PRINEVILLE, OR -- Hundreds of Crook County residents are expected to turn out for Thursday night's town hall meeting on a proposal to turn part of the Ochoco Mountains into a National Recreation Area. Oregon Wild introduced the proposal. So far, it's been met with a lot of local opposition.
County Commissioners will hold a public meeting to give residents another chance to speak out on the idea. Sarah Cuddy, with Oregon Wild, tells KBND News if the last meeting was any indication, there will be more discourse. "We wanted to have a collaborative atmosphere and and we want to hear from the community, but that requires thoughtful dialog and it takes time. The last several weeks have really increased the level of hostility and the level of nonproductive conversations."
Cuddy, who grew up in Crook County, admits things changed after the start of the Harney County standoff. "It's just very polarizing time to talk about public lands. There's talk from the Bundys of privatization of public lands, so there is some opposition that is emboldened by that talk. And, it seems to have made the conversation regarding the Ochocos much more emotionally driven and some divisive rhetoric, versus kind of a collaborative conversation."
Click HERE to watch County Judge Mike McCabe's recent video on the proposal.