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October 20, 2011     The Times-Journal
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October 20, 2011
 

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Page 4 The Times-Journal October 20, 2011 THE TIMES-JOURNAL AWr.r,x.v NLSPSZn SxNc 1886 Published every Thursday by Macro Graphics of Condon, LLC, and entered as Periodical Matter with Periodical Postage paid at the Condon Post Office, USPS No. 128-260. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Times-Journal, P.O. Box 746, Condon, OR 97823 Our Lineage: The Fossil Journal, established 1886; The Condon Globe, established 1891; The Condon Times, established 1900; Globe and Times consolidated in 1919 to the Globe-Times; Fossil Journal and Globe- Times consolidated in 1975 to the Times-Journal. The Times-Journal is the Newspaper of Record for Wheeler County, Gilliam County and Sherman County, and the cities of Fossil, Mitchell, Spray, Arlington, Condon and Lonerock. Subscription Rates: $35 per year in Gilliam, Wheeler and Sherman counties; $45 per year elsewhere in the United States. Single issues 50 cents. Deadline for Thursday morning publication: 5 p.m. Monday for news and advertising. The Times-Journal P.O. Box 746 Condon, Oregon 97823-0746 Phone: 541-384-2421 ~ Fax: 541-384-2411 E-maih times-_iour nal @ incable.com Owners: McLaren and Janet Stinchfield Publisher/Editor: McLaren Stinchfield Production/Office: Janet Stinchfield Advertising/Production: Cody Bettencourt Contributors: @ : ).: :i::!i{ Kay West ~ Arlington  Sherian Asher ~ Fossil .. And our readers I etters to the Editor What'd I miss? To the Editor: I LOVE CONDON! I put in many years being, living and visiting there. I have stayed at the Condon Motel many times.., will again .... But, called this past August 2011 for the 4th of July 2012. The lady on the phone told me they are not booking the 4th until October. Fine. Called today (Oct. 13). I was told by the same lady that all the people who stayed last year are returning. What did I miss? Good thing I have reservations at the Hotel Condon. I still hope so, anyway? Bruce Vignal Tacoma, Wash. ' assembl: Pt free press: Your key to freedom. Beyond What's Up -- A public meeting of the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Bylaws Committee will be held Thursday, Oct. 20, 4 p.m. at Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Office, 515 East 2nd Street, The Dalles. On the agenda are an overview and history of the current by-laws and a discussion of revisions to the by- laws. -- For the first time in over a century, wild bighorns have return to live near the John Day Fossil Beds. Oregon Field Guide joins wildlife biologists to check on sheep released in the canyon country surrounding the fossil beds. Tune in to the stations of OPB Thursday, Oct. 20, 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23, 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife continues 60 years of bighorn restoration with their latest release in historic sheep country near the John Day Fossil Beds. Within months many of the sheep had spread out through remote canyons and newborn lambs were leaping with them up cliffs. But one group of rams wandered another direction, leading to a serious setback. Videos of the stories featured on Oregon Field Guide are available at opb.org/programs/ofg/or watch entire programs at watch.opb.org. In its 23nd season, Oregon Field Guide remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. Field Guide airs Thursday evening, 8:30 p.m. on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. -- Columbia Gorge Community College Foundation will conduct a free estate planning seminar Monday, Oct. 24, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hood River - Indian Creek Campus, 1730 College Way in Hood River. Complimentary appetizers and beverages will be served. The seminar will feature guest speaker Mike Gaudette, whose presentation will be 'What Every Person Should Know About Their Retirement and Estate Planning.' There is no cost to attend this seminar or for refreshments. RSVP by sending an e-mail to Steph Dawkins, sdawkins @ cgcc.cc.or.us. -- A Brown-Bag Environmental series will present a program, 'Buying Local,' Wednesday, Oct. 26, 12 noon to 1 p.m. in the College Board Room of Mid-Columbia Community College in The Dalles. Becky Brun, a grant writer, journalist and founder and director of the Gorge Owned Business Network, will discuss the vision behind this 1-year-old non-profit business network promoting local ownership and sustainability. She'll give an overview of their programs, including GO! Local Challenge - the first Gorge-wide buy local campaign. All are welcome to attend this free event. Just like Jon and Melissa Bowerman say that Nike and the Wild Canyon Games appreciate the Condon- Wheeler Knights track and field team, the Knights track and field team, and indeed all in the greater Condon community who use Condon's school track facility for daily exercise, appreciate Jon and Melissa Bowerman. Their connection to the huge Nike athletic infrastructure is obvious. Jon is the son of Nike co- ,, founder and legendary athletic visionary, e !ate Bill Bowennan. But it is the enthusiasm for the sport of track and field that Jon and Melissa Bowerman have infused in dozens of young athletes that is most impressive. The inner drive, competitiveness and self- image that have developed in these Condon and Fossil athletes is rewarded by their own successes at the various school meets in which they compete, and in the 'extra' outings in which they compete, such as the Wild Canyon Games, the ultimate team-based adventure race competition held at the Washington Family Ranch near Antelope "which challenges athletes physically, mentally and emotionally." The local track and field team has also been to the Nike campus in Beaverton, where they were graciously welcomed by the Nike staff, and have a future trip planned, as well. The connections are undeniable.., and priceless. Just as valuable as the connections, though, are the time and energy and belief in the young athletes that the Bowermans have brought to the Condon-Wheeler Knights track and field program that is inspiring. Kudos to Jon and Melissa Bowerman! Kudos to Nike management and staff who care about the health, well-being and success of young athletes everywhere! And now, because of the connections, because of the caring, because of the 'heart' these young athletes have shown, the track facility at Condon High School - the track itself and the runways for the long jump, triple jump, pole vault and the high jump apron - will 'all be replaced by a new surface made of recycled rubber tires, recycled shredded running shoes and a polyurethane binder. The work started this week and the newly-surfaced track facility will be ready for the 2012 track and field season! Read about this great success story on the front page of this issue. Fall weather has slipped in on us here in the region Cool nights, mid-60s days. Fog Sunday morning that hung on well into the day. And a frost earlier this week, all signify that time is moving on. Wood gatherers are busy. Cattlemen are bringing cattle from the summer mountain ranges. Many acres have been seeded already as that annual autumn process continues. High school football and volleyball seasons are heading toward district competitions. Major League Baseball's World Series started this week. Gilliam County agricultural producers will meet for their annual meetings Oct. 24, which allows an annual time to commiserate on the year's production yields, successes and otherwise, and to shift gears into another season. Make no mistake. It is that time of year! Enjoy! Tri-County Veteran Officer can be contacted at the following places and times: -- Monday, Outreach activities, home visits by appointment. -- Tuesday, Gilliam County Courthouse, Condon, 8 a.m to 5 p.m., 541-384-6712. Closed lunch hour. -- Wednesday, Senior/Community Center, Mort, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 541-565-3408. Closed lunch hour. -- Thursday, Family Services Building, Fossil, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 541-763-3032. Closed lunch hour. Ending federal timber payments to Oregon: Economic collapse of rural counties, a concern Bv Rep. Dennis Richardson If you aren't hungry or worded about your next meal as you read this, be grateful. One of every five Oregonians is now receiving food stamps. If you aren't checking Craigslist for a job or sending out resumes, be thankful. Almost ten percent of Oregon's workforce is in the unemployment line. Somber statistics, but the real tragedy, the deepest devastation lies in Oregon's rural counties. And it's about to get worse, much worse. Notwithstanding the bipartisan coalition of Oregon's federal elected officials who are working to extend federal timber payments, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack predicted extending benefits is not likely to occur. Secretary Vilsack during his recent visit to Oregon stated that the federal program that provided as much as $253 million a year in payments to rural Oregon counties, the Secure Rural Schools Act, will not survive the Congressional super committee's work to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal budget deficit. If you live in an urban area and you still have a job and a home, maybe you don't care that this will likely bankrupt at least two Oregon counties. Maybe you don't have time to worry about rural unemployment rates that have hovered near 20 percent for almost two decades. But if you do care, then before you leave for work or go Out fbr lunch, take a close-up look at poverty in our state; take a moment to google Curry County or Coos County, or for that matter just view the sweeping satellite image of our state - nearly half of which is blanketed with riches, deep green forests--Oregon's richest natural resource. And yet these are Oregon's poorest areas, where methamphetamine destroys already broken lives, where hopelessness evicts the young and ambitious, where urban idealism has outspent and outlawed rural initiative. Where generations of hard-working timber families once labored and thrived, depression now is a way of life. Imagine if you lived in the midst of the natural resources necessary to save yourself and your family, and were ordered to abandon your tools, your dreams, and your community. Consider how demoralizing to be a fourth generation logger, out of work because of legal challenges to timber sales, who must stand by and watch Oregon's forests in thick, black, carbon-laden smoke, as millions of acres are consumed in raging forest fires. It wasn't intended to be this way. Rural Oregonians acted in good faith and believed in their elected leaders when they helped negotiate President Clinton's 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, but since then teams of environmental lawyers have blocked the timber sales, closed the mills, and thwarted alternative recreation plans, leaving rural Oregon underemployed and dependent on government hand-outs. How could the urban elected officials who set the agenda for our federal forests turn away from our most plentiful renewable resource? How could they ignore our comparative advantage over other states? Who is responsible for Oregon's rural poverty, high unemployment rate and declining income? How did this happen? During the 1980s and 90S timber revenues from federal forests in rural Oregon counties plummeted. Well-funded "eco-elites" shut down Oregon's timber harvests by obtaining federal court rulings over the endangered species listing of the spotted owl. More than 100 mills closed. Thousands of family wage jobs were eliminated, drying up incomes and businesses in slnall mill towns across our state. Annual timber harvests now hover at around 10 percent of levels associated with a more thriving Oregon. Ironically, Oregon's population of spotted owls continues to dwindle. Faced with economic disaster from the loss of timber harvest revenues, rural counties turned to Congress for a solution. Rather than correcting the misuse of the Endangered Species Act, Congress approved the Secure Rural Schools Act, which temporarily supplanted the lost income that once funded rural schools, government, and other essential services. Instead of continuing to fund county services from timber harvest revenues, rural counties were paid hundreds of millions of dollars in federal welfare payments. The counties were ordered to develop alternative economic plans. Having achieved their goals of making Oregon's rich forests of renewable timber legally off-limits and unavailable to be managed or harvested, Portland's urban eco-elites promptly turned ,their backs and abandoned the counties to fend for themselves with meager resources. For the past decade, politicians and the environmentalists have allowed rural Oregon counties to deteriorate and become ever more dependent on government handouts. Now, in the face of massive federal deficits, nobody wants to defend any longer what are essentially welfare payments to counties in 40 states. Portland and Oregon's other major cities should wake up. The last federal timber welfare payment checks are being issued, and they will mark the end of the primary source ot revenue to some of Oregon's rural counties. There will be consequences felt in Portland, Salem and Eugene from the bankruptcy of Oregon rural counties. As the urban eco-elites watch placidly from the sidelines, they should realize this rural economic meltdown will financially affect their schools. their county services, and their tax rates. State governmen! is already being asked to intervene. What will be the cos! and how should we respond? The solution is clear. Ignoring Oregon's vast timbe resources is a failed policy and must be reversed Democra! leaders now must "man-up" and face their coalition ot environmental supporters and say, "No more lawsuits Om neighbors are suffering; our rural communities are collapsing; our rural counties must be saved. We must moderate om forest policy." Action is needed now. Words are not enough. The federal government controls 53 percent of Oregon land, and rural counties depended on effective and productive managemen! of those resources. They have been abandoned and betrayed. The truth stares rural folks in the face day and night. There are no alternatives. There is no replacement economy. There is only the forest--one of the richest, greenest, fastes! growing forests in the world. There is only one solution - it's vast, green and sustainable. Oregon needs a new forest timber policy. The particulars of a new Oregon timber policy must be hammered out between the state and federal government. It is nol working to have the future of Oregon's rural counties controlled three thousand miles away in Washington, D.C. What should Oregon's new timber policy look like'? One proposal is to place control of Oregon's federal forests with the counties in which they are located. In addition, to provide funding to Oregon's revenue-starved timber counties Oregon's Congressional Representatives Peter DeFazio and Greg Walden have proposed offering long-term leases on ut: to 1 million acres of Oregon's federal timber land that is currently managed by the Federal BLM. A third idea is tc have Oregon's federal forests placed in a trust with Oregon assuming management and control of the timber assets. Regardless of the final terms of the new Oregon timbe policy, safeguards must be included that will stop the use ot our federal courts as an eco-elitist weapon against responsible timber harvesting. The time has come to reopen Oregon's forests in responsible manner. The time has come to reclaim our bounty, our birthright, and rebuild Oregon's natural resource-based economy. The economic future of both rural and urban Oregon depends upon it. (Note: Dennis Richardson is co'chair of the Oregon House Ways & Means Committee, and co-chair of the Oregon Transformation Project. (www.oregontransformation.com ) In his Oregon House District he represents two Southern Oregon counties that would be affected by the cessation of federai timber payments. Rep. Richardson can be contacted by maii at 55 South 5th Street, Central Point, OR 97502; phone 541-601-0083, or e-mail, rep.dennisrichardson @ state, or. us.