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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 25, 2017)
2017 BRIDAL PLANNER
14 LOCALS IN SEMIFINALS ranch
SPECIAL SECTION INSIDE
STATE WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP/1B
FEBRUARY 25-26, 2017
141st Year, No. 95
WINNER OF THE 2016 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
By GEORGE PLAVEN
A commercial mushroom farm
based in Olympia, Washington has
identiﬁ ed northeast Oregon as the
ideal location for stewing compost,
though neighbors are worried about
what the smell will mean for their
property values and quality of life.
Ostrom Mushroom Farms wants
to build a composting facility along
Sand Hollow Road between Adams
and Athena, where it would make the
fertilizer needed to grow a variety of
edible mushrooms including white,
portabella and shiitake.
The proposal was laid out at a
community meeting Wednesday
night in Athena, where Ostrom’s
president and CEO David Knudsen
explained how the process works.
Ostrom’s uses wheat straw, chicken
manure, canola meal and water in its
compost, later adding in the fungus to
All of the composting is done
indoors, within tunnels that resemble
silage bunkers, where the material
is left to decompose and pasteurize.
That’s what Ostrom’s wants to do
in rural Umatilla County, on private
land owned by the King family where
Knudsen said the company already
sources its wheat straw.
“This is the source of our primary
raw material,” Knudsen said.
While the compost would be made
locally, the mushrooms themselves
would be grown and harvested at
another farm with access to natural
gas, Knudsen said. If built, the
composting facility would produce
180 tons every week.
Composting is done over three
phases — ﬁ rst, the raw materials
are mixed and left to decay on an
aerated ﬂ oor. Second, the concoction
naturally heats up and turns a choco-
late brown color as it is pasteurized.
Finally, workers mix in the mycelium,
or mushroom cultures, which take
two weeks to colonize.
Knudsen said the facility would
start out with four tunnels and 15-17
employees, though future expansion
could result in up to 10 tunnels.
But before any of that can happen,
Ostrom’s needs to obtain land use
and environmental permits from the
Umatilla County Planning Depart-
ment and Oregon Department of
State law requires the company
hold a public meeting prior to
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Without a means to capture and remove vehicle exhaust, ﬁ reﬁ ghters working in the Pendleton Fire Department’s main station are
exposed to carcinogenic diesel fumes.
PUTTING OUT FIRES
Fire department contends with aging station, short stafﬁ ng
By ANTONIO SIERRA
When talking about the corner-
stones of his department, Pendleton
ﬁ re chief Mike Ciraulo uses a stool
as a metaphor.
Speaking before the city council
Tuesday, Ciraulo said the stool’s
legs — stafﬁ ng, facilities, and
equipment — are all deﬁ cient.
Those areas could be fortiﬁ ed in
2017, starting with a $9.93 million
bond Pendleton voters will consider
in May that would build a new ﬁ re
station on Southeast Court Avenue
and purchase new equipment.
Each leg is interrelated and there
is consensus among city council
that something needs to be done to
alleviate the issues. But whether the
money’s there to repair them is an
Out of all the questions Ciraulo
is asked, the most frequent relates
to the ﬁ re station’s current home.
Namely, what’s wrong with it?
The chief said renovating or
tearing down and replacing Fire
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Pendleton ﬁ reﬁ ghters practice CPR on a mannequin during a
training exercise Thursday at the main station in Pendleton.
Station No. 1, built in 1959 at
911 S.W. Court Avenue, was a
nonstarter for several reasons.
Acquiring the mufﬂ er shop next
door, building a second ﬂ oor to
alleviate the overcrowding issues of
the current facility and making the
building compliant with the Amer-
icans with Disabilities Act would
make a renovation prohibitively
expensive, Ciraulo said.
And building a new ﬁ re hall at
the current property wouldn’t solve
the problem of emergency vehicles
getting stuck behind trafﬁ c at the
intersection of Southwest Court
Avenue and Southwest 10th Street.
And either option would require
the department to temporarily relo-
cate to an interim facility that they
But the problems with the ﬁ re
station go beyond inconvenience.
Besides being blighted with black
mold and asbestos, an analysis from
the Mackenzie Group showed that
the structure was permeated with
carcinogens from diesel exhaust in
the garage bay.
Ciraulo said ﬁ reﬁ ghters are
already almost three times more
likely than an average civilian to
get cancer from the carcinogens
they encounter ﬁ ghting ﬁ res, so it’s
concerning that they’re exposed to
more of it when they return to their
Ciraulo said one of his lieuten-
ants is currently ﬁ ghting a cancer
related to carcinogen exposure. And
although he can’t prove contact at
the ﬁ re station caused it, the more
his employees are exposed to it the
higher their risk.
There’s also the matter of
housing ﬁ reﬁ ghters on long shifts.
While many staff members sleep in
Ranchers oppose cuts to wolf compensation, predator control
By MATEUSZ PERKOWSKI
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Two adult wolves from the Walla Walla Pack were caught on
remote trail camera in January 2016 in northern Umatilla Coun-
ty. Oregon legislators are considering reductions in funding for
predator control and reimbursing ranchers for livestock losses.
SALEM — Ranchers who suffer
livestock losses from predators stand
to lose state support under both budget
scenarios currently proposed for the
Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Funding aimed at predator control
and compensation for livestock depre-
dation would be cut under recommen-
dations from Gov. Kate Brown as well
as the co-chairs of the Joint Ways and
Means Committee, Sen. Richard Devlin,
D-Tualatin, and Rep. Nancy Nathanson,
The proposed cuts drew objections
from the livestock industry during
a Feb. 22 hearing on ODA’s budget
before a panel of Joint Ways and Means
Committee members focused on natural
As the wolf population has grown
in Oregon, livestock losses have been
a continuing source of frustration for
ranchers, said Mike Durgan of the Baker
County Wolf Compensation Advisory
Even when wolves don’t kill cattle,
they cause health problems that are
considered indirect losses and aren’t
compensated with state dollars, Durgan
Until wildlife ofﬁ cials ﬁ nd a better
way to manage the predators, the
livestock industry should receive state
assistance, he said. “I want to make it
clear I’m not advocating killing wolves
Oregon counties have steadfastly
contributed money to their partnership
with ODA and USDA’s Wildlife Services
division to pay for predator control,
even as they’ve fallen short of funds for