ENTERPRISE, OR – September 18, 2012

The Wallowa County Commission has endorsed a petition requesting the US Congress to return federal land in Oregon to the counties of Oregon.

The Petition To De-Federalize Oregon Lands is championed by Oregon citizens coalition named Give Us Our Land Back. The Petition may be viewed and signed on the Internet at http://giveusourlandback.org

The Petition asserts that the federal ownership of 53 percent of Oregon’s landbase is unconstitutional and has been detrimental to the local economy and environment.

The Petition further asserts, “… sovereign control, full jurisdiction, and eminent domain by the People of Oregon over the land and resources within its boundaries would be most likely to effect proper stewardship and the safety and happiness of the People of Oregon …”

Wallowa County Commissioner Paul Castilleja noted that in 1994 a Wallowa County initiative (# 32-1) passed by the voters affirmed the policy of the County that “federal” land ownership is unconstitutional.

Wallowa County Initiative # 32-1 (1994)

Question: Shall the People of Wallowa County Recognize the Federal Government’s Lack of Authority to Possess Unconstitutionally Held Land in Wallowa County?

Summary: Amendment 10 of the United States Constitution: The Powers not delegated to the United Sates by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People. A review of the Constitution and the intent and concerns of the framers indicates that this document does not contain any authorization for the Federal government to own, hold or exert its dominion over any public lands, except for land for the erection of forts, arsenals, dock yards, and needful buildings.

Yes votes were 2,483, no votes were 907.

Commissioner Castilleja stated, “It is my opinion that the Constitution of United States is still the law of the land and should be held to its highest standards.”

Give Us Our Land Back executive director Mike Dubrasich stated, “The justifications for transferring title of federal lands back to the counties are constitutional, pragmatic, and ethical. “The land rightfully belongs to the residents. We can do a far better job of stewardship and resource conservation than any Washington DC bureaucracy. It is the right thing to do.”

A meeting to discuss the Petition and its implications is scheduled for Oct. 5th at 10am at the Wallowa Courthouse (Thornton Room), 101 S. River Street, Enterprise. County Commissioner Paul Castilleja and Mr. Dubrasich will be attending. The interested public is invited.