The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, July 15, 2015, Image 4

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Blue Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
A good year
for the Oregon
t is common to find
farmers and ranchers
holding their breath and
crossing all of their fingers
and toes whenever the Oregon
Legislature is in session
That’s because the state’s
best and brightest have, on
occasion, fallen short of those
qualities when it comes to
agriculture It seems some
elected officials profess to
know everything there is to
know about farming, once
they take the oath of office
That’s why this year’s
legislative session is
remarkable While not
perfect, the work product
the legislature generated is
worthy of praise
Of particular note is the
fact that compromise appears
to have come back into vogue
in the state Capitol Not
long ago, the “us vs them”
mindset appeared to dominate
the political landscape,
leaving innocent bystanders
scratching their heads Issues
such as field burning were
decided based as much on
emotion as on science
This year, the legislature
ultimately rejected radical
proposals that would have
banned aerial applicators,
restricted antibiotic use in
livestock the US Food
and Drug Administration is
working on that issue), and
regulated genetically modified
At the same time,
legislators made good
progress on difficult issues
ranging from funding for
much-needed water projects to
helping neighboring farmers
mediate disagreements
that arise over genetically
modified crops
One example of this was
the Legislature’s approval
of $50 million for water
development projects That
includes about $11 million
for the pumps and equipment
to provide water from the
Columbia River to Umatilla
Basin farms in Eastern
Oregon Though it’s not full
funding for the projects, it’s
certainly a good start
The GMO mediation bill
origially required farmers
who refused mediation and
then filed suit against their
neighbors to pay court costs
if they lost When anti-GMO
activists objected to that
language, a compromise was
reached in which judges will
consider the refusal when
deciding on sanctions
Both bills that were
ultimately produced represent
compromise – there’s that
word again
Among the other
agriculture-related issues, the
• Added $14 million to
Oregon State University’s
budget for agricultural
extension and research This
allows administrators to
significantly increase those
efforts after nearly a decade
of reductions
• Tightened the regulation
of aerial applicators,
especially while spraying
forestland, and set up a
hotline for complaints
• Protected farmers who
offer agritourism activities
such as hay rides from
liability provided they post
signs and are not found to be
• Passed a bill that allows
landowners to set up special
assessment districts to fund
USDA Wildlife Services,
which offers predator control
• Extended research on
canola in the Willamette
Valley This had been a highly
contentious issue among
brassica seed growers, who
argued canola could introduce
new weeds and diseases into
the area
• Resolved a legal quandary
in which state law forbid
farmers selling raw milk
from advertising Legislators
lifted the ban, which was
unconstitutional, but left in
place other restrictions on raw
These bills allow Oregon’s
farmers to head back to their
fields with the knowledge that
the legislature did its best to
find workable compromises
on issues that are important to
The result is that farmers,
and Oregonians, will come
out ahead
Blue Mountain
195 N. Canyon Blvd. • John Day, OR 97845
541-575-0710 • Fax 541-575-1244
Grant County’s Weekly Newspaper
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195 N. Canyon Blvd.
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Welcome to a smoke-free fair
By Sheila Comer
To the Blue Mountain Eagle
This year the Grant County Fair,
which opens August 5, joins the
growing list of Oregon fairs that
have adopted tobacco- or smoke-
free policies
Smoking will be prohibited
during the entire event on all event
grounds This policy includes both
burning tobacco as well as elec-
tronic devices Smoke-free fairs
help to reduce secondhand smoke
exposure, demonstrate to our chil-
dren that smoking is not the norm,
and provide an environment that
is supportive for those who have
successfully quit smoking or are
trying to quit As an added bene-
fit, this policy will help preserve
the investment made on many fa-
cility improvements by reducing
If my house
the amount of cigarette litter and
eliminating the potential fire haz-
“A smoke-free fair is a positive
step toward achieving a healthier
community and providing a safer
and cleaner atmosphere for our
children,” said fair board member
Heather Rookstool
Fair Manager Mary Weaver
agreed that tobacco use is one of
the most significant health risks
“Most people prefer smoke-
free spaces, and this creates a
more welcoming and accessible
event—especially for young peo-
ple or people with health condi-
tions that are impacted by second-
hand smoke,” said Weaver
In addition to the obvious
health benefits, smoke-free events
help break the cycle of addiction
and substance abuse by demon-
strating to youth that smoking is
not the norm Nearly 0 percent of
smokers start before the age of 1
Research shows youth who wit-
ness smoking in public are more
likely to perceive it as a socially
acceptable behavior and experi-
ment with it
Grant County’s tobacco use
rates rank among the highest in the
state at 26 percent – significantly
higher than the state average of 18
percent Youth use rates are more
than double the state average
We applaud the fair board for
their leadership in the decision to
make this year’s fair smoke free
Together we can reduce the toll of
tobacco in our community
Sheila Comer is the coordi-
nator of the Tobacco Prevention
and Education Program in Grant
If my house catches ¿re I would
really like our wonderful volunteer
¿re department to get there ASAP
however, is it really necessary to
blow that siren to wake up every-
body for miles around at 2 o’clock in
the morning?
I’m guessing that system was
probably instituted 30 years ago
and it’s been alerting the ¿re¿ghters
wonderfully since then But this is
the 21st Century and everybody has
cell phones, especially emergency
My daughter used to be able to
gather a crowd for a party in minutes
using hers can’t the ¿re department
use cellular phones instead of blast-
ing everybody not involved awake?
Richie Colbeth
John Day
Are our city
ordinances legally
I am going to build a three-story,
40 X 50 foot dove cote for the inva-
sive Asian dove right here in Canyon
City, blocking your view and proba-
bly altering the wind currents down
the valley What do you mean, I have
to follow a city ordinance?
Our ordinances are apparently not
legally supportable documents if you
adhere to the decision announced by
the Forest Service spokesman and
chairman of the Blue Mountain For-
est Partners on July 7, 2015 at the
Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision
meeting County Ordinance 2013-
01, signed by the Grant County
Court members and the sheriff which
prohibits all access closures on pub-
lic lands without concurrence from
the County is not a legal document
and the federal government is not
required by law to adhere to it In
one sweeping declaration, the feder-
al government may have effective-
ly provided grounds to cancel our
county and city ordinances
Was it a consideration when two
members of the County Court were
hesitant to stand behind their signa-
tures and support the validity and le-
gality of the ordinance? Did the For-
est Service’s legal counsel consider
that when they determined it lawful
to make the decision to nullify a lo-
cal ordinance? How can one person
or one entity make decisions that af-
fect so many people?
You will have to excuse me now
I need to start laying the foundation
for my dove cote
Judy Kerr
Canyon City
Stall & Ignore,
the new US Forest
Service tactic
For several years it was a shell
game Throw out enough varying
plans, subparts, and meetings, with
different catch phrases for what
equated to closing roads and re-
stricting overall motorized access
The Forest Service hoped to either
disenfranchise enough of the public,
or aggravate enough, to make them
quit Unfortunately, I, and the people
of Eastern Oregon, have not wavered
under that approach and have actual-
ly became more pro¿cient in keep-
ing tabs on what the USFS is doing
Now, we return to the tactics of
Monica Schwalbach, the initiator of
the ¿rst Record of Decision to re-
strict motorized access on our forest,
which is to ignore and stall hoping
the people simply fall out and go
away No more prime an example
exists of that than my dealings over
the last month with the current forest
supervisor and former understudy to
Ms Schwalbach, Mr Tom Montoya
For the last month, I have re-
quested information as to who
makes up his interdisciplinary
team for the development of the
Subpart A report of travel man-
agement on the Wallowa-Whitman
National Forest My initial request
was June 6, 2015, as of July 6, Mr
Montoya had not answered my
email I believe we should know
who is planning our future access
to the Blues
Since then, Mr Montoya has
instructed me that he has received
my email and has moved my re-
quest into a FOIA request I am
not sure if that is the proper pro-
cedure for such a simple request
as who sits on a committee, but it
is an effective tactic to stall infor-
mation sharing He also indicated
I had the incorrect email address,
but yet my email was never re-
turned as incorrect, so I will have
to take him at his word
I again request from Supervisor
Montoya a list of who makes up
the ID team for the development
of the Subpart A report, and what
tools, models and best available
science they are using to plan the
minimum roads needed for the Wal-
lowa-Whitman National Forest
Maybe in a more public form Mr
Montoya will answer the question,
but as of this afternoon, no such in-
formation has been given
John George
Bates, Oregon
The White House, 1600
Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20500
Phone-comments: 202-456-
1111 Switchboard: 202-
US Sen Ron Wyden,
D — 516 Hart Senate Of-
¿ce Building, Washington
DC 20510 Phone: 202-
224-5244 Email: wayneB
gov Website: http:wyden
senategov Fax: 202-228-
US Sen Jeff Merkley,
D — 313 Hart Senate Of-
¿ce Building, Washington
DC 20510? Phone: 202-
224-3753 Email: senator#
merkleysenategov Fax:
202-228-37 Oregon of-
¿ces include One World
Trade Center, 121 SW
Salmon St, Suite 1250,
Portland, OR 7204 and
310 SE Second St, Suite
105, Pendleton, OR 7801
Phone: 503-326-3386 541-
278-112 Fax: 503-326-
US Rep Greg Walden,
R — (Second District)
1404 Longworth Building,
Washington DC 20515
No direct e-mail because
of spam Website: www
202-225-5774 Medford of-
¿ce: 14 North Central, Suite
112, Medford, OR 7501
Phone: 541-776-4646 Fax:
Pending Bills: For infor-
mation on bills in Congress,
Phone: 202-225-1772
Gov .ate Brown, D
— 254 State Capitol, Sa-
lem 7310 Phone: 503-
378-3111 Fax: 503-378-
6827 Website: www
— State Capitol, Salem,
7310 Phone: (503) 86-
1180 Website: www
legstateorus (includes
and Oregon Revised
etters policy: Letters to the Editor is a forum for Blue Mountain Eagle readers to express themselves on local, state, national or world issues. Brevity
is good, but longer letters will be asked to be contained to 350 words. No personal attacks; challenge the opinion, not the person. No thank-you letters.
Submissions to this page become property of the Eagle. The Eagle reserves the right to edit letters for length and for content. Letters must be original and
signed by the writer. Anonymous letters will not be printed. Writers should include a telephone number so they can be reached for questions. Deadline is 5
p.m. Friday. Send letters to, or Blue Mountain Eagle, 195 N. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845; or fax to 541-575-1244.