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Turkey options on Pilot Rock City Council plate

City recorder Teri Porter announces retirement
Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on September 29, 2017 4:03PM

Last changed on September 29, 2017 6:11PM

Staff photo by E.J. Harris
A gaggle of wild turkeys forage in a field Tuesday on the westside of Pilot Rock. A couple dozen of the birds have taken roost in the area and are causing some concerns with local citizens.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris A gaggle of wild turkeys forage in a field Tuesday on the westside of Pilot Rock. A couple dozen of the birds have taken roost in the area and are causing some concerns with local citizens.

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Pilot Rock City Council will gather Tuesday night to again chew on the town’s turkey situation.

City leaders plan to discuss ways to control the growing population of wild turkeys, which number somewhere around 70 in the small town.

Some residents have complained about turkey scat and property damage from the fowl.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Greg Rimbach in a council presentation earlier this month said killing the birds under a state-issued permit is the surest way to end the bother.

Rimbach also said the city needs to institute local laws before the state can help. To that end, drafts of two ordinances come before the council.

The first prohibits feeding wildlife, declaring it a public nuisance, and recommends $50-$250 fines for each offense. The city law would make an exception for bird feeders, providing the “bird seed shall be contained in receptacles which are reasonably designed to avoid access to wildlife.”

The second law would allow the city to issue permits to trap problem animals, with penalties for violations ranging from $20-$250.

While the animal control ordinances do not authorize killing, that option remains on the table for the council, along with harassing the turkeys and allowing local property owner Tom Gibson to trap and relocate the birds.

Gibson, according to the council memo, offered to leave a horse trailer filled with feed in a popular turkey spot, and once several birds are inside he would close the door and haul them to his 500 acres in the Meadow Creek area near Indian Lake.

The council also could decide not to do anything with the turkeys — the option Milton-Freewater took — while still passing the law to ban wildlife feeding.

The council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at city hall, 144 N. Alder Place. Among other agenda items, the council will introduce amendments to the city’s traffic code for police to better enforce the ban on storing vehicles on public right of way.

And the council has some reorganization to consider.

City Recorder Teri Porter said she is retiring and moving to Arizona — where she’s from — to be closer to children and grandchildren. She has worked in the position since May 2011. Rather than rushing out the door, she told the council in a letter her last day will be April 27, 2018. That should be enough time for the council to decide whether to stay with the city recorder, public works supervisor and police chief as the three department heads or hire a city administrator or manager.



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