PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Farmers held a peaceful rally in response to a years-long dispute between a group of farmers and Yamhill County over a trail that would go through farmland.
About 25 farmers demonstrated outside the Yamhill County Courthouse on Thursday morning, complete with large tractors and trucks circling the building. The farmers say they are wanting the county to protect their farming rights and land.
“We are simply wanting land use laws to be followed,” said farmer Tom Hammer. “We follow them, we feel the government should follow them as well.”
The dispute is over a proposed trail called the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.
“[The] trail that would go between Carlton and Yamhill,” explained Lindsay Berschauer, commissioner-elect for Yamhill County. “The farmers are opposing it because the zoning for the trail is going to run along a decommissioned railroad track and it is EFU zoning — so it’s exclusive farm use zoning.”
Many community members are voicing their opinions on the matter.
“With the general public being able to stroll through our farm fields we are not going to be able to farm effectively,” said one Yamhill County resident, Celine McCarthy.
Thursday morning, the Board of Commissioners had a public hearing to discuss the trail. While written testimony was allowed, some are upset they can’t provide in-person testimony. This is the second to last in the series of hearings; the last hearing is Thursday, May 28th.
“They are not going to hear from the farmers,” said Wendy Kellington, an attorney representing 45 famers. “They don’t want to hear from the farmers.”
A Yamhill County representative told KOIN 6 News they can’t comment now but will be able to soon.
There will be a planning commission meeting at 7 p.m. to discuss zoning changes that could impact farm-use land.