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About Wallowa County chieftain. (Enterprise, Wallowa County, Or.) 1943-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 2, 2019)
NEW CLERK, DISTRICT ATTORNEY SWORN IN
134th Year, No. 37
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Alan Klages’ undies didn’t stand a chance in his super
healthy hay field. Klages Ranch has been using cover crops
for about six years, which has benefited the health of their
soil and cattle. Alan’s undies were planted on April Fool’s
Day 2018 and harvested 122 days later.
Staff photo by Kathy Aney/East Oregonian
A participant at the April 21, 2018 Second
Amendment rally rests his hand on his gun
as he listens to a speaker at Til Taylor Park in
at new gun
By Paris Achen
EO Media Group
By GEORGE PLAVEN
EO Media Group
Talk about a strange harvest.
Earlier this year, six Eastern Oregon farmers and ranch-
ers, four from Wallowa County, agreed to bury pairs of cotton
underwear in their fields and dig them back up later in the sea-
son as part of the “Soil Your Undies” challenge, organized by
the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Not much remained of the tattered, torn and threadbare
britches — and that’s precisely the point. The “Soil Your
Undies” challenge was devised to illustrate the presence of
tiny microorganisms like mites, bacteria, fungi and protozoa
that make up healthy soil, and which devour the organic cot-
ton fibers in underpants.
NRCS Oregon is now ready to roll out the challenge state-
wide, inviting any and all growers to participate in 2019.
“This challenge is no substitute for lab testing,” said Cory
Owens, NRCS Oregon state soil scientist. “But it’s a fun way
to start thinking about what’s going on in the soil.”
According to the NRCS, one teaspoon of healthy soil con-
tains more microbes than the entire human population on
Earth. Working in concert, the bitty organisms are a critically
important feature in soil, cycling nutrients for plants, storing
moisture and helping to resist erosion.
See Undies, Page A8
Woody Wolfe, of Wolfe Ranch in Wallowa County, holds up a pair
of cotton underwear buried in a pasture as part of the “Soil Your
Undies” challenge. Wolfe Ranch uses cover crops, crop rotation,
no-till and livestock integration to maximize soil health.
‘WE’RE PRODUCING A LOT OF FORAGE WITHOUT ANY CHEMICAL INPUTS — NO FERTILIZER AND NO CHEMICALS.
WE SEE HOW IT’S HELPING THE SOIL AND THE ANIMALS. AND IT’S HELPING MY BOTTOM LINE.’
A few days after Liam Mankins was born
in September 2016, his father posted a photo
on Facebook of his son wearing oversized
“Future’s so bright gotta wear sun-
glasses,” a friend commented.
“Yes, yes, it is,” Liam’s father replied.
“He’s going to … make something of
Then, two years later, on Nov. 4, Liam
was killed by a shot from an unsecured gun.
The toddler “got control of a loaded
handgun” at the family’s Baker City home
and “caused the handgun to discharge,”
Baker County District Attorney Matt Shirt-
cliff wrote in a news release.
“The gun had not been secured in a safe
place,” Shirtcliff said.
Such cases are motivating two state leg-
islators and gun safety advocates to legally
require gun owners to secure their firearms
with a lock or in a locked container.
The proposal is among several gun safety
measures that state lawmakers want to con-
sider during the 2019 legislative session
opening Jan. 22.
Some lawmakers also want to raise the
age for buying assault weapons, give police
more time to conduct background checks on
gun buyers and regulate handguns in schools
Under the gun storage legislation, owners
would face a fine of up to $2,000. The aver-
age fine would be about $165 — about the
same as fines for driving 11 to 20 mph over
the speed limit.
The fine could increase to $2,000 if the
gun owner knew that a child could reach the
firearm, proponents said.
The law also makes the gun owner civilly
liable if someone uses an unsecured gun to
shoot another person or property.
Some gun rights advocates oppose the
Charlie Brinton, president of the Baker
County chapter of the Oregon Hunters Asso-
ciation, said it’s unfair to hold gun own-
ers liable if someone stole their unsecured
weapon and shot someone. The thief should
be held liable, he said.
See Control, Page A8
Alan Klages, of Klages Ranch
The future of the natural resource based economy
By Kathleen Ellyn
Wallowa County Chieftain
ommunities that base their economics on
natural resources like timber, farming and
ranching are facing a worrying future. The
situation in Wallowa County is unique in
many ways, but international and national trends
affect even this remote corner of Oregon.
Caleb Howard, a fifth generation Wallowa
County rancher with a degree in natural resources,
has learned a lot as a real estate agent specializing
in land and wildlife, as well as a managing con-
sultant for farms, ranches and timber ground.
Howard shared a snapshot of the issues fac-
ing Wallowa County’s natural resource-based
New management practices in the timber
industry have led to rapid harvest on private
land in Wallowa County and a potential stop-
page of work in the forest that could last for 15
years. Succession practices in agriculture and
ranching have left farms and ranches vulnerable
to division and permanent loss.
There are ways to address the various chal-
lenges, but some are uncomfortable and all have
a looming deadline.
Timber and the cliff
According to Howard, the private land-based
timber industry in Wallowa County is facing a
crisis that may materialize within the next five
The crisis is due to the way in which much
of Wallowa County’s private forestland is
There are hundreds of thousands of acres in
Eastern Oregon formally owned by Boise Cas-
cade, Howard said. Boise Cascade used to own
sawmills along with the timberland, which
made them an integrated business model. That
model incentivized the company to think long-
term and only cut the amount of lumber the pro-
duced each year that would feed their mills.
After the creation of the Timberland Invest-
ment Management Organization (TIMO), Boise
Cascade sold their land holdings first to Forest
Capitol, then to Hancock Forest Management of
The TIMO model is very different.
TIMOs developed in the 1970s after congress
passed legislation called the Employee Retire-
ment Income Security Act, which encouraged
institutional investors to diversify their portfo-
lios into timber.
See Future, Page A9