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Hat Rock area residents seek grazing district

Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on December 19, 2017 8:55PM

Four land-owning couples near Hat Rock State Park seek to create a new livestock district to protect their property from open grazing.

Bob and Sue Keys said they started the effort. They live on Salmon Point Lane west of the park, and said for the past 20 years they and their few neighbors on the bluff put up temporary electric fences a few months a year to keep out grazing cattle.

The cows have caused about $1,000 in property damage, he said. But now at 84 years old, building and taking down that fence is getting to be too much.

Neighbors Rick and Jean McAndrews, Jason and Serena Torres, and Jerry and Norah Pratton signed onto the petition for the district, which would exempt 2,000 acres from open grazing along the banks of the Colombia River, including some of Hat Rock.

Sue Keys said the district only establishes boundaries and does not come with any taxes. But like other districts, the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners has to a hold public hearing on its formation. The board at its meeting 9 a.m. Wednesday at the courthouse in Pendleton will consider scheduling the hearing for Feb. 7.

Bob Keys said the formation of the district could mean a cattle owner there would have to put up fencing to keep them contained.

The county board also will consider vacating a portion of Pine Creek Road and allowing the public works department to spend $8,500 to buy a 1987 Autocar snowplow with wing and sander from state surplus property.

Public Works Director Tom Fellows in a memo to the board about the plow said it would be added to county snow removal equipment.


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