Pronghorn Plant Plunderers Pay Up | The Wandering Eye
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pronghorn Plant Plunderers Pay Up

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 8:09 PM

If you wonder why some Central Oregonians think the word “developer” is a synonym for “parasite,” check out the news stories about Pronghorn that appeared Monday.

Seems the developers of the ritzy “resort” (I’m putting the word in quotation marks because it’s not really a resort but an ultra-high-end housing tract with a couple of golf courses) stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of plants – live ones and dead ones – from the adjacent BLM land.

According to The Oregonian, the US Attorney’s Office in Seattle filed a complaint against High Desert Development Partners Inc. charging that its work crews took “thousands of vegetative resources, including juniper trees, dead junipers often called ‘Ghost Trees,’ Idaho fescue grasses and sagebrush” and used them to landscape the golf courses.

A BLM spokesman said the work crews “also damaged about 250 acres of public lands … leaving holes in the ground and tire tracks,” according to The Bulletin’s account. 

The same day the feds filed the complaint, the defendants – although not admitting guilt — agreed to a $200,000 out-of-court settlement.

Back in 2004 the BLM gave Pronghorn a permit to collect 1,000 plants from nearby federal land. The permit expired in May 2005 and wasn’t renewed.

However, “Five months after the permit expired, BLM officials learned that Pronghorn still collected vegetation off the federal land and they notified Pronghorn’s director of agronomy that he was violating federal law, according to the government complaint,” The Oregonian reported. “Pronghorn was ordered to cease collecting plants.” Despite that warning, according to the complaint, Pronghorn crews kept pirating plants until June 2006.

(Delicious irony: The page of the Pronghorn website devoted to the Pronghorn Foundation declares: “We are all parts of a larger whole: our community, our ecosystem, our planet.”)

“The manager who supervised the removal of vegetation from BLM land is no longer employed by Pronghorn,” the government said in a statement about the case.

Well, that’s a relief. And it’s also good to know the government got some money as compensation for the stolen plants. (I’d like it better if Pronghorn was forced to dig them all up and put them back where they came from, but I guess that would be impractical.)

Two questions still bug me, though: Why in the hell were private “resort” developers allowed to help themselves to plants and other “vegetative resources” from public lands in the first place? And why didn’t somebody go to jail for this?

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

More by The Source Staff

  • Bend's Trees

    Bend's Trees

    Past, Present and Future
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • 2021 Redmond Issue

    2021 Redmond Issue

    • Jul 21, 2021
  • Water Issue 2021

    Water Issue 2021

    From droughts to dams to glaciers and canoeing, there's lots to explore with water in Central Oregon
    • Jun 9, 2021
  • More »

Latest in The Wandering Eye

  • Moonshine Magic in Bend Still on the Down Low

    • Aug 9, 2012
    Get ready for our great close-up on the home distilling community out next week in our "Best of" issue. We interviewed a mixed bag of legal and anarchist distillers in Bend to find out why distilling is so very, very against the law in one's home. More »
  • The Eye Wanders Off Into the Sunset

    • Dec 26, 2010
    I’m really sorry to break the bad news to them during this season of peace and goodwill, but after this week the right-wingers in Bend and vicinity won’t have The Wandering Eye to kick around anymore. The decision to stop writing this blog was my own, and it was prompted by several factors. More »
  • DADT, Gay-Bashing and the "Icky-ness" Factor

    • Dec 19, 2010
    For the past week or so, “Zeo” of the NW Republican blog has had his jock strap in a knot over the prospect of Congress repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule. To hear Zeo tell it, if DADT is repealed and gays are allowed to serve openly in the US military it will mean the end not only of our armed forces but of America, its economic system and civilization in general. More »
  • More »

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation