**This is a Call to Action**
An update on the Hammond's and Harney County is well overdue. I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas. I personally enjoyed the sweet spirit of the Lord as I contemplated His birth and what it means to all of us. I love the Lord and know he lives and guides us each day, if we allow Him to.
As most of you are aware I have spent many days in Harney County working with the Hammond's and the good people of that area. I have gained a great love for them and seen what good people they are. Over the past few decades they have been experiencing a great change in their livelihoods and community dynamics.
Once they were a highly productive people with the highest incomes in the State of Oregon, well above the national average, now they rival as the poorest county in the state. Their average income has dramatically dropped $22,000 under the national average.
Once ranching and logging thrived and produced many jobs and opportunities, these industries were spawning a hopping economy with everybody in the county being the beneficiaries. Harney County's labor force is now at its lowest point since the 1960's.
As Amy Hsuan from The Oregonian wrote: When times were good, logging trucks and recreational vehicles burned rubber down the pavement, now the roads are starved of vehicles. Shuttered businesses sit on their shoulders. There are no new jobs in sight. An old mill, formerly operated by Louisiana Pacific, sits idle under the weight of it's collapsing roof. Next door, a giant shed once used by a mineral processor has sat rusting.
"People were leaving and they never came back," says Art Ayre, a state employment economist. Young families with children are becoming a rarity in a county with few family-waged jobs. Commissioner Grasty keeps a database of kids who've graduated from Burns High School. Every now and again, he'll send them a letter, asking when they will return. He has yet to get a response.
So what happened to Harney County? Since the first pioneers until the 1970's, the Harney Basin was a high producing area with a robust economy. After gaining almost complete control of the ranches and land user the U.S. Government took on a new approach to land use. They expanded the no use areas putting most of the ranchers and loggers out of business. The ones they allowed to remain, they regulated them to the point that many closed their doors.
As the wonderful Suzie Hammond wrote in 1990, (an article to the people); The grief and heartache caused these families as they were forced out of business or forced to began to build a new operation, will never be fully known. She went on to write; the economic impact was significant, not only to the local communities but also to Harney County as a whole.
Simply put, the federal government has adversely stolen the lands and resources from the people, destroyed thousands of jobs, and the economy of an entire county. Now anyone who has enough guts to stand against them, they annihilate through their own court systems. The Hammonds are a tragic symptom of a gross violation. The U.S. Government has forced the people from their rights and then claimed the people right for their own benefit and power.
The ranching and logging industries were only a start, since then these modern day conqueror's (federal agencies) have moved onto the housing, banking, auto, manufacturing, financial and the list goes on and on and on. I do not need to say much more, it is time to change the tide before the people become too weak to stand. We are presently at a dividing point in history and must choose how the future of our children and our children's children will lay out. I and many that stand with me are asking that you come to Harney County, be prepared, and be willing to make a stand.
It is time!
CALL TO ACTION: All able body men and women come to Burns, Oregon on or before January 2nd. Come prepared and be willing to stand.