Prairie City boys oﬀ to 12-0 start The PAGE A8 Blue Mountain EAGLE Grant County’s newspaper since 1868 Wednesday, January 9, 2019 151st Year • No. 2 • 16 Pages • $1.00 BlueMountainEagle.com Ofﬁ cials support ATV use on state highways By Richard Hanners Blue Mountain Eagle Eagle ﬁ le photo Clint Benge, left, and Tim Nelson ride in a Razor side by side to Chester’s Thriftway on April 19, 2013, taking advantage of the John Day city ordinance allowing ATVs on certain city streets. The city council recently gave consensus to create a work group to determine possible routes ATVs could travel on state highways within the county. A local effort is under- way to get approval for use of ATVs on state highways in Grant County. Senate Bill 344, intro- duced by Sen. Ted Ferrioli in 2017 and passed unan- imously in the House and 29-1 in the Senate, allows the Oregon Transporta- tion Commission to desig- nate speciﬁ c routes on state highways where ATVs could travel. ATVs are currently allowed to cross state high- ways at an intersection or at a place more than 100 feet from any highway inter- section. The goal of SB344 was to allow ATV riders to leave a trail at a highway and then travel on the high- way a short distance to the start of another trail. Drafted by a work group made up of ATV users, vehicle deal- ers and the state Parks and Recreation and Transporta- tion departments, the legis- lation allows a road author- ity to authorize ATV use within highway rights of way in counties with less than 20,000 people. While many rural Oregon cities and counties adopted ordinances to allow ATV use on city and county roads, state highways typically serve as the main access road in rural communities. The legislation estab- lished a seven-member All-Terrain Vehicle Access Routes Advisory Commit- tee to review applications for routes. Six members are appointed by the state parks and recreation director, and one is appointed by state transportation director. The John Day City Coun- cil gave its consensus sup- port Dec. 11 to forming a working group with other nearby communities to identify proposed routes in Grant County and to con- sider a joint application for designation. John Day City Manager Nick Green described a pre- sentation by Ian Caldwell, an OPRD grants and commu- nity programs representative for central and Eastern Ore- gon, at the Nov. 21 meeting of the South East Area Com- mission on Transportation. The purpose of the legis- lation is to promote tourism and local recreational uses by connecting towns with trails. Those goals align with See ATV, Page A16 COMPOSER CELEBRATES MALHEUR REFUGE ‘There’s a cacophony of bird sounds that washes over you’ By Kathy Aney EO Media Group A s the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge unfolded in early 2016, Jay Bowerman watched with growing incredulity. The feeling escalated as the armed mili- tants protested federal regulations regarding public lands by squatting for 41 days inside the headquarters of the federal bird refuge. The occupation, he felt, had tainted one of Oregon’s most beautiful spots. “It was disturbing,” Bowerman said. “Malheur Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, Jay Bowerman deserves to be remembered not for its armed occupa- was U.S. champion in the biathlon in 1969. He served tion, but for its natural beauty, wildlife diversity and as executive director of the Sunriver Nature Center and rich cultural heritage.” Observatory for 30 years and now researches After the court verdict in which seven and writes about such things as amphibi- occupiers were acquitted, Bowerman ans, spotted frogs, fungi and leeches. found comfort in listening to a haunt- He pitched the idea of the musi- ing orchestral work called “Cantus cal tribute to his wife, Teresa, and to Arcticus” (subtitled “Concerto for Michael Gesme, music director and Birds”) by Finnish composer Einojun- conductor with the Central Oregon hani Rautavaara. The work has birds Symphony. Intrigued, Gesme sug- sounds layered in with the music. gested composer Chris Thomas for “I listened to the music over and over the job. and over,” he said. “It was so soothing.” Thomas, a Pendleton native who now He wondered if music could help the lives in Bend, composes and orchestrates people who love the refuge to heal from for television and movies. Thomas, 36, Contributed photo was nominated for Best Orchestrator the occupation. Bowerman isn’t a guy who thinks thoughts and lets them ﬂ oat Jay and Teresa Bowerman by the Film and TV Music Academy in helped launch the Malheur away. See Malheur, Page A16 The son of legendary University of Symphony project. Contributed photo/Jen Klewitz ABOVE: Chris Thomas spent a year and a half composing the Malheur Symphony as a way to push aside the Malheur occupation and focus instead on the beauty of the place. TOP IMAGE: Curlews and their operatic call inspired composer Chris Thomas to write the ‘Curlew Scherzo,’ the fourth movement of the Malheur Symphony. EO Media Group/Kathy Aney Ranchers upset by wild horse release on Malheur National Forest By Mateusz Perkowski EO Media Group An apparent relocation of wild horses to Oregon’s Malheur National Forest has upset ranchers who say the area is already overstocked with the animals. Rancher Mike Moore said he encountered a For- est Service vehicle pulling a trailer on Dec. 14 in the Murderers Creek allotment of the national forest, which is an unusual sight, espe- cially during winter. Responding to ques- tions, the “sheepish” For- est Service employee driv- ing the vehicle admitted the trailer contained several wild horses gathered from the neighboring Ochoco National Forest that were to be released in the area, Moore said. “I just think this is wrong. You can’t be taking horses from one forest to another, that isn’t right,” he said. “We’ve got too many horses, and they’re not helping by bringing more horses from another forest to this forest.” Representatives of the Malheur National Forest said they’re coordinating with the Ochoco National Forest to understand why some horses were taken to the Murderers Creek allot- ment from the neighboring national forest and would soon issue a statement about the situation. Wild horses are a con- tentious subject in the Mal- heur National Forest, where ranchers say the animals trample stream banks to the detriment of federally pro- tected ﬁ sh, preventing cattle from being allowed to graze on affected allotments. The maximum “appro- priate management level” for the Murderers Creek herd management area is 140 wild horses, whereas the most recent estimate for the actual population is 339 horses. Loren Stout, a rancher who grazes cattle on the Murderers Creek allotment, said the actual population See Horses, Page A16 EO Media Group/Mateusz Perkowski A wild horse grazes near a gravel road in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest. The recent release of several wild horses in the national forest has stirred the ire of local ranchers who say it violates a legal settlement.