Posts Tagged ‘hammond’

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 5 – June 30, 1997 – Aug. 4, 1997

Monday, April 25th, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act II – Decade of the Nineties
Scene 5 – June 30, 1997 – Aug. 4, 1997

Hammond-family

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
April 25, 2016

This series is not about the two fires and subsequent conviction of Dwight and Steven Hammond.  It is about the abuse, by government agencies, in the two decades prior to the first fire.

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing File Part II” pdf file.

During the course of the constantly revised Opinion (final version, below), on June 30, 1997, Barbara Scott-Brier, Solicitor, Pacific Northwest Region, Department of the Interior, who had been working on the Draft (see Feb 28 & May 22) sends a letter to Elaine Zielinski, State Director, Bureau of Land Management {215-216}, requesting information relative said Draft. The request is for: (more…)

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 4 – May 22, 1997

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act II – Decade of the Nineties
Scene 4 – May 22, 1997

Hammond-family

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
April 21, 2016

This series is not about the two fires and subsequent conviction of Dwight and Steven Hammond.  It is about the abuse, by government agencies, in the two decades prior to the first fire.

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing File Part II” pdf file.

On May 22, 1997, Bob Hiller, author of the draft opinion dated February 27, faxes a revised draft {163-171}. The revised draft is as follows: (more…)

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 3 – February 28, 1997 – May 21, 1997

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act II – Decade of the Nineties
Scene 3 – February 28, 1997 – May 21, 1997

 

Hammond-family

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
April 14, 2016

This series is not about the two fires and subsequent conviction of Dwight and Steven Hammond.  It is about the abuse, by government agencies, in the two decades prior to the first fire.

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing File Part II” pdf file.

So, now that R. S. 2477 has been brought to their attention, FWS Portland has to deal with this significant disruption to their plans. On February 28, 1997, a cover sheet and draft opinion {97-102} directed to Forrest Cameron at Malheur. The draft was prepared by “Chief, Division of Realty”, in Portland. It has notations, apparently made by those at Malheur.  I think that the entire “draft opinion” is worthy of our attention.

Memorandum

To: Refuge Manager, Malheur NWR

Through: Refuge Supervisor, OR/WA/ID

From: Chief, Division of Realty

Subject: Malheur NWR Realty Opinion No.  2  Hammond Ranch Stock Driveway: A Revised Statute (RS.) 2477 Claim ? (more…)

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 2 – June 28, 1994 – January 22, 1997

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act II – Decade of the Nineties
Scene 2 – June 28, 1994 – February 20, 1997

 

Hammond-family

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
April 11, 2016

This series is not about the two fires and subsequent conviction of Dwight and Steven Hammond.  It is about the abuse, by government agencies, in the two decades prior to the first fire.

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing Part II” PDF file.

After the appeal was denied, Dwight chose to pull out the big guns.  His attorney, on June 28, 1994, filed Notice of Appeal with the Department of the Interior, Office of Hearings and Appeal {20-24}, in Arlington, Virginia.

On July 18, The Solicitor’s Office of the Department of the Interior, Northwest Region (Portland) filed a Motion and Memorandum to Dismiss the appeal {25-48}.

On July 15, 1994, the Office of Hearings and Appeals docketed the Appeal {50-51}.

On July 19, the Office of Hearings and Appeals acknowledged the receipt of the Motion to Dismiss and set August 5 as the date for Hammond to respond to that Motion {52}.

On July 21, Hammond’s attorney responds, citing the information contained in the Notice of Appeal as authority for the Office of Hearings and Appeals to hear the appeal {53-54}.

During this process, chronologically, another factor comes in to play.  Though the entire case is included with the documents, the Order for Summary Judgment {56-73} is included.  It appears that the Hammonds had filed against the Water Resource Department of Oregon and the Water Resources Commission, State of Oregon.  The action was to restore historical water rights at the “Bird Waterhole”. (more…)

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 1 – Feb. 18, 1994 – June 9, 1994

Friday, April 8th, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act II – Decade of the Nineties
Scene 1 – February 18, 1994 – June 9, 1994

 

Hammond-familyGary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
April 8, 2016

This series is not about the two fires and subsequent conviction of Dwight and Steven Hammond.  It is about the abuse, by government agencies, in the two decades prior to the first fire.

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing Part II” PDF file.

Six years prior was the last record in the eighties.  The first correspondence in the Nineties, dated February 18, 1994, refers to a letter dated June 1, 1993 {2}, from Forrest W, Cameron, Refuge Manager.  However, the records obtained have no copy of the June 1 letter.  The February letter suggests that the June letter had responded to a violation of the conditions of a Special Use Permit, and the because of that violation, that no Special Use Permit would be issued for the 1994-95 grazing season.

This letter is to notify you of my intent to not reissue a Special Use Permit to you for haying and grazing privileges on Malheur Refuge. This decision will be effective beginning with the 1994-95 haying and grazing season.

My proposal to make this decision is based upon a pattern of lack of compliance with refuge regulations over several years, and more recently the trespass of several hundred head of your cattle and your total disregard for the integrity of the new boundary fence in the Webb-Knox Spring area of Malheur Refuge. After a formal warning to you in my letter of June 1, 1993, stating that further violation of any refuge regulations could jeopardize your refuge permit, you have violated those regulations again. (more…)

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Decade of the Eighties- Scene 5 – May 2, 1988 – May 9, 1988

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act I – Decade of the Eighties
Scene 5 – May 2, 1988 – May 9, 1988

hammond-family all

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
March 23, 2016

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing Part I” PDF file.

In a letter from Fish and Wildlife Services, dated May 22, 1988, on letterhead, though, apparently never sent {107-109}.  It is a response to Dwight’s plight, after his meeting with Shallenberger, and references that meeting. There is no indication of who edited the document. The strike outs (light and by pencil) in that draft that are quite telling:

I am writing in response to your formal appeal regarding actions taken by the Service to regulate Your cattle trailing operation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. I have reviewed the correspondence surrounding this issue and have discussed the topic at length with staff from the refuge and Regional Office. I have also discussed it with Rob Shallenberger following his visit to your ranch. I’d like to express my appreciation for the courtesy you showed Rob and the information you shared with him. I’m sorry that I did not have the time available in my schedule to make the trip to Malheur myself.

After thorough review of this situation, it appears that there are some points on which we agree and others on which we do not. The Service acknowledges that the trailing route around the lower (west) end of Bridge Creek has been used historically, dating back well before you acquired the adjacent BLM allotment. We also agree that the movement of the boundary fence to the legal boundary has made your trailing operation more difficult and more costly. I will also agree that the Service took action to construct the new fence without full consultation with you and in conflict with what you believed was appropriate. I will also agree with you that the recent cooperative reseeding program with the State has the appearance of being initiated to bolster arguments in favor of maintaining the boundary fence. (more…)

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 4 – May 6, 1987 – April 22, 1988

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act I – Decade of the Eighties
Scene 4 – May 6, 1987 – April 22, 1988

hammond-family all

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
March 15, 2016

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing Part I” PDF file.

On May 6, 1987, David Johnson filed an internal memo {52-55} explain that he had received a call from Dwight Hammond, on April 27, and that Dwight said he was going to begin moving cattle the next morning, at 5:00 AM.. Johnson, because of 3 broken ribs, advised that he could monitor the trailing, but could not help. Dwight told him that if he was not going to help, he needn’t come. When Johnson and another employee arrived at 10:00 AM, the move had been completed and the Hammonds were on their way back to their ranch.

Johnson attempted to trace the route that the Hammonds had taken, and attached a map to show the route. His final statement in the Memo, “I did not see any significant resource damage as a result of this action.”

On January 18, 1988, Dwight Hammond sent a letter to De Bates {57-58}, which says, in part:

THE ONLY THING YOU PEOPLE HAVE DONE IS WRITE LETTERS TO THE EFFECT THAT THE PROBLEM NO LONGER EXISTS, AND THAT THE PROBLEM IS BEING WORKED OUT. NOTHING PHYSICAL, (WHICH IS THE REAL PROBLEM) HAS CHANGED. (more…)

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 3 – April 2, 1987 – April 15, 1987

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act I – Decade of the Eighties
Scene 3 – April 2, 1987 – April 15, 1987

hammond-family all

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
March 2, 2016

Dwight writes to De Bates, April 2, 1987 {33-37}, providing some background from a good working relationship to the current untenable encroachment on the historical rights, the failure on the part of MNWR to follow a previous agreement (1975), and the subsequent consequences of that failure. A Map from 1975 is also included. Pertinent parts:

APPROXIMATELY A YEAR OR SO AGO, GEORGE CONSTANTINO TOLD ME COULD NOT GO THROUGH THE REFUGE, AS I HAD ALWAYS DONE. I REALLY DIDN’T TAKE HIM TOO SERIOUSLY, AS I KNEW THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO GO, AND I DIDN’T HAVE A CHOICE. I TOLD HIM THIS AT THAT TIME. WE HAD SEVERAL MEETINGS AFTER THAT, EACH TIME GEORGE TELLING ME I COULD NOT GO THROUGH THE REFUGE. THESE MEETINGS INCLUDED OTHER REFUGE PERSONNEL AND ALSO PEOPLE FROM THE BLM IN BURNS, OR. EACH TIME, HE WAS TOLD I COULDN’T GO ANY OTHER WAY. AROUND THE FIRST OF THE YEAR OR SO, WE HAD ANOTHER MEETING AND GEORGE PROPOSED A “PERMITTED” CROSSING THROUGH A PASSAGE THAT WAS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE. AT THAT TIME, I TOLD HIM I WOULD GIVE 1,000 TO ONE ODDS, IF HE AND ANY NUMBER OF COWBOYS HE CHOSE, COULD GET CATTLE THROUGH THE REFUGE ON THE TRAIL HE WAS PROPOSING. IT WAS ASININE!!!!! AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION, ON GEORGE’S PART, HE DECIDED THAT, INDEED, I COULD GO THE WAY I HAD BEEN GOING, HOWEVER, I WOULD HAVE TO HAVE A PERMIT, AND BE SUPERVISED IN THE CROSSING. THIS IS NOT MY IDEA OF A “WORKING RELATIONSHIP”.

IN YOUR FEB. 20, LETTER, YOU WROTE THAT GEORGE HAD BEEN ADVISED BY YOU TO NOT REQUIRE A PERMIT; THEREFORE, I FELT WE SHOULD HAVE HAD A CONSTRUCTIVE MEETING ON MARCH 12. THE VERY FIRST PART OF OUR CONVERSATION WAS THAT GEORGE WOULD LIKE TO GO OVER THIS, AGAIN, THAT THERE MUST BE SOMETHING HE WAS MISSING, AND WE SHOULD GET ON WITH THE MAKING OUT OF THE “PERMIT”. I WAS INFORMED, AS I HAVE BEEN AGAIN IN GEORGE’S LETTER OF MARCH 20, THAT HE WAS “IN CONTROL” AND COULD STOP ME AT ANY TIME THAT I DIDN’T COMPLY WITH ONE OF HIS WHIMS.

HAVE WASTED MANY HOURS OF MY TIME, THAT COULD HAVE BEEN PUT TO PRODUCTIVITY AND I AM SURE YOUR PERSONNEL HAVE DONE THE SAME, BUT THAT DOES NOT SEEM TO BE A FACTOR.

IN TRYING TO ANSWER YOUR LETTER, WE HAVE REVIEWED OUR PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, AND IT SEEMS THAT WE HAVE EXPRESSED A NUMBER OF TIMES, THE IMPORTANT ISSUES CONCERNING OUR SIDE OF THIS PROBLEM, AS YOU HAVE YOURS. WE WENT TO PORTLAND, TO VISIT YOU, BECAUSE WE WERE TOLD SANDY WILBER WAS IN TOTAL AGREEMENT AS TO THE WAY GEORGE CONSTANTINO WAS HANDLING THIS SITUATION. WE DID NOT EVEN ASK TO SEE SANDY WILBER, FOR THAT REASON. THE SECRETARIES ROUTED OUR CALL THROUGH TO MR. WILBER, AND HE ASKED TO TALK WITH US SO WE OBLIGED, TO NO AVAIL. I STILL FELT THAT POSSIBLY WE HAD FAILED TO ADEQUATELY PRESENT OUR POSITION, THUS MADE THE OFFER TO PAY YOUR EXPENSES TO PERSONALLY ASSES THE PROBLEM, HERE, ON THE GROUND, YOURSELF. WE ALSO SAID THAT WE WOULD PAY YOUR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE’S EXPENSES, AND OUR OFFER STILL STANDS, EVEN IF IT WOULD BE SANDY WILBER, AND WE HAVE LITTLE FAITH THAT HE CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING BECAUSE OF HIS TOTAL, APPARENT AGREEMENT WITH GEORGE’S PAST POSITION. BUT, IF HE IS YOUR CHOICE, AND REPRESENTATIVE, SO BE IT. HOWEVER, WE FEEL THERE IS NO COMPROMISE LEFT IN US BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE SITUATION HAS BEEN HANDLED, NOT EVEN THE COMPROMISE OFFER OF HAMMOND RANCHES FURNISHING THE LABOR TO REPAIR THE OLD, PRIOR TO 1975, BOUNDARY FENCE. WE HAVE LIVED WITH THIS SITUATION AS LONG AS IT IS POSSIBLE, AS WE HAVE STATED IN ALL OUR LETTERS. WE WILL NOT BE SATISFIED UNTIL THIS SITUATION IS RESOLVED THIS TIME, SO AS TO PROTECT CUR RIGHTS FOR THE FUTURE, AS OBVIOUSLY YOU PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN SATISFIED, AND ARE STILL NOT SATISFIED, AND IT SEEMS, FROM OUR STANDPOINT, ARE ON A LONG-TERM PROPOSAL TO TERMINATE OUR BUSINESS. IF YOU FEEL THAT SANDY WILBER CAN HANDLE THIS TYPE OF COMPROMISE, WE WOULD BE THANKFUL FOR HIS ATTENDANCE; HOWEVER, THE PROBLEM, FROM OUR STANDPOINT, WILL NOT BE RESOLVED WITH LESS.

WE APPRECIATE YOUR RECOGNITION OF OUR HAVING TO USE THIS ROUTE TO TRAIL OUR CATTLE; BUT, WE FEEL THAT YOU ARE STILL BEING UNREASONABLE AS WE ARE NOT, APPARENTLY, MOVING OUR CATTLE TO YOUR SATISFACTION, AFTER THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FENCE. THIS IS WHY WE FEEL WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO GO BACK TO OUR 1975 AGREEMENTS WITH THE REFUGE, BLM, OWC AND OURSELVES. I REALIZE I AM SOME- WHAT INADEQUATELY EXPRESSING THE SITUATION, BUT, I WILL TRY AGAIN WITH THIS ENCLOSED MAP, SIGNED BY THE BLM, AT WHICH TIME THERE WAS PRESENT A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE FOUR ABOVE GROUPS, AND WHICH WAS THE PRODUCT OF AN ON-THE-GROUND TOUR, CONDUCTED BY THE REFUGE, THUS VERIFYING THAT WE REALIZED THAT BRIDGE CREEK WAS A SENSITIVE AREA OVER 10 YEARS AGO. THE INSINUATION IN YOUR LETTER THAT OUR CATTLE HAVE DAMAGED THE BRIDGE CREEK RIPARIAN AREA IS ANOTHER JAB AT US WITH A SHARP STICK, THAT WE RESENT, GIVING US A BLACK EVE IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNITY. HAD THE AGREEMENT OF 1975 BEEN COMPLIED WITH, AS AGREED, BY THE REFUGE, THE PROBLEMS WOULD NOT NOW EXIST. WE ARE THE MOST PROMINENT CONSERVATIONISTS IN THIS AREA, AS WILDLIFE, BIRDS, AND FISH ARE ALL BEING FED BY US, YEAR ROUND, AND WE ARE NOT PAID ANY TAX DOLLARS TO OFFSET THEIR CARE AND WELFARE.

BOTTOM-LINE OF THIS WHOLE MAJOR PROBLEM STEMS FROM YOU PEOPLE NOT LIVING UP TO THE AGREEMENT OF 1975, CREATING A SITUATION THAT WAS TOUGH TO LIVE WITH, BUT WE DID, UP UNTIL THE TIME OF THE LOCAL GESTAPO’S EXERCISING HIS LAW-ENFORCEMENT ABILITIES (TOM DOWNS), GEORGE CONSTANTINO, HIS SUPERIOR, AND REFUGE MANAGER, AND SANDY WILBER, WHO IS BACKING HIM UP.

ALSO, IN REREADING OUR LETTERS, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT MAYBE THE IMPRESSION HAS BEEN MADE THAT MY “TRAILING” ACROSS THIS AREA ONLY HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR. I WOULD LIKE TO CLARIFY THIS, IN THAT EVERY TIME I TAKE CATTLE FROM ONE SIDE OF MY RANCH TO THE OTHER, FOR WHATEVER REASON, I MUST USE THIS ROUTE.

I TOO AM VERY CONCERNED THAT YOU THINK MY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR REFUGE STAFF HAS DETERIORATED TO ANY DEGREE. I HAVE SOME VERY OBVIOUS DEFINITE FEELINGS ABOUT THE ABILITIES OF TWO MEMBERS OF YOUR STAFF, AND OTHER THAN THAT, I HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH REFUGE PERSONNEL. UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO INCLUDE, IN YOUR NEXT LETTER, A COPY OF THE DOCUMENTATION OF THE INCIDENT YOU REFER TO IN YOUR MARCH 19 LETTER.

AGAIN, I AM SORRY THIS WHOLE THING HAS GOTTEN SO BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION, BUT I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO FIGHT BACK, AND THIS TIME FOR A PERMANENT SOLUTION, THIS BEING THE REMOVAL OF THE NEW FENCE AND GOING BACK TO THE OLD BOUNDARY FENCE THAT SERVED WITH ZERO FRICTION FOR AT LEAST 40 YEARS, AND THE NEW (1975) AGREEMENT WOULD HAVE PRESERVED THE RIPARIAN HABITAT IN BRIDGE CREEK.

P.S. NOTE- AGAIN, NOT RELATED TO THE ENCLOSED CONFLICT, BUT PART OF THE MANAGEMENT DECISIONS THAT MAKE FOR POOR RELATIONSHIPS, AND SINCE, WHOEVER IS VISITING ON YOUR BEHALF MAY BE ENLIGHTENED, AND POSSIBLY INCORPORATE THIS KNOWLEDGE INTO THE VISIT, AND MAKE THIS A MORE PRODUCTIVE VISIT. OUR CATTLE, IN THE WINTER OF 1987 USE, HAD USED ALL THEIR ALLOTTED AUMS. THERE WAS STILL TIME LEFT ON THE PERMIT. WE WERE OUT OF FEED, AND WERE ASKED TO LEAVE, WHICH WE DID. AT THAT TIME, WE HAD ASKED TO USE EXCESS FEED THAT WAS IN A FIELD THAT WAS SITUATED WELL FOR US, AND WE WERE TOLD THERE WAS NO FEED FOR US IN THAT FIELD AS THEY WANTED TO PROTECT THE UPLANDS FOR NESTING HABITAT. APPROXIMATELY ONE MONTH LATER, ALL THAT FEED, THE UPLANDS AND WHATEVER, WAS TOTALLY DESTROYED BY THE REFUGE, THROUGH BURNING. THIS DID NOT CREATE ONE DOLLAR OF REVENUE TO OFF-SET THE TAXPAYER LOAD, BUT DID COST US. ALSO, THE EMERGENCY FORAGE BOARD HAS ASKED FOR ANY EXCESS FEED TO BE INCORPORATED INTO THE FORAGE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE UNDER WATER IN THE LAKE. THE REFUGE HAS SAID THEY HAVE NO EXCESS FEED, YET THEY CAN STILL BURN AREAS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ECONOMICALLY USED AND COULD HAVE CREATED SOME REVENUE. ADMITTEDLY THERE ARE A FEW AREAS ON THE REFUGE THAT CAN NOT BE DEALT WITH IN ANY OTHER WAY, BUT THIS IS NOT WHAT WE SEE AS THE NORM. WHETHER WE USE THE FEED, THE EMERGENCY PEOPLE USE IT, OR IT IS PERMITTED IN SOME OTHER WAY IS REALLY IRRELEVANT IF THERE WAS ONLY A TURN OVER OF A RENEWAL DOLLAR. PLUS, MAYBE THEN YOU COULD SE ABLE TO PAY OUR COUNTY IT’S FAIR SHARE FOR HAVING BEEN HERE, INSTEAD OF SHORT- CHANGING US YEAR AFTER YEAR, MAKING NO EFFORT TO BREAK EVEN.

WE REALIZE YOU BELIEVE WE ARE NOT BEING SINGLED OUT HOWEVER, JUST THIS WEEK WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT OUR GRAZING FOR THE UP-COMING YEAR IS BEING REDUCED, WHILE OTHERS SEEM TO BE GETTING INCREASES IN THEIR AUMS.

Note:  AUM = Animal Unit Month: This is based upon a 1,000 pound cow eating 25 lbs. of dry forage per day, or about 780 lbs. of dry forage per month. Grazing allotments are paid for by AUM assessments based upon available forage in an allotment.

Dwight lays out a good foundation for solution, by returning to the 1975 agreement, including a map signed by government officials. By that agreement, the subsequent environmental concerns would not have existed. He also points out that they have been environmentally conscious and have taken care of the wildlife.

In his P.S., he points to the fact that grazing lands that could provide revenue are burned by the Refuge, resulting in a loss of revenue, depriving the County of what would be their share had effective management been applied.

By now, it is quite apparent that the management at the Refuge, as suggested by Dwight, “are on a long-term proposal to terminate our business.”

In an internal memo, Sanford (Sandy) Wilbur reports to De Bates, April 14, 1987 {39}, on the results of his visit.

The immediate issue of Hammonds trailing cattle through the refuge appears to be worked out. No permit is being issued, as we are acknowledging their “historic” use of that trail, but David Johnson volunteered to accompany Hammonds on their drive to help out. It is the feeling of the refuge staff that passage through the refuge should not take over 6 hours. Right now, the first move of cattle is expected May 2 (255 head), with a second scheduled about June 11 (495 head).

Hammonds have raised several other issues of “unfair treatment”, but it appears to me that they are being dealt with the same as all other refuge permittees. The real issue is still the fence we built on the refuge boundary several years ago. The fence was built before either George Constantino or I were involved, so we cannot address anyone’s “intent” (Hammonds claim it was a “spite fence”, erected solely to inconvenience them). However, it clearly is a good fence in that it protects springs and riparian areas, identifies our boundary, and does not create an access problem for Hammonds as long as they can trail cattle through the refuge. During my phone conversation with the Hammonds, it was made clear that nothing would satisfy them except the removal of the fence. I asked again for clarification of what the specific problem was. The answer was that, if I didn’t know by now, I hadn’t been listening.

My instruction to the refuge staff was to continue to treat the Hammonds as they would treat any other permittee on the refuge. This involves documenting compliance with permits and attempting to resolve problems at the local level as they occur. I think the refuge staff does this very well, taking a low key and generally non-confrontational approach that works well in almost all situations. Because I don’t feel that Hammonds’ complaints are justified, I recommend to you that we move control back to the field as quickly as possible. I suspect that the Hammonds will call the Regional Director since they aren’t getting satisfaction from Refuges, so we should arrange a briefing for Rolf soon.

So, we see that the government has finally agreed to the historical trailing route. However, there is still a question as to the fence, and he feels that the Hammonds are not being treated unfairly, as Dwight had claimed in the previous letter.

On April 15, 1987 {41, 44}, De Bates, in response to Dwight’s “FOIA” request, provides copies of reports of abuse during a previous meeting. A handwritten note by Sandy suggests that the report by “Arlene” & “Ruth” not be included, however, De Bates includes all three reports.

Your April 2 letter regarding livestock use of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge requested that, under the Freedom of Information Act, we provide you with documentation of an incident in which you verbally abused and threatened refuge employees. That documentation is attached.

I understand that Mr. Wilbur was not able to meet you personally when he was at Malheur, but that he did talk to Mrs. Hammond by phone after he had reviewed the situation in the field. It appears that the immediate issue of moving your stock through the refuge this spring is being worked out with the refuge, but that you are still dissatisfied that we will not remove the refuge boundary fence constructed some years ago in the Bridge Creek area. Further evaluation of that situation confirms my earlier decision that the fence is in a desirable location and will continue to be maintained. If you have specific concerns about the fence as it affects your operations, please discuss them with Refuge Manager Constantino. Perhaps there is some accommodation that can be made.

If you choose to read the three reports {45-48}, you will see that Dwight was quite upset, according to Sandy, primarily over the interpretation of the Refuge policy on fencing (9RM3.1).

9 RM 3.1 Policy. It is the policy of the Service to construct fences on national wildlife refuges only when essential to management and protection of wildlife and refuge lands; and to assure that such fences are constructed and maintained in a manner that minimizes conflict with adjacent land owners and refuge objectives. Fencing merely to denote ownership by the United States is not normally justified.

It appears that Dwight is correct, in that it is intended to minimize conflict with adjacent landowners, and requires fencing only when essential to management and protection of wildlife. Normally, birds and deer seem to have no problem with fences, so it is difficult to see where the policy includes vegetation, as Sandy has, and will continue, to address.

The “abuse” reports are included {45-48}. However, it seems that only Sandy was verbally abused. Perhaps there is merit to Dwight’s call on the matter.

To Be Continued

 

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 1 – Introduction

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 2 – October 24 1986 – March 20 1987

 

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 4 – May 6, 1987 – April 22, 1988

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Decade of the Eighties- Scene 5 – May 2, 1988 – May 9, 1988

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 1 – Feb. 18, 1994 – June 9, 1994

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 2 – June 28, 1994 – Feb. 22, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 3 – Feb. 28, 1997 – May 21, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 4 – May 22, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 5 – June 30, 1997 – Aug. 4, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 6 – Feb. 25, 1998 – Jan. 12, 2004

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 2 – October 24 1986 – March 20 1987

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act I – Decade of the Eighties
Scene 2 – October 24, 1986 – March 20, 1987

hammond-family all

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
March 1, 2016

Note: Numbers shown thus, {nn} refer to PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing Part I” PDF file.

On October 24, 1986, Dwight Hammond met with the Tom Downs, Dave Johnson, and the Assistant Refuge Manager, to discuss stray cattle and “trailing”, the means of herding to move cattle from one location to another. Dwight discussed his practice during round up, and what he did with strays that were collected with his herd. {2-3} He didn’t think that he should notify people when he trailed his cattle, based upon “past prior rights and/or privileges”.

Apparently, a new policy was being implemented that placed even more obligations on an already hard working rancher.

When on the Refuge land, Dwight would allow his cattle to rest, and when they did, they grazed on grass that was not on his allotment. A Telephone Conversation Record, dated Feb. 13, 1987 {4}, provides notes of the conversation, within the agencies.

In a letter from Lawrence W. De Bates, Assistant Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) {10}, dated February 20, 1987, based upon a meeting on the 17th, the follow-up implies that Dwight must move his cattle at a pace determined by the Refuge, and they should not graze off the assigned trail. He further defends the fencing within the Refuge “for wildlife management purposes”. Finally, he requires Dwight to get a permit to trail his cattle on the reserve. This is the first instance of requiring a permit to trail his cattle.

Dwight Hammond replies to the letter from De Bates, in a letter dated March 7, 1987 {14-15}. He explains that they had gone all of the way to Portland, with maps, to explain to De Bates what the problem was. He said that since the Refuge had stated that it had to be resolved at District, that the meeting was the only way to resolve the problem. He also questions whether De Bates was really paying attention, as he appeared to not understand just what the problem was. He then explains the problem, again, by stating:

WE WERE NOT ASKING FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE CONCERNING ANY GRAZING SEASON, OR TRAILING THROUGH THE REFUGE, BUT CONCERNING ACCESS AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE REFUGE WHICH WE PERSONALLY HAVE USED FOR 23 YEARS, AND WHICH THE GENERAL PUBLIC HAS USED SINCE AT LEAST 1877, AND WHICH ACCESS IS THE ONLY GEOGRAPHICALLY POSSIBLE ACCESS AROUND THE REFUGE ON THAT SIDE, AND WHICH YOUR AGENCY BLOCKED BY CONSTRUCTING A FENCE OR FENCES ACROSS THE LAND, PROHIBITING ACCESS TO OUR AND U. S. LANDS, IN VIOLATION OF YOUR OWN REFUGE MANUAL.

WE REALIZE THAT OUR LAWS GIVE YOU THE “RIGHT” TO FENCE YOUR BOUNDARIES, BUT WE FEEL THAT IT IS CERTAINLY NOT THE INTENTION OF THIS FREE, DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY TO BE SO SINGLE-MINDED AS TO CUT AN EXISTING RANCH IN TWO, MAKING IT VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO OPERATE AND THEREFORE PUTTING US OUT OF BUSINESS.

YOUR FINAL PARAGRAPH IS VERY DISAPPOINTING TO US ALSO, AS IT FURTHER AMPLIFIES OUR SENTIMENTS THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO REMOVE PERMITTEES FROM THE REFUGE FOR ANY REASON. OUR PROBLEM HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR “PERMIT” ON THE MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, BUT AS A NEIGHBORING LAND-OWNER, CONCERNING THE UNREASONABLE AND UNBEARABLE POLICIES OF YOUR MANAGEMENT.

Dwight Hammond, in a letter to De Bates, dated March 12 {19-20}, tells of his meeting with George Constantino. He also explains the difficulty in working with people who seem to be “in the dark”.

I REQUEST THAT YOU, AT LEAST, ADVISE ME AS TO WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PART OF THE COMING CALAMITY. IS IT YOUR MAINTENANCE MAN THAT FANTASIZES HIMSELF THE LOCAL FRENCHGLEN GESTAPO; OR YOUR LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL THAT STRAP ON THEIR SIDE ARMS TO PRANCE THROUGH OUR LOCAL, PEACE-LOVING, TAX PAYING, PIONEER COMMUNITIES (YOUR LIFE-BLOOD)?? THESE MEN MEET PEOPLE EVERY DAY WHO ARE HEIRS OF THE PEOPLE PUT OFF OF THE CHOICE GROUND IN THE COUNTY, TO RAISE AND PROTECT WILDLIFE. IN REALITY, PRODUCTION HAS DIMINISHED STEADILY, SINCE THE FEDERAL TAKE-OVER AND CONDEMNATION, EVEN BY ADMISSION OF YOUR OWN AGENCY PEOPLE AND PUBLICATIONS. I BELIEVE THIS REFUGE HAS IN EXCESS OF 180,000 ACRES, YET YOU PUT GREAT EMPHASIS ON SUDDENLY HAVING EXTREME INTEREST IN HABITAT, ETC., ON APPROXIMATELY 500 ACRES OF DRY, ROCKY HILLSIDE THAT HAS NEVER BEEN FENCED, UNTIL IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT I COULD NOT GEOGRAPHICALLY CROSS MY RANCH WITHOUT ACCESS THROUGH YOUR DEEDED LAND, WHICH I HAVE DONE FOR 23 YEARS, WITH NO PROBLEMS, AND THE HARNEY COUNTY MAPS VERIFY THIS PASSAGE AS HAVING BEEN USED SINCE AT LEAST 1877. – – OR, IS IT GEORGE CONSTANTINO, OR ARE YOU ACCEPTING FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS UPCOMING NO-WIN SITUATION, FOR ALL OF US, AND ARE YOUR SUPERIORS AWARE?

I AM GOING ACROSS, WITHOUT A PERMIT (MAYBE ONLY ONCE, I REALIZE), FOR YOU PEOPLE HAVE CREATED AN UNLIVABLE SITUATION FOR US, TOTALLY AGAINST YOUR OWN REGULATIONS, AS I HAVE ALSO TALKED TO MY ATTORNEYS. THEY HAVE ADVISED ME THAT I WAS MORALLY RIGHT, AND THAT THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WERE NOT INTENDED TO DO TO ME WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO DO.

THIS MESS COULD ALL BE AVOIDED, TODAY, AND FOR TOMORROW, AS THE PROBLEM IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY, BY USING THE OLD BOUNDARY FENCE, AS IT WAS ESTABLISHED WHEN THE REFUGE CAME INTO BEING. THIS MUST HAVE BEEN THE REASON FOR THE ORIGINAL BOUNDARY FENCE CONSTRUCTION WHERE IT WAS.

I DID ADVISE GEORGE’S SECRETARIES THAT I WOULD PHONE AHEAD WHEN I WOULD BE CROSSING THE REFUGE, TO REQUEST THE PRESENCE OF OUR LOCAL SHERIFF, BECAUSE HE WAS GOING TO BE NEEDED. YOU HAVE PUSHED ME THE TOTAL LIMIT!!

I WISH YOU WOULD LOOK AHEAD FAR ENOUGH TO GIVE YOUR PERSONNEL THE PROPER DICTATION FOR WHEN I START ACROSS THIS AREA IN MY USUAL MANNER.

I REALIZE THAT I AM SEEMING VERY NARROW-MINDED, ONE-SIDED, AND TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS TO THE LAW, BUT I HAVE LIVED WITH THIS EXTREME INCONVENIENCE FOR SEVERAL RECENT YEARS. YOUR NEW FENCE BEING IN PLACE, DOESN’T SEEM TO BE ENOUGH ANY MORE, AND YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED. AS TO GOING THROUGH THE “LEGAL” CHANNELS, THIS IS PROHIBITIVE, AS YOU ARE FIGHTING ME WITH MY OWN DOLLARS, AND I CANNOT AFFORD IT, OR WIN. HOWEVER, I WOULD STILL LIKE TO MAKE ONE LAST OFFER, AND WOULD PAY THE EXPENSES FOR YOUR TRAVEL, ROOM AND BOARD, TO COME AND PERSONALLY, PHYSICALLY OBSERVE THE PROBLEM, OR A REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR CHOICE THAT WOULD HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE A REASONABLE DECISION, TAKING ALL FACTORS INTO CONSIDERATION. PREFERABLE THIS WOULD NOT BE GEORGE CONSTANTINO, BECAUSE, AS OF OUR MEETING THIS MORNING, HE IS STILL, IN MY WIFE’S AND MY OPINION, IN “THE DARK”, NOT KNOWING THE COMPLICATIONS OF THE SITUATION, OR EVEN AFTER ALL THIS TIME AND UPHEAVAL, THE LOCATIONS OF THE FENCES.

IN PRIOR COMMUNICATIONS, YOU HAVE USED THIS PROBLEM AS A THREAT AND ALSO, IT HAS BEEN PUT TO ME IN THE OFFICE AS A THREAT AGAINST ME IN REGARDS TO OUR REFUGE PERMIT. WE WOULD LIKE TO MARE IT CLEAR THAT THIS PROBLEM HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR BEING A PERMITTEE ON THE MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, AND IF I AM, IN FACT, REMOVED, AS A RESULT, AS YOU AND GEORGE HAVE THREATENED, THE PROBLEM WILL BE GREATLY AMPLIFIED.

P.S. NOTE – THIS IS IRRELEVANT TO THE PROBLEM AT HAND; BUT, MAYBE IT COULD BE ONE OF THE REASONS I WAS SO VERBAL WITH MR. CONSTANTINO. IN DEC., 1986, THE FIELD THAT MY CATTLE WERE USING AS A PERMIT IN THE REFUGE, HAD REACHED THE OPTIMUM LEVEL OF USE, ACCORDING TO REFUGE PERSONNEL, FOR BIRD HABITAT, AND I WAS ASKED TO MOVE MY CATTLE OUT EARLY. AT THAT TIME, I ASKED TO USE OTHER FEED ON THE REFUGE, AND WAS TOLD THERE WAS NO OTHER FEED AVAILABLE TO BE USED; HOWEVER, AS OF THE DATE OF THIS LETTER, THERE ARE STILL OTHER CATTLE ON THE REFUGE. I MUST DRIVE BY THIS ANYTIME I GO ANYPLACE FROM MY HOME, AND IT CAN’T HELP BUT CREATE A FEELING OF BIGOTED INJUSTICE. WE ARE TOLD THE ABSOLUTE DATE FOR REMOVAL OF ALL CATTLE ON THE REFUGE IS JANUARY 31. THIS IS MARCH 19. THESE CATTLE (NOT OURS) HAVE BEEN “TRAILING ” THROUGH THE REFUGE FOR A MONTH????

Dwight suggests that the Refuge, FWS, and the individuals involved are ignoring the problem, as well as violating their own regulations. He also points out that he is being held to these new restrictions while the cattle of others are allowed to graze, even after the close of grazing season.

The file has a hand written note and response, dated March 18 {23}, regarding Hammond’s letters. It also refers to “Constantino’s Report”, though that report is not in the file.

De Bates sends a letter to the Hammonds {25}, March 19, explaining that they are trying to find a reasonable solution, and that he is sending Sandy Wilbur to Malheur and that they should get together and seek that solution. Interestingly, a paragraph from that letters begins to give us insight into the priorities over the 186,000-acre preserve. It appears to “not set back vegetation rehabilitation” has become a serious concern in a “Wildlife Refuge”.

We acknowledge your need and right to trail cattle through the refuge over the historic route we discussed when you were here in the office. All we are asking of you is that you move your cattle through as quickly as possible so as not to use forage allotted to others and so as not to set back vegetation rehabilitation along Bridge Creek. We are not asking anything of you that we do not ask of other refuge users. It isn’t our intention to threaten anyone; our goal is only to achieve proper management of the resources entrusted to us.

Apparently, some headway has been made, as George Constantino sends the Hammonds a letter dated March 20 {30-32}. In the letter, it appears that there was a bit of concession on the part of the Refuge.

This letter is to document my verbal authorization to you to trail through the Refuge under the following conditions:

You may trail your cattle through the Bridge Creek area, entering, trailing through, and leaving the Refuge along the route marked in blue on the attached map.

We want the entire trailing operation to be done in one day.

Finally, you are to notify us at least 24 hours in advance before you begin trailing, so we may monitor your trailing operation.

However, Constantino manages to chastise and threaten Hammond, stating that unless they comply with the rules, they will not have the right, next year, to move their cattle without a permit.

To Be Continued

 

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 1 – Introduction

 

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 3 – April 2, 1987 – April 15, 1987

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 4 – May 6, 1987 – April 22, 1988

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Decade of the Eighties- Scene 5 – May 2, 1988 – May 9, 1988

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 1 – Feb. 18, 1994 – June 9, 1994

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 2 – June 28, 1994 – Feb. 22, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 3 – Feb. 28, 1997 – May 21, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 4 – May 22, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 5 – June 30, 1997 – Aug. 4, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 6 – Feb. 25, 1998 – Jan. 12, 2004

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 1 – Introduction

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

The Harassment of the Hammonds
Act I – Decade of the Eighties
Scene 1 – Introduction

hammond-family all

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
March 1, 2016

Long before the fires (controlled burn in 2002 and a backfire to protect their own property in 2006) that resulted in Dwight and Steven Hammond being imprisoned for 5 years, the dispute over their rights had begun. Nearly four decades of harassment had been directed against them, until, finally, the government could make a very meager case, using a law enacted to cover terrorism, and applied to the Hammonds for doing what the government does, on a regular basis.

The Hammond family had been ranching in Harney County, for many years. They had been grazing on allotments on public lands, and as any rancher, they sought to resolve problems, though resolution had to be practical.

When the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was the overseer of the land in question, no problems arose. However, when the Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) became the controlling agency, the protection of wildlife and plants, even to an absurd extreme, became priority, at the risk of a way of life.

The information (cited documents) in the following series, being public records with no indication of any security or confidentiality, were obtained in order to record the history of the Hammond’s relationship with various agencies, in order to continue their business of cattle ranching as they had become accustomed. The documentation revolves around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge).

After 1988, it appears that he problem was solved, as there is no correspondence or entries in the folder to indicate any problems or harassment.

Then, in 1994, we see that the Refuge, once again, tries to obstruct the traditional and historical rights of the Hammonds.

This first Act will cover the decade of the eighties. The second act will cover the decade of the nineties. Throughout Act I, you will find numbers shown thusly, {nn}. They refer to the PDF page numbers in the “Hammond Legal Trailing Part I” PDF file, that being only a portion of the recovered documents. More will be brought out in Act II.

 

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 2 – October 24 1986 – March 20 1987

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 3 – April 2, 1987 – April 15, 1987

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Scene 4 – May 6, 1987 – April 22, 1988

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act I – Decade of the Eighties- Scene 5 – May 2, 1988 – May 9, 1988

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 1 – Feb. 18, 1994 – June 9, 1994

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 2 – June 28, 1994 – Feb. 22, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 3 – Feb. 28, 1997 – May 21, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 4 – May 22, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 5 – June 30, 1997 – Aug. 4, 1997

The Harassment of the Hammonds – Act II – Decade of the Nineties – Scene 6 – Feb. 25, 1998 – Jan. 12, 2004