Troy Cummins are completing property purchases to develop a new resort project along the South Santiam River.

The project, the Resort at Salmon Run, is proposed along the river between Clark Mill Road and Wiley Creek Park.

It will be developed over seven to 10 years in much the same way as a shopping center, Dessler said. The resort will include anchor businesses with other businesses coming later to support the resort. Construction on a golf course will kick off the project sometime this summer.

The 18-hole professional course will include a driving range and a design that follows the contours of the land, Dessler said. The resort, on 250 to 300 acres, will include a hotel, restaurant, bar, 8,000 square feet of convention space and time share units. The hotel probably will have 50 overnight rooms.

Dessler would like a proposed sports complex to be community driven. He would like to identify needs in the community and attempt to meet some of those needs through the resort.

Dessler also has a letter of intent to site the Oregon Rivers Freshwater Museum and Interpretive Center in the project. The museum would be similar to the Newport aquarium but with a freshwater focus.

The resort will have little retail or commercial business in it, Dessler said. At this point, he and his partners are planning on Orvis Outdoor, a sporting good and supply store.

“We want to see Main Street and those businesses that have stuck with it through the tough times benefit,” Dessler said.

Much of the project is in conceptual stages, Dessler said. “A development like this is like fishing,” meaning the developer must “reel” in the businesses.

Dessler and his partners will find “the people with the best background and experience in each component” to operate the resort, Dessler said. “We want the Tiger Woods in every field here.”

Dessler is planning to work some partnerships into the project. Among those is some kind of partnership with the Wilderness Village Foundation, a local effort to provide funding to the community through a business retreat. He also would like to work with Linn-Benton Community College’s culinary and wastewater programs and take a look with the City of Sweet Home at solving drainage issues around the proposed development.

Van Lom and Associates of Lake Oswego are architects for the project. The company worked on the Jim Riggs Community Center.

Dessler has been a developer most of his life. He has built shopping centers, housing developments, subdivisions and assisted living facilities most recently.

“We have the financing, capital, the right development design team to make this a wonderful project for Sweet Home,” Dessler said. That team starts with Steve Lemke, a real estate broker from Eugene and formerly of Sweet Home.

Dessler had planned on retiring, but Lemke approached him and said he had to look at some property in Sweet Home. Finally “just to get him off my back,” Dessler had a look and “fell in love with it.”

Since then, he has set the project into motion, meeting with city department heads and developing a local advisory group with key community leaders to listen to the community.

Dessler wants the development to be a part of not apart from the community, he said. he wants it to work for everybody, with everyone in the community taking a blue ribbon, no second or third places.

“I’m encouraged by the fact that we have the ability to work on the golf course post haste,” Dessler said.

“We’re going to improve on what nature’s already done,” Dessler said. The golf course will look something like Trophy Lakes Golf Course in Beaverton. He plans on catch-and-release fly fishing in the ponds, with the course designed around the natural features of the land, a course that works with the ecosystem.