To the Editor:
I appreciate the work of Rep. Greg Walden, persevering until justice was accomplished in the case of Dwight and Steven Hammond. I am grateful to President Trump for reviewing this case and seeing his way clear to right a terrible injustice. Hopefully these Eastern Oregon families can put their lives back together and once again enjoy the unique life of the high desert. I trust their experience will not be in vain and all involved will have learned from what has transpired and save other ranchers from such a fate. Government has its place but not when it overreaches to “shock the conscience” as was stated by federal Judge Michael Hogan, who presided over the case and used his discretion in sentencing. These men have more than served their time, and I am so happy to see this ridiculous decision overruled and the Hammonds pardoned.
To the Editor:
The Hammond pardon was secured by a great many people. It was like a huge jigsaw puzzle with many different pieces that all had to go together at the right time to make it happen. Everyone was working to correct and make right a grave injustice.
Congressman Walden was a big piece of the puzzle to help secure the presidential pardon for Dwight and Steven Hammond of Harney County.
Walden did the right thing. Those of us in Congressional District 2, who can actually vote for Walden and really know the issues, are grateful for his help.
Those who are familiar with the case and issues are fully aware the pardon was justified. The Hammond family is a ranching family in Eastern Oregon who help feed the world. They are not domestic terrorists.
Now, in comparison, President Obama pardoned over 600 individuals. Most were hardened criminals dealing in hard drugs, theft and other crimes, which are a threat to society. He let these types out on society. Where was the hue and the cry about these pardons?
Congressman Walden did the right thing!
Suzan Ellis Jones
To the Editor:
In the 1800s, brave and independent individuals suffered hardships and trials to reach Oregon. These founders of our state had strongly held beliefs about their God, their county and their Constitution. Having strongly held beliefs is still the backbone of Oregon.
It was a black eye for those strongly held beliefs when the notion of federal control for public lands exploded into a confrontation at the Malheur refuge. The situation soon became fodder for late night TV hosts and wild stories circulated the nation about a “terrorist” activity loose in Oregon. Steve and Dwight Hammond went to prison. Twice. Both of these men served their allotted time for allowing a controlled burn to spread beyond their land. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, Chief Judge Aiken ruled that these men must go back to prison in order to serve a mandatory minimum specially designed for terrorists.
What started all this? Steve Hammond started several back fires after lightning started a blaze that threatened his winter feed for his cattle. It’s amusing to note that our government does similar things for similar reasons. They have controlled burns that have migrated on to private lands. When that happens, the government does not brand itself as a terrorist, nor does it call for its own arrest, conviction and imprisonment. However, Dwight and Steven Hammond were sentenced to prison. The entire situation was made of many wrongs. I appreciate President Trump for his pardon of the Hammonds. He righted a very wrongful situation. Congressman Greg Walden has put forth the legislation H.R. 983 that would ensure that farmers and ranchers would never again be prosecuted as terrorists for range management fires.
This isn’t a political letter. This is an Oregonian letter. It is applauding people who do the right thing. One of Oregon’s strongly held values concerns the larger issue of federal control of public lands. May Oregon always be home to brave and independent individuals with strongly held beliefs.