Rockne Roll/News-Register##County Commissioner Allen Springer talks to 10-year-old Uki Halloran-Steiner, left, and eight-year-old Toli Halloran-Steiner following the Meet and Greet with Local Elected Officials hosted by the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce at Linfield College on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
Rockne Roll/News-Register##County Commissioner Allen Springer talks to 10-year-old Uki Halloran-Steiner, left, and eight-year-old Toli Halloran-Steiner following the Meet and Greet with Local Elected Officials hosted by the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce at Linfield College on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Commissioners urged to help calm Malheur tension

By late afternoon, law enforcement officials said only four occupiers remained and they had agreed to leave peacefully. Meanwhile, they had all roads leading in blockaded, preventing new arrivals from replacing the departed. However, none of that was apparent in the morning, when Carlton resident Sam Hill addressed the board.

Hill told commissioners that like-minded citizens have been streaming to Oregon in response to the Tuesday death of occupier Robert Finicum at police hands, in the course of arresting occupation leaders, and that is making an already dangerous situation even more so.

“The amount of FBI and federal agents and the amount of law enforcement that is out there, you stack that much law enforcement out there and that much civilian firepower together, there is apt to be one fool with a faulty (trigger) finger,” he said. “All it takes is one bullet and you’re going to have a massacre out in Burns. I’m asking you, ladies and gentlemen, today to reach out to ask for every peaceful measure to be taken.”

Commissioners used the opportunity to discuss their personal political views.

Chair Mary Starrett blamed Finicum’s death on mismanagement of federal lands by the Bureau of Land Management.

“It’s important we understand what’s happening to the American West and what happened to this man when he was shot and killed,” she said. “It’s important for us to do what we can, and I think that our county is behind efforts to let the BLM know, and the state know, that their management policies have resulted in devastation, and perhaps the death of this man.”

Commissioner Stan Primozich said, “as sad as it is,” the incidents in eastern Oregon have at least brought national attention to longstanding complaints about federal land management.

Commissioner Allen Springer urged Hill to research the “appeal to heaven” flag, saying, “I think a lot of our answers for justice start with the premise of that flag... I think it’d be fascinating for you, and give you a strategy, another angle in a strategy moving forward.”

The flag was used by American colonists to symbolize their revolt against Great Britain, launched in 1776.

Hill responded by trying to return the conversation to his point — his fear that the situation in Eastern Oregon will turn violent.

“I hope that you guys can see that my strategy moving forward is a peaceful one,” he said. “I think that there’s going to be further bloodshed, in all honesty.”

Commissioners thanked Hill for his comments. And Primozich assured him, “A peaceful resolution is by far and away what we all want.”

Earlier, the commissioners unanimously approved a board order approving a special $4,000 “litigation fee” to the Association of O&C counties to help fund a lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Land Management over its failure to log state forests as heavily as the counties would like.

Commissioners also held an executive session to discuss a possible real estate transaction. They took no action in open session.

Comments

Horse with no name

Well this is comforting, seeing the paranoia running through our BOC. Al's hearing the orders from on high and just want's everyone else to listen up, come join his army church so everybody can hook up with Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association members and Gods will, will be done. They will tell us what God wants us to do next. Mary will be Sargent at Arms and Stan will keep track of who's naughty and nice. Real stability and mature leadership.

Mudstump

"Chair Mary Starrett blamed Finicum’s death on mismanagement of federal lands by the Bureau of Land Management."

Really? What happened to personal responsibility? Did the BLM make this man leave his family and drive to Oregon to join armed gunman in a hostile take over of a federal building? Did the BLM make this man claim on camera that he would never surrender or be taken alive? Did the BLM force this man to run from the cops at a traffic stop? Did the BLM make this man try to run around a police blockade? Did the BLM force him to get out of his truck, after nearly running over cop, run around and not follow police orders? Did the BLM make this man reach for his gun? Mary Starrett, your words are nothing but nonsense. That land in Harney county was federal land even before Oregon became a state and before that it belonged to Native Americans. Finicum was a grown man and he was well-aware of his actions and in this case his actions had real consequences.

BCM

Wow, what happened to representing us all. Our representatives are really going to back bullies?

treefarmer

I appreciate the observations posted above. In my opinion our law enforcement representatives showed remarkable restraint and good judgement as they were called upon to risk their lives to deal with this group of dangerous armed malcontents. There are many avenues to air grievances in a civilized society, armed insurgence serves no one.

Re the incomprehensible statements from these commissioners, it must be noted that a majority of our Yamhill County citizens actually voted for these people. Elections have consequences. May we all survive the damage that results from our last election, learn from it, and do better next time.

Lulu

Well, this meeting wins all the awards for bizarre behavior on everyone's part. An entire room full of loose cannons.

Trafik

What in the Sam Hill are they thinking? Oh, wait. (Seriously? Sam Hill?)

This article is telling in its structure: multiple paragraphs about nonsensical pointless issues hundreds of miles away from Yamhill County and one tiny single-sentence paragraph at the end about actual county business.

Shasta

"Chair Mary Starrett blamed Finicum’s death on mismanagement of federal lands by the Bureau of Land Management."

Lets also remind everyone this is the same person who views 9/11 as a Bush led conspiracy. Not that surprising I guess.

More disturbing.....citizens of Yamhill County elected her as a county commissioner.

Horse with no name

Commissioner Allen Springer urged Hill to research the “appeal to heaven” flag, saying, “I think a lot of our answers for justice start with the premise of that flag... I think it’d be fascinating for you, and give you a strategy, another angle in a strategy moving forward.”

I took Commissioner Springers strategy advice to the 3% member and researched the "appeal to heaven" flag at, where else, http://appealtoheaven.org/
I love a good mission statement and lo and behold what do I find but more promotion of biblical law over our U.S. Constitution "OUR MISSION ATH exists to honor the Lord by networking elected officials who are believers in Jesus Christ, who regularly attend and display a commitment to an evangelical, Gospel-centered church and who will commit to live and govern based on biblical, constitutional and Federalist principles."

There's the order folks; Bible, Constitution and Federalist principles. There's your religious test for adherents, contrary to our U.S. Constitution. Yep Al is all up for developing strategy for moving forward the same way he has instituted prayer at BOC meetings. Al works for the little God voice in his head, the same voice the Bundy's and their flock say they hear.

I didn't find it "fascinating" but do find it disturbing that public officials take their oath of office and think no one is paying attention to their little crusade to have a Christian government. This Christian Nationalism has quite a history since the 1970's in the United States and it is never pretty or good for our nation but it's great for the delusional.

Lulu

Maybe they could address the Flint, Michigan, water scandal next. Better yet, perhaps they could all visit in person--say a few prayers and by the grace of God the lead will disappear on its own! No harm, no foul, no brain damage.

Mudstump

Horse - If this meeting is an example of the results the commissioners are getting from all that public praying they should consider a different tactic. God doesn't seem to be responding to their pleas for divine guidance or maybe he isn't giving them the answers they want.

Trafik

Because I know many people of faith -- whom I hold in great respect -- and am a person of faith myself, it pains me to see our commissioners ridiculed because of their belief in prayer. I would much rather see them ridiculed for their non-faith-related buffoonery, which is abundant and evidently unceasing.

Horse with no name

Trafik - The Commissioners are the ones that have decided to make their personal beliefs the centerpiece of their stint in office. They are the ones that say they don't make a decision without checking in with the voice they listen to, to the point of introducing prayer at our public meetings. They now appear to be more warm and cozy with militias that promote religious rule, than the duly sworn officers of our state and the FBI... because of what their God is telling them. That's a problem.

Trafik

Don't get me wrong, Horse, I understand your position. While I disagree with you and Mudstump (and others) from time to time, I like to think I can offer coherent rebuttals to some of your assertions. At least I find it entertaining to attempt to do so.

In my opinion, our commissioners have earned much of the scorn heaped upon them in this forum. I just hope others realize not all people of faith own foil hats (to prevent alien thought control), let alone wear them while conducting public meetings.

Probably my biggest pet peeve is that so much of the public thinks intellect and faith are mutually exclusive. I vehemently disagree with that mindset but I understand why it is prevalent. And our misguided commissioners aren't helping.

Mudstump

Trafik - "Because I know many people of faith -- whom I hold in great respect -- and am a person of faith myself, it pains me to see our commissioners ridiculed because of their belief in prayer."

I do not ridicule them for their belief in prayer. It is their hypocrisy that upsets me. If they didn't wield, flaunt and use their faith as an oppressive tool they might find that people would be more accepting of them. They might just find common ground with many of their constituents if they didn't use their dogma as a wedge. Our commissioners have chosen to use their religion to divide rather than unite people.

Mudstump

Trafik - I have a good friend that is deeply religious. She is a very devout Christian. She has never once spoken about her faith. Instead, she truly lives it in everything she does. I have never met another person like her in my 58 years. It is the way she lives her life that draws me in and makes me want to know more.

Trafik

I don't find them hypocrites as much as I find them boobs, grandstanding to garner support (or at least enthusiastic "amens") from a very narrow segment of the populace for issues which have little or no bearing on county business.

I believe it's crucial to elect leaders who are committed to representing a broad cross-section of their constituents. When secularists are elected, this means they must consider the opinions of their conservative Christian voters (and subscribers to other tenets) in addition to those who possess like mindsets to their own. But it also means Christians must not embark on crusades to imbue the (necessarily secular) law with personal dogmas.

The graphic polarity evident in current American politics might be a direct result of our leaders' failure to divorce themselves from their personal beliefs. We all suffer from that.

Horse with no name

Trafik - Thanks for your thoughts and I get where you are coming from. Everyone knows the good religious person and everyone knows the one's that are always pushing their belief (doesn't matter what the belief is or lack of belief for that matter).

In the course of our lives we choose who to be around. In the matter of our government, you have to deal with whoever is in that position. Because there are so many differences in belief even among the same religious groups there is always the clash of opinion so why bring that into the public government business? Nobody says the Commissioners can't pray at work, just be the good neighbor and not the pain the the patooty.

I don't know of any normal county citizen that goes to the Yamhill County Courthouse for a prayer meeting or a dance party. It is a place of public government business. If the Commissioners understood anything about leadership, they would avoid the pitfall of injecting their personal religious beliefs into our government place of business.

"so much of the public thinks intellect and faith are mutually exclusive. I vehemently disagree with that mindset but I understand why it is prevalent."

Here's a little reading that might shed some light on the intellect and faith issue: Faith vs. Fact by Jerry A. Coyne

Horse with no name

I think the relevance of the moment is with this whole conspiracy theory of being at war with our own government.

When you have state law enforcement and government officials saying they want convicted criminals released (they aren’t talking about an appeal or retrial, just let ‘em go) and for federal agents to walk away from criminal activity on federal property… what agenda is that?

When do these militias, radical religious and the Constitutional Peace Officers Association start getting the attention they deserve? You can see what happens when a guy like Bundy (pick whichever you want, they are from the same cookie cutter) says God told him this is the way the world is supposed to be, loads a gun and goes to force others to his way of thinking.

We just assume he’s crazy, arrest him and let the system do its thing. What about all the government officials and law enforcement people that support that type of activity? Folks need to think about this when they elect their government representatives and sheriffs.

You want to be sure they are operating on the U.S. Constitution and the relevant laws stemming from it, not some radical religious beliefs. Look around the world, we don’t need any more of that.

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