Several dozen people from the Willamina and Sheridan areas rallied outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Portland Monday. They want to see a new equestrian center built.

Kristian Foden-Vencil

Developer JW Milligan is raising money to buy land and build what he calls an international equestrian venue.

He says he has an option to buy the land, but that it's subject to an easement.

The previous owners sold the easement to the Natural Resources Conservation Service to protect the property.

Milligan says the federal agency doesn't recognize his standing as an interested party and isn't responding to his efforts to modify the easement.

"What we propose is a change that protects all identified habitat, the Willamette Valley Daisy, the Nelson Checkermallow, and now 80 percent of the land will now qualify for the program, at no cost to the taxpayer. It will cost me the money. It's a win, win for everybody."

Kristian Foden-Vencil

Sara Magenheimer of the Conservation Service issued a statement saying because there's an active appeal process, the agency would not provide details of the easement. But she says the agency is working with all parties to resolve the appeal.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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