Thornburgh Resort Development

Is the environment in danger?


In between Highway 126 and Highway 97, right by Redmond, a team is developing a resort and golf course called Thornburgh. Thornburgh Resort occupies 2,400 acres surrounded by the Cascade Mountains and the high desert. Their plan is to have two 18 hole golf courses in this area and significant facilities as well as 950 homes for guests and members to hang around.

 The project Manager and owner of Thornburgh, Kameron DeLashmutt wants a spacious open resort that feels like home, but the question is if this really fits in with the Bend community. 

The controversy over this development started with the worry about environmental issues and the impact this will have for the bigger picture. Part of the population is scared this will cause a drought when Thornburgh takes action. Even though Thornburgh has dropped the water in-take 30% from the original plan, it’s still taking from Deschutes River that will destroy fish habitats and wildlife.  

DeLashmutt’s goal is to have this project be as sensitive and friendly to the environment as it can be. The resort is dedicated to his grandparents and he wants it to live up to the name. The development has changed drastically over the years trying to fit into the environment’s needs. Thornburgh cut out one golf course and multiple lakes surrounding them, but still, the community has concerns. 

The Central Oregon Landwatch has become involved with Thornburgh, showing the effects it will have to the environment. Currently they have a lawsuit against the Thornburgh development that has been in motion for multiple years.

“We believe it will use too much water and will harm native fish in the Deschutes River, Crooked River, and Whychus Creek” Ben Gordon, an executive director for Landwatch says. Gordon also explains the groundwater levels by the resort are too low and keep dropping so the water permit Thornburgh must renew, has a lesser chance to get accepted.

This all started in 2008, Thornburgh got their first proposal ready and it was later approved in 2018 for their resort but the water right was expired. Landwatch agreed this would have been a useful part to the community earlier on but now at the state of our wildlife and high increase of drought levels, they changed their perspective and realized it didn’t match up with the laws they provide for Oregon. They know the effect  it will have on Deschutes County Long term and are doing anything they can to stop it.

Last year there was a meeting with the county officials, Central Oregon Landwatch where members of the community came to have the county reject Thornburghs new proposal. “We argued the resort needs to submit a new resort application because the old application was only approved based on a water right permit that no longer provides water” Gordon states. “Central Oregon Landwatch commits and advocates the land use laws in Oregon to protect the environment and keep the town vibrant and live up to Oregon’s name.”

“You and I shouldn’t claim we love Oregon more than anyone else, but that we love Oregon as much as anyone. Our thoughts today, and our deliberations to come, must spring from our determination to keep Oregon lovable and to make it even more livable” says former governor Tom McCall. This statement from the Oregon legislature is what Oregon Central Landwatch runs off of. They use this quote to remember what they do, and for the people of Oregon to believe in what they do.

The Thornburgh plan that was drafted recently still goes against Oregon laws protecting wildlife and water resources.

Central Oregon has been in a 1,200 year drought, Gordon says that “rivers and streams are already in danger and if millions of gallons are taken out each day will put the wildlife in danger more than it already is. We live in a Historical place and some high end resorts may not be what our town needs.”

The Deschutes county community is concerned with the possible new addition to the area, not wanting to deprive it’s wildlife from natural resources.