Crooked River Ranch Roundup

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of all citizens to bear arms. It does not specify when, where and how they can discharge them.

That was the subject discussed at a town hall meeting at Crooked River Ranch Jan. 7, convened by Slater Turner of the U.S. Forest Service National Grassland office in Madras.

The National Grassland property closest to the Ranch is just north of the Ranch boundary at the end of Peninsula Road, which has residences right up to the boundary. The Grassland can be accessed by an unimproved gravel road that traverses the two properties.

On the National Grassland side, a shooting range of sorts has been established by an informal group of weapons enthusiasts, who practice their shooting skills in that area at random times by shooting at targets of choice they bring with them. This target practice activity has been carried on for a number of years.

Recently, a Ranch homeowner who lives in that area registered a complaint with the CRR Club and Maintenance Association Board of Directors at one of their monthly meetings that the noise of the shooting had become an annoyance she would like to have reduced if it could not be stopped outright.

In actuality, the target practice takes place on U.S. government property over which the Ranch board has no authority or control. Meanwhile, the target practice enthusiasts made it clear that their activity was legal and they had no inclination to stop or even reduce it. Turner subsequently convened the town hall meeting on the Ranch to explore both sides of the situation.

An attendee reported that upwards of 100 people attended, including Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins, County Commissioner Mike Ahern, and four Ranch board members — as spectators only. The attendee said that it was obvious most of the attendees were participants in the target shooting in the Grassland and in favor of the target shooting continuing without any constraints being imposed or the road to it being closed.

There was virtually no opposition to the practice expressed by anyone at the meeting, which adjourned after two hours without any agreement being struck.

Turner distributed copies and a summary of a survey of Ranch residents he had conducted by mail a few weeks prior to the meeting. There were 259 respondents, the majority of whom opposed the closure of the road into the Grassland from the Ranch and any restrictions on the target practice in that area.

Commissioner Ahern observed, “It was a good meeting with strong feelings.” Other participants did not respond to a request for comment or were noncommital about what might occur as a result of the meeting.

Stay tuned; there is bound to be more later, according to a spokesperson for Turner.

Contract Publishing

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