The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, February 19, 2020, Page 18, Image 18

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Blue Mountain Eagle
Continued from Page A1
Carnival constraints
At the beginning of Jan-
uary, Umatilla County Fair’s
longtime carnival provider,
Davis Amusement Cascadia,
announced it was closing.
CEO Michael J. Davis said
the cost of operating rides is
very high and the supply of
qualified, motivated employ-
ees to operate those rides is very
low — not to mention the cost
of insuring the rides.
With high fuel costs to trans-
port those rides in a big state
like Oregon with long dis-
tances in between county fairs,
it was extremely difficult for the
80-year-old family business to
turn a profit, Davis said.
“It was always, and still is, a
high-volume, low-return indus-
try, which means you can gen-
erate and touch a lot of revenue,
but you don’t get to keep a lot
of that revenue because your
expenses are really high,” Davis
Rural county fairs are small
in attendance as it is, which
makes it much more difficult to
turn a profit, he said.
The ripple effect of Davis
Amusement Cascadia’s closure
put not just Umatilla County
in a bind, but the eight other
county fairs as well as carnivals
shifted based on supply and
Fair dates in Oregon are
stacked on top of each other for
most of the short fair season,
requiring the small number of
carnival operators to split into
multiple units to cover every
week, Winegar said.
It is difficult to find replace-
ments because most of the car-
nival equipment is already
scheduled and booked for the
year, she said.
Davis said he fears this is the
beginning of the end for carni-
vals at smaller county fairs. He
thinks there will be fewer and
fewer smaller carnival provid-
ers at rural county fairs each
year until they are at a premium,
and at that point, they will just
go to urban county fairs with
larger audiences.
A part of America is dying
Continued from Page A1
expensive clash in November 2020.
The agreement — somewhere
between a handshake deal and legally
binding agreement — incorporates
three key pieces.
The first outlines that the two
sides will come together to create a
habitat conservation plan that rules
over 30 million acres of public and
private timberlands throughout the
state, protecting endangered species
and updating timber practices.
The second calls for all parties
to support legislation to protect for-
est watersheds by restricting aerial
spraying of pesticides and herbicides.
The bill also outlines implementation
of a state-of-the-art system to notify
neighbors of aerial spraying.
Lastly, it widens buffer zones for
streams within the Rogue-Siskiyou
region of southern Oregon. New leg-
islation also would expand stream
buffers along salmon, steelhead and
bull trout streams to bring forest prac-
tices into line with the rest of western
Oregon. The deal is predicated on the
idea that both sides agree on what is
the best science to use for decisions.
right before our eyes, he said,
much like the circus did a few
years ago.
“Everybody blamed the loss
of the elephant, but that wasn’t
it,” he said. “(The Ringling
Brothers) were facing the same
thing that (carnival providers)
were on a different scale.”
Fair market
With or without a carnival, it
is becoming harder and harder
to draw people to the county
“In the age of online shop-
ping and digital convenience,
fairs are challenged with draw-
ing patrons out from behind
their devices, in their air-con-
ditioned environments and
through our gates,” said Angie
McNalley, general manager of
Umatilla County Fairgrounds.
“You’re not going to get that
carnival experience online.”
The loss of a carnival also
affects parents who attend, she
“For parents, the carnival
occupies the kids, and without
it, kids are going to get bored,”
McNalley said. “Kids aren’t
Agreeing to the deal were Hamp-
ton Lumber, Weyerhaueser, Rose-
burg Forest Products, Seneca Sawmill
Company, Hancock Natural Resource
Group, Stimson Lumber, Greenwood
Resources, Campbell Global, Pope
Resources, Port Blakely and the Ore-
gon Small Woodlands Association.
In the environmental camp, Ore-
gon Wild, Wild Salmon Center, Ore-
gon Stream Protection Coalition,
Beyond Toxics, Audubon Society
of Portland, Cascadia Wildlands,
Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Cen-
ter, Pacific Coast Federation of Fish-
ermen’s Associations, Trout Unlim-
ited, Northwest Guides and Anglers
Association and the Oregon League
of Conservation voters all signed.
According to Casey Roscoe, vice
president for public affairs for Sen-
eca, this agreement is a step to see if
there’s a shared vision between the
two sides for the future of forest prac-
tices, which accounts for sustainabil-
ity and Oregon’s ecosystem. She’s
cautiously optimistic that this deal
represents a fresh start for both sides.
“That vision is of healthy trees. It’s
of thriving wildlife. It’s of cool, clean
water and world class recreation. It’s
of renewable building materials and
other wood products,” Roscoe said.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
looking to buy jewelry and look
at exhibits.”
While the fair brings school-
age kids in 4-H and FFA who
show animals, the goal is to
attract others who may not be
showing animals, and the loss
of a carnival makes that next to
impossible, McNalley said.
Gate revenues at the Grant
County Fair were down by
more than $1,000 last year with-
out a carnival compared to pre-
vious years, according to bud-
get documents, without even
counting the loss of a share of
the carnival revenue.
Fairs across the state scrape
by, receiving just $53,000 annu-
ally in dedicated public funding
from state lottery dollars, Win-
egar said.
It costs upwards of $100,000
to operate a fair each year, she
said, without even address-
ing structural and maintenance
costs at the fairgrounds.
Winegar said, although the
fair also lowered the ticket price
last year for children 10 and
younger to make the fair more
affordable, the loss of the carni-
val impacted attendance.
“That is our vision. What we’re hop-
ing is perhaps that can be their vision
too, and if that’s true, if we do have,
in fact, shared vision, then maybe we
can come to the table and talk about
how to make that happen and work
toward it, because we’re all on the
same planet.”
Bob Rees, executive director of
the Northwest Guides and Anglers
Association, said the deal shows
good faith by the timber industry to
hear out conservationists.
“The pesticide application on
these lands and waterways is of
course of great concern to us, the
real punch in the MOU is if the tim-
ber interests agreed to formulate this
habitat conservation plan that’s on the
table,” Rees said. “It’s a good thing,
and the science is already developed,
but we haven’t implemented these
practices on state or private lands.”
Rees recalled when he started as
a professional fishing guide in 1996
and fishermen were allowed to catch
five of the six species of salmonids
in the rivers of Oregon’s north coast.
Over time, with warming tempera-
tures and rising levels of dissolved
oxygen, the list of endangered spe-
cies slowly grew and depleted runs
of every type of salmon, crippling the
And even though Grant
County will have alternate
entertainment such as obsta-
cle courses, bouncy houses and
ax-throwing this year, she said it
can’t replace the carnival.
The future
In the legislative short ses-
sion this year, OFA planned to
request an additional $25,000 in
operating funds for each county
fairgrounds statewide, Winegar
OFA President Bart Noll
said that is a modest amount
when factoring in for inflation.
Noll said OFA is also
requesting funding for a
$250,000 study to determine
maintenance and structural
work that needs to be done at
county fairgrounds statewide.
“So far, we’re getting posi-
tive signals and we’re stepping
up to the front of the line, and
that is something we have not
done in the past,” he said.
In urban areas, fairs are an
essential part of the community,
but in rural areas they are the
focus, Noll said.
The ag foundation is stron-
state’s fishing industry.
“If the negotiations are success-
ful, it really shows an effort by private
landowners to recognize the value of
other natural resources other than tim-
ber that their lands harbor,” Rees said.
Jim James, executive director of
the Oregon Small Woodlands Asso-
ciation, is one of the sponsors of
the three initiatives from the timber
industry that will be set aside now.
“The real benefit is that we’re get-
ting the opportunity to sit down and
talk with each other to find a compro-
mise,” James said.
But not everyone is feeling as
hopeful as those directly involved in
the deal.
Republicans in the Legislature crit-
icize the deal for putting them in a less
stable position around the discussion
of Oregon’s proposed greenhouse gas
reduction bill, Senate Bill 1530.
On Thursday, Senate Republi-
can Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr.,
R-Grants Pass, went on the “Lars Lar-
son Show” to denounce the deal, say-
ing it made his life more complicated.
“What they basically said is, if you
want your timber industry’s pesticide
bill to pass, you’re going to have to
stick around for cap-and-trade, and we
simply can’t do that,” Baertschiger told
ger in rural areas too, especially
for youth, Baker County Fair-
grounds Manager Angie Turner
“(The fair’s ag tradition)
is so good for the kids, to start
something and see it through
all year,” she said. “They raise
those animals all year long and
show them every year at the
Baker County didn’t lose its
carnival in the recent shakeup.
Turner said, except for 2018,
the county has done without a
carnival for the last 10 years,
and the fair has been able to
handle the financial impact to
continue providing opportuni-
ties for kids.
With or without carnivals,
fairs will always be around
because the ag-based tradition
of a rural county fair cannot
be replaced with anything else,
Winegar said.
“When I was growing up,
(the fair) was always just the
place you wanted to be — your
friends, your family, everybody
was there,” she said. “It is, and
always has been, the event of
the year in Grant County.”
Larson. “The timber industry didn’t
do us any favor. I don’t know who is
advising them politically, but I’d give
them their walking papers.”
That would be Greg Miller, who
said the deal is a shared recognition
between the timber industry and con-
servation groups of the diverse bene-
fits Oregon’s forests provide and the
need for more meaningful efforts on
forest issues.
Baertschiger has characterized
the deal as big corporate timber sell-
ing out to Oregon’s Democratic
supermajority and hurting the state’s
smaller timber interests.
James, representing woodland
owners, feels otherwise.
“My perception is that, if we can
get to the compromise and stop the
wars, it would be beneficial to every
forest landowner in Oregon,” he said.
“Oftentimes folks try to separate the
family landowner from the forest
products industry, but there’s a real-
ity that family woodland owners need
a strong forest products industry so
when they harvest, they have value.”
The next step in moving toward
final solidification of this deal is pass-
ing new laws on aerial spraying of pes-
ticides. According to Miller, that bill is
currently in the drafting stage.
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