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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2015
VOLUME 88, NUMBER 43
URBAN VS. RURAL
Groups criticize policies of Miles
McEvoy, head of USDA’s organic
program, in federal court
By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI
Gun ownership by region *
Percent of all households with a gun in the home.
E.J. Harris/EO Media Group
Nick Goit, owner of Eastern Oregon Tactical, places a Panther Arms DPMS LR-
308 out for display at his shop Tuesday in Hermiston.
In West, heritage and landscape
shape rural, urban views on guns
Percent in each group who say they have a gun,
pistol or rifle in their home:
By ERIC MORTENSON | Capital Press
n Hermiston, Ore., 184 miles east of Portland and 180 degrees politically
turned, gun shop owner Nick Goit engages almost daily in “open carry,”
meaning he wears a holstered pistol on his hip as he walks about town.
He said it doesn’t raise eyebrows, although it helps to carry yourself in a
“Over here, if you see someone coming down the street with a gun,
you don’t automatically assume they’re going to shoot things up,” Goit said.
Do that in Portland, however, or Seattle, Eugene or other urban areas, and
people would most likely be alarmed. There is an urban-rural divide over
ﬁ rearms that seems every bit as stark as the divisions over farming practices,
wildlife, land and water use and natural resources.
With guns, however, the disagreement sharpens in the wake of yet another
mass murder, this time the Oct. 1 shooting at Umpqua Community College in
Roseburg, Ore. Nine people dead, plus the gunman. Nine wounded.
65 and over
One issue, two sides
Turn to GUNS, Page 12
From urban areas, primarily, come the demands for greater gun control.
From rural areas, primarily, comes the answer: Leave us alone.
How to cross that divide?
“There’s such a culture clash, I don’t think it can be explained,” said Goit,
who opened Eastern Oregon Tactical in Hermiston four years ago. “The op-
posite culture bafﬂ es me.”
Wes Hare says it’s a really tough question.
Hare is city manager of Albany, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He started
in Ashland, went to high school in Bend, and lived in Eugene, Oakridge
* Based on a national survey of 3,243 adults with an overall sampling
margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
Source: Pew Research Center, American Trends Panel, April 29-
May 27, 2014
Capital Press graphic
When Miles McEvoy was put in charge
of the USDA’s National Organic Program in
2009, the appointment was strongly applauded
by organic and environmental groups.
Six years later, some of those same orga-
nizations are facing off against McEvoy in
federal court over his administration of the
While the criticisms of his policies are nu-
merous, most boil down to the allegation that
McEvoy has weakened independent oversight
of the program to make life easier for large
agribusiness ﬁ rms.
“There is a decisive split in the organic
community and McEvoy is right in the mid-
dle of it,” said Mark Kastel, co-founder of the
Cornucopia Institute, an organ-
ic watchdog group, who once
praised the deputy administra-
tor as “a true believer, not a PR
Prior to joining USDA,
McEvoy was instrumental in
shaping the organic inspection
Miles McEvoy program at the Washington
State Department of Agricul-
ture and was involved in launching other or-
ganic programs and organizations.
“I don’t know if we had higher expecta-
tions than McEvoy deserved or if he changed,”
Kastel says now.
A spokesperson for USDA said the agency
“values and has faith in Deputy Administrator
Miles McEvoy’s leadership of the National
The program thoroughly investigates any
complaints about non-compliance with organ-
ic protocols and it’s inaccurate that USDA’s
internal auditors are investigating McEvoy or
his department, as claimed by the Cornucopia
Institute, the spokesperson said.
A major point of contention is McEvoy’s
decision to change the decision-making pro-
cess for which synthetic substances are al-
lowed to remain in organic production.
Traditionally, synthetic substances were
removed from the list of approved organic
materials unless two-thirds of the members of
the National Organic Standards Board voted to
In 2013, the USDA changed the procedure
so that two-thirds of the board must vote to
remove a substance. In effect, a nine-person
majority of the 15-member board can vote to
remove a substance and its use would still be
Earlier this year, a lawsuit was ﬁ led against
McEvoy and his superiors at USDA for al-
legedly violating administrative law by imple-
menting the new rule without public comment.
Turn to ORGANIC, Page 12
Ranchers oppose Malheur County monument designation
Conservation proposal would encompass
40 percent of the Eastern Oregon county
By SEAN ELLIS
ONTARIO, Ore. — An ef-
fort by conservation groups to
have a large chunk of Malheur
County set aside as a nation-
al monument or wilderness
area has riled up ranchers and
farmers in the area.
They have joined forces
with a group of concerned
citizens and elected ofﬁ cials
who are ﬁ ghting the Owyhee
Proposal, which would en-
compass 2.5 million acres.
Malheur County Cattle-
men’s Association President
Chris Christensen said lock-
ing up that much area would
eliminate a large amount of
grazing land and devastate Or-
egon’s No. 1 cattle producing
“If this thing comes to pass,
it would have a devastating ef-
fect on the ranching communi-
ty and agriculture in Malheur
County,” he said. “Anybody
involved in agriculture in Mal-
heur County isn’t going to be
in favor of this thing.”
Christensen said a large
chunk of that 2.5 million acres
According to Sergio
Arispe, a livestock and range-
land agent at Oregon State
University’s Malheur County
Extension ofﬁ ce, locking up
that much land would elimi-
nate about 33 percent of the
county’s total grazing land.
A monument designation
“would destroy the communi-
ty and the business of agricul-
ture as it’s being done in this
area right now,” Christensen
Oregon Natural Desert
Association, which is leading
the monument effort, says
it would protect 2.5 million
acres of wild lands and hun-
dreds of miles of wild and
scenic rivers. According to the
group’s web site, the proposal
would “allow working farms
and ranches to continue to op-
But Jordan Valley rancher
Bob Skinner, former president
of the Oregon Cattlemen’s As-
sociation, said area residents
believe the opposite would
The majority of that 2.5
million acres is grazed, he
Turn to GUNS, Page 12