A Letter from a Neighbor of the Hog Slaughter Farm South of Ashland

Dear Sheriff Sickler,

I have been urged by many to write to you.

If you recall, my driveway is an easement through my property to 3152 Siskiyou Blvd, Uproot Meats and Krista Vegter. Because we have to move dogs and livestock across the driveway multiple times a day, we have gates at either end of the driveway. The gate at the bottom protects the lower neighbors from any escaping or wandering animals. It also protects our animals from getting free and getting hurt. The gate at the top is there for the same reasons, plus protects us against both feral animals and loose dogs, which tend to enter our property from the trail along the TID.

Both gates were automatic, opening by remote clicker, for the first eight years. The bottom gate was so for everyone. The top gate was so as a courtesy to the TID staff, who used my driveway to service the canal. When Vegter bought her property, the automatic feature became problematic, because she would open the gates from great distances. Gates would open without warning, often when we were moving animals, or an animal was loose. She would also open the top gate from a distance, one of my animals would get out, and she would shut them out. No requests changed this behavior. After she’d damaged or knocked out my gates four times, I allowed the automatic mechanism to run its course, and left the top gate manual.

July 7, we called for help when Vegter and three others, all armed, staked themselves on my driveway for an hour. Taunting and dancing, they removed my gate, and put in an automatic gate against my expressed no. FWIW, the post holding the solar for that, the control box and its button, are both off the easement. I got the message from the arriving officers that, “this is an open carry state. and Vegter et al can carry guns up and down in front of my house as long as they don’t point them at us, or give a specific time when they will shoot us.” It scares us to death. Vegter et al were told they couldn’t park themselves on the easement. That’s something. But I am intimidated by guns in the hands of the volatile, and so haven’t removed the box, the button, or the solar.

Despite two letters from lawyers telling her she has the right for ingress and egress but not to change the nature of the easement, Vegter’s twice hired paving companies to pave it, telling them the property was hers. One company showed up with heavy equipment this summer, saying they were going to pave it unless I called the police. When a sheriff arrived, we were told it was a civil matter, to be dealt with by lawyers. I called a lawyer, who explained to the head of the crew on the phone that Vegter had no right to pave the easement on my property, and they left. But to actually engage a lawyer costs many thousands. So only the rich and well-off can afford protection.

Both automatic gates stopped working recently, first the lower one, and then the other one a couple of weeks later. I don’t know why, though others have told me that the large increase in traffic plus the gates being blocked open, is likely too much for the mechanism. Being on a steep slope with both gates not working has been a nuisance for everyone who comes here. But we all get out, open the gate, drive through, get out, and close the gate behind us–except Vegter and her people. I have had two repair people out so far to repair the bottom gate, but it is still not working.

When I find a gate left, tied, or blocked open, I tie it with closed with a simple bow, the kind you’d tie on a shoe, that can be opened with one pull. I use colored baling twine, so I can see from some distance whether I need to go shut the gate. I never tie anything other than a bow, though Vegter tells others I tie knots or lock the gate (I’ve never done either, which videos show, too).

The situation has been really escalating. Vegter, and her partner, have been tearing up and down my driveway at high, dangerous speeds. I have videos of this, and of her bumping the gate open with her truck. An animal or person could be easily hit stepping onto the driveway from behind the fence or blackberries. They have been blocking my gates open by stacking asphalt, or tying them open. Vegter’s partner cut off the hooking chain on my lower gate. Before that, Vegter was lifting the upper gate off its hinges (so we had the top soldered). Vegter’s partner has been zooming back and forth repeatedly over our rubber speed bumps, trying to dislodge them. Vegter has twice recently “gotten in the face,” of someone working for me, and my partner. I think the acting out and tantrums are because she’s angry both at the gates not working, and at Eric Weisinger giving her a hard, “no,” about paving the driveway. Negotiations are really impossible. She lies and blames continually to all the neighbors, judges, and her customers.

Vegter has caused extensive damage to property, mine and neighbors, and the environment, over these past four years. Continued activities above (bonfires in July, excessive excavating) threaten safety. There is too much to list in this already extensive letter, and it’s in court records.

I’m sending this as an update. I’m scared, though I don’t expect you can do anything.

A neighbor of Uproot Meats, Ashland