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TimberUnity supporters from Klamath Falls donate hay for wildfire victims' livestock


GP-#TimberUnity Hay-01.jpgTANGENT, Ore. — A convoy of trucks on Sept. 12 hauled over 170 tons of donated hay from the Klamath Basin to a Tangent-area drop-off point to feed displaced animals from Willamette Valley farms burned out by wildfires.

Organized by the group #TimberUnity, the event was begun through the combined efforts of basin growers and other statewide ag-related businesses. Fred Simon, a hay farmer from the Southern Oregon community of Malin, was credited by #TimberUnity members as the man behind the idea for the hay effort.

Simon said he just felt it would be a good thing to bring hay to the “folks who were burned out. People needed feed (for their animals),” he said, “and once word got out, the idea of bringing it up to them just spread.”

He said $35,000 worth of hay — about 170 tons — from about 20 farms in the Basin area took a full day to load onto seven semi-trucks for the trip to Full Ahead Transport’s yard near Tangent, which took around 4-1/2 hours.

One load of the hay was picked up by those who owned or had taken in animals to protect them from the fires blacking the skies in the Willamette Valley. Six loads were delivered to pickup areas around the valley and three more “drops” were scheduled for other Oregon and Washington areas that are hard-hit.

Angelita Sanchez, a #TimberUnity board member and owner of a Sweet Home trucking company, said the group “has been working behind the scenes incessantly, all day and will continue to do so. We have worked to get hundreds of animals and people out of harm’s way.

“So far all the hay has been given out for free in only five hours,” she said. Lines of personal flatbed, pickup and other trucks stretched out to the road on front of Full Ahead Transport.

Wayne Plumbtree, general manager of Full Ahead Transport, said he took 50 tons of the hay in “big bale” form (1,200 to 1,500 lbs. apiece) to a hay press in Donald to convert them into pressed bales of 150 lbs. each and put them out for pick-up at the St. Paul Rodeo Grounds.

#TimberUnity marked its beginning last year with its successful drive to halt the passage of HB 2020 — the “cap-and-trade” bill — in the Oregon State Legislature. A feature of those efforts was a series of convoys of log trucks, forestry and farm equipment filled with truckers, loggers, sawmill workers, farmers and ranchers that surrounded the Capitol to protest the bill.

The Sept. 12 hay-truck convoy was meant to promote change in another way, according to Sanchez and Mike Pihl of Vernonia, president of the #TimberUnity board.

“Klamath Basin farmers had their water ratcheted way down this year and have literally nothing to give, but they can’t let our animals go hungry,” Sanchez said. “I’m happy we’re here helping these people today.”

“Fred (Simon) was instrumental in organizing this hay convoy and making it happen, and it was a very necessary event,” Pihl said. “My biggest feeling coming out of this is that there’s hope for America.”

Sanchez had a further plea: “We have worked with local stores to get water donations (for the burned out animal owners). We've worked on getting animal feed. We have worked with trailer companies, farmers, ranchers, legislators, commissioners, just about anyone we can, to save our people.

“We have a GoFundMe campaign, too, to make sure those that fall through the cracks won't be forgotten.”



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              Page Updated: Wednesday September 16, 2020 01:46 AM  Pacific

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