Hog farm in Ashland raises concern over water and air quality

UPDATE 12/08/18: Residents who created the GoFundMe to appeal the permit for Uproot Ashland have submitted a written appeal with Jackson County. According to Krause, organizer of the GoFundMe, Don’t Uproot Ashland, says they filed the appeal on December 7th. They are now waiting for the Jackson County Planning Department to schedule a date for a hearing.

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UPDATE 12/07/18: After this article was published, neighbors responded to Uproot Ashland. That document is available here.

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ASHLAND, Ore. — Residents of Ashland received a tentative permit from the Jackson County Planning Department for a new hog farm and slaughterhouse in Ashland on November 27th. Since then, residents have started a GoFundMe page to appeal the permit.

The location of the farm, Uproot Ashland, sits on top of a hillside in Ashland. On the bottom of the hillside are homes, waterways and other farms.

Residents below and surrounding the farm are concerned that the land will be susceptible to soil erosion and runoff. They’re worried the runoff would go into Talent Irrigation District waterways, which sits below the farm, as well as other waterways residents use for drinking water.

“In this particular location above everyone else farms, houses, businesses, water supplies, it has the potential to effect a whole lot of people,” said Denise Krause, an Ashland resident.

Uproot Ashland, however, says they’re doing everything they can to make sure residents are protected.

“Ultimately we want the same thing, we want clean water and we want clean food, and I think we can achieve both of those needs,” Krista Vegter, Co-owner of Uproot Ashland, said.

In a statement released on Facebook about the concerns, the owners, Krista Vegter and Sonia Consani, said,

We treat the land and our animals with great care. Low-impact fencing with a 40-foot buffer (twice the legal requirement) protects the TID from animal waste and soil disruption. Sediment barriers ensure disrupted earth activity is filtered and not impacting waterways. Ground cover seeding and erosion create sediment barriers and prevent silt runoff.

Vegter also says they have been working with Talent Irrigation District and the Department of Environmental Quality to ensure they’re in compliance with all city and county codes.

Those appealing the permit have a 12-day window to file an appeal before the permit is finalized.

 

Blakely McHugh is co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and spokesperson for In This Together, a suicide prevention initiative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA. Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors. Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “hi!”
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