Demers: Desecration or Development? Molalla Tribe Sacred Site in Danger of Mine Project by Kayla Godowa-TuftiTweet
May 17th 2016 (Oakridge, Oregon) An article published by the Eugene Weekly February 11, 2016 stated, “Old Hazeldell Quarry, an investment of Ed King of King Estate Winery, has applied to Lane County to change the zoning of the hillside, currently zoned F1 and F2 forestlands, to allow for quarry mining. This area is known by residents of Oakridge as “TV Butte”.
Phil Donovan, a spokesman for the quarry, says the area was a quarry before current zoning was put in place in the 1970s. Donovan also clarifies that Greg Demers and the McDougal Brothers, who have been involved in a number of controversial resource extraction projects such as the mining of Parvin Butte in Dexter, are not involved in Old Hazeldell.”
Old Hazeldell LLC has several anonymous investors who are guarded by a dense wall of legal representation who keep their client’s identities classified. The client’s attorneys include associates at Arnold Gallagher LLC in Eugene, including Michael Reeder, as well as Stephen Pfeiffer of Perkins Coie. Since these investors have countless LLCs it is often difficult to affirm who these undisclosed investors are.
A recent inquiry at the Lane County Assessment and Taxation Department revealed that subject property 21-35-15-00-01900 was sold June 1st 2006 by Grantor John R. Murphy, Murphy Company President, to Grantee Crown Properties LLC. Consideration: $3,731,000.00
According to the Warranty Deed Statutory Form for Lane County, all tax statements for this parcel are to be mailed to P.O. Box. 1042 Veneta, OR 97487.
The Lane County Assessment and Taxation website also reveals that tax payer Gregory Demers, account #1604774 has the same mailing address of P.O. Box 1042 Veneta, OR 97487 (See photos below)
Crown Properties LLC was created in May 2006, just before the purchase of this parcel. Crown Properties LLC, Stonebroke LLC, and Old Hazeldell LLC are three LLC’s that have been linked to the proposed quarry project in Oakridge.
December 8th 2010 local reporter Camilla Mortensen provided a description of the Demers, Kings and associates in regards to land and resource development:
“If you can still call people land and timber barons in the West, the Demers and the McDougals qualify, with holdings from timberland to mills to land both rural and within the urban growth boundaries of Lane County cities.
Greg Demers, together with his son Robert, donated $195,481 to pass Measure 37 in 2004 and then promptly filed for compensation claims under the new law for $2.5 million. Measure 37, which was later modified by Measure 49, requires that the government pay landowners for the impact of environmental and land use regulations put into place since they acquired their property or that it waive the regulations.
The corporation Greg Demers was most known for prior to Frontier Resources was Pioneer Resources. That company dissolved after becoming involved in a multi-million dollar lawsuit over 360,000 acres of timberland in Oregon, Washington and California. The lawsuit was rife with allegations of kickbacks, conspiracy and slander, according to a 2002 article in The Register-Guard, written by reporter-turned-EWEB-spokesman Joe Harwood.
The Demers have had run-ins with the DEQ as well; one of their corporations, Kinzua Resources, was dissolved in June 2010. In August it was fined $25,075 by the DEQ for failing to provide evidence of financial assurance for closure and post-closure maintenance of its Pilot Rock Sawmill Wood Waste Landfill.
Between the McDougals and their McDougal Bros. Investments, and the Demers, as well as Greg Demers’ ATR Services and Frontier, they own about 154 properties in Lane County. That doesn’t include other LLCs like the McDougals’ Leelynn Inc., Wiley Inc. and Oregon Land Company.
The overall picture that one gets of the Demers and the McDougals is that they are skilled at speculating on and developing land and resources. Keeping those lands and resources clean however, may not be one of their strong points.”
Though in recent on record statements spokesman for Old Hazeldell LLC, Phil Donovan, has stated Greg Demers is not associated with the Old Hazeldell LLC, Demers is in fact one of the anonymous investors pulling the purse strings from behind the scenes.
Demers is in fact directly linked to the Crown Properties LLC that purchased the main subject property 21-35-15-00-01900 in June 2006.
Rock quarry near Oakridge wins Lane County staff approval
Prior to the April 19th 2016 public comment meeting, Register Guard reporter Saul Hubbard released an article titled, “Winery owner Ed King’s plan for rock quarry near Oakridge wins Lane County staff approval”
The article continues to state, “Lane County should approve winery owner Ed King’s plan to open a major new rock quarry just east of Oakridge, the county’s planning staff recommends.”
Deanna Wright ruled that Old Hazeldell LLC had done enough to mitigate possible conflicts with neighboring residents, under state law, to avoid the requirement for a more onerous analysis of the economic, social, environment, and energy impacts of the project.
The planning staff’s recommendation is just a first hurdle for the project. It now faces a vote by the county planning commission and, likely, the Lane County Board of Commissioners. Any county ruling could be appealed to the state Land Use Board of Appeals, and from there to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Phil Donovan, a spokesman for the quarry, said he was “really pleased” with the county’s “efficient” handling of the application.
“The conditions (for approval) are on point,” he said. “We still need to work on how we make some of them happen.”
Linda McMahon, who lives just south of the proposed mine said the county’s review didn’t focus enough attention on key impacts of the project. The area is home to big game, such as elk and deer, she said, and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Willamette Hatchery is northeast of the proposed mine.
The review also didn’t look at cultural impacts of the project, even though there’s evidence of Native American settlements and possible burial grounds on the hillside, she said.
Regarding possible Native American artifacts, Donovan said local tribes were more likely to get involved once the mining application reaches state-level review.
“We’re not aware of what people are talking about (regarding possible artifacts),” he added. “There’s nothing obvious” at the site, he said.
Prior to the 1970’s ownership of Murphy Company, the subject property and contiguous ownership was United States Forest Service Land, part of what was known as the Cascade National Forest.
And prior to that, the subject property and contiguous ownership was utilized by Aboriginal peoples pre contact. The most notable and earliest inhabitants of the subject property and contiguous ownership were the Chakgeenkni-Tufti (Chucksney-Tufti) mountain band of Molalla Indians. (See map provided below)
Heritage Research Associates in Eugene
Linda P. Hart, M.A. and Kathryn A. Toepel, PhD, RPA of Heritage Research Associates in Eugene have been hired by Old Hazeldell LLC to conduct a private, biased and generalized cultural and archaeological analysis of the area.
Heritage Letter Report 15-7: Cultural Resources Record Review for the Old Hazeldell Quarry Project, Oakridge Vicinity, Lane County, Oregon submitted February 26 2015 is located in Part 3 of the application packet submitted by Dorian Kuper on December 8th 2015
Information submitted regarding the Molalla Tribe who has inhabited this area since time immemorial, was extremely superficial and not specific to the subject property and contiguous ownership.
Archaeological sites referenced in Heritage Letter Report 15-7 were north of Salmon Creek. According to our records as direct descendants of the Chakgeenkni-Tufti (Chucksney-Tufti) Band of Molalla Indians, there is enough documentation of our habitation within the subject property and contiguous ownership pre contact, to demand further investigation be conducted by our Tribal Resources Department(s).
Historical personalities are also present within pioneer narratives specific to the location in question indicating and documenting our early inhabitants.
“On April 21 1884, Charlie Tufti was awarded legal claim to public domain at the General Land Office in Roseburg. The land on the deed was as follows: 160 acres of township number 21, on the south range R3E, Section 1421 of the Willamette Meridian.”
Another Molalla named Jim Chuck Chuck also managed to homestead land in Big Prairie, later called Hazeldell, and today known as Oakridge. Chuck Chuck was awarded a Donation Land Claim April 24th 1884 and the survey is as follows: “Southwest quarter of Section 14, Township 21 S of R Willamette Meridian Containing 160 acres.”
According to archival information, in order to homestead in the Oregon Territory an applicant had to be at least half white. Therefore it was illegal for an Indian to own land outside the reservation. This is of extreme historical and cultural significance to our Aboriginal identity and cultural heritage.
These properties should have been inventoried in accordance with Goal 5 and submitted to the State and National Register of Historic Places long ago.
Copies of the Donation Land Claim of Charlie Tufti and Jim Chuck Chuck as found in the Lane County Public Service Deeds and Records department are located below.
At the first public hearing on April 19th 2016, no cultural or archaeological “expert” was available to provide information on the area. Dorian Kuper of Kuper Consulting claimed Heritage Research Associates were located in Corvallis. They are in fact located in Eugene.
Further investigation proved Linda Hart is the wife of the Executive Director of the Lane County Historical Society and Museum, Robert Hart. Robert has been with the Lane County Historical Museum since 2003, according to their website.
After an article was published in the Eugene Weekly regarding the fact that there are Aboriginal Molalla burial sites near the project area, and possibly on the subject property and contiguous ownership, Kathryn A. Toepel, PhD. RPA, was summoned to make an appearance at the second public hearing on May 10th at the Lane County Customer Service building in Eugene to address this matter from her approach.
When asked by a member of the Lane County Planning Commission how Heritage Research Associates conducts their cultural analysis she stated her and Linda walked around and took a couple soil samples. They look for “native” soil. Native soil was present in the project area, and at the top of the butte there were significant opportunities to collect more samples.
Toepel stated that there were artifacts found in the 1500’ buffer zone, but she conveniently maintained nothing was found in the project area which is approximately 100 acres.
Archival research conducted at the Lane County Historical Museum (LCHM) in Eugene, where Linda Hart’s husband has been director for the last 13 years, has revealed that there is in fact a significant and irreplaceable section of the “Old Indian Trail” that is located inside the subject property and contiguous ownership. This trail is at least 500 years old and was used frequently by several tribes in the area including but not limited to Molalla, Kalapuya, Warm Springs and Klamath peoples.
The following is an excerpt from a recording of a school tour through Oakridge area with Lawrence Hills, Mayor of Oakridge 1958 and 1963. The date of recording is May 13th 1988. It was conducted as part of the Oral History Program at the Lane County Historical Society and Museum.
Referenced specifically in the following are pages 8-13 of the transcription.
“While I was visiting the Dunning people who was here after Charlie Tuftie (Cough) Charlie Dunning and I were real friends. I was a friend of Charlie’s father and I said to him one day, I said to him, well there was Indians on this area wasn’t there Mr, Dunning? And he said, Yes, this was an Indian country.
I said, how do you know about Indians. He says, “well when you cull the area over here, he says, there’s a graves over there, and he said the reason I know is because when they dug the hole to bury the Indians there was a strip of white ground underneath and that’s, that’s not uncommon. You can dig down a lot of places and find white ground further down.
So when they dug the hole they throwed the dirt up and when they got to the white stuff, it got in front. They throwed it over the back and then when they covered the hole the white stuff was on the top.
He says when you could count the graves from when you caused the land, you count the graves and I think he said there were seven.
I said, “Mr. Dunning I’d like to take one of those out. I believe we’d find something in there.”
He said, no. He said Lawrence, they don’t do things like that (laughs). He says you can’t do that around here. So that is pretty much the story of Charlie Tufti.”
Yet another significant historical narrative found in the Lane County Historical Museum Archives is the testimony of Mrs. Clarence Hebert, Lane County Historian Volume 5, Number 2: Historical Background of Oakridge. The following is an excerpt from the transcription
“Sometimes as many as a hundred Indians might be camped in the Camas swale that is now First St.
Or on the glacial valley to the east where the Dunning Ranch lies. Other tribes often came from Eastern Oregon to hunt in the Calapooya Range.
Their trail over the mountains were well defined and were still in use well into the twentieth century.
At the time of first settlement in this area, a band of about 20 Indians were fairly permanent residents here. Their home was in the high valley east of town, now the Palanuk and Dunning ranches, where five of their graves many be dimly traced.
When the white men acquired this land legally, years later, they were instructed by the remnant of the tribe, “When you plow right over it, leave no mark” and so it has been done.
The color and texture of this disturbed soil are the sole monuments of these displaced people.”
The Old Indian Trail on TV Butte
“This is the end of the old Indian Trail that we are sure.. we were sure of. There are a lot of trails around here but we know that this one was 500 at least 500 or maybe older.
I heard that Murphy Logging Company were.. was logging the old Indian Trail and it must come out here on this level ground. I came I got word that they were cutting timber up here and when I got here the old Indian Trail was ruined. Just recently we lost to the hungry loggers one of our treasured spots, what we called “The Old Indian Trail.”
We believe it might have been used by many Indian tribes and could easily be 500 or older years of use.
I would like to hear what you think about preserving great historical signs and marks until it’s too late.
I got a letter from the Forest Service and they said I just received a letter concerning the logging and destruction of the Old Indian Trail. I, like myself, are very concerned in recording and remaining of prehistorically and historical heritage.The Forest Service really enjoyed what I had to say about preserving the old area.
One reason I liked the Old Indian Trail so good was people by the name of Dunning lived up here where we are going to turn around. I would walk up that Old Indian Trail and go up and see my friend Raymond Dunning. When I come up here and heard they were logging the area, I came up here and pretty near cried thinking about how the youth could be on that Old Indian Trail.”
Lawrence Hills, Mayor of Oakridge 1958 and 1963
Date of recording: May 13th 1988
Oral History Program Lane County Historical Society and Museum
Recording of school tour through Oakridge area
Desecration or Development?
If there were artifacts found in the 1500’ buffer zone, and there is a trail of at least 500 years of use within the subject property and contiguous ownership, there are undoubtedly ancient artifacts and resources pertaining to our cultural history and identity that are sacred and irreplaceable within the subject property and contiguous ownership.
These ancient artifacts and materials are from an era in time that cannot be recreated for Aboriginal peoples of this location in question. There is also a strong potential for burial sites within the subject property and contiguous ownership. All aforementioned must be addressed under appropriate local, state, federal and Tribal laws.
Heritage Research Associates have been paid a fee to conduct superficial research to aid Old Hazeldell LLC in their “due diligence” regarding cultural and archaeological sites to secure rezoning and acquire development permits.
When a recent Eugene Weekly article surfaced regarding burial sites near the subject area and contiguous ownership, Mrs. Hart and Toepel clearly conducted more research before the second public hearing to provide additional, more specific information that was so conveniently overlooked in Heritage Letter Report 15-7.
The resources mentioned by Toepel at the May 10th public comment meeting were previously cited in the Eugene Weekly publication titled “Save TV Butte”: Land Harbors Irreplaceable Indigenous History published April 28th 2016.
At the second public hearing May 10th, I presented to the Lane County Planning Commission, our Molalla family history and pre contact habitation of the property in question to the best of my ability using the narratives, transcriptions and historical documentation found in the Lane County Historical Museum, Lane County Public Service building archives and several other sources including but not limited to published books; Early Days of the Upper Willamette, From Camas to Courthouse: Early Lane County History and When the River Ran Wild, authored by George Aguilar Sr. the oldest living descendant of Charlie Tufti.
The information provided by Kathryn Toepel on May 10th was a gross bastardization of our family’s rich cultural history, identity and connection to the subject property and contiguous ownership. Toepel manipulated our family history to disprove our ancient and historical habitation of the subject property and contiguous ownership in favor of Old Hazeldell LLC.
For a fee, Linda P. Hart, M.A. and Kathryn A. Toepel, PhD. RPA, have exploited our ancient Indigenous history to aid Edward King, Gregory Demers and other anonymous investors in not only irreversibly destroying our cultural site forever, but have aided Old Hazeldell LLC in desecrating a sacred site of the Chakgeenki-Tufti (Chucksney-Tufti) Band of Molalla Indians who have state, federal and Aboriginal rights and protections in this area.
These rights, protections and laws include but are not limited to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Bylaw Chapter 490: Protection and Management of Archaeological, Historical and Cultural Resources. And The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (Public Law 101-601; 25 U.S.C. 3001-3013)
Warm Springs Tribal Code chapter 490 — Protection and Management of Archaeological, Historical and Cultural Resources states: “These cultural sites and materials include those associated with traditional foods, other natural resources, other sacred sites as designated by the Tribes, habitations and historical events and personalities. It is recognized that these are an invaluable, irreplaceable and endangered tribal resource.”
I express this with the greatest concern for the future and safety of our community and its irreplaceable resources whether they be cultural, historical or otherwise.
Lane County and the State of Oregon have an issue before them that must not be taken lightly.
When private owners, such as the Demers, Kings and McDougals, accumulate an enormous amount of profit, wealth and power directly from local resources, authorities are enabling a monopoly that places county, state, federal and Tribal resources directly in danger of irreversible damage and loss.
It is clear that the Lane County Planning Commission was never interested in taking the public’s concerns seriously, because prior to the first public comment meeting Deanna Wright went on record to announce the commission’s recommendation to the Register Guard.
For what? A small kickback to irreversibly destroy a sacred cultural site that can never be recreated?
A pathetic personal perk to desecrate a place that is and always be priceless to us as Molalla people?
No further public meetings will take place before the Lane County Planning Commission.
If this issue goes before the Board of Commissioners then there will be additional public comment meetings in the near future.
Submit Written Comment
To submit written comment to the Lane County Planning Commission please reference Department file numbers: 509-PA15-05803 & 509-PA15-05804
Comments must be received by mail or in person at
Land Management Division
ATTN: Deanna Wright
3050 N. Delta Highway
Eugene, Oregon 97408
The record will remain open to submit written comment until Tuesday May 31st, close of business.
tee-cha-meengsh-mee sin-wit na-me- ah-wa-ta-man-wit
“at the time of creation the Creator placed us in this land and He gave us the voice of this land and that is our law.”
Kayla Godowa-Tufti is a Great-Great Granddaughter of Charlie Tufti. On her father’s side, she is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon and a descendant of the Chakgeenkni-Tufti mountain band of Molalla Indians. An Indigenous rights advocate and freelance journalist residing in Kalapuya Territory, Oregon.