The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, July 24, 2019, Image 1

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Blue Mountain
Grant County’s newspaper since 1868
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
151st Year • No. 30 • 18 Pages • $1.00
Smith homicide case ‘very active’ a year after crime
Homicide investigation
By Richard Hanners
Blue Mountain Eagle
It’s been a year since Terry and
Sharon Smith went missing fol-
lowing a fire at their remote cabin
in the Laycock Creek Road area in
July 2018.
Terry Smith, 67, Sharon Smith,
65, and their silver gray 2006 Toy-
ota Tacoma pickup truck could
not be found when firefighters
arrived at the site on Nan’s Rock
Road in the early morning hours
of July 18.
Terry Smith
Sharon Smith
Friends and relatives of the
Smiths told investigators the cou-
ple were very social and wouldn’t
just disappear without telling
On Aug. 2, 2018, Grant County
Sheriff Glenn Palmer reported that
his office and the FBI had made
some contacts in the case and
conducted numerous interviews.
On Sept. 5, Palmer announced
that the investigation was being
treated as a homicide after human
remains were discovered in the
debris of the burned home.
A month and a half later,
Palmer announced two break-
throughs in the case. The Boise
Police Department had located
the missing pickup truck in Boise,
Idaho, and DNA testing of the
human remains found at the scene
were found to conclusively be
from Terry Smith.
In a July 18 press release mark-
ing the one-year anniversary of
the fire, Palmer noted that remains
from both Terry and Sharon Smith
have now been positively identi-
fied by using DNA comparisons
with relatives.
Palmer said the investigation
“is continuing and is very active.”
Evidence has been delivered to
the Oregon State Police Forensic
Service Unit and the Oregon State
Medical Examiner’s Office.
The sheriff’s office also has
been working with the Federal
Bureau of Investigation office in
Bend, the Oregon State Police and
local agencies outside Oregon,
Palmer said.
been returned to Oregon and
impounded and has been pro-
cessed as part of the crime scene.
See Investigation, Page A18
New forest
supervisor brings
new approach
Trulock had been in
acting role since 2018
By Richard Hanners
Blue Mountain Eagle
Craig Trulock is the new forest
supervisor for the Malheur National
Forest. Pacific Northwest Regional
Forester Glenn Casamassa announced
Trulock’s selection had been effective
since June 23.
Trulock, who last served as dep-
uty forest supervisor
on the Rogue-River
Forest for five years,
became the acting for-
est supervisor at the
Malheur National For-
est in November 2018.
Steve Beverlin, the Craig Trulock
former forest super-
visor on the Malheur
National Forest, accepted the position
of director of natural resources for the
Intermountain Region in Ogden, Utah,
in December 2018.
“Being a good neighbor and
improving forest conditions are top
priorities for the Malheur National
Forest and the entire USDA Forest
Service,” Casamassa said in a press
release. “Craig’s commitment to these
priorities will help strengthen and
advance the work occurring on the
Malheur National Forest and the many
benefits this work provides to the pub-
lic and communities we serve.”
Forest career
While he hasn’t been at the job
long enough to have developed
resource goals, Trulock told the Eagle
in an interview, his personal goals
reflect closer relations with local
“My goals are really to make sure
that we’re transparent, we’re commu-
nicating well and we’re relevant to our
local communities,” he said.
It’s easy for administrators of a
national forest to not pay close enough
volunteer firefighters
Can be dangerous but fulfilling
ABOVE: Left to right,
Andy Hutsell, from
the Prairie City Fire
Department, watches
as Peter Case, from
the Long Creek Fire
Department, uses a
power saw to open a
door during a training
By Richard Hanners
Blue Mountain Eagle
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series about the reduc-
tion of volunteers in Grant County and much of Rural
t’s a trend across the United States. Volunteerism is
on the decline, and it’s having an outsized impact on
small fire departments in rural and frontier areas.
The result is not just fewer members but also an
aging force at the same time training requirements are
becoming stricter, according to John Day firefighter Ron
About ten names are on the combined John Day city-ru-
ral fire department roster, Phillips said, but only three
responded to one call earlier this year — and those who did
See Forest, Page A18
LEFT: Smoke billows
above the spire of the
80-year-old Seventh-
day Adventist Church
on Main Street in John
Day as flames roar out
of the Miller Furniture
store in 1969.
See Firefighters, Page A13
Contributed photos
From mushrooms to pension reform:
Here’s what could be on your 2020 ballot
Advocates of dozens of causes are collecting signatures in
hopes of getting their issue in front of Oregon voters.
By Aubrey Wieber
and Claire Withycombe
Oregon Capital Bureau
Roughly 30 measures
are vying for a spot on your
ballot in 2020.
Some are measures that
state lawmakers voted to
refer to Oregonians. Others
have been proposed by citi-
zens to reconsider or amend
state laws.
Each, though, raises
a hot-button issue. They
range from taxes to tolling
on highways to psychedelic
The most publicized —
the referral of a business tax
to fund education — took a
likely fatal blow Tuesday
when key backers said they
were giving up the fight.
Oregon has three forms
of direct democracy: refer-
endums, referrals and initia-
tive petitions.
which allow citizens to
refer laws that the legisla-
ture has passed to the bal-
lot, supporters must submit
nearly 75,000 signatures in
which lawmakers vote to
approve for the ballot, don’t
need signatures. Referrals
are needed for lawmak-
ers to change the state’s
Citizens’ initiative peti-
tions, meantime, must raise
more than 100,000 signa-
tures, with the exact num-
ber depending on whether
the measure amends state
statutes or the constitution.
Backers of initiative
petitions have until July 2
of next year to submit the
required signatures.
Here are some of the
most notable measures you
could see on your ballot
next year:
Tobacco tax
What it does: Increases
the tax on a pack of ciga-
rettes by $2 per pack.
A tobacco tax increase
was one of Gov. Kate
Brown’s priorities going
into the session, and was
expected to haul in $100
million per year for the Ore-
gon Health Plan, which pro-
vides health care for low-in-
come Oregonians and other
qualifying groups. The
increase was proposed to
help fill the growing share
of public health care costs
that the state must cover
as the federal government
tapers its support.
However, Brown admit-
ted before the session even
started that it would be a
tough battle against tobacco
companies, and would
likely end up on the ballot.
That notion was solidified
early in the session when
House Speaker Tina Kotek,
D-Portland, told reporters
the proposed tax was low
on the priority list.
However, after sit-
ting inactive in commit-
tee for months, the bill was
amended and revived. The
See Ballot, Page A13