East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, June 23, 2017, Image 1

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    ROADKILL
ON THE
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GOP UNVEILS
HEALTH CARE
OVERHAUL
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ALL EO PLAYER
OF THE YEAR
REGION/3A
NATION/9A
SPORTS/1B
FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017
141st Year, No. 179
Your Weekend
One dollar
WINNER OF THE 2016 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
Tensions flare over Rainbow Gathering
Group refuses to sign permit for
massive event in National Forest
EO Media Group
•
•
•
Wiener dog races
Friday in Pendleton
Umatilla Landing Days
at Marina Park
Purple Ridge Lavender
Festival in Hermiston
For times and places
see Coming Events, 5A
Catch a movie
The Eagle/Rylan Boggs
Ken Mayhead, left, demands to know how the Rainbow
Gathering will benefi t Grant County while Rainbow
gathering attendee Kathleen Todd waits to respond
Paramount Pictures/Bay Films via AP
Summer just wouldn’t be
complete without another
Michael Bay blockbuster
full of explosions, CGI toys
and Mark Wahlberg.
“Transformers: Last Knight”
The U.S. Forest Service
acknowledged there isn’t
much it can do about a
Rainbow Family Gathering
expected to bring thou-
sands of counter-culture
types to Eastern Oregon
over the next two weeks.
The organizers don’t
have a permit, and the
Forest Service’s response
to that as well as the toll the
group is expected to have
on county resources has
angered area residents.
Some 2,000 Rainbow
Family members have set
up camp at Flagtail Meadow
off of Forest Road 24, near
the towns of Seneca and
John Day, the Forest Service
reported Thursday. The 46th
annual National Rainbow
Gathering July 1-7 could
draw an estimated 15,000 to
20,000 people.
The Forest Service
requires groups of 75 or
more to sign a special use
permit. Ryan Nehl, deputy
Forest Service supervisor
on the Malheur and the
agency administrator for
the event, took the permit
form to organizers at the
gathering spot Wednesday.
The Forest Service reported
the group refused to sign.
The Forest Service
responded Thursday with
an “event design criteria”
document for the gathering
to follow and said the Forest
Service could take action
if conditions are violated.
But Nehl said the Forest
Service will not attempt to
stop the gathering.
See RAINBOW/6A
More than 50,000 acres set to expire from Conservation Reserve Program
For showtime, Page 5A
Weekend Weather
Fri
Sat
Sun
85/54
91/58
98/69
Democrats
give up on
new biz
taxes this
session
By CLAIRE WITHYCOMBE
Capital Bureau
Major changes to the way
Oregon taxes businesses
won’t materialize before the
Legislature adjourns, the
governor and top legislative
leadership said Thursday.
The announcement comes
after several weeks of height-
ened revenue discussions at
the Legislature, and months
of disagreement between
business and labor groups
over how the state should tax
businesses after a divisive
ballot measure campaign.
The decision effectively
tables reforms to the state’s
public pension system and
“clears a path forward” for a
major transportation funding
package, said Gov. Kate
Brown.
See TAX/2A
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Large swaths of Stage Gulch north of Interstate 84 are currently in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Hard choices loom as farms
exit conservation program
Putting land back in production a challenge for farmers
By GEORGE PLAVEN
East Oregonian
It was about a year ago
when Pendleton farmer Henry
Lorenzen learned, much to
his surprise and disappoint-
ment, that a portion of his
land would not be re-enrolled
in the federal Conservation
Reserve Program.
As a third-generation
wheat grower with 4,000
acres west of town, Lorenzen
remembers hearing “horror
stories” from his father about
dust storms that would sweep
across the fi elds, eroding soil
and kicking up a dusty haze
that reached all the way to
Interstate 84.
Not only did the gusts
cause some very serious
traffi c problems — like the
1999 pileup on I-84 that
killed six people and injured
27 others — but created
signifi cant farm management
and environmental issues as
well.
“You lose topsoil, and
ultimately you lose produc-
tivity,” Lorenzen said.
The Conservation Reserve
Program, or CRP, was
established in 1985 to help
protect vulnerable areas.
Administered by the Farm
Service Agency under the
U.S. Department of Agri-
culture, CRP is essentially a
rental agreement between the
government and landowners
where a portion of farmland
is taken out of production
and planted in native grasses,
which in turn helps protect
against erosion, increase
wildlife habitat and improve
water quality.
General CRP contracts
run for 10-15 years, with
payments averaging around
$45 to $65 per acre. Land
enrolled tends to be less suit-
able for growing crops, and is
scored by the feds based on
a number of environmental
criteria, known as the Envi-
ronmental Benefi t Index.
“If you look back
in the mid-’70s,
there were 270
to 280 farmers
and now there’s
about 75 or 80.
A big chunk of
that was ground
put into CRP.”
See CRP/10A
— Eric Orem, Morrow
County wheat grower
PENDLETON
Police staff to get eight percent raise over two years
Firefi ghters in mediation for new contract
By PHIL WRIGHT
East Oregonian
Pendleton’s
unionized
police staff will receive an 8
percent raise over two years
in a new labor contract.
The 19 members of the
Pendleton City Police Asso-
ciation already ratifi ed the
contract, and Tuesday night
the city council approved it.
Andrea Denton, the city’s
human resources manager,
said the fi rst 3 percent
increase goes into effect July
1, then another 3 percent
bump on Jan. 1, 2018, and
the last 2 percent in July
2018.
Denton and Howard
Bowen, president of the
association, said the salary
hike is so Pendleton can
catch up to other like-sized
police departments.
Denton explained the
city compared police pay in
Oregon cities from about half
Pendleton’s size to 50 percent
larger than Pendleton. The
long list, she said, included
cities near the Portland-metro
area, and thus under the
“metro infl uence,” as well as
some of the most rural cities
with the lowest pay. While
not every city government
provided information, she
See POLICE/2A