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Police seek info in poisoning of 3 wolves, 2 eagles, cougar, coyote, dogs in Oregon

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Police seek info in poisoning of 3 wolves, 2 eagles, cougar, coyote, dogs in Oregon


Officials are offering a $25,000 reward for information about the illegal poisoning of three gray wolves, two golden eagles and other wildlife in Wallowa County.

It’s the latest in a spate of poisonings that have killed 19 wolves since 2015 and even killed domestic dogs recently in Eastern Oregon.

“The target was likely a wolf, but the collateral damage in northeast Oregon’s ongoing poisoning cases now includes golden eagles, dogs, and other carnivores,” the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

Oregon wolf population flat for fourth straight year

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Wolves, eagles killed in Eastern Oregon in February poisoning

In February and March, Oregon State Police located the remains of three wolves, two eagles and one cougar and coyote in the Lightning Creek drainage, a tributary to the Imnaha River about 11 miles northeast of Imnaha.

Testing and examinations concluded all were poisoned, a news release said.

Poisoning a wolf is a Class C Felony in Oregon, punishable by a $125,000 fine and up to five years in prison. Poaching federally protected wildlife such as golden eagles, or poaching multiple animals, also elevates the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony, according to new sentencing guidelines passed by the state Legislature in 2019.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction or civil penalty assessment of the incident.

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Hunting preference points are also being offered for information in the case.

Oregon officials warn dog owners

State officials said anyone traveling with dogs in northeast Oregon’s national forests needs to keep their eyes out.

“Hikers, mushroom pickers, wildlife watchers, hunters and anglers should take steps to protect their pets when recreating in northeast Oregon,” the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

Additional wolves, domestic dogs also killed in poisonings

In addition to the most recent incident, the OSP Fish & Wildlife Division is also asking for the public’s assistance in identifying those responsible for additional wolf, wildlife and deaths of domestic dogs in several other locations in Wallowa County.

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Police highlighted the following cases:

  • In July and October 2023, police responded to the unlawful take of two wolves poisoned in the Chesnimnus Wildlife Management Unit, approximately 30 miles northeast of Enterprise. Poisoning was determined to be the cause of death.
  • In April, police responded to the unlawful take of a wolf, which is suspected of being poisoned in the Wenaha Wildlife Management Unit, approximately 5 miles west of Troy.
  • In April, police responded to a domestic dog which was poisoned and within the Sled Springs Wildlife Management. This location is approximately 9 miles north of Enterprise. The poisoning was confirmed through a veterinary clinic.
  • In April, police responded to another domestic dog which is suspected of being poisoned within the Snake River Management Unit. This location is approximately 6 miles north of Imnaha. 

How to report information about the cases

Anyone with information about the cases can call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131, or Oregon State Police Dispatch at (800) 452-7888, *OSP (*677) or email TIP@osp.oregon.gov. Callers may remain anonymous. To report a wildlife crime to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, members of the public can also do so online at fws.gov/wildlife-crime-tips.

How to keep dogs safe

ODFW offered this advice on keeping pets safe from poison.

  • Keep your dog on a leash and under control. Don’t let them eat anything they find in the forest.
  • Learn what to carry to induce vomiting in your dog before venturing out — ask your veterinarian for advice. If you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned, visit a veterinarian immediately.  
  • Watch for dead birds or mammals (scavengers) which can indicate poison.
  • Know what a poisoned carcass looks like. This may be tricky to spot but watch for substances on the carcass that seem unnatural (powders or strange colors).
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious bait. An unnatural item in the woods such as a meatball or piece of steak could be an indicator that someone is trying to poison wildlife in the area.
  • Don’t approach anyone who you suspect of poisoning. Get some details such as license plate, description of vehicle and persons, date and time of the incident.

Cleanup from poisoning a challenge

ODFW received a mortality alert on Feb. 3 for a collared wolf in the remote Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Staff were able to confirm the breeding female of the pack was dead and later located the dead breeding male and a juvenile.

According to officials, ODFW and OSF Fish and Wildlife continued to find dead animals over the next several weeks including the golden eagles, cougar, coyote, dead Steller’s jay and black-billed magpie.

ODFW and OSP F&W found the source to be a cow carcass laced with poison in a creek in the Imnaha River drainage.

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Working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, ODFW staff dressed in hazmat gear put the cow carcass on a tarp and into a net that was taken out of the creek by helicopter and then taken to a facility in Arlington to handle the toxic waste and dispose of it, according to officials.

“Northeast Oregon is known for its natural resources and outdoor opportunities, so it’s just terrible to have this going on,” said Bernadette Graham-Hudson, ODFW wildlife division administrator. “We hope whoever is poisoning wildlife is quickly caught and punished for the safety of people, wildlife, and pets in northeast Oregon.”

Zach Urness has been an outdoors reporter in Oregon for 16 years and is host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. Urness is the author of “Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking Southern Oregon.” He can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6801. Find him on X at @ZachsORoutdoors.



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Oregon provides funding boost to local meat processors to strengthen food supply

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Oregon provides funding boost to local meat processors to strengthen food supply


Oregon agricultural regulators are once again giving a boost to locally-owned slaughterhouses to build up local meat supply. On Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Agriculture announced a “substantial investment” of $8.2 million, intended to keep more meat local.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat inspectors and graders at a processing facility. Nov. 29,2018.

Preston Keres / U.S. Department of Agriculture

The funds will go to 14 Oregon-based meat processors that are either already inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or will come under the state’s fledgling inspection program. That program came online in 2022 following a $9 million investment from the state Legislature after the USDA agreed to give the state Agriculture Department the ability to establish its own inspection program, so long as it met federal inspection requirements.

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This time around, the state will distribute the money in the form of a grant for local processors to purchase new equipment and increase processing capacity.

Lisa Charpilloz Hanson, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, said the investment is a strategic move to address some of the limits processors and ranchers face.

“This is the second major investment the state is making in meat processing in Oregon. Our beef industry is a significant contributor to the national livestock supply chain, but much of the economic opportunity is lost because the processing is out of the state,” Charpilloz Hanson said in a statement.

Charpilloz Hanson also said the investment gives more options to ranchers and farmers when they’re looking for a processor, thereby strengthening the local food supply.

Before the Oregon state meat inspection program came online, ranchers and farmers relied on just 13 USDA inspected processors scattered across the state. A shortage of inspectors, especially at the peak of the pandemic, made it increasingly difficult for smaller to medium-sized ranchers to find a place for butchering livestock, said Casey Miller, owner of the Meating Place, a butcher shop and cafe in Hillsboro.

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“There’s just not nearly enough inspected processors to really make the local food chain work. Right now, people are having to truck their animals all the way to Eastern Oregon or Idaho or southern Oregon or even farther to get them processed under inspection,” Miller said. “ODA’s program is really trying to simplify all those steps and get more meat producers under inspection within the state.”

Miller’s butcher shop was one of the first state inspected facilities. His business also just received $697,500 from the latest grants.He said the plan is to build a new slaughterhouse division to process animals for other meat producers under inspection. Which means that ranchers can then be able to sell it under their own label at restaurants, farmers markets or grocery stores.

“These funds are going a long way to taking the risk out of us jumping in to kind of fill this void,” Miller said.

ODA projects the state investment will lead to an additional 3.5 million pounds of locally sourced meat in communities throughout Oregon annually.



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Republicans from eastern, southern Oregon choose different styles in Senate primaries • Oregon Capital Chronicle

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Republicans from eastern, southern Oregon choose different styles in Senate primaries • Oregon Capital Chronicle


Family members of two ousted Republican senators will take their place in the Oregon Senate next year after primary elections that saw hardline conservatives win in southern Oregon and more pragmatic Republicans prevail in eastern Oregon.

No Democrats running for the Senate faced primary challenges this year, but Republicans had several open seats because of retirements and a law that barred most sitting GOP senators from running for reelection because they participated in a six-week walkout in 2023. 

Sen. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, beat back claims that he wasn’t conservative enough to prevail in a four-way primary in the 1st Senate District, which includes the southern coast. Beatty Sen. Dennis Linthicum’s wife, Diane, and Cave Junction Sen. Art Robinson’s son Noah won their primaries in the adjacent 2nd and 28th districts in southern Oregon, and both are expected to continue their family members’ streaks of strident opposition to almost every bill in Salem. 

Meanwhile, former House Republican Leader Mike McLane and Wallowa County rancher Todd Nash handily won primaries in sprawling districts in eastern Oregon. Both indicated they want to work with other legislators to pass laws and bring funding back to their districts, rather than starting from a place of opposing every bill. 

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Bryan Iverson, a political consultant from central Oregon who formerly served as head of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm and worked on state Rep. Christine Goodwin’s campaign against Robinson, said it’s hard to extrapolate much from primaries where only a quarter of registered voters turned out, but that there seemed to be a different tone among Republican primary voters in southern Oregon who preferred “obstructionist” candidates to the more “mainstream Republicans” who dominate eastern Oregon. 

“In the Republican primaries, at least in southern Oregon, you see victories by the same hard-right-leaning candidates and not the everyday Republicans,” he said. 

The Republicans who won contested primaries on Tuesday night represent safe districts and are all but certain to serve in January in the Senate, where Democrats now have a four-seat majority.  But Sen. Dick Anderson, R-Lincoln City, and Redmond school board member Michael Summers face tough general election races in the closely divided coastal 5th Senate District that Anderson now represents and the Democratic-leaning 27th Senate District in central Oregon that Summers is vying for, which is now represented by Sen Tim Knopp, R-Bend. 

Senate Minority Leader Daniel Bonham of The Dalles said Republicans aren’t taking anything for granted in November.   

“We clearly recognize, just going through numbers statewide, there are fewer Republicans than there are Democrats, period,” Bonham said. “Those districts certainly present challenges. I think our candidates are up for the challenge, but simultaneously, it’s going to take tremendous campaigns and spirited effort to get us across the finish line.”

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Sen. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, won his four-way Republican primary along the southern coast. (Jordan Gale/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

1st District along the southern coast

Brock Smith beat back three challengers in a race rampant with false claims about his record. He sent cease-and-desist letters to supporters of opponent Todd Vaughn early in the campaign after they began sending mail and bought a billboard falsely accusing him of connections to the Chinese Communist Party.

Hours before the ballot return deadline, Vaughn’s campaign sued Brock Smith over mailers that described Vaughn as “too extreme, dishonest and has no experience,” which the lawsuit maintained was false because Vaughn “is honest, he is not extreme and he has experience.” Brock Smith’s campaign ads also described Vaughn as connected to a misinformation group and said he had been kicked out of the Douglas County Republican Central Committee. 

Brock Smith won with nearly 57% of the vote, compared to about 29% for Vaughn, 9% for Paul Romero and 6% for Ashley Hicks. As of Wednesday afternoon, he said none of his opponents had conceded.

“I don’t think anyone has ever seen a campaign such as this, where this blatant misinformation continued to flow even though it was unfounded and disproven,” Brock Smith said.

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He said he intends to continue his work in the Capitol, including trying to get more resources for preventing and fighting wildfires that have led to sky-high home insurance rates for Oregonians living near forests. 

2nd District in southern Oregon

Noah Robinson, son of departing Sen. Art Robinson, R-Cave Junction, easily dispatched state Rep. Christine Goodwin, R-Canyonville, in the 2nd Senate District.

Noah Robinson
Noah Robinson, son of current Sen. Art Robinson, R-Cave Junction, beat state Rep. Christine Goodwin, R-Canyonville. (Campaign photo)

Noah Robinson is a familiar face around the Capitol – he has worked with his father for years, and during the past two legislative sessions as the elder Robinson’s health failed, Noah has consistently been by Art’s side on the Senate floor and in committee hearings.

Art Robinson has reliably been one of the most reliable “no” votes in the Senate, even on bills that otherwise have wide bipartisan support. Noah Robinson said he expects to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“There’s all this bipartisan stuff because of the deals, and voters don’t like that,” Robinson said. “So when you tell them that you’re against that, you’re gonna vote entirely from principle – obviously, you talk to the other side, try to make the bad bills less bad – but if the final product is something you don’t want, you vote against it, and that really appeals to the voters because that’s what they want.”

While Art Robinson split from the Republican caucus to form an Independent Caucus with Sen. Brian Boquist, a Dallas Republican who was registered with the Independent Party of Oregon for several years, Noah Robinson said he plans to stick with the Republican Caucus. Boquist was barred from running for reelection and is now the Republican nominee for state treasurer. 

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The 2nd Senate District includes Josephine and parts of Douglas and Jackson counties. Robinson’s strong support in Josephine County, which represented the bulk of ballots cast in the primary, pushed him to winning more than 60% of the vote districtwide. 

Goodwin said she was “bummed” that she didn’t prevail, and that it was clear voters in Josephine County wanted a different brand of Republican. But she cautioned against the approach Robinson expects to take in Salem.

“The results in this election are clear,” she said. “Yet, Republicans must remember we cannot expect to succeed by refusing to engage and participate in the legislative process in Salem. My campaign team and I wish our Republican nominee the best and hope he can be an effective legislator.”

Iverson said Josephine County – or at least the Republicans in the area who showed up to vote – made it clear they wanted a different style of candidate.

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“They want that brand of Republicans that are just obstructionist, basically,” Iverson said. “I think that they were pushing for that from the get-go, and if that’s obviously how it turned out. That’s not what Chris wanted to represent, she wanted to represent those people and have a different way of going about it than I think Noah would, but that’s not what the people wanted.” 

Diane Linthicum
Diane Linthicum is set to follow in her husband’s footsteps as the senator from Klamath County. (Campaign photo)

28th District in southern Oregon

Dennis Linthicum of Beatty is now the Republican nominee for secretary of state, but his wife and chief of staff, Diane, plans to continue a seven-year tradition of Linthicums representing Klamath County in the state Senate. 

Diane Linthicum, who beat Klamath County Commissioner Dave Henslee with nearly 60% of the vote, did not return a call Wednesday and has not responded to various requests for interviews throughout her campaign. Dennis Linthicum, likewise, has never responded to phone calls or emails from the Capital Chronicle.

Henslee, who will leave the commission in December, said he was disappointed but respects voters’ decision. He said he’s looking for a new way to serve his community, and that he doesn’t have high hopes that Linthicum will serve the district well. 

“I think that the best predictor of the future is the past,” Henslee said. “She completely supports Dennis Linthicum’s voting record, and in my opinion, his voting record hasn’t benefited our district. I was running for people and for our district, and to try to move the needle and do some really positive things for District 28, and unfortunately, the voters didn’t see it the same way I did.” 

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29th District in northeast Oregon

Todd Nash
Wallowa County rancher Todd Nash won the primary to replace retiring Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena. (Campaign photo)

Cattle rancher and Wallowa County Commissioner Todd Nash handily won a four-way primary to replace retiring Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, in the 29th Senate District that covers most of northeast Oregon.

He captured about 53% of the vote, compared to about 25% for former Morrow County Commissioner Jim Doherty and 20% for Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann. Eastern Oregon University student Andy Huwe came in a distant fourth with less than 2% of the vote.

Nash also might make Oregon history as the first senator to hail from Wallowa County – he isn’t aware of any others, but he’s willing to be proven wrong if any historians know of a former senator from Oregon’s most remote county. 

He said he plans to meet with Republican senators, with county commissioners in the district and with natural resource groups including the Oregon Farm Bureau and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association – which he previously led as president – to decide on legislation for next year. 

Former Judge Mike McLane is likely to replace retiring Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale. (Campaign photo)

30th District in eastern Oregon

Former House Republican Leader Mike McLane will head back to the Capitol after winning more than two-thirds of the vote in a three-way contest in the sprawling 30th Senate District. Retiring Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, endorsed McLane, who was House GOP leader when Findley was first appointed as a state representative in 2018.

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McLane left the state House in 2019 after eight years, six as leader of the Republican caucus, to serve as a circuit court judge in Crook and Jefferson counties. He returned to private practice as a lawyer in 2021. 

McLane described himself as a pragmatist when it comes to legislation. As a lawmaker, he said he plans to participate and contribute to policy decisions in every way he can, and he plans to speak soon with both Bonham and Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, about how he can help next year. 

“Ultimately, the goal is to get something that works,” he said. “During my time as a judge, I saw in the courtroom the consequences of policy passed in Salem, and it just shaped in me a view that perfection is often the enemy of the good. I believe that voters in my district want their representatives in Salem to do their best and to work hard, but ultimately to advocate for their interests and for the betterment of our state.” 

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Progressive Oregon district attorney ousted by tough-on-crime challenger

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Progressive Oregon district attorney ousted by tough-on-crime challenger


A centrist district attorney candidate in Oregon has ousted his incumbent progressive opponent after running on a tough-on-crime platform.

Nathan Vasquez previously served as a deputy prosecutor to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. Vasquez won Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary election after returns showed him receiving more than 50% of the vote.

Vasquez, who was endorsed by several police groups, said Schmidt conceded the election during a Wednesday phone call. He was a prosecutor in the DA’s office for more than 20 years. 

“I want to thank him for his professionalism and service to our community,” Vasquez said in a post on his campaign Facebook page. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the DA’s office, with community partners, and with the public to help build a safer Multnomah County for all of us.”

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SUSPECTED PORTLAND SERIAL KILLER HAD TRIED TO CHOKE POLICE K-9, WAS RELEASED FROM PRISON EARLY: REPORT

Nathan Vasquez, left, has ousted Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt in Oregon. (Vasquez for DA; Getty Images)

Schmidt came into office days before the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and the calls for changes to the criminal justice system that came amid racial justice protests in Portland and other cities nationwide. Other DAs ushered into office in liberal bastions like San Francisco and Seattle around the same time have since faced setbacks amid frustrations from the public over crime.

Generally, those district attorneys have supported finding alternatives to imprisonment and have refrained from prosecuting low-level crimes to reduce incarceration rates and address social inequities in the criminal justice system.

Critics have said such policies enable criminals and public safety risks.  

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PORTLAND SERIAL KILLER FEARS: VICTIMS’ PARENTS SPEAK OUT AFTER ‘CAREER CRIMINAL’ NAMED PERSON OF INTEREST

Mike Schmidt and Portland protests split image

Portland, Ore., right, one of the most reliably blue cities in the U.S., has ousted its incumbent district attorney, Mike Schmidt, left, with a former Republican in Nathan Vasquez [not pictured]. (Getty Images)

Shortly after taking office, racial justice demonstrations gripped Portland as chaos erupted on the streets nearly every night for months. Schmidt announced that his office wouldn’t prosecute protesters unless they were arrested for deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person. Interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass were cited as examples of cases his office would decline.

Vasquez announced the policy, as well as Schmidt’s support for a 2020 voter-approved measure that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs. Earlier this year, state lawmakers rolled back the law and restored criminal penalties for so-called “personal use” possession amid one of the nation’s largest spikes in overdose fatalities. 

Schmidt supported the move. 

Person drops off their vote-by-mail ballot at a dropbo

A person drops off their vote-by-mail ballot at a dropbox in Pioneer Square during primary voting in Portland, Ore.  (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

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In his message, Vasquez said he was “committed to ending open-air drug dealing and drug use while helping connect individuals to treatment, to rebuilding the broken relationships between the DA’s office and the community, and to ensuring that victims are the number one priority of my office.”

Fox News Digital has reached out to Schmidt’s campaign. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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