East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, January 12, 2017, Page Page 8A, Image 8

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    Page 8A
East Oregonian
Thursday, January 12, 2017
DAIRY: On 7,000 acres of former tree farm
FRUIT: Packages up to 1M boxes of apples yearly
Continued from 1A
Continued from 1A
Wym Matthews, program
manager for Confined
Animal Feeding Operations
with ODA, said they will
address those concerns at
Friday’s meeting.
“We will definitely
be considering what our
Matthews said.
The coalition is also
asking whether Lost Valley
Ranch violated any laws by
starting construction, even
though it still hasn’t regis-
tered as a business with the
Secretary of State’s Office.
In fact, there is already a
Lost Valley Ranch, LLC in
Eastern Oregon, registered
to Robert and Joan Wade of
Ivan Maluski, policy
director for Friends of
Family Farms — one of a
dozen groups in the coali-
tion — said the dairy is not
only a threat to the envi-
ronment and small farms,
but is apparently operating
outside the rules.
“It suggests the company
perhaps doesn’t take the
permits seriously,” Maluski
said. “That’s very problem-
atic as well.”
Other coalition members
Chapter of the Sierra Club;
the Center for Biological
Diversity; Columbia River-
keeper; Oregon Physicians
for Social Responsibility;
WaterWatch of Oregon;
Food & Water Watch;
Agriculture Project; the
Center for Food Safety;
the Humane Society of the
United States; Friends of the
Columbia River Gorge; and
Humane Oregon.
Greg te Velde is trying
to develop Lost Valley
Ranch on approximately
7,000 acres of the former
Boardman Tree Farm. He
did not comment on the
except to say the company
is working through the
Cider and Watermill Winery
in Milton-Freewater, though
Blue Mountain Cider was
not included as part of the
All together, Earl Brown
& Sons employs about 160
people. Ron Brown predicts
the company will be able
to tap into even more niche
markets with the backing of
Foreman Fruit.
“Both families are real
forward-thinkers,” he said.
Alan Groff, president
and CEO of Foreman Fruit
Company, said they first
heard Earl Brown & Sons
was up for sale in April
2016. Though it was well
off their radar — Wenatchee
is 200 miles away from
Milton-Freewater — Groff
said they drove down for a
meeting, and the two fami-
lies immediately hit it off.
“They’ve created a
number of businesses, and
Photo contributed by Paloma Ayala
Construction is already underway at a proposed
mega-dairy in Morrow County, which has raised alarm
from a coalition of environmental groups.
permitting process.
Te Velde did say they
have built milk barns and
stalls on site. He did not say
exactly how much money
has been spent so far, but
that it was “a lot.”
Lost Valley Ranch has
garnered significant public
interest since te Velde
applied for the confined
animal feeding operation,
or CAFO, permits in August
2016. For the last 15 years,
te Velde has run Willow
Creek Dairy on land leased
from nearby Threemile
Canyon Farms, the state’s
largest dairy with a whop-
ping 70,000 cows.
When the Boardman
Tree Farm sold a year
ago, te Velde jumped at
the opportunity to expand.
currently trucks 70,000
gallons of milk every day
to Tillamook Cheese at the
Port of Morrow.
In his CAFO permit appli-
cation, te Velde describes
a closed-loop system with
liquid manure stored in six
main lagoons. The nitro-
gen-rich wastewater would
then be used to irrigate
5,900 acres of farmland,
growing feed for the dairy’s
own cattle. Whatever is left
over would be used to make
animal bedding or transferred
off site.
However, the coalition
has spearheaded a campaign
urging the state to deny
the dairy permits. More
than 4,200 comments have
poured in on the proposal,
which Matthews said are
still being processed before
a final decision is made.
working diligently to get
that done,” he said.
The coalition commis-
sioned its own aerial photos
of Lost Valley Ranch
last year, estimating that
construction began some-
time in spring or summer
of 2016 and is at least 70
percent finished.
On Nov. 1, 2016, ODA
did instruct Lost Valley to
stop building its wastewater
system without the CAFO
permit, since those need to
be inspected and approved
by the agency prior to use.
Matthews said the dairy did
comply with that advisory,
though there are other struc-
tures the state can’t prohibit
them from building.
“We’re trying to be very
specific about things they
can’t construct,” he said.
Matthews said potential
actions against Lost Valley
could include additional
citations of non-compliance
or civil penalties, if they
determine Lost Valley broke
any laws.
Contact George Plaven
at gplaven@eastoregonian.
com or 541-66-0825.
BOUTIQUE: Began serving EAS communities in 2014
Continued from 1A
Before he started working
worked as a pilot for SeaPort
Airlines when it was the
city’s commercial service
speeches from Mayor John
Turner and airport manager
Steve Chrisman, Butcher
recalled his days attending
the Round-Up and expressed
excitement that the pilot’s
house on airport grounds has
been renovated.
Butcher also provided a
brief history of Boutique,
which grew from one plane
in 2007 to its current fleet of
20 serving airports across the
While the positive vibes
were strong at the airport,
it was only eight years ago
that SeaPort arrived in town
as the young, expanding
company looking to replace
the previously entrenched
With passenger numbers
falling and the U.S. Depart-
ment of Transportation
threatening to pull Pendle-
ton’s Essential Air Service
subsidy, SeaPort began 2016
by filing for bankruptcy and
ended it by grounding all its
flights after the city council
selected Boutique as its new
Although Boutique only
began serving EAS commu-
nities in 2014, Butcher said
Boutique’s structure puts it
in better position to avoid
SeaPort’s pitfalls.
Instead of SeaPort’s fleet
of leased Cessna Caravans,
Butcher said it owns all of its
Pilatus PC-12, a make and
model of plane faster and
more comfortable than the
“The quality of the plane
goes a long way,” he said.
Butcher said Boutique is
also better suited to weather
pilot shortages, a setback
SeaPort pointed to when
explaining its bankruptcy,
because it pays its pilots
better than the competition.
In an interview, Chrisman
said the early feedback on
Boutique has lived up to the
company’s pitch when it bid
for Pendleton’s services.
Chrisman said the city’s
best way to help prevent
Boutique from replicating
SeaPort’s struggles in Pend-
leton is to keep an open line
“Not to dance on
SeaPort’s grave,
but this was a
good move.”
— Steve Chrisman,
Eastern Oregon Regional
Airport manager
of communication.
“Not to dance on
SeaPort’s grave, but this was
a good move,” he said.
Chrisman said he saw
Boutique and the airport’s
customer base by stepping
up marketing efforts to the
regions other population
centers like Hermiston, La
Grande, Baker City and
Walla Walla.
Butcher said some of the
early returns from the first
few weeks of service have
shown positive signs. If
passenger numbers continue
to grow, he could see
Boutique adding more flights
or enlisting larger planes
sometime in the future.
Contact Antonio Sierra at
or 541-966-0836.
F eaturing : S tuart R oberts , J erod B roadfoot & Lou J affe
January 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
BMCC, Rm ST-200, 2411 NW Carden Ave., Pendleton
For more information please call Karen at 541-966-3177. Need not be member to attend.
Please detach and send with payment
Phone #
E-mail address
Please include a season fee of $20 per individual member.
Please make checks payable to BMCC.
$6.00 at the door, students free
Lecture reminders will be sent via E-mail, as will weather cancellation notices, if necessary .
Thank you for mailing your membership forms to:
InterMountain ESD (IMESD) 2001 SW Nye Ave. Pendleton, OR • Attn: Karen Parker
a number of very excellent
orchards and vineyards,”
Groff said. “There’s a nice
intersection of our capabili-
Foreman Fruit Company
was founded in the early
1980s by Dale Foreman,
and former chairman of
the Washington Apple
Commission. Groff, who
is Foreman’s son-in-law,
said the business started out
primarily growing pears
before branching out into
apples, cherries and grapes.
Earl Brown & Sons is
Foreman’s first Oregon
acquisition. Groff said they
were impressed by the
people, and wanted to keep
their current team together.
“We share a common
set of values and purpose in
business,” he said.
Earl Brown & Sons was
founded in 1977, and now
packages between 850,000
and 1 million boxes of fresh
apples every year. Varieties
include Honeycrisp, Red
Delicious, Golden Deli-
cious, Granny Smith, Fuji
and Lady Alice.
Watermill Winery has
also sold roughly 3,500
cases of wine in past years.
Groff said they are still in
the early phases of looking
at the wine business,
though they are excited to
be working in The Rocks
District of Milton-Freewater
and believe the product has
plenty of upside.
“I think this is really great
wine that is, perhaps, under-
sold,” Groff said.
Brown said the transition
with Foreman Fruit has been
smooth, and will ensure that
Earl Brown & Sons has the
resources to stay competi-
“You have to be a certain
size anymore to compete
with all the regulations
that come down on smaller
companies,” he said.
PERS: Some unions question legality of changes
Continued from 1A
Both bills’ chief sponsors
are Knopp and Sen. Jeff
Kruse, R-Roseburg, who
said that the two bills might
not be the only proposals to
expect from Senate Republi-
cans this session.
“We’re still kind of
dancing around a few things,”
Kruse said Wednesday.
Currently, PERS benefi-
ciaries who were hired prior
to Jan. 1, 1996 — known
as Tier 1 employees — are
promised an assumed 7.5
percent rate of return on
investment, credited to their
regular accounts every year.
Kruse said changing that
7.5 percent rate, which the
market has failed to match,
could be legally permissible
but that it and other ideas
were still being vetted.
“We don’t want to
propose anything that we
don’t think would survive
a legal challenge because it
would be a waste of time,”
Kruse said.
Legislative Counsel, in a
memo to Knopp and Johnson
in late August, noted that the
court hasn’t addressed the
method of calculating final
average salary and whether
it is a term of the PERS
contract. If it is, they said,
changes to the calculation are
permissible “if the changes
protect accrued benefits.”
Calls to Knopp and
Johnson Wednesday after-
noon were not immediately
returned. Lawmakers were
gathering at the Capitol
this week to organize for
the upcoming session and
attend a slew of mandatory
Attempts at reform
could face an uphill battle
politically; some union
representatives have already
publicly questioned the
legality of possible changes
to the system.
In her inauguration
speech Monday, Gov. Kate
Brown called for “smarter
better management of PERS,
just over a month after she
nudged Oregon business
leaders to contribute ideas
to address the state’s budget
shortfall in the wake of the
failure of Measure 97, a tax
on corporate sales.
Supporters said the tax
would have raised about
$3 billion per year and
could have fixed the state’s
persistent budget shortfalls.
Brown said in her speech
Monday that beside her
proposal — outlined in SB
107 — to bring more invest-
ment functions in-house
under a new Oregon
Investment Department, she
looked forward to “the other
solutions proposed in the
months ahead.”
“As we consider our next
steps, let’s agree to keep
our promises to retirees,”
Brown said, according to
her prepared remarks. “Let’s
ensure that no one can (take)
advantage of the system. And
let’s seek solutions that are
legally viable, so that dead
ends aren’t left to languish
in court while the challenge
of PERS only continues to
In a phone interview in late
December, Sen. Johnson said
there was “very little political
enthusiasm to engage in the
discussion to find a solution
or a partial solution.”