By Joseph Snook
Central Oregon – Ethics violations, wild Mustang’s killed, abusing citizens, unlawful arrests, child molestation, false accusations, closing public roads (2), and now, desecration of a cemetery? All of these accusations are leveled at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and many citizens and law enforcement are taking action against this federal agency.
Friends of Rudio Mountain (FORM), an Oregon non-profit organization, is the latest to report the abuses caused at the hands of the BLM. Three separate, yet relevant incidents were recently leveled against the Prineville, Oregon BLM office in Central Oregon. These incidents have cost one BLM employee his job, another to be formally reprimanded for ethics violations and another incident has yet to be told – the desecration of a cemetery at the hands of BLM Central Oregon Resource Area Manager, Homer “Chip” Faver.
A BRIEF HISTORY
BLM: Homer “Chip” Faver
With an estimated 500 supporters, FORM has donated countless time and funds to help maintain Rudio Mountain for many years. One spokeswoman from FORM stated the group has been a part of the “Adopt an Open Space Program” for sixteen years. The adopt an open space title is given to people or organizations that help maintain the area they are adopting. In FORM’s case, this meant picking up trash on Rudio Mountain, along with replacing road signs on the mountain – free of charge – to help provide safety for the people who recreate, live or travel on Rudio Mountain.
In the past, FORM’s communication with Prineville BLM has been intricate in keeping Rudio Mountain a quality place for people to enjoy. Now, recent events have left FORM and other Oregon residents outraged. It is reported that former BLM Central Oregon Area Manager, Christina Welch, who had a working relationship with FORM in the past was replaced by Homer Chip Faver – a replacement that has caused many problems, not only for BLM, but Homer Faver in a personal capacity as well.
On Rudio Mountain there are several historic grave-sites and memorials which FORM cares for, not to mention the signs they freely place, but because of an investigation into FORM, Faver decided FORM was at odds with BLM’s mission and regulations.
Faver reportedly denied the renewal of FORM’s adopt an open space agreement and in an email, Faver told FORM, “All signs and memorial objects will be removed.” It was also reported that Faver stated, “I can have the boy scouts pick up trash on the mountain once a year.”
In fact, Faver had stated, “the area will be restored to the condition that existed prior…” He was the only person to formally acknowledge a plan to remove signs and headstones; he was the only one who wanted to desecrate the cemetery and the road signs.
Upon his arrival to Rudio Mountain on October 13, 2011 for road sign and headstone removal with six other reported BLM employees – Faver alleged that all road signs, except for two and all headstones in Legends and Outlaws Cemetery, that had been on Rudio for years, had somehow disappeared – just before BLM could do it publicly. Many locals have stated that Faver was the only one who wanted them removed. One went further to say, “You’re damn right, I believe that Prineville BLM was behind this…” One public figure in the area who asked to remain anonymous stated, “Who the hell is it bothering leaving people buried or memorialized up there?”
While talking to Grant County Sheriff Glen Palmer, he stated, “If I catch anyone removing road signs or headstones, I’ll arrest them immediately.” He further stated his plans of writing a letter to BLM addressing this and other issues. I commend Sheriff Palmer for representing the people he was elected to serve. Sheriff Palmer had a tone, or way about him that makes you proud there is a man like that in law enforcement. As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Grant County, Sheriff Palmer appears to have his hands full with an agency that has so many reported problems in his county. The people of Grant County need to support their Sheriff and their constitutional rights and take a stand against the Federal Agency that is reportedly abusing them.
BLM EMPLOYEE FORMALLY REPRIMANDED FOR ETHICS VIOLATIONS?
According to reports, BLM employee John E. Fisher violated BLM’s ethics rules. Reports of Fisher sub-leasing grazing lands, which is prohibited by a BLM employee, coupled with an unreported number of wild Mustangs found dead on leased land by hikers, prompted involvement from BLM Chief, Internal Affairs – Office of Law Enforcement, Thomas E. Huegerich, which on June 22, 2011 concluded that John E. Fisher was in direct violation of BLM ethics.
Horseback magazine published an article on the Mustang Massacre issue, wherein it was reported that any Mustangs on Rudio Mountain were not wild. According to the article, the Mustangs were “unauthorized,” not qualifying them as “wild.” These reports were based off of beliefs that nearby “wild” Mustangs couldn’t possibly migrate. Reports from hikers and local residents about wild Mustangs crossing over to Rudio Mountain from other nearby areas during hunting season apparently had no validity since “BLM” said so…
Reported statements from BLM employee John Fisher regarding the need to kill all Mustangs on Rudio Mountain to allow cattle to graze freely wasn’t validated by Horseback magazine or BLM, which gives the impression that they were not true – but the fact remains that BLM employee John Fisher was violating BLM ethics while sub-leasing grazing land as an employee of BLM and many Mustangs were reportedly found “DEAD” on the land he sub-leased. Other reports of Mustang abusehave also been made.
Upon looking into BLM’s discretionary budget, a question came to mind –
Maybe BLM should have used a portion of their jaw-dropping 63.9 million dollar annual budget for wild horses, to conduct a better investigation regarding the large number of wild or “unauthorized” Mustang deaths?
BLM EMPLOYEE LOSES JOB – ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
Former BLM employee, John Decker was reportedly fired shortly after a complaint was filed by people that he harassed while they were camping. Reportedly, one of the people just happened to be another government employee, who stated on a blog, “I have personally experienced lack of professionalism from a Prineville BLM employee during a family outing on Rudio mtn-BLM land. My outing was ruined by the constant harassment and threats of the BLM employee. The employee no longer works for the Prineville district and has nothing to do with the MASSACRE, but none the less was a representative of the same district that now employees the person of interest in the grazing allotment scandal. As a public employee myself I would have been terminated had I violated this un-ethical deed. It is time to investigate the Prineville District BLM and make the necessary adjustments to personnel that will promote professional conduct among its employees.”
BLM’s budget for 2012 is over 1.2 billion dollars – given by our elected officials and paid for by every tax paying citizen of the United States. Tearing down road signs that were donated for safety, desecrating or condoning the desecration of a cemetery, abusing people’s rights and possibly killing wild Mustangs aren’t acceptable actions for BLM employees. The BLM needs to take responsibility for their actions and the people need to stand up for their rights and put a stop to this injustice.
Editor’s Note: Homer Chip Faver failed to return multiple phone calls.
Anyone with information regarding these or any other issues concerning BLM or the United States Forest Service is urged to contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help us fight for your rights and your land!