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About Wallowa County chieftain. (Enterprise, Wallowa County, Or.) 1943-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 24, 2018)
Wallowa County Chieftain
January 24, 2018
Continued from Page A1
The property has been farmed
and ranched continuously for almost
140 years. The Melville family con-
tinues the farming operation. Mary
and Kirk Hayes lived on the prop-
erty until Kirk’s death in 2005 and
Mary’s in 2014.
A variety of species of birds
and animals gather at Kirk’s Pond,
a shady man-made refuge, sur-
rounded by pine, fir, cottonwood,
juniper and aspen.
Monteith said the property
became available when the current
owners, who purchased it for invest-
ment purposes, broke up their part-
nership and decided to sell.
Joseph Properties I had begun
the process of subdividing the prop-
erty; however, only two homesites
were carved out and approved by
the county rather than the hundreds
Monteith said if his group isn’t
successful in purchasing the prop-
erty, the development plan will
likely be implemented.
Monteith envisions selling shares
to raise the funds, which is a deja vu
experience for him. His organization
was at the center of a plan to pur-
chase the Wallowa Lake Lodge in
similar fashion in 2015.
“It’s about as sweet a real estate
deal as you can put together, it’s
just a very short timeline to raise
the downpayment,” Monteith said.
“The deadline is real.”
A development easement might
also be a source of revenue for the
purchase. An easement cannot be
negotiated until the group owns the
The support of at least four
other conservation-oriented groups
is being courted by the legacy land
Monteith said if his group
doesn’t succeed, “we will live with
a couple trophy homes that will
change the character of the property
A number of potential uses for
the property have been discussed.
Cropland could become an incu-
bator in which young farmers could
learn the business and perhaps even
live in the Hayes house that sits on
the property. The group would like
to enlist the National Young Farmers
Coalition to assist with those plans.
Ecotourism is also a possibility.
A combination of grants or
By Steve Tool
Wallowa County Chieftain
David Jensen/Submitted photo
The Hayes Farm property has been continuously operated for almost 140 years.
James Monteith, chairman of
Eastern Oregon Legacy Lands
Fund, during a gathering at Wal-
lowology in Joseph.
no- or low-interest loans is being
sought. Anyone interested in learn-
ing more should contact David Mil-
drexler with the Eastern Oregon
Legacy Lands Fund 541-786-9354
The 150-acres Hayes Farm is located on the western border of the
city of Joseph.
A fire of unknown origin destroyed the
home of a Wallowa County couple and
injured two firefighters on the afternoon
of Jan. 22. The home belonged to Ken and
Annie Nash of Enterprise and was located
on Homan Lane west of Enterprise. The res-
idents did not suffer any injuries.
At around 12:30 p.m., units from both
the Enterprise and Joseph fire departments
responded to a report of a fire on. Eight units
and about 20 firefighters were on scene.
Enterprise fire chief and county emer-
gency services director Paul Karvoski said
firefighters of both departments battled the
blaze for more than an hour before wind,
injuries and the fire’s severity forced them
to stop. Karvoski said the home, a 1940s
structure with several additions, was fully
engulfed by the time firefighters arrived on
The chief said that the fire started in the
northwest corner of the home.
“We had a west wind, which did not sup-
port our fire operations at all –– it was a com-
plete hindrance,” he said. “We kept fight-
ing the fire as best as we could, but it got
unsafe after the first few minutes of arrival.”
He added that two Enterprise firefighters
received unspecified injuries directly related
to fighting the fire, which led to the decision
to fight the blaze outside the structure.
“The wind just acted like a funnel through
that house,” Karvoski said. “We fought it for
about an hour, and it kept getting worse. We
weren’t gaining on it at all and pretty much
everything in the house was a complete
loss.” At that point, Karvoski said that the
homeowners made a decision to cease fire
operations out of concern for the firefight-
ers. The crews stayed on scene until shortly
after 3 p.m.
One of the injured firefighters was taken
to Wallowa Memorial Hospital while the
other visited a doctor Tuesday morning. Kar-
voski said that both are expected to make a
“It’s a sad thing to see,” Karvoski said
about the home loss, “but the safety of our
firefighters is priority number one.”
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