Whalen Island could be the first new state park in 29 years.

The island, 15 miles southwest of Tillamook and home to 180 acres of forest and five salmon species, has been purchased by the Trust for Public Land. The nonprofit purchased the property for $2.8 million from sisters Kathleen Shaw of Beaverton and Karen Derungs of Tillamook.

The deal took two years to put together. Everyone involved thought the November 1998 passage of Measure 66 – it earmarked 15 percent of lottery revenue for parks and salmon aid – would provide the cash to buy the island.

Instead, the Department of Parks and Recreation dumped most of the $43 million into its general fund, forcing the Trust to rustle up half the island’s cost. The trust eventually received $500,000 from the Federal Highway Administration and $900,000 from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

A dedication celebration for the island is being organized for next month.

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