Public Invited to Wolf Town Hall Meetings

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The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host 14 town hall meetings throughout the state in November and December to hear the thoughts, concerns and comments of Oregonians about wolves entering the state.

The comments recorded at the meetings will be provided to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for consideration. The Commission is the rule-making body for ODFW. The seven-member Commission has heard from experts in the past several months about the potential for wolves to become established in Oregon. The Commission now wants to hear from local residents to ensure that all opinions have been gathered.

Currently, no wolves are confirmed to live in Oregon. However, three wolves were found in Oregon in 1999 and 2000. One radio-collared wolf was returned to Idaho, one was hit by a vehicle and died in May 2000, and one was shot in October 2000. Biologists expect all three were dispersing from established packs in Idaho. Biologists also have told the Commission that more wolves are likely to arrive in Oregon. Oregon has no plans to actively reintroduce wolves into the state.

Wolves that enter the state from Idaho's packs are protected under both the state and federal endangered species acts. The Oregon Legislature is the only entity with authority to change the Oregon Endangered Species Act. The Commission, however, has the authority to add or remove species from the state list of threatened and endangered species.

Each Wolf Town Hall Meeting will open with a short introductory presentation about the history of wolves in Oregon, their current biological and legal status, and the issues surrounding their migration into Oregon. Meeting participants then will have the opportunity to voice their comments and concerns about wolves in Oregon to any of several facilitators who will be available to record all comments. Participants also may choose to submit written comments on forms that will be available at each meeting. Some educational materials about wolves will be available at the meetings.

All meetings will begin at 7 p.m. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The town hall meetings are scheduled for the following locations and dates:

-Pendleton: Tuesday, Nov. 12, Pendleton Convention Center, 1601 Westgate;

-LaGrande: Wednesday, Nov. 13, Eastern Oregon University, Hoke Hall, Room 309, One University Blvd.;

-Baker City: Monday, Nov. 18, Sun Ridge Inn, One Sun Ridge Lane;

-John Day: Tuesday, Nov. 19, Malheur National Forest Headquarters, 431 Patterson Bridge Road;

-Bend: Wednesday, Nov. 20, National Guard Armory Drill Room, 875 Southwest Simpson Ave.;

-The Dalles: Thursday, Nov. 21, Wahtonka High School, 3601 W. 10th St.;

-Medford: Tuesday, Dec. 3, North Medford High School, 1900 N. Keeneway;

-Klamath Falls: Wednesday, Dec. 4, Klamath County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall #2, 3531 S. 6th St.;

-Burns: Thursday, Dec. 5, Harney County Senior Center, 17 S. Alder;

-Eugene: Monday, Dec. 9, Lane Community College, Forum and Science Buildings, 4000 E. 30th Ave.;

-Roseburg: Tuesday, Dec. 10, Umpqua Community College, Whipple Theater Building, 1140 College Road;

-Salem: Wednesday, Dec. 11, Claggett Creek Middle School, 1810 Alder St. N.E.;

-Portland: Tuesday, Dec. 17, World Forestry Center, Miller Hall, 4033 S.W. Canyon Road;

-Coos Bay: Wednesday, Dec. 18, Southwestern Oregon Community College, Eden Hall, 2988 Newmark Ave.

More information about wolves will be posted to the ODFW Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us by Nov. 1, 2002.