The Christmas Valley back-scatter site consists of 2,622 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land withdrawn for use by the US Air Force to provide national security information during the cold war. The site was made obsolete by satellite technology and was scheduled to return to BLM management in September 2009. It is surrounded by thousands of additional acres of federal BLM land. In the absence of a subsequent user, the property needed to be restored to its original state, at a significant cost, so that BLM was not responsible for the maintenance or liability connected to constructed facilities. The Oregon military expressed significant interest in the site and the infrastructure to support existing and new training missions. Proposals were developed and shared for consideration within the Air Force. In addition, the Christmas Valley back-scatter site had several potential advantages for development of alternative energy: two 115 KV lines leading to the site, potential to use existing road systems and other infrastructure, and a sparse but supportive local population. Additionally, the site had solar and geothermal potential.
- To preserve the value of the infrastructure of the Christmas Valley site for military training purposes in a way that benefits public welfare and safety, enhancing energy security, and ensuring community benefit.
Consistent with the commitments in the Declaration of Cooperation, in late 2008, all acreage and infrastructure associated with the Christmas Valley back-scatter site was put in surplus for the General Services Administration (GSA). The Oregon military applied for and has secured the building infrastructure, the road, and approximately 300 acres of land to be used for emergency management purposes.
The Oregon military pursued acquisition of the additional acreage for renewable energy development. Many developers expressed interested in working with the Oregon military on development of the back-scatter site. In addition, several renewable energy developers pursued renewable energy development on private land in the Christmas Valley area and other parts of Lake County. Some have purchased land and applied for conditional use permits while others have secured options for land purchase in order to evaluate the viability of the area.