For those who couldn’t attend the March 12 hearing regarding Uproot Meats, here’s a brief update. It was certainly interesting, though not very satisfying. We had good representation. Krista slipped in at the last minute. She was alone. She went to the back of the room and took some video then she went to the stand. She appeared to be quite nervous, but she actually proceeded to use her camera to videotape the audience while on the stand. I continue to be amazed at her gall and inappropriateness.
Anyway, the Code Enforcement (CE) Officer was not very tough, but he did have numerous violations against her grouped into three sets. The first set was related to the lack of permitting of the structure. We were able to produce and submit for the record on Monday ample evidence that they were living in the structure. So during the hearing, Krista finally admitted that they are living in the structure and now they want to do a land use application to convert the slaughterhouse into a dwelling. She stated that it just wasn’t practical to have the home so high up on the hill. Thank you, Hyiah, Ariel, and Perry, for the great time- and date-stamped photos. She requested a 180-day continuance. The Hearings Officer (HO) granted her a 90-day continuance “with some reluctance.” But he did it anyway. She says she will seek legal advice during that time. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, June 11, at 9:00 a.m. We get to do this again.
The big question here is — is it even possible to have a slaughterhouse and residence in the same building? Logic would say no. Did they just basically put themselves out of the commercial slaughter business?
The HO had two more cases against UM which he combined into one. There were five counts of no permits. Two regarding building the chicken coop without a permit have been removed. They received land use approval on that and are in the ag exemption process. There were seven matters regarding violating the Stop Work Order. Maximum fine would be $7,000 — although no fine was imposed at this time. The HO asked her if she was requesting a continuance on these too and she replied affirmatively. So another 90-day continuance for these too. There is also a violation for occupying the property without structural building permits. The County will proceed to pursue this violation. Thankfully, the HO did explain to her that these charges would not go away by getting permitting straightened out. Although, oddly, he will allow them to continue living there as long as they understand the safety risks by living in a structure with no permits or inspections. Although the structure has near neighbors, the HO did not seem to consider the safety risks to others.
We also had an interesting conversation with DEQ this week. Both DEQ and ODA visited and walked the property in response to the TID video. There is definitely an open violation for discharge into waters of the state. They’re trying to determine whose jurisdiction it is in. We need to continue to monitor and report. Maybe we’ll let UM think we’ve lost interest and aren’t paying such close attention. If they discharge into waters of the state again after efforts to correct (with the Galli engineering group), that will be a second charge. If there is a second occurrence before 36 months have passed, the State of OR can take civil action against them. In my mind, that would likely be the end of the road for UM meats if they haven’t already been dissuaded.
Don’t Uproot Ashland