Don’t Uproot Ashland Wants Uproot Meats, LLC Held Responsible for Its Numerous Violations

Holding Violators Responsible

As you may know, the citizens’ group Don’t Uproot Ashland has been challenging the operations of Uproot Meats, LLC (UM) for three years now.

We recently obtained aerial footage of the current “lay of the land” on the hillside property UM stripped south of Ashland, first for a marijuana grow that failed, followed by a pig and chicken farm which now appears to be failing, too. UM’s newest enterprise positions it as a landlord: renting trailer/RV space on its property; small units in what was formerly the “kill room” of its unpermitted slaughterhouse; and apartments in its soon to be completed “residence,” which has been built with a single-family residence permit.

Here is the link to the (chilling) video: https://vimeo.com/671246634

Along its reckless journey, Uproot Meats has incurred more than a dozen violations from the Jackson County Planning Department, with three new violations just issued. To our great dismay, the County has been chronically remiss in enforcing the violations it has issued and pursuing new abuses.

Today, our group sent a letter to the three Jackson County Commissioners responsible for overseeing the Planning Department’s work, demanding that they finally take true action against Uproot Meats. If you are as upset as we are, we encourage you to email the Commissioners and join our campaign:

Rick Dyer: DyerRR@jacksoncounty.org

Dave Dotterrer: DotterDG@jacksoncounty.org

Colleen Roberts: RobertCL@jacksoncounty.org

Here is our letter, which includes a full history of UM’s operation.

Dear Commissioner,

We are writing to call your attention, once more, to Uproot Meats, LLC.  We are a citizen’s group called Don’t Uproot Ashland (with over 200 members) that has struggled against this operation since it first stripped the hillside south of Ashland (with no permits and inviting a range of violations) four years ago and started raising pigs and chickens on the denuded slope.

Uproot Meats’ story is very much a Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde affair, presenting a fairy tale to the public that has little basis in fact. Despite its claims, UM’s poultry and pork are neither USDA inspected, certified organic, nor certified humane. Indeed, Certified Humane has sent inspectors to their property twice and both times found their practices deficient in every regard. (After the second inspection, which yielded a 50 page report of violations, CH’s director told me in a phone call that UM was “certified inhumane.”) The organization’s lawyer has twice notified Krista Vegter to cease advertising her products as certified humane, but until recently she persisted.

Meanwhile, DEQ has pending investigations of UM’s practice of allowing waste products to flow into the TID canal at the edge of their property. And your office, the Jackson County Planning Department, recently issued three new violations against UM, adding to the dozen it has accumulated over the past three years, with fines exceeding $8,000 that remain largely unpaid.

In sum, on the one hand, UM tries to keep alive the narrative about their operation, “Our meats are good medicine”—including photos of pigs grazing in green pasture when, in fact, there are few pigs left and there never was green pasture on this barren slope. 

On the other hand, in reality, Uproot Meats has become, what one neighbor called, “a slum landlord.” Vegter now provides rental units and rents space to folks with RVs—a dozen people at last count—asking $1200 a month for a camper space. The former (unpermitted) agricultural-use-only building has been converted into three living spaces, with Vegter living on the second floor and two apartments downstairs in what was formerly the “kill room.” (Indeed, everything about the ag building, originally planned as a slaughterhouse, has been unpermitted.)

Last summer, Vegter received a legal permit to build a single family residence at the top of her property (on land that had been earmarked for a residence). Here, too, she has violated the permit issued her by the Jackson County Planning Department, building instead a three-story structure with three rental units.

UM likes to call our group, Don’t Uproot Ashland, a small band of disgruntled neighbors with nothing better to do with their time. With more than 200 concerned members, few of whom are neighbors, we are much more than that.  We remain in this fight because we believe in farming without harming, integrity (and truth in advertising), the humane treatment of animals, public health and safety, and health-related quality of life. We are concerned about the environmental destruction, the abuses to the land, the disregard to the rules and regulations that apply to the rest of us, contaminated run-off, the contamination of the TID Ashland canal, as well as potential contamination of the products UM sells.

We ask that Jackson County hold Ms. Vegter to the same standards that apply to others and that they enforce the penalties they assess. At this point, Ms. Vegter continues to rack up violations, but evidently has little to no regard for authority as her behavior and actions have only continued to get worse.

With kind regards,

Don’t Uproot Ashland