To the Editor:

I’m writing on behalf of many concerned Grant County residents. I’ve heard more complaints about the smoke this year, as the result of the Forest Service’s controlled burns, than ever. I think people are getting weary of breathing smoke, from June until just about the end of the year. If it’s not our forests burning up by the millions of acres, it’s the Forest Service swinging drip torches.

The following excerpt is from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website.

“One of the main components of smoke is particle pollution (PM), which is a regulated air pollutant. Wildland fires, which include wildfires and prescribed fires, now account for 40 percent of the total PM emitted in the country, making it a major source of the pollutant, which causes lung and health problems.” (https://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/danger-wildland-fire-smoke-public-health)

So on one hand we have the EPA (a government agency) acknowledging the adverse effects of wildland fire smoke, and on the other we have the Forest Service (another government agency) exuberantly making more of it. Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

What’s worse is that the controlled burns we see here on the Malheur forest provide no measurable benefit to the forest. The reason being, they’re only carried out on tiny fractions of the forest and in areas that are actually in decent health. The Malheur forest is 1.7 million acres, and most controlled burns don’t exceed more than a few thousand acres. The largest controlled burns represent less than 0.3 percent of the forest.

So, the Forest Service creates large quantities of smoke while treating only minuscule portions of the forest. These controlled burns do nothing for the high majority of the Malheur forest, which remains in sorry shape.

Also consider that smoke is especially harmful to the young and elderly, and people with respiratory conditions like emphysema and asthma. A number of such people live in areas like Bates, which experience high concentrations of smoke from controlled burns.

In conclusion, I believe the Forest Service’s “prescription burn” strategy should be reconsidered.

Gregg Boethin

Canyon City

To the Editor:

I support Gordon Larson for county commissioner. He has the intelligence and desire to lead this county. He also has the time to do the job as evidenced by the countless hours he has devoted to his campaign.

He is a natural leader and an excellent communicator, which are traits that this county needs. I admire his strength. He has suffered vicious personal attacks during this campaign, and yet he has persevered.

This county needs a man like Gordon Larson. Join me to vote for him for county commissioner.

Dan Cronin

John Day

To the Editor:

Another beautiful, sunny, warm fall day with no clouds in the sky. Just smoke. Wait, the radio news says the EPA is declaring a health alert for us here in Eastern Oregon until Tuesday next week. No burning outside; if heating with wood, use as little as possible. Older people should stay indoors. The very next news story: Forest Service continuing to control burn in three areas in and around the John Day Valley. One plan was to burn 700 acres. Evidently the government doesn’t have to listen to the government, but we do. Something is really wrong, and I’m tired of living here where the air should be clean and clear most days of the year. Now we live in smoke from April to October. You can give numerous reasons and excuses and you would be partly right, but the main reason is the mismanagement of our natural renewable resources.

Ken Koser

Prairie City

To the Editor:

Listening to Gordon Larson engage with questioners at last week’s meet and greet in Canyon City gave me a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the future of Grant County. Not only did Mr. Larson emphasize repeatedly his intention, as county commissioner, to listen respectfully to diverse opinions, but indeed demonstrated that very quality during some vigorous questioning that night. He also made it clear that he would take the time to study and reflect upon an issue, seeking input from constituents countywide, rather than being pushed into an uninformed, hasty decision; this, too, was evident in his responses during the meeting. I am encouraged by the vision I glimpsed that night of county government conducted in a courteous manner by people of goodwill coming together to seek solutions and build a more positive atmosphere in this county we call home.

Lynn Larssen

Seneca

To the Editor:

Gordon Larson has worked hard to earn your vote. Throughout his campaign, he has demonstrated the work ethic, stamina and commitment necessary for the position of county commissioner. Since primary season, he’s held 13 public meet and greets, at which he listened and responded to a wide array of questions and concerns. He’s shared a positive vision for our county, outlining the proactive ways he hopes to move forward working to reduce divisiveness and create a positive, cooperative approach to county needs. His broad work and life experiences mean he is highly skilled and qualified to carry out the duties of commissioner effectively. In his public and private interactions, he has consistently shown integrity, honesty and high ethical standards. I am confident he will commit the same energy and ethics as county commissioner. Please join me and other Grant County citizens in voting for Gordon Larson.

Louise LeDuc

Canyon City

To the Editor:

How would you encourage the older generation in Grant County to open their eyes to what will make Grant County a good place for young people to live? That was a question asked of Gordon Larson at his last meet and greet in Canyon City. The speaker also said that she believes young people want to stay in Grant County, but they need better job opportunities, better internet and more input into how our county is run. She pointed out that some of the county elders are looking backwards into a time that they remember, instead of opening their eyes to what the younger generation needs. Now is the time to make a positive future for the young people in Grant County. I believe Gordon Larson understands that need and will work to make Grant County a place where young people can earn a living.

Sheilah Mezzo

John Day

To the Editor:

My family and I have been fortunate enough to get to know Gordon Larson and his family. I was surprised, and disheartened, to see such a negative ad from Mr. Palmer last week, and I’m glad Gordon has stayed away from that. Grant County has the potential to restore the population that it had a few decades ago. To do this, we need forward-thinking leaders who can work towards a shared vision and diversified, strong local economy. It requires someone with the experience and aptitude of Gordon Larson.

Negative campaigns stifle Grant County’s progress. Gordon lives and works in Grant County, and has not only served us as an Oregon State Police lieutenant, but for 12 years on the Grant School District 3 board, including 10 as chairman. That’s the kind of dedication, budget expertise and teamwork we need in a commissioner.

Gordon has spent the last year personally representing his campaign, hosted 13 meet and greets and personally manned his own fair booth. He’s accessible and not afraid of public speaking or meeting the people of Grant County face-to-face. It’s good to know that he won’t shy away from publicly representing our best interests and is willing to speak up and stand up for Grant County on a local, state and national level.

That’s the kind of leader we need. Please vote for Gordon Larson.

Sherry Nehl

John Day

To the Editor:

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and the Oregon Farm Bureau encourage Oregonians to vote for gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler in the governor’s election.

Knute has demonstrated he understands and cares about the challenges facing rural Oregonians, and he’ll serve our needs to help us overcome those challenges. It’s essential for natural resource stakeholders to unify behind our candidate.

Your vote does make a difference. The mindset that “only Portland votes count” is not true. In the 2010 election, the number of rural voters who voted, but left the governor slot blank, was larger than the difference between John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley. Your vote matters.

This race may be closer than ever before. Not voting, or writing in a name, is a vote against the values of rural Oregonians, and it’s a vote for more of the same in Salem. The stakes are too high to risk.

A quote from Ronald Reagan: “Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn’t get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying — go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I’m trying to get ... I’ll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and the Oregon Farm Bureau support Knute Buehler for governor and encourage you to vote in this crucial election.

Jerome Rosa, executive director

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

Sharon Waterman, president

Oregon Farm Bureau

To the Editor:

Gordon Larson has broad support from a wide variety of Grant County voters. He’s reached out to all corners of Grant County, engaging Republicans, Democrats, Independents, ranchers, loggers, state and federal employees, teachers, law enforcement officials, “old timers,” newcomers, etc., etc. When I see his campaign signs, letters of support to the editor and social media responses, I see names from the entire spectrum of Grant County citizens. Isn’t that what we want in a county commissioner? Someone who respects all voices, who is qualified to engage many perspectives and who truly wants to work for all of us and the home we love? The position of commissioner is nonpartisan. Gordon is not operating from an extreme ideology or a personal agenda, but rather from reason, lawfulness and a genuine desire to unify and grow our county. Join me in moving toward a civil, inclusive future for the residents of our county and vote for Gordon Larson.

Lindsay Rausch

Prairie City

To the Editor:

A small but vocal group with an agenda of gaining power and control of the county court is working hard to make you believe that Gordon Larson is not an honest man. You have seen their accusations all over social media, and some people choose to simply ignore the fact that the accusations have been proven to have no merit.

Gordon Larson had a long, honorable career in law enforcement as a trooper, senior trooper, sergeant, master sergeant and lieutenant with the Oregon State Police. When you work in law enforcement, you live in a glass house, and your life is seldom private. I know firsthand. People watch what you do. If you are dishonest in either your personal or professional life, people are going to know it and make it known. Were accusations of dishonesty rampant in the many years before this man retired and decided to run for the position of county commissioner? No. Has Gordon ever been found to be dishonest in all those years? The answer is no. Gordon has an impeccable record in his personal and professional life. Gordon Larson spent over a decade serving in the very public position of school board member for Grant School District 3. As a board member and chairman, your actions and decisions are very public and constantly under scrutiny. If you are dishonest, people are going to know about it. Was Gordon ever found to be a dishonest person in all those years? The answer is no.

When Gordon became a candidate for Grant County commissioner, suddenly you were being asked to believe that he is a dishonest person, and has been for years. Those who are behind these vicious personal attacks on his character will constantly tell you that you should believe it. Instead, I am asking you to take a good hard look at the life Gordon Larson has actually led for the many years he has been in Grant County, and you will know who and what to believe.

Gordon Larson deserves your vote for Grant County commissioner.

Judy Schuette

John Day

To the Editor:

Saturday at the district tournament in John Day, I was visiting with the Skinner family from Jordan Valley. They said they do not support Jamie McLeod-Skinner in any way. They do not like her using them or their ranch in her ads or bio. They are personal friends of Greg Walden and back him for Congress. I think they posted a picture on Facebook of them with a “Vote Walden” sign with their ranch sign. Just thought people should be aware of this fact.

Delores Scott

Prairie City

To the Editor:

When we vote, we are choosing someone to represent us. I voted for Gordon Larson to serve on the county court because he will do what is best for Grant County. I urge my fellow citizens to choose Gordon Larson.

Nancy Viggers

Prairie City

To the Editor:

On Oct. 18 at 9:30 a.m. the National Weather Sevice in Pendleton issued an air quality alert for a stagnant air mass over much of the state. This alert was broadcast on television and weather channels. People were advised of dangerous levels of pollutants and also asked to limit wood stove burning where possible and to do no outdoor burning. The alert was lifted Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. During this air stagnation alert period, the U.S. Forest Service, in flagrant disregard of air quality and the health of citizens, continued to do prescribed burns throughout Grant and surrounding counties. After contacting three Department of Environmental Quality offices, the State Fire Marshal and the USFS in John Day, I learned the USFS does not ask permission to burn and has no oversight by any other agency. DEQ in Pendleton said they frequently burn when they shouldn’t and certainly should not have been burning during the period of poor air quality. DEQ urged citizens to make complaints. Forgive the pun, but we have not had any “breathing space” between the catastrophic wildfires this summer and the USFS prescribed burns. Complaints have already been filed with DEQ, EPA and the USFS Region 6 director. I urge more citizens to register their concerns with these agencies.

Patti Yellow Hand Bull

Monument

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