The Observer. (La Grande, Or.) 1968-current, August 30, 2022, Page 3, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Incoming commissioner
subject of ethics inquiry
Wenholz accused of using
position for financial gain
Ryan Brennecke/The Bulletin
Emergency personnel respond to a shooting at the Forum shopping center in east Bend on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022.
Gunman sprays aisles
of Bend Safeway; 3 dead
most door of the grocery store and went through
every aisle “spraying shots,” she said. Taroli
removed her own handgun from her purse and her
BEND — A gunman with an AR-15-style
husband ran out the front door to get his own gun.
rifl e opened fi re Sunday, Aug. 28, in a shopping
Taroli said she heard a child screaming. She
center on Bend’s east side, killing a person outside
threw her shopping cart in front of her and started
Safeway, then walking through the grocery store,
running toward the back of the store. Employees
spraying gunfi re down every
were yelling “go, go, go!” and
aisle, Bend Police and a witness
getting shoppers through the
Molly Taroli, 40, said
stock room and out the back door.
The gunman also killed a
Dozens of police offi cers
she was shopping for
person at the rear of the gro-
multiple law enforcement
dinner with her husband agencies
cery store, said Bend Police
and ambulances were
in the frozen foods aisle
spokeswoman Sheila Miller. The
on the scene Aug. 28.
gunman is also dead, she said.
Bend Police urged residents
when the shooter came in
Police did not say how he died.
to stay clear of the shopping
through the westernmost center.
A shotgun was found near his
Molly Sanden, a Safeway
door of the grocery store
The shooting prompted shop-
employee, told The Bulletin that
and went through every
pers to reach for their own
a person walked into the grocery
aisle “spraying shots,”
weapons. Bend Police reported
store and opened fi re with a gun,
they did not fi re any shots.
she said. Taroli removed fi ring multiple shots.
Miller said the incident began
Jake Daniels, another Safeway
her own handgun from
about 7:04 p.m. near Costco. The
employee, said he heard three
gunman fi red shots into the Big
shots followed by another six. He
her purse and her
Lots store next door to Safeway
said he saw a person running out
husband ran out the front of the store, pursued by police.
before shooting and killing an
individual in the entryway to
Daniels said after the fi rst
door to get his own gun.
Safeway, Miller said. She said
shots, he started grabbing people
the shooter may have had sev-
and running out the store doors.
eral weapons in addition to the rifl e.
About a dozen Safeway workers huddled out-
One person taken to St. Charles Bend was dead side a nearby business at the Forum shopping
on arrival, and one was reported in good condi-
center, clearly shaken.
tion, according to Lisa Goodman, spokesperson
Bend Police said in a tweet:
for St. Charles Health System.
“There is an active investigation in the area
Molly Taroli, 40, said she was shopping for
of The Forum shopping center. Please avoid the
dinner with her husband in the frozen foods aisle
area. More updates to come as the investigation
when the shooter came in through the western-
The Bulletin
Tallman also accuses Umatilla
Electric Cooperative of working
with Amazon to take his fami-
ly’s land. He and his parents own a
coff ee shop in Boardman in which
East Oregonian
they sell their fruits and vegetables.
“Amazon Web Services has
HEPPNER — An incoming
moved in right next door and has
Morrow County commissioner
teamed up with UEC, by using
is the subject of a state ethics
the law of eminent domain, to
take my parents’ land away from
The Oregon Government Ethics them. They intend to use the land
Commission on Aug. 19 voted to
to put in a 230 kilovolt power line
investigate Jeff Wenholz for pos-
to deliver electricity to their busi-
sible violations. Wenholz in the
ness,” he said.
May primary won a slim victory
According to Tallman, his
to serve in Position 2 on the
family off ered to work with
Morrow County Board of
UEC and Amazon to fi nd a
Commissioners. He takes
way to compromise and ben-
offi ce for a four-year term in
efi t both of them.
January 2023.
“They would rather
The ethics commission
just take the land for their
scheduled a public meeting
own personal use,” he
to discuss the fi nding of
cause on Feb. 3.
Tallman said he remem-
Jonathan Tallman in March sent bers that around 1994 he met Wen-
the ethics commission a written
holz and they used to play basket-
complaint against Wenholz, chair
ball together.
of the Morrow County Planning
“I still consider Jeff a friend of
Commission, indicating Wenholz
mine, but he thinks he is above all
may have used his position for
of us,” he said.
fi nancial gain and may have failed
Wenholz, who lives in Irrigon,
to report additional income on his
has served on the Morrow County
2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Annual
Solid Waste Advisory Com-
Verifi ed Statements of Economic
mittee and Morrow County Plan-
ning Commission. Additionally,
In the complaint, Tallman
he served on the Morrow County
explained that Wenholz, besides
Umatilla Chemical Depot Citizens
the commissioner’s position, is the
Advisory Commission for 11 years.
vice president of the board of direc-
He has also served for the past
tors for the Umatilla Electric Coop- fi ve years on the Morrow County
Budget Committee, and since 2019,
erative, and director of LS Net-
on the Good Shepherd Medical
works (a high-speed business fi ber
Center Board of Trustees.
internet company).
He narrowly defeated Melissa
The confl ict of interest,
Lindsay of Heppner for Position 2
according to Tallman, lies in that
on the Morrow County Board of
Wenholz failed to disclose he
Commissioners in the May 17 pri-
is compensated from UEC and
mary election.
failed to recuse himself from dis-
Lindsay received 1,287 votes to
cussion on several land use pro-
Wenholz 1,313, with six write-ins,
posals involving UEC in his role
for a total cast of 2,606. Wen-
as a Morrow County planning
holz received 50.4% to Lindsay’s
49.4% in the fi nal tally. He received
Wenholz denied there is any-
a majority of votes, plus one; the
thing to Tallman’s claims.
He explained there is no confl ict number required to win was 1,304.
The race did not qualify for
of interest because UEC is a 501(c)
an automatic recount, despite
organization. This is a designation
Wenholz’s thin margin of vic-
under the United States Internal
tory, county Clerk Bobbi Childers
Revenue Code that confers tax-ex-
reported at the time. To qualify
empt status on nonprofi t organi-
requires a diff erence of just a fi fth
zations. Specifi cally, it identifi es
of 1% of all votes, or about 5.2 in
which nonprofi t organizations are
exempt from paying federal income this case, well below Wenholz’s
26-vote advantage. That’s just
under a 1% diff erence. Childers
“These accusations have no
certifi ed the results on June 8.
foundation,” Wenholz said.
EPA fi nes Smith Frozen Foods
$100,000 for violating Clean Air Act
East Oregonian
WESTON — The Envi-
ronmental Protection
Agency has announced that
Smith Frozen Foods Inc.,
Weston, has agreed to pay a
$100,000 fi ne for the viola-
tion of seven separate pro-
visions of the Clean Air Act
in 2016.
“Our EPA enforcement
offi cer did an inspection
in 2016 and they were able
to see some of the viola-
tions on site,” said Meshach
Padilla, public aff airs spe-
cialist with the EPA.
The violations were in
regards to Smith Frozen
Foods’ procedures on the
storage and use of anhy-
drous ammonia, a refrig-
erant often employed for
use in closed systems.
“It is a dangerous
chemical, and an inhala-
tion hazard,” said Javier
Morales, EPA Region 10
Risk Management Pro-
gram coordinator. “It is
hygroscopic, meaning it’s
attracted to water. When
people inhale it, it’s very
harmful to the respiratory
system and to the eyes.”
EPA cited Smith Frozen
Foods on seven violations
of provisions within the
Clean Air Act for opera-
tors of gasses such as anhy-
drous ammonia, being
safety information, hazard
analysis, operating proce-
dure, training, mechanical
integrity, employee par-
ticipation, and contractor
requirements. The penalty
for these violations totaled
“Facilities that use haz-
ardous materials like anhy-
drous ammonia have an
obligation to follow regu-
lations designed to protect
our communities and envi-
ronment from potentially
catastrophic consequences
of accidents,” Ed Kowalski,
director of EPA region
enforcement and compli-
ance assurance Division,
said in an EPA press release
on Monday announcing
the penalties. “Failure to
comply with the law puts
fi rst responders and mem-
bers of the surrounding
community in harm’s way.”
The Clean Air Act is
a federal air quality law,
intended to reduce pollution
and increase nationwide air
quality, originally enacted
in 1963, but frequently
revised. It provides the EPA
with regulatory authority
to monitor, inspect, and
penalize operations with
potentially harmful gasses
and pollutants.
“The EPA has their
own enforcement response
policy that we follow, we
use them to assess the pen-
alties based on the vio-
lations that were found,”
Morales explained,
detailing the procedure for
how the EPA tabulates and
levels penalties.
Joe Horst
Your guide to arts and
entertainment around
Eastern Oregon
Charles & Eileen
10304 A 1st St.
Island City, OR
Pay cash or
Rent to own
Authorized Dealer