Umatilla County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday postponed creating a new livestock district near Umatilla. Commissioner George Murdock said he would like to take a field trip to see the area first, according to public records.

Bob and Sue Keys led the petition to create the Salmon Point Livestock District on about 2,600 acres near Umatilla, including a portion of Hat Rock State Park. Bob Keys at the public hearing told commissioners they live on three acres in open range on Salmon Point Lane, and cattle over the past 20 years have caused about $1,500-$2,000 damage to his temporary electric fence. He and Sue Keys also said open range is not compatible with residential areas.

Jason Torres said he also lives on Salmon Point and development in the area is going to continue, so now is the time to put the district to a vote. Other neighbors in favor expressed similar sentiments.

Attorney Brent Smith said he represents cattle owner Joyce Langley and said there is a possible technical issue with the district boundary. Langley also took to the mic. She said open range works until “people who don’t understand the country way of life move into the area and want to change things to the way they are in their urban back yard. That’s why we have cities and country.”

No one has asked her for help with their fence, she said, and she has offered to help her neighbors. She said the cattle run six to eight weeks a year, sometimes starting in March, and it would be better to allow neighbors to reach a deal on their own.

She also read a petition with several names to prevent the district, and the board of commissioners accepted it.

Murdock and Commissioner Larry Givens continued the hearing until the morning of March 21. Murdock told the small crowd probably all three commissioners would visit the area.

If the commissioners approve the petition for the district, Olsen said the 66 voters in the district would decide the matter.

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