This is a photo taken from a ridge looking into the Siletz Gorge. photo credit. Rio Davidson

Measure 21-177 Wins!

header Lincoln County Bans Aerial Pesticide Spraying

Measure 21-177 increases its lead to 61 votes, winning a highly contested election.

Newport, Oregon – A majority of voters who returned to sign unsigned ballots approved Measure 21-177, bringing the total vote to 6994 for the ban versus 6933 against it, making the ban on aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County a reality. Thanks to the many people who volunteered and campaigned so valiantly, the vast amounts spent by corporate opponents failed to convince voters that profits are more important than health, safety, and the right to informed consent.

By this victory, Lincoln County is the first county in the United States to ban aerial spraying of pesticides by the vote of the people. This is not the first time Lincoln County has spoken truth to power and won.

“Back in 1976, folks here put Lincoln County on the map by winning a huge landmark case against the United States government, stopping federal spraying of Agent Orange on our forests and homes and waterways,” said Susan Parker Swift. “Now Lincoln County has done it again. I couldn’t be prouder to share this repeat victory!”

Barbara Davis, co-petitioner of measure 21-177, says our win brought to her mind the following quote by Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

This election was the first major hurdle Measure 21-177 had to overcome to become a reality. Implementation of the measure, and the obstacles to it that opponents will raise, among them superior “rights” to override the rights of the people, including the people’s right to vote and their constitutional right to safety, are next. Citizens for a Healthy County will continue to meet those challenges, and welcomes all who are willing to join us in the effort.

-Lincoln County Community Rights

 

To learn more about the ordinance and the campaign.

 www.yes-on-21-177.org

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This google earth photo shows a 2013 view of the Siletz water shed.

This google earth photo shows a 2013 view of the Siletz water shed.

Siletz River Takes Legal Action to Defend Its Rights

July 24th, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT

Maria Sause

mkrausster@gmailcom

541 574 2961; cell 541 961 6385

Rio Davidson

riodavidson@gmail.com

cell 541 961 5606

Newport, Oregon: This afternoon the Siletz River Ecosystem filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, LLC v. Dana W. Jenkins and Lincoln County, and Lincoln County Community Rights. This is the third ecosystem in the United States to take legal action to protect its rights, secured in this case by Measure 21-177, which was adopted by Lincoln County voters in the May 2017 election.

The two plaintiffs – Rex Capri of Newport and Wakefield Farms of Eddyville – claim that their “right” to spray toxic pesticides aerially is greater than the right of the people of Lincoln County to protect public health, clean water, and the rights of ecosystems and natural communities not to be poisoned from the air.

Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) was granted intervention in the case on July 2, 2017, after the county made it clear that their interest lies merely in getting an opinion from the court and not in actively defending the law adopted by voters in May.

“I have lived in Lincoln County for 43 years in a home surrounded by river and forest. I am part of the ecosystems of Lincoln County,” says Carol Van Strum, advocate for the intervention of the Siletz Ecosystem. “The Declaration of Independence itself asserts that the laws of nature pre-empt human law. Like the Lorax, I speak for the rights of waters and forests and wildlife to challenge human violations of natural law.”

For the first time, the Siletz ecosystem and all Lincoln County natural communities and ecosystems have secured the right to be free from toxic trespass from aerially sprayed pesticides, a right that is essential to ecosystems’ on-going health, function and survival. That right is stated in Section 2(a) of Measure 21-177 or the Freedom from Aerially Sprayed Pesticides Ordinance of Lincoln County.

The Siletz watershed has lost 46% of its forest in the last 16 years. Huge clear-cuts resulting from strip logging abound in the area and have all been aerially sprayed with pesticides multiple times. Barren of vegetation, the steep terrain causes mudslides and pesticide run-off into the river and smaller feeder creeks, posing a high risk of contaminating a major source of drinking water for Lincoln County, and additionally destroying crucial habitat for salmon and steelhead.

Over the last year, high courts in New Zealand, India, and Colombia have recognized rights for rivers as a means of creating a higher standard of protection for those ecosystems. In Ecuador, the federal constitution has recognized rights of nature since 2008, and two different legal cases have affirmed that rivers have rights and that human activity violates those rights. Restitution penalties go to restoring the ecosystem.

“Protecting nature’s rights through law came from rural, conservative Pennsylvania”, says Kai Huschke of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, the public interest law firm representing LCCR and the Siletz Ecosystem. “Decades of environmental destruction in Pennsylvania made it a no brainer for folks there to protect what sustains them at the highest level. Today over three dozen communities in the United States, including Lincoln County, have stepped forward to secure nature’s rights.”

Though the lawsuit continues to move forward, there is no indication as to how soon the court will respond to the motion to intervene by the Siletz River Ecosystem.

ABOUT LINCOLN COUNTY COMMUNITY RIGHTS

Lincoln County Community Rights is a public benefit organization that seeks to educate and empower people to exercise their right of local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, their quality of life, their health and their safety. Given the harms that people and ecosystems suffer from the practice of aerial spraying of industrial forest land with pesticides, the group drafted an ordinance to ban aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County, Oregon. Measure 21-177 was adopted by voters in May 2017, making Lincoln County the first county in the United States to ban aerial pesticide spraying through the vote of the people.

http://www.lincolncountycommunityrights.org/press-info/

This google earth photo is from the view point looking at the Siletz gorge from the South.

This google earth photo is from the view point looking at the Siletz gorge from the South.

Citizen Group Intervenes to Protect the People’s Ban on Aerial Spray
Thursday, July 7, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Media Contacts
Maria Sause                                                           Rio Davidson
mkrausster@gmailcom                                          riodavidson@gmail.com
541 574 2961; cell 541 961 6385                          cell 541 961 5606
 

Newport – Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) has filed to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Measure 21-177. The lawsuit was filed by Newport resident Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, LLC against Lincoln County and Dana Jenkins, in his capacity as County Clerk.  Measure 21-177 was voted into law by the people of Lincoln County in the May 16, 2017 election.

Intervention allows Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) to join the County as respondents in the suit, allowing the people of Lincoln County to stand up for the peoples’ law. The County has made it known that its interest in the lawsuit is to see what the court decides.  Such an approach falls short of actually defending the ordinance approved by the people’s vote. In this lawsuit, LCCR is represented by CELDF attorney Ann Kneeland.

Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR) is a non-profit group based in Lincoln County and run by local volunteers that seeks to empower people to exercise their right to local community self-governance in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, quality of life, health and safety. Measure 21-177 campaign was run by Citizens for a Healthy County (CHC), political committee of Lincoln County Community Rights.

The right of local community self-governance gives Lincoln County voters the right to create and pass local laws that protect the health, safety and welfare of the people, their community, and nature.  It also empowers them to enact laws that ban corporations from engaging in activities that violate the above rights and obligates County government for enforcement.

Measure 21-177, which is also known as the Freedom from Aerially Sprayed Pesticides Ordinance of Lincoln County, secures the rights of people to be free from toxic trespass, the right to clean air, water, and soil, and the right to enjoy outdoor recreation all free from the harm of aerial sprayed pesticides. In addition, the rights of ecosystems and natural communities in Lincoln County are also protected from aerial spray of pesticides.

It is common in Lincoln County and in other communities in Oregon for the timber industry to administer multiple aerial sprayings in conjunction with the practice of clearcutting and replanting within the industrial forest model.

Contrary to the plaintiffs’ assertions filed in their complaint, LCCR  believes that the Freedom from Aerially Sprayed Pesticides Ordinance of Lincoln County has been lawfully and validly adopted by the authority of Lincoln County’s voters. LCCR asserts that this law should be enacted and enforced under the constitutional right of local self-government which takes precedence over state preemption when laws enacted by the latter are less protective of health and safety.

As part of the continuing education around local community self-government, the defense and enforcement of Measure 21-177, and what is involved in the current  lawsuit, , LCCR is holding a public Community Rights Action (CRA) meeting every fourth Thursday of the month at the Visual Art Center (unless posted to take place at a different location), from 6:30 to 8:30. These meetings will sometimes include guest speakers and films.

State Wide Initiative & Local Campaign

Please review our attorney’s report on the Salem hearing on our state-wide initiative to amend the Constitution of Oregon to give citizens the right to local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights.  Remember, we gathered the 1000 qualifying signatures for that initiative about a year ago?  At that time, the state did not authorize us to continue gathering the total number of required signatures for a state-wide initiative, arguing that our initiative did not comply with the single-subject rule, and that the matter was one that needs to bee decided at the legislative level.  Oregonians for Community Rights, the political committee of the Oregon Community Rights Network, which at this point represents 6 active counties, challenged that decision in court, represented by our attorney Ann Kneeland (who also successfully represented us here in Lincoln County in the 2 lawsuits filed by Peter Bregman).  The hearing was long, and there was not enough time to cover all the arguments brought by our attorney or by the State.  There will likely be another hearing on the matter.  What is attached here is Ann Kneeland’s report on what went on at this first hearing.
We are embarked on a long educational project to raise awareness of the fact that we do have a right to local community self-government in matters that pertain to our fundamental rights, and that this right is being thwarted by pre-emption laws in which the State dictates that certain matters can only be decided at the State level, thereby overruling the will of the people, usually in order to protect the rights of corporations to pursue their often harmful projects in our communities.  Our initiative in Lincoln County fits right in with the ORCRN’s state-wide constitutional amentdment effort  by pursuing a BAN ON AERIAL PESTICIDE SPRAYING in our county.  Aerial pesticide spraying violates our fundamental right to safety as stated in Section 1 of the Constitution of Oregon.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT OUR COMMUNITY RIGHTS EFFORTS LOCALLY AND STATE-WIDE GO HAND IN HAND.  ONE BACKS AND ILLUSTRATES THE NEED FOR THE OTHER.
IN LINCOLN COUNTY, WE ARE PREPARING OUR UPCOMING CAMPAIGN TO BAN AERIAL PESTICIDE SPRAYING THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY VIA MEASURE 21-177 IN THE MAY 2017 ELECTION.
WE WILL NEED MANY VOLUNTEERS TO SPREAD INFORMATIONAL LEAFLETS IN ALL OUR PRECINCTS.  THIS IS NOT A DIFFICULT JOB, AND IF EVERYONE DOES IT IN THEIR IMMEDIATE NEIGHBORHOOD, WE WILL BE ABLE TO COVER THE COUNTY QUITE WELL.  PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU CAN HELP WITH THIS VERY EASY JOB OF LEAVING INFORMATIONAL LEAFLETS ON THE DOORS OF HOMES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.  THERE WILL BE OTHER WAYS TO HELP ALSO, AND WE WILL LET YOU KNOW AS THE NEED COMES UP.
WE WILL NEED MONEY TO PRINT LARGE AMOUNTS OF LEAFLETS TO SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY, TO PAY FOR ADVERTISING IN THE MEDIA, FOR YARD SIGNS, FOR BUTTONS, TO PUBLISH A LIST OF PEOPLE ENDORSING OUR MEASURE, AND STATEMENTS OF ENDORSEMENT IN THE VOTER’S PAMPHLET  (EACH STATEMENT OF ENDORSEMENT, AND EACH LIST OF ENDORSERS OF NO MORE THAN 350 WORDS COSTS $400).   
PLEASE DONATE THROUGH OUR WEBSITE DONATION BUTTON BY GOING FIRST TO LINCOLNCOUNTYCOMMUNITYRIGHTS.ORG, THEN CLICKING ON CITIZENS FOR A HEALTHY COUNTY, WHERE YOU WILL FIND OUR DONATION BUTTON.  
 
Once again, our heart-felt thanks to all our volunteers who have helped us by gathering signatures, holding house parties, and donating!  We cannot do this work without you!  It will take all of us to change a system that favors profits over people’s health and safety, and to leave a planet fit to live in for future generations!  If everyone helps a little, we can accomplish a lot!  THANK YOU!!!
 
Any questions?  Please write to mkrausster@gmail.com, or call 541-961-6385; 541-574-2961

Circuit Court Supports Ban of Aerial Sprayed Pesticides Initiative

On April 13, 2016, the Lincoln County Circuit Court affirmed that an initiative filed by Citizens of a Healthy County banning aerial spraying of pesticides in Lincoln County is in compliance with Oregon Statutes regulating the initiative process. The initiative would also guarantee the right of local community self-government in Lincoln County in order to enforce that ban.

Communities across the state face a range of Environmental harms and threats to their health from  aerial pesticide spraying, building of an LNG pipeline, public water extraction, coal and oil trains, etc. By banning aerial pesticide spraying, we will be protecting our county’s soil, air, and water.  Lincoln County citizens will be advancing the right to local community self-government in order to secure the rights of the people, the community, and nature to be protected against activities that violate those rights, putting their safety at risk.

The initiative now faces one more legal hurdle.    There is a challenge to the ballot title alleging that it is unfair and insufficient.  The ballot title was drafted by the District Attorney, in compliance with regulations.    Citizens for a Healthy County is optimistic that this lawsuit will be resolved quickly to allow for collection of the necessary number of voters’ signatures to place this initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The goal of Citizens for a Healthy County/Lincoln County Community Rights is to make democracy legal where we live.

Let the people decide.

Let the People Decide

Right now, the right of the people of Lincoln County to decide is under attack.

A judge of the Lincoln County Circuit Court will soon determine whether or not to allow gathering signatures for an initiative petition, based on arguments heard in court, representing the profit-driven interests of industry invested in aerial spraying of pesticides in our county on the one hand, vs. the right of the people to use the initiative petition process to propose new law to protect their safety and that of the environment on the other. The answer should be clear – let the people decide.

The initiative petition in question is titled “Freedom from Aerially Sprayed Pesticides of Lincoln County” and has been put forward by Citizens for a Healthy County. It asks the people of Lincoln County if they want to ban the practice of aerial spraying of pesticides (a practice that has already been banned in federal forests for 30 years) in order to protect our right to clean air, water, and soil and to stop our continued exposure to toxic chemicals.

The judge is not considering whether aerial spraying of pesticides should or should not be banned, but whether the people of Lincoln County can be asked that question through circulation of a petition which could only become a ballot measure if it receives the required number of signatures.

The government of Lincoln County already decided that asking the question is reasonable and should happen.  However, on February 29th,  the attorney for the party opposing circulation of the petition argued in court that wanting clean air, water, and soil somehow entails a hidden threat to voters; that questioning the authority of industry profiting from aerial spraying of pesticides and the state to force toxic chemicals on our forests, watersheds, and people also entails that threat.  Perhaps worst of all, the opposing attorney argued that people wanting to defend their constitutionally-guaranteed rights, even when our government and the courts may fail to do so, is again a threat that voters need to be protected from.

We must let the people decide. The petition must go out for signatures.  With enough signatures the initiative becomes a ballot measure.  Then the people – not vested interests – and not a single judge – decide. What is at stake here is much bigger than the question of aerial spraying of pesticides. The real issue is our right, as the people of Lincoln County, to govern in matters that pertain to our fundamental rights.

People of all political stripes are sick and tired of having money influence how we vote. If the judge stops circulation of the petition for signatures, thereby supporting the opinion of the attorney opposing our initiative, it means that money can influence not only how we vote, but whether we get to vote at all.

We believe in Article I, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution, where it declares : “All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.”

We look forward to the judge in this case doing the right thing – letting  the people decide. Otherwise, those constitutional words aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

María Sause and other members of Lincoln County Community Rights

BEHIND THE EMERALD

LINCOLN COUNTY COMMUNITY RIGHTS PRESENTS:

BEHIND THE EMERALD CURTAIN”

MARCH 11, 6 PM, Yachats Commons Room # 8

Pacific Rivers’ award-winning documentary about the effects of industrial logging and herbicide spraying of coastal forests on our communities and environment, followed by comments from members of Lincoln County Community Rights and a discussion with the audience.

Citizens for a Healthy County, the Petitioning Committee for Lincoln County Community Rights, has filed an ordinance banning aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County.     The County has approved the ordinance, but a private timberland owner has filed a lawsuit against it, in spite of the well-publicized risks to the health of our people, ecosystems, water supply, air and soil posed by aerial pesticide spraying.    That lawsuit needs to be resolved in our courts before we can be authorized to gather signatures to put our ordinance on the ballot. The attorneys working on this case, on our side, the County’s side, and Petitioner’s side (the side objecting to our ordinance) presented their oral arguments on February 29th. The judge is taking time before issuing a ruling on the case.

This court case will end up in a decision on our fundamental right to ask the voters in our county whether we should allow timber and chemical corporations to poison our ecosystems and the water, air, soil that are essential to the health of all life in them, including ours. OUR INITITATIVE DOES NOT DECIDE ANYTHING. IT ASKS THE VOTERS TO DECIDE ON A QUESTION ABOUT OUR CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHT TO SAFETY.

KEEP IN MIND:

AERIAL PESTICIDE SPRAYING IN NATIONAL FORESTS HAS BEEN BANNED FOR 30 YEARS!

AERIAL PESTICIDE SPRAYING IN PRIVATE AND STATE-OWNED FORESTS TAKES PLACE FOR PROFIT!

OUR HEALTH AND THAT OF OUR ENVIRONMENT AND ECOSYSTEMS ARE AT STAKE!

LET THE PEOPLE, NOT CORPORATIONS DECIDE!

                                  MARCH 11, 6 PM, Yachats Commons Room # 8.     

Information:   Maria Sause 541-961-6385 mkraussster@gmail.com , www.lincolncountycommunityrights.org

“Drift: A Community Seeking Justice” December 10th 6:30-8:30pm

Lincoln County Community Rights and its allied organization Citizens for a Healthy County present:

“Drift: A Community Seeking Justice” a short film created by U of O students about the Gold Beach accident involving herbicide spray of a neighborhood.

This event will be held December 10th 6:30-8:30 at the Lincoln City Eventuary, 560 Fleet Ave.

This event will have several speakers that will discuss the harm inflicted on the community of Gold Beach in October 2013 and what we can do about it. The public will also be invited to discuss how aerial pesticide spraying has affected the lives of your family, friends and neighbors. Come join us and learn how citizens are using local lawmaking to exercise our right against involuntary poisoning by industrial logging practices.  Industrial logging cuts ten times more timber in Oregon’s coast range than the Forest Service and douses every clear cut with poisonous chemicals. These practices threaten our community’s health by contaminating our wildlife, fisheries and publicly owned water.

Citizens for a Healthy County is seeking to change this harmful practice in Lincoln County by a Citizens Initiative filed July 6, 2015.  Contact Citizens for a Healthy County by email: mkrausster@gmail.com or by phone 541.961.6385.

DRIFT Movie Poster - Lincoln City

Open Conversation About Community Rights in Yachats

Lincoln County Community Rights has submitted an ordinance banning aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County.

Share your thoughts, concerns, or personal stories in open conversation about its meaning and implications.

The Drift Inn, 124 US 101, Yachats, Thursday, Nov. 19, 4:00 – 6:00 pm.

For more information, and to e-mail us your RSVP, please call 541 961 6385;  write mkrausster@gmail.com;  Please visit our website at lincolncountycommunityrights.org.