Rural Oregon’s Lost Prosperity Gives Standoff a Distressed Backdrop

Areas that were once economically important languish as jobs are clustered in urban centers, creating a feeling of powerlessness as their populations grow older, poorer and less educated.
The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1) Although this article is about what one would expect from the NYT (95% libtard bullshjit), if Ammon Bundy has not (and does not) accomplish another thing, he needs a medal for bringing the sad state of affairs in the West to the attention of the World. When the NY Times publishes something, you know it has a lot of peoples’ attention. It is up to us to screen out the BS and inform the libtards.

Contrary to what the article would have us believe, the land is the ultimate source of all wealth. Our occupier knows that. And he knows that the only way to conquer and subjugate a people is to alienate them from the land.  Amon Bundy knows that too. – jtl, 419

By KIRK JOHNSON via New York Times

The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) BURNS, Ore. — One of the largest wood mills in the West once belched its steam on the edge of town, sawing ponderosa pine. Out in the woods, tree fallers like Tex Ward were proud and prosperous.

Mr. Ward, 54, a lifelong resident who has lost his job twice and has filed for bankruptcy once, said that was not the case anymore. He now works for the state as a prison guard, a job he said he hated.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)

On a recent frosty morning, before heading off for his shift, he and his wife, Shelly, fed the 30 head of cattle that are the closest thing the Wards have to a retirement fund. “You do what you have to do to stay alive,” Mr. Ward said. “But I’m sour as hell.”

Times were once very good out here on the high desert of east-central Oregon, and a place like Burns — remote and obscure until a group of armed protesters took over a nearby federal wildlife sanctuary early this month — was full of civic pride and bustle. In their heyday, Harney County and its largest town, Burns, were economically important in a way that now seems unthinkable in the rural West.


“You do what you have to do to stay alive,” said Tex Ward, 54, a lifelong resident of Burns. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersThese days, cities like Portland, Salt Lake City and Boise, Idaho, are gobbling up more of the jobs than ever, especially the good ones. Half the jobs in Oregon, for example, are now clustered in just three counties in and around Portland, according to a study by Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit research group in Bozeman, Mont. Almost two-thirds of Utah’s jobs are along the Wasatch Front, which runs from Salt Lake City to Provo.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual And isolated, rural counties like Harney — with 7,126 people in an area about the size of Massachusetts — are too far away from those urban centers to catch the economic uplift, the study said. So the population grows ever older, poorer and less educated, and opportunities continue to dry up: The county has 10 percent fewer jobs than it did in 1979, according to state figures.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewThe pattern of poverty has shifted nationally as well. In the four decades since the late 1960s, poverty rates fell or remained stable across the Northeast, South and Midwest — but rose significantly across the West, a Pew Research Center study said in 2014.

“High incomes, great schools — it was a Norman Rockwell rural America,” said Timothy A. Duy, an economist and senior director of the Oregon Economics Forum at the University of Oregon, describing the arc of places like Burns. “It’s reasonable for people to say, ‘We’d like to turn back the clock,’ because it was for many people an ideal time.”

What happened was a steep downturn, especially in the timber industry, which has all but disappeared. Oregon lost about three-fourths of its timber mills between 1980 and 2010; Harney County lost all seven, including the one near Burns where Mr. Ward worked, which closed in the mid-1990s.

Changes in the wood industry were clearly also having an effect over those years, with more wood buyers shopping in Canada and more mills becoming automated, but many people here also said they thought the United States Forest Service did not fight back to save the mills and jobs.

“You didn’t stand up for us then. Why should we stand up for you now?” asked Ms. Ward, 51, referring to federal officials, as she sipped coffee in her kitchen on a recent morning.

The Pew statistics also suggest a structural change in poverty in rural America. In the 1960s, when images of the poor in rural Appalachia and elsewhere in the South galvanized the nation, children and older people were largely the faces of economic struggle. Comparatively speaking, there are now much higher numbers of people in their prime working-age years whose incomes are below the federal poverty measure for a family.

The armed protesters who took over the headquarters buildings of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near here have tried to tap into the local reservoir of anger and nostalgia. They preach a vision of rural America on the rebound if only “government oppression” — in land use, ownership and management — could somehow be rolled back.

“Government controls the land and resources,” said the group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, at a news conference last week. And that, he added, “has put people in duress and put them in poverty.”


Ranch land in Harney County, where 7,126 people are spread across an area larger than Massachusetts. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

But the role of government in what happened here is also more nuanced and complex than the black-hat-white-hat imagery presented by Mr. Bundy and his companions.

Government paychecks, like the one Mr. Ward earns at his job at the prison, have helped keep Harney County afloat as private jobs have declined. With nearly 60 percent of the pay earned in the county now coming from the public sector — including schools and federal management jobs at the 188,000-acre wildlife refuge — this was the most government-dependent county in Oregon in 2013, according the most recent analysis by the state.

People like the Wards said that when environmental groups filed lawsuits and applied pressure at the State Capitol in Salem or in Washington, D.C., to reduce logging, forest managers just surrendered. The residual anger of people caught in the economic undertow now affects how residents here think about the takeover at the refuge, and the arguments about what should happen next.

Some residents and local officials say they believe the history and relationship between the people and the government is being distorted by the protesters, and that cooperation across lines has worked well, to the benefit of the community. For instance, an arrangement with private landowners to protect a threatened bird species, the sage grouse — and to prevent even more restrictive government protections — was a model of how cooperation can work, they said.

“Those are things that Mr. Bundy doesn’t know about or care about it,” said Steven E. Grasty, the county judge and chairman of the county commissioners. “We can keep building on those things if he would get out of the way.”


The Knotty Pine Motel is one of many shuttered businesses in Burns. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

But the sense that government — not just federal but state as well — no longer hears the voice of places like this echoes through the community, even among those who wish Mr. Bundy and his supporters would go home. Harney County has lost 4 percent of its population just since 2010, according to United States census figures, even as the state’s population, especially in and around Portland, has surged.

“People feel powerless,” said State Representative Cliff Bentz, a Republican whose district covers much of eastern Oregon, includ Harney County. “As the rural areas grow more and more poor and urban areas grow more and more wealthy, there’s a shift in power.”

Ms. Ward’s father, Al Albertson, 73, who also once worked at the lumber mill here, put it more bluntly. “People in western Oregon don’t even know where Burns is,” he said.

Correction: January 18, 2016 Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the relationship between Harney County, Ore., and the State of Massachusetts. Though the two are similar in terms of square miles, Massachusetts is slightly larger, not smaller, than Harney County.

Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps InstituteAll unclassified Army and Marine Cops manuals and correspondence courses are products of the US Federal Government. They are NOT subject to copyright and can be freely copied and redistributed.

The Marine Corps Institute (MCI) develops correspondence courses for Marines with all kinds of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) on all manner of subjects. This is one of those courses.

The print is relatively small because that is the way it was in the original and this is an exact reproduction. Also, as a tribute to the individual (and a touch of reality), you will notice that the editorial pencil marks and underlined passages that were put there by the Marine that took this course. They were intentionally left in the reproduction.

This version of the course was authorized in September of 1984. With the exception the development of Infrared technology, it contains information and techniques that have changed very little since the Vietnam war. These battle proven tactics are as valid today as they were in Quang Nam province in 1968.

They will maintain their validity during the upcoming inevitable event of total economic, political and social collapse. Yours for freedom in our lifetimes. jtl, 419

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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