Blue Mountain Eagle | http://www.bluemountaineagle.com Blue Mountain Eagle Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:09:44 -0400 en http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Blue Mountain Eagle | http://www.bluemountaineagle.com Open house focuses on prescribed burning http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150428/open-house-focuses-on-prescribed-burning http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150428/open-house-focuses-on-prescribed-burning#Comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:47:01 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429924 JOHN DAY – The Malheur National Forest will hold an informational open house about its prescribed fire program on Wednesday, May 13.

The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Supervisor’s Office, 431 Patterson Bridge Road.

As part of the Malheur’s hazardous fuels reduction program, districts are conducting spring landscape prescribed burning in various areas.

Fire management staff encourage anyone interested in the program to attend. There will be an opportunity for questions and information will be available on all aspects, including the burn locations, methods, and reasons for using prescribed burns.

Prescribed burns are designed to both reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, as well as to restore overall health of the national forest system lands. They are an integral part of land management across the Malheur Forest, and each burn represents many hours of planning and preparation. Specific weather and vegetative conditions must be in place in order to conduct these burns.

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Market meeting on tap http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150428/market-meeting-on-tap http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150428/market-meeting-on-tap#Comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:46:55 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429925 JOHN DAY – An introductory meeting to kick off the 2015 John Day Farmers Market season will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 14, in the Forest Room at the Outpost Restaurant in John Day.

Current vendors can sign up for booths, and prospective vendors can get information.

The rate is again $50 for the season, or $5 per Saturday that you plan to attend.

This is the sixth year for the Market, which provides a Saturday outlet to purchase local produce and crafts.

Those who can’t attend the meeting can call to reserve a spot, and make a payment by mail.

For more information, call Jim and Sandy Bay at 541-932-2725 or 415-748-8697.

Visit the John Day Farmers Market on Facebook.

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Local DAR chapter to meet http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150428/local-dar-chapter-to-meet http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150428/local-dar-chapter-to-meet#Comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:46:43 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429926 BAKER CITY – The Lone Pine Tree chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will meet Friday, May 8, at Sunridge Restaurant in Baker City.

Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by the meeting at noon.

Carol Guthrie will present a program on war, and Nancy Wilson will speak on prom dates and nostalgia.

Anyone interested in genealogy is welcome to attend.

Call 541-523-4248 or 541-446-3385.

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County payments return to rural counties http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/State_National/20150428/county-payments-return-to-rural-counties http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/State_National/20150428/county-payments-return-to-rural-counties#Comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:38:07 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429927 Washington, D.C. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that $285 million will go to rural counties in 41 states thanks to the two-year renewal of the Secure Rural Schools funding.

The funding announcement follows the Senate’s passage of the extension.

“I’m grateful for the Congressional action to reauthorize this Act and understand how important these funds have become to the communities that receive them,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The payments may be used to support public schools and public roads, for projects to help maintain and improve the health of forests; and for county projects including Firewise Communities programs, reimbursements for emergency services on national forests, and development of community wildfire protection plans.

In Oregon, rural communities will receive about $60.8 million this year in funding for roads and schools, according to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an architect of the program and the extension.

“Renewing county payments for two years provides the time rural Oregon deserves to fund immediate education and safety needs and that Congress needs to build support for longer-term economic solutions that help rural America,” Wyden said.

Wyden co-wrote the original SRS program in 2000 with then-Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. Since the start, it has brought almost $3 billion to rural Oregon counties.

The funding announced Monday is from the U.S. Forest Service, with additional funds to be announced in the future from the Bureau of Land Management.

The county-by-county breakdown shows some $4.3 million headed to Grant County, which has some 1.6 million acres of land within four national forests.

Wyden said he also is continuing to work on his O&C forestry legislation, which gained bipartisan support last year and would have increased the harvest for 50 years, according to federal land management agencies.

“The safety net of SRS working in tandem with my legislation to get the harvest up marks the kind of comprehensive long-term economic solution that can and should earn bipartisan support,” Wyden said.

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What’s Happening http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150428/whats-happening http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150428/whats-happening#Comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 08:51:37 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429928 The deadline for What’s Happening items is 5 p.m. Friday. Call Cheryl at the Eagle, 541-575-0710.

• 10 a.m., Grant County Fairgrounds, John Day

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative will hold its annual meeting of members in Trowbridge Pavilion. Registration of members starts at 10 a.m., followed by the business meeting at 11 a.m. and the luncheon at 12:30 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to vote for three board members and conduct other business as needed. OTEC members may vote by mail or at the meeting. This year’s ballots include a chance to win a 50-inch flat screen TV.

•4:30 or 6 p.m., Monument Senior Center

The annual dinner honors Monument EMTs, and features prime rib on the menu, prepared by “Chef” Ed Anderson. Donations of pies are requested. A silent auction will be held again this year, with a variety of prizes up for bids. Reservations are required for two seating times: 4:30-5:30 p.m. or 6-7 p.m. Tickets are $20 a person, $30 for couples, and $7.50 for children 6-12.

• 7 p.m., Diamond Hitch Mule Ranch, Kimberly

Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist Mia Dyson will perform her style of blues tunes at the Diamond Hitch Mule Ranch. Dyson has appeared with such artists as Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Chris Isaak, Stevie Nicks, Joe Cocker and the John Butler Trio, and has accumulated a string of awards and nominations. General admission at the gate is $20 a person; camping is $15. A pork street taco dinner will be offered from 5-7 p.m. by the Monument School FFA; the cost is $7 a person. The ranch is on State Route 19 between mileposts 107 and 108, about two miles south of Kimberly. Call 541-934-2140 for more information.

• 5 p.m., Austin House

The Mad Hatters of Grant County will meet at the Austin House at Austin Junction. Note the date change from the group’s usual fourth Tuesday meeting. Any interested ladies are welcome to attend and bring a friend. Call 541-820-3597 for more information.

• 5:30-7 p.m., Grant Union High School, John Day

Sign-ups will be in the Grant Union Junior-Senior High School library. For more information, call Erin Hodge, 541-805-8996.

• 6:30 p.m., John Day Senior Center

All are invited to the annual Grant County YoungLife/WyldLife banquet which will include dinner, dessert dash, great fellowship and speakers who will talk about Grant County YoungLife and WyldLife. Attire is casual. Dinner tickets are $15 each. For tickets, call Marissa Williams at 541-620-1404 or email marissa@bmeagle.com. All proceeds support Grant County YoungLife/WyldLife and sending kids to camp this summer.

• 6-8 p.m., Prairie City School old gym

The annual art show features an array of artwork by students in all grades.

• 6 p.m., John Day Elks Lodge

Sandy Bupp will teach how to make gluten-free finger foods for your next party. This will be the final regular monthly gluten-free meeting.

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Student art http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20150428/student-art http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20150428/student-art#Comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 08:39:29 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429929

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Joint committee proposes new medical pot restrictions http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150427/joint-committee-proposes-new-medical-pot-restrictions http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150427/joint-committee-proposes-new-medical-pot-restrictions#Comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 20:34:28 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429930 SALEM — Oregon lawmakers unveiled a proposal Monday for new regulations on medical marijuana that would for the first time cap the size of pot gardens and require growers, processors and stores to track the product.

The goal is to reduce the amount of pot diverted from medical grows in Oregon to the black market, as the state prepares for the start of legal recreational cannabis July 1. Adults age 21 and older can possess four plants and up to 8 ounces of usable pot starting this summer.

Lawmakers have floated similar ideas for medical pot publicly in recent months, but the latest version nonetheless prompted an outcry from medical pot supporters who flooded legislators’ offices with calls and emails Monday.

“I had 350 emails come into my office today, and 60 phone calls suggesting tweaks,” said Rep. Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass, during a work session of the Joint Committee On Implementing Measure 91. The committee is working to implement Oregon’s new legal recreational pot system.

Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, a co-chair of the committee, said she plans to hold a vote on the amendment Wednesday evening.

“We are running out of time,” Burdick said. “The job we were actually hired to do, which is implementing (Measure) 91, has not begun yet.”

The medical marijuana program changes are in an amendment to a bill to set up the recreational pot licensing system. Under the amendment, growers at sites registered with the Oregon medical marijuana program after Jan. 1, 2015 would face limits of 12 plants in residential zones inside cities, and 48 plants per garden in other areas.

The amendment would grandfather in higher limits for grow sites already registered in the Oregon medical marijuana program on Jan. 1, 2015. It would cap the size of these gardens at 24 plants in city residential zones and 96 plants at all other areas, both rural and urban. That is double the number of plants that would have been allowed at medical grows under the most generous bill lawmakers had previously considered, which would have allowed pot gardens with up to 48 plants outside city limits.

The amendment would also require all medical marijuana growers, processors and dispensary owners to be Oregon residents, although the requirement would be stricter — four years of residency, as of March 1, 2016 — for people registered with the medical program after Jan. 1, 2015.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, said after the hearing that he lobbied against parts of the medical marijuana amendment Monday, but had little success. He did not expect lawmakers would make changes to the program this soon after the passage of legal recreational pot.

“To me, the patients come first,” Johnson said.

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said lawmakers are also looking out for patients in the medical pot program.

“I can tell you flat out there’s not a single person on this panel that wants to take medicine away from patients,” Buckley said.w allows each grower to serve four patients, multiple growers often share grow sites. Growers can sell excess marijuana to dispensaries, and state lawmakers have said they also want to address reports from law enforcement that growers are diverting medical pot to the black market.

The committee is scheduled to meet for another work session on the legislation at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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Lane County commissioner considers run for governor http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150427/lane-county-commissioner-considers-run-for-governor http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150427/lane-county-commissioner-considers-run-for-governor#Comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:53:07 -0400 PETER WONGCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429931 SALEM — Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken said Monday he is considering a bid for the Republican nomination for governor next year.

Democrat Kate Brown, who as secretary of state succeeded John Kitzhaber upon his resignation Feb. 18, faces an election in 2016 for the remaining two years in Kitzhaber’s term.

Democrats have held the governorship for 30 years, the longest stretch by Democrats or Republicans in state history.

Leiken, who is in his second term as a commissioner, said he is in an exploratory stage as he changed his campaign committee name to Sid Leiken for Governor.

“I will spend the next several weeks going around the state to meet Oregonians where they live, and talk about their vision for Oregon’s future,” Leiken said in a statement.

He becomes the third Republican to consider entering the race.

Dr. William “Bud” Pierce, a physician from Salem and a former president of the Oregon Medical Association, has announced.

Businessman Allen Alley of Lake Oswego — a former state GOP chairman, a 2010 candidate for governor and the party’s 2008 nominee for state treasurer — is considering a bid.

Kitzhaber resigned amid influence-peddling and conflict-of-interest allegations against him and companion Cylvia Hayes. A federal investigation is underway; neither has been charged.

Leiken was on the Springfield City Council two years before he became mayor in 2000, and served 10 years. Among the achievements he mentions are the call center for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, relocation of Peace Health into the center of town, and new jobs at Symantec.

He launched a bid for the 4th District congressional seat in 2009, but dropped it after a question arose about documentation of a $2,000 campaign payment to his mother, ostensibly for polling services. He later returned the money to his campaign account.

He won a seat on the five-member Lane County board in 2010.

Leiken is the grandson of Sid Leiken, a timber company owner in Roseburg who was a Democratic state representative from 1961 to 1969.

Leiken has a wife, Debbie, and two sons, Zach, 22, and Gabe, 20.

He has enlisted political consultant Chuck Adams, who has worked in a number of Republican campaigns.

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Spring on the mountain http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Outdoors/20150427/spring-on-the-mountain http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Outdoors/20150427/spring-on-the-mountain#Comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:07:12 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429932

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Nugget Lanes closing http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Business/20150427/nugget-lanes-closing http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Business/20150427/nugget-lanes-closing#Comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:36:34 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429933 JOHN DAY – The last day open for Nugget Lanes in John Day is Thursday, April 30.

The bowling center will be open noon-5 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, and 1-8 p.m. Thursday, April 30.

Thursday evening is also Monte Carlo night starting at 6 p.m. The cost is $13 a person for three games, open to anyone 18 and older. Prizes will be doubled that night.

All patrons who have locker rentals should pick up their items by that date, or email nuggetlanes@gmail.com to make other arrangements.

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Power needs of pot industry raise issues with Energy Dept., utilities http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150426/power-needs-of-pot-industry-raise-issues-with-energy-dept-utilities http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150426/power-needs-of-pot-industry-raise-issues-with-energy-dept-utilities#Comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 17:23:19 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429934 SALEM — As Oregon prepares for legal marijuana July 1, the state’s energy agency is looking for ways to curb electricity use by indoor pot growers.

Indoor marijuana gardens are well-known power hogs, but Oregon faces a dilemma as it researches how to extend its energy efficiency programs to the cannabis industry: federal money that typically helps pay for efficiency projects cannot be used for any activities that involve pot.

“We don’t have answers to that yet, which is why we’re looking at it so carefully,” said Rachel Wray, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Energy. “It is an emerging energy issue and we pay attention to those.”

Power-hungry grow lights and ventilation systems are not just an environmental issue.

Small, consumer-owned utilities across Oregon purchase electricity from the Bonneville Power Administration on a tiered system, which allows smaller utilities to purchase power at lower rates. Those rates could attract indoor growers, but the increased demand for electricity might drive up rates for all utility customers.

That prompted Ashland City Manger Dave Kanner to call for the state to adopt energy efficiency standards for indoor agriculture.

The Oregon Department of Energy tasked Diana Enright, program and policy adviser to agency director Michael Kaplan, with working on the intersection of pot and power.

Wray said cannabis remains “a small part of (Enright’s) policy portfolio,” but Enright attended a conference in December on energy demand from the marijuana industry. She is also following efforts to address the issue in two other states with legal recreational pot, Colorado and Washington.

In Colorado, Boulder County enacted a cannabis carbon tax, Enright said. Oregon state government is not currently considering anything similar.

On July 1, adults aged 21 and older can posses up to four marijuana plants. Growing those four plants indoors with lighting, climate control, ventilation and equipment to boost carbon dioxide to improve plant growth typically uses as much electricity as running 29 new refrigerators, according to one report by a California scientist. It is also equivalent to the total energy used by an average U.S. home.

“So you can start to see where the energy consumption is huge,” Enright said.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council estimated in September that energy demand from pot growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana will nearly double over the next 20 years.

The anticipated increase in energy demand from legal recreational marijuana also caught the attention of investor and consumer-owned utilities. At a hearing in February, Portland General Electric government affairs analyst Brendan McCarthy told lawmakers on the committee working to implement legal pot that 85 percent of residential transformer problems it handles are caused by indoor marijuana grows.

McCarthy said there is currently a shortage of information about energy demand from pot grows. Utilities want the information so they can deliver the power cannabis growers need and plan for energy efficiency measures. McCarthy said utilities also need that information so they can keep employees and customers safe.

“It doesn’t help us for someone to say, ‘We’re gonna start a pottery business and we’re gonna have a lot of kilns running,’” McCarthy said. “We’ve heard that.”

Power-hungry pot gardens can rival the energy intensity of data centers, with lights as intense as in operating rooms and air circulating at 60-times the rate of ventilation in a modern home.

The increase in energy usage that accompanies growth of the marijuana industry has been documented when states legalized medical pot.

After California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, per capita residential electricity usage increased by 50 percent in Humboldt County, according to research by Evan Mills, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, published in the journal Energy Policy in 2012.

Enright said Mills’ research is still the “most definitive work” on energy consumption by pot growers.

Mills estimated at the time that indoor cannabis cultivation and transport of the product was responsible for 1 percent of national energy consumption or $6 billion each year. The study also looked into the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from pot gardens.

“One average kilogram of final product is associated with 4,600 kg of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, or that of 3 million average U.S. cars when aggregated across all national production,” Mills wrote.

Criminalization of marijuana was only part of the reason growers favored indoor gardens; the environmental control has also allowed them to increase yields and control pests and other issues. Mills wrote that indoor marijuana growers could reduce the energy intensity of their operations by as much as 75 percent, if they adopt commercially available technologies such as those used by indoor agricultural greenhouse operators.

This story first appeared in the Oregon Capital Insider newsletter. To subscribe, go to oregoncapitalinsider.com

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Oregon Cultural Trust anticipates record grant making http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150426/oregon-cultural-trust-anticipates-record-grant-making http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150426/oregon-cultural-trust-anticipates-record-grant-making#Comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 17:14:08 -0400 steve forresterCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429935 Nineteen months after the blood-letting at the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust, new initiatives are apparent, and the Trust anticipates a record high in grant making.

The OAC is a low-budget, high impact agency. The Trust – created by statute in 2001 – was an offshoot of the Arts Commission. No other state has an arts and culture funding program like the Oregon Cultural Trust, whose revenue comes from tax credits and custom license plates and whose giving is spread across the state.

Last December’s drama within the two organizations concluded with the firing of Chris D’Arcy, the OAC executive director of 19 years. Two commissioners resigned in protest – the renowned artist Royal Nebeker of Gearhart and Henry Sayre of Oregon State University.

D’Arcy’s replacement, Brian Rogers, was a Pennsylvania arts administrator.

Under Rogers’ aegis the OAC has held 14 listening sessions around Oregon. He has the commission on what he calls “a fast and aggressive time line” to produce a strategic plan that will be out in June. The Arts Commission has also rolled four grant programs into two: Arts Tourism and Arts Build Communities are now one grant concept, and Capacity and Operating Support are now one concept. Operating support grants now will be made on a two-year cycle, instead of asking an organization to apply every year. The commission’s membership has also become noticeably more culturally and racially diverse.

Governors are critical to the direction of arts and culture in state policy. John Kitzhaber signed the statute creating the Cultural Trust. Ted Kulonogoski’s wife Mary Oberst, was especially supportive of arts and culture. Gov. Kate Brown inherits Kitzhaber’s budget, which makes no increase in funding for the OAC. In a statement to Oregon Capital Insider, Brown reasserts her support for arts and culture and her appreciation for what they do for the economy. Kendall Clawson is Gov. Brown’s liaison to the OAC and Cultural Trust.

During a period of budget distress, the Cultural Trust became target. Eight years after creating the Trust, the Legislature swept $1.8 million from the Trust’s principal. That theft still rankles state Sen. Betsy Johnson who says: “Had I not been a legislator, I would have sued over violation of donative intent.” Johnson adds: “We have a moral obligation to give it back to the Trust.”

Johnson said that bills in the Legislature would give the Trust “more administrative flexibility.”

The Trust’s corpus stands at $25 million. ODOT has issued 124,757 Cultural Trust license plates.

Giving to the trust has grown by 4 percent over the past few years (last year $4.3 million). As a result, the Trust board will increase its giving by 4 percent over the $1.8 million it gave last year.

This story first appeared in the Oregon Capital Insider newsletter. To subscribe, go to oregoncapitalinsider.com

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Oregon commission to begin process that may delist wolves http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150424/oregon-commission-to-begin-process-that-may-delist-wolves http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150424/oregon-commission-to-begin-process-that-may-delist-wolves#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:37:24 -0400 Eric MortensonCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429936 BEND, Ore. — Encouraged by a sharp jump in wolf population counts and breeding pairs, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday voted to begin the process that could remove gray wolves from the state endangered species list.

It won’t be a fast process. The commission unanimously asked ODFW staff to return, perhaps in August or September, with information on delisting wolves in the eastern part of the state, the entire state, or not at all.

Commission members heard nearly four hours of testimony Friday, much of it from people who believe wolves still need full protection under the state Endangered Species Act.

Commission members said the Oregon Wolf Plan continues to guide management of wolves in the meantime.

Oregon’s wolf population grew from 14 in 2009 to a minimum of 77 at the end of 2014. The report estimates Oregon could have 100 to 150 wolves in one to three years. Program coordinator Russ Morgan said the state probably has 90 to 100 wolves now; 77 is the number that have been documented.

“The numbers look really strong,” Commissioner Holly Akenson said.

There is room for wolves to disperse; they occupy only about 12 percent of their potential range in Oregon.

“This is a success story,” Morgan said.

Many of those who testified oppose delisting. Several called for an independent scientific review of ODFW’s study.

Rob Klavins, Northeast field coordinator with the conservation group Oregon Wild, said delisting is premature.

“The idea that 77 animals of any kind represents recovery doesn’t pass the laugh test,” Klavins said.

Klavins said wolf recovery is a core value among many Oregonians, but anecdotes from “people wearing cowboy hats” are taken seriously while the concerns of “Prius drivers” are dismissed.

Investigators confirm wolves killed 76 sheep, 36 cattle and two goats from 2009 through 2014. Ranchers believe wolves are responsible for many more livestock deaths. They say grazing cattle often simply disappear.

No wolves have been killed while attacking or chasing livestock in Oregon. ODFW killed four for chronic depredation on livestock. Five were illegally shot since 2000; one died when hit by a vehicle.

Amaroq Weiss, West Coast representative for the Center for Biological Diversity, said there is “simply no science anywhere on earth” that would support delisting such a small population.

A disease outbreak could “bring the state’s population to its knees,” Weiss said.

Wally Sykes, who serves on Wallowa County’s wolf compensation panel, said 77 wolves is far too few to provide genetic diversity.

Suzanne Stone of Boise, Northwest representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said ODFW’s field staff has earned the public’s trust, but said delisting is not warranted.

Others disagreed. Dave Wiley, representing the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, urged commission members to follow the plan adopted in 2005, which calls for delisting when four breeding pairs survive for three years running. The latest count said the state has more. Jenny Dresler, with the Oregon Farm Bureau, made the same point.

“We lived up to our promise,” said rancher Todd Nash, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. “We wholly expect the agency and this committee to live up to theirs.”

“Life has been hell for us,” Northeast Oregon rancher Eric Porter said. He said someone has to be with his cattle at all times in the last two weeks before they are shipped. Weight loss caused by wolf stress can cost him thousands of dollars, he said.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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It’s a jungle in there! http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20150424/its-a-jungle-in-there http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20150424/its-a-jungle-in-there#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:51:48 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429937

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Fossil Beds – more than just a pretty place http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150424/fossil-beds-x2013-more-than-just-a-pretty-place http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150424/fossil-beds-x2013-more-than-just-a-pretty-place#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:04:07 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429938 KIMBERLY – A new National Park Service report shows that tourism at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument supports jobs and pumps dollars into the local economy.

The report said 183,420 visitors to the Fossil Beds in 2014 spent $8,374,100 in communities near the park. That spending supported 131 jobs in the local area, with an estimated cumulative benefit to the local economy of $9.8 million.

“John Day Fossil Beds welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Shelley Hall. “We are delighted to share the story of paleontology and science in action.”

Hall also noted the ripple effects as the park introduces its visitors to Eastern Oregon.

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well,” she said. “We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The Fossil Beds got a boost last year when Travel Oregon touted the Painted Hills Unit as one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon in a major marketing campaign.

Visits to the Painted Hills in 2014 increased by about 50 percent over 2013.

The 7 Wonders campaign was so successful in promoting visitation and associated economic benefits that tourism officials have extended for 2015.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.

The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally, including 235,600 jobs in so-called gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was estimated at $29.7 billion.

According to the report, more than 30 percent of the park visitor spending was for lodging, followed by 20 percent for food and beverages, nearly 12 percent for gas and oil, 10 percent for admissions and fees, and 9 percent for souvenirs and other expenses.

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Fund set up for ill local man http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150424/fund-set-up-for-ill-local-man http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150424/fund-set-up-for-ill-local-man#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:34:17 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429939 A fund has been set up at Old West Federal Credit Union to help with medical costs for a Grant County man.

Thomas Pfeifer, formerly of Prairie City, underwent surgery for colon cancer in early April, and has undergone several surgeries since due to complications from the cancer.

He is currently undergoing treatment at Oregon Health and Science University.

Donations may be made to Pfeifer, in care of Mary Jo Talbott, at any Old West branch.

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Allie Nicole Ensign http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Celebrations/20150424/allie-nicole-ensign http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Celebrations/20150424/allie-nicole-ensign#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:34:12 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429940 Jacob and Kelly Ensign of Medford announce the birth of their daughter, Allie Nicole Ensign, on Feb. 5 in Medford. She weighed 7 pounds, 11-1/2 ounces, and was 20-1/4 inches long. She joins sister, Katelynn, 21 months.

Grandparents are Craig and Jan Ensign of Long Creek, Wes and Terri Aasness of Mt. Vernon, and Ken and Denise Hansen of Rogue River. Great-grandparents are John and Diane Aasness of John Day.

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NEOHA board to meet http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150424/neoha-board-to-meet http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150424/neoha-board-to-meet#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:32:57 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429941 LA GRANDE – The annual meeting of the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority Board of Commissioners will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the May Park Community Room, 2608 May Lane in La Grande.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

The meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for interpreters for the hearing impaired or for other accommodations should be made 48 hours in advance by calling 541-963-5360, ext. 21.

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On the road with ODOT in Eastern Oregon http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150424/on-the-road-with-odot-in-eastern-oregon http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150424/on-the-road-with-odot-in-eastern-oregon#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:43:56 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429942 LA GRANDE – Travelers can expect to see orange traffic cones and construction workers throughout Eastern Oregon as about 30 Oregon Department of Transportation projects get underway for the summer.

A half-dozen road and bridge projects have already begun.

ODOT is reminding motorists to slow down, pay extra attention and be prepared for flaggers and traffic pattern changes when they see the cones and construction signs.

Distracted or inattentive driving and speed are primary causes of crashes. In addition, traffic fines double in all work zones, regardless of the presence of construction workers.

The list of projects include several affecting people driving into and out of Grant County. Among them:

• U.S. 395 (Pendleton-John Day Highway) – Pavement grind/inlay from Bully Creek Road to Meadowbrook Summit, MP 66.61-71.11(B). Lane closures, reduced speeds, flaggers, pilot cars, up to 20 minute delays. Work expected to start sometime this summer and be done by November.

• OR 19 (John Day Highway) – Pavement chip seal between Fossil and OR 207 (3 miles east of Spray), MP 59.6-95.4. Lane closures, reduced speeds, day/nighttime flaggers, pilot cars, loose rock on the roadway, delays up to 20 minutes. Work expected to start early June and take about two weeks.

• OR 7 (Whitney Highway) – Pavement chip seal between UPRR undercrossing in Baker City and OR 245 at Salisbury Junction, MP 41.8-50.5. Lane closures, reduced speeds, day/nighttime flaggers, pilot cars, loose rock on the roadway, delays up to 20 minutes. Work expected to start mid-June and take about a week; completion in July.

• U.S. 20 (Central Oregon Highway) - Upgrade several traffic signals in Burns, plus Broadway/Monroe intersection, MP 131.5-130.25. Lane closures, flaggers, detour for trucks, minor delays. Work expected to start spring/summer timeframe, with completion by November.

• U.S. 26 (John Day Highway) – Pavement crack seal between OR19 junction and Mt. Vernon, MP 125.45-154.03. Lane closures, flaggers, up to 20 minute delays. Work expected to start summer/fall, with completion in October.

• U.S. 26 (John Day Highway) – Shoulder paving between OR19 junction and Mt. Vernon, MP 125.45-150. Lane closures, flaggers, up to 20 minute delays. Work expected to start mid-May and take about three weeks.

• U.S. 26 (John Day Highway) – Pavement crack seal between junction of OR 7 and Jameison, MP 190.5-261.6. Lane closures, flaggers, up to 20 minute delays. Work will be done in stages over the summer and fall.

• U.S. 395 (John Day - Burns Highway) – Sign upgrades between John Day and Burns, MP 0.0-67(C). Lane closures, reduced speeds, flaggers, minor delays. Work expected to start this summer and be done by November.

For more information

For updated traffic condition information, visit TripCheck.com. Road condition information is also available by phone by dialing 5-1-1, or 800-977-6368. Outside of Oregon, travelers can call 503-588-2941.

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Gang getting ready for ’62 Days http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/free/20150424/gang-getting-ready-for-62-days http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/free/20150424/gang-getting-ready-for-62-days#Comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:09:30 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429943 CANYON CITY – The theme for this year’s ’62 Days is Gold Dust or Bust, and organizers selected Del and Mary Raymond of Prairie City to be the grand marshals.

The Whiskey Gulch Gang puts on the festivities on the first weekend of each June.

Planning for this year’s celebration is underway, with meetings at 7 p.m. every Friday at F.C. Sels Brewery in Canyon City.

Any individuals and organizations interested in participating as a vendor or in other ways are invited to attend.

For more information, contact Hugh Farrell, 541-575-0329.

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Extended background check bill advances to House http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/extended-background-check-bill-advances-to-house http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/extended-background-check-bill-advances-to-house#Comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 17:23:53 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429944 SALEM — Senate Bill 941, a measure to extend firearm background checks to cover nearly all gun sales, passed out of the House Committee on Rules on a party line vote Thursday, and it will move next to the House floor.

The bill would require private sellers and purchasers to appear in person at a gun dealer, who would run the background check. Gun transfers between family members would be exempt. If the bill clears the Oregon House, its next stop will be the desk of Gov. Kate Brown has expressed support for the legislation.

The measure already passed the Oregon Senate.

Meanwhile, Oregon is nearly a year into a quiet policy change that increased the consequences for people who illegally attempt to purchase guns in the state. That policy got its start last summer, when Senate Minority Leader Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, asked the Oregon State Police what happened when someone attempted to buy a gun and failed the background check.

It is a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon for someone prohibited from purchasing a firearm to do attempt to purchase one.

Ferrioli learned the Oregon State Police had not been investigating people who failed the background checks, which the state already requires at gun shows and licensed dealers. The police were relying on a legal opinion that to investigate people who failed the inquiries would violate their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

“I said, that doesn’t make sense to me,” Ferrioli said in an interview this week. He asked a lawyer for the state Legislature to weigh in, and that attorney issued an opinion that it is legal for Oregon to investigate people who fail the background checks.

Then-Gov. John Kitzhaber directed the state police to begin investigating the occurrences.

The state now has nearly a year of data on the investigations. Since the policy took effect June 17, the state police completed 188,714 background checks and less than 1 percent resulted in investigations.

Of the 1,626 attempted purchases police investigated, 4 percent failed a background check for mental health reasons, 12 percent because they were wanted in connection to an alleged crime and roughly 10 percent were prohibited from purchasing the firearm because it had been reported as stolen, according to an EO Media Group/Pamplin Media Group Capital Bureau analysis of data from the Oregon State Police.

The remaining 73 percent of failed background checks were tied to people such as convicted felons who are prohibited from purchasing the weapons.

Ferrioli said he is proud of the impact from this change in policy, and believes the investigations also offer an opportunity for state troopers to help people incorrectly denied the purchase of a weapon due to the mixup of a name or other issues.

“The thing I’m proudest of is this didn’t require us to pass a law,” Ferrioli said. “Not only are we scooping up the bad guys, but we’re clearing the good guys and I thought that was exactly what we were supposed to be doing with that law.”

Seven people challenged the results of their background checks in March, according to the Oregon State Police. Also that month, five people were arrested as a result of the investigations and 72 cases were referred to district attorneys.

Lt. Josh Brooks, a public information officer for the Oregon State Police, said the amount of time troopers spend on the investigations varies.

“Obviously, it takes time away from other missions and duties the organization has,” Brooks said. “But at the same time, we recognize individuals who are engaging in this type of behavior and trying to buy firearms when they’re prohibited from doing so are violating the law.”

Senate Bill 941 contains language that would make it clear in state law that the Oregon State Police can investigate failed background checks and report the findings to other law enforcement agencies.

Although Kitzhaber is no longer in office, the policy of investigating people who fail background checks also has the support of Gov. Kate Brown.

“The Governor’s Office supports the Oregon State Police’s efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others whom the law has deemed should not have access to them,” Kristen Grainger, a spokeswoman for Brown, wrote in an email this week.

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Questions persist on urban farm tax relief http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/questions-persist-on-urban-farm-tax-relief/1 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/questions-persist-on-urban-farm-tax-relief/1#Comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:00:08 -0400 Mateusz PerkowskiCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429945 SALEM — Legislation providing tax relief for urban farmers has progressed in the Oregon House but concerns about unintended land use effects continue to shadow the proposal.

House Bill 2723, which allows local governments to impose lower property taxes on urban farms, was recently referred for a vote on the House floor by a key legislative committee.

Despite voting 6-1 for a “do pass” recommendation, members of the House Committee on Rural Communities, Land Use and Water said questions must still be resolved about the impact of “agriculture incentive zones” on urban growth boundaries.

Under HB 2723, urban farmers in these zones would be subject to lower property tax rates as long as they use their properties for agriculture for five years.

The Oregon Home Builders Association is concerned that landowners who make such commitments will effectively exclude their properties from residential construction within cities.

The group wants local governments to consider the effect of agriculture incentive zones when deciding whether to expand their urban growth boundaries, but the Oregon Farm Bureau fears this will put development pressure on farmland in rural areas.

The bureau also wants lawmakers to impose a sunset on the program so that it can eventually be re-evaluated, said Katie Fast, OFB’s vice president of public policy. “We feel the need to have a check-back with the legislature.”

Lawmakers have attempted to resolve the conflict with an amendment that specifies agriculture incentive zones are a factor in evaluating a city’s potential for future development.

However, state regulators think the provision may clash with other language in the bill that says these zones have no effect on a city’s inventory of buildable lands, said Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem.

Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, said he gave HB 2723 a “courtesy no” so that the bill would not appear to have unanimous support, thereby signaling to the Senate that revisions are still necessary.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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Questions persist on urban farm tax relief http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/questions-persist-on-urban-farm-tax-relief http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/questions-persist-on-urban-farm-tax-relief#Comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:58:03 -0400 Mateusz PerkowskiCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429946 SALEM — Legislation providing tax relief for urban farmers has progressed in the Oregon House but concerns about unintended land use effects continue to shadow the proposal.

House Bill 2723, which allows local governments to impose lower property taxes on urban farms, was recently referred for a vote on the House floor by a key legislative committee.

Despite voting 6-1 for a “do pass” recommendation, members of the House Committee on Rural Communities, Land Use and Water said questions must still be resolved about the impact of “agriculture incentive zones” on urban growth boundaries.

Under HB 2723, urban farmers in these zones would be subject to lower property tax rates as long as they use their properties for agriculture for five years.

The Oregon Home Builders Association is concerned that landowners who make such commitments will effectively exclude their properties from residential construction within cities.

The group wants local governments to consider the effect of agriculture incentive zones when deciding whether to expand their urban growth boundaries, but the Oregon Farm Bureau fears this will put development pressure on farmland in rural areas.

The bureau also wants lawmakers to impose a sunset on the program so that it can eventually be re-evaluated, said Katie Fast, OFB’s vice president of public policy. “We feel the need to have a check-back with the legislature.”

Lawmakers have attempted to resolve the conflict with an amendment that specifies agriculture incentive zones are a factor in evaluating a city’s potential for future development.

However, state regulators think the provision may clash with other language in the bill that says these zones have no effect on a city’s inventory of buildable lands, said Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem.

Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, said he gave HB 2723 a “courtesy no” so that the bill would not appear to have unanimous support, thereby signaling to the Senate that revisions are still necessary.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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JD Liquor store moving into Chester’s http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Business/20150423/jd-liquor-store-moving-into-chesters http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Business/20150423/jd-liquor-store-moving-into-chesters#Comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:59:51 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429947 JOHN DAY – The John Day Liquor Store is on the move.

Fran Holmstrom, the liquor agent, is retiring next month after 28 years with the outlet.

The storefront on North Canyon Boulevard will close May 11, and reopen May 13 inside Chester’s Thriftway on Main Street.

Chester’s announced the addition this week. The store’s service center area will be remodeled to accommodate the liquor store, which will offer nearly twice the variety, officials said.

The store not only will offer a larger selection but will be open more days in the new location, with hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Chester’s also is making other changes, including an express checkout lane for customers with just a hand basket or armful of items, and kitchen upgrades in the deli, including new hot and cold cases and beverage center.

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Bill sets rules for use of police body cameras http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/bill-sets-rules-for-use-of-police-body-cameras http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150423/bill-sets-rules-for-use-of-police-body-cameras#Comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 09:30:23 -0400 PETER WONGCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150429948 SALEM — A negotiated bill will set the rules for how police may use body cameras to record their interactions with the public.

Under the bill, which the House Judiciary Committee approved on a 7-2 vote Tuesday, videos can be released if they are determined to be in the public interest — but only if faces are made unidentifiable.

Portland is considering the issue, and the Columbia County sheriff and Hermiston police have decided to equip their officers with them.

Committee Chairman Jeff Barker, a Democrat from Aloha and a retired Portland police lieutenant, said House Bill 2571 does not require agencies to use body cameras. He said its intent is to set uniform rules for agencies that choose to do so.

Officers can activate cameras “continuously” upon reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime or violation is being committed. The cameras can be turned off once an officer’s participation ends.

Officers must announce that a body camera is in use unless doing so would jeopardize the officers’ safety or unreasonably impair a criminal investigation.

A defendant can have access to the video, but such recordings can otherwise be used only for law enforcement purposes. Agencies can use third-party vendors for storage, but the records belong to the agencies.

The bill does provide an exception if public interest in disclosure of the video outweighs the need to shield it. This balancing test is similar to what is applied to other materials under Oregon’s public records law.

But requests must be “reasonably tailored” to the approximate date and time of an incident, and the video must be edited to make all faces unidentifiable.

Disclosure is still barred if a judge orders the sealing of records in a specific case or otherwise puts the video off-limits.

On the committee vote, Republican Reps. Wayne Krieger of Gold Beach and Sherrie Sprenger of Scio joined all five Democrats in favor. Krieger is a retired Oregon State Police trooper, and Sprenger is a former sheriff’s deputy.

Dissenters, both Republicans, were Reps. Andy Olson of Albany — a retired Oregon State Police lieutenant — and Bill Post of Keizer.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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