OREGON POLITICS Jun. 22
Gun issue prompts recall try to remove Findley from Senate
Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, drew the ire of a Mount Vernon man and prompted the effort. Patrick Hales says Findley's stance on two bills - including one on new gun legislation - spurred his action.
EDITORIAL Jun. 16
EDITORIAL: Voters should oust Rodriguez from Ontario council
The July 6 recall election gives Ontario residents the opportunity to take a clear stand against domestic violence, against political bullying, against abuse of public power. Voters should not hesitate to cast their ballots to remove Freddy Rodriguez from the Ontario City Council.
ONTARIO COMMUNITY Jun. 15
Dorian Drive property owners await council's decision on pricey fix
The Ontario City Council will decide at Tuesday's meeting if one Ontario family will need to cover the $50,000 cost to pave a 91-foot road section in front of their house.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jun. 15
Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez sent unsolicited explicit photo to local woman
An Ontario woman said she was shocked to receive a photo in April 2020 from Freddy Rodriguez that revealed parts of his body. Rodriguez and the woman sometimes flirted over Facebook Messenger, but the woman said she had no intention of provoking such a photo from the city councilor. Rodriguez explained Sunday, "I'm human." He faces a recall vote on July 6.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jun. 9
Rodriguez concedes domestic convictions – 'I lost my temper'
The beleaguered councilor addressed parts of his controversial past in a live online appearance Monday. Rodriguez's conduct has polarized Ontario city politics.
ONTARIO POLITICS Jun. 8
SPECIAL ELECTION: What Ontario voters will see on their recall ballot
Here is the text of the case Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez is putting before voters on why he shouldn't be ejected from office. The full statement from the recall petition addresses why he should be removed.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jun. 8
SPECIAL ELECTION: Recall vote on Ontario's Rodriguez set for July 6
The Malheur County Clerk's Office will send out ballots for the special election on June 16 to all registered voters within Ontario city limits. Two Ontario city councilors have said they will vote to recall Rodriguez.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jun. 4
Melendrez calls for Rodriguez's resignation at Ontario council meeting
Councilor Eddie Melendrez became the first of his peers to publicly declare that he had signed the recall petition and ask Rodriguez to resign.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT Jun. 3
Monger takes charge at Vale BLM district office
The new district manager started in May and took the place of Don Gonzalez, who retired in December 2020 after 14 years in the role.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jun. 3
Legislation means Ontario can't shut down tiny home project
House Bill 2006, which passed in Salem on May 12, requires local governments to "allow siting of qualifying emergency shelters by qualifying entities notwithstanding land use laws and regulations." In other words, the city council's deciding power over the shelter's fate is now limited.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jun. 2
Rodriguez declares intent to fight recall as petitioners round up enough signatures
Freddy Rodriguez, the embattled Ontario city councilor, faces a Friday deadline to decide whether to resign in the face of a successful recall petition. He said he won't - forcing a citywide vote on whether to remove him.
MALHEUR COUNTY ECONOMY Jun. 2
WATCHDOG: County's rail team told state key permits were in hand for reload center - they weren't
When the Oregon Transportation Commission met in January, its members wanted certain steps done for the Treasure Valley Reload Center before approving construction money. They were told work was complete on necessary permits. It wasn't then and it isn't yet, an investigation by the Enterprise found
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jun. 1
UPDATE: Recall of Rodriguez a go, says Ontario city official
UPDATE: Petitioners have gathered enough signatures to force a recall election. The Malheur County Clerk's Office announced that the petition to recall Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez was only 61 signatures short of the required amount due by Monday, June 7.
ONTARIO May. 28
Judge keeps restraining order in place against Rodriguez
An Ontario woman said she fears abuse by Freddy Rodriguez, Ontario city councilor, and asked for a year-long extension of an order that he stay away from her.
NATIONAL POLITICS May. 26
Bentz supports plan to investigate U.S. Capitol attacks
The Oregon congressman joined 34 fellow Republicans to vote yes on the proposal designed to create the commission but the plan still must gain approval in the U.S. Senate.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT May. 26
Rodriguez recall group turns in 502 signatures, keeps collecting more
The recall effort has until June 7 to come up with the requisite 494 signatures from Ontario voters in order to force an official statement from Rodriguez with either his resignation or his reasons for not resigning. If Rodriguez chooses not to resign, a special election must be held within 35 days.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT May. 21
Ontario City Council removes Justus from meeting for holding signs
The decision on Tuesday, May 18, came after former councilor Marty Justus displayed signs questioning Riley Hill's sobriety. Legal experts, including the Portland ACLU, expressed concern about the legality of the city's action.
VALE May. 20
Vale lift station project tops legislator's list for federal funds
The mechanism is old and prompts frequent repairs by city public works crews. State Sen. Lynn Findley wants to earmark $1 million in federal money to get the structure repaired.
VALE May. 20
New airport manager has big dreams - and plans - for the local airfield
Levi Gilman wants to install an independent fuel source at the airport and create more - and newer - hangars. A local helicopter pilot, Gilman said he is working now to acquire financing for his upgrade project.
EDUCATION May. 20
Young gets extension on contract at TVCC
The five-year extension was accompanied by a $30,000 raise spread across various benefits.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT May. 19
Rodriguez 'wholeheartedly' apologizes for his treatment of former councilor
Freddy Rodriguez, Ontario city councilor, took to his Facebook page on Wednesday, May 19, with a statement addressing his allegations against a former city councilor. He acted after an investigation by the Enterprise found that police uncovered no evidence of criminal behavior.
MALHEUR COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY May. 19
Former Fruitland man sentenced to prison for Ontario killing
Jaime Escobedo pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and attempting to elude police in the shooting death of Larry Fuentes outside the Los Potrillos restaurant in 2018.
ELECTIONS May. 18
FINAL RESULTS: Draper defeated, Rodriguez and Geddes win another term on Ontario School Board
Derrick Draper, a divisive and combative force on the Ontario School Board, lost his bid for re-election with voters picking pastor Tom Greco to replace him. A new makeup on the Ontario School Board will feature Tom Greco and Matt Stringer as Derrick Draper, who resigned but didn't, gets ushered off the board by Ontario voters in the Tuesday, May 18, election, based on initial results.
MALHEUR COUNTY COMMUNITY May. 17
Project DOVE rolls out innovative new program to help victims of domestic abuse
The Purple Ribbon Partner Project aims to help those who are fleeing a violent relationship find temporary refuge. The program officially kicks of May 22 with a classic car ride and show.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT May. 13
Justus threatens to sue Ontario in response to Rodriguez's claims of criminal conduct
An attorney representing former Ontario councilor Marty Justus sent a cease and desist letter to Council President Freddy Rodriguez and Mayor Riley Hill, who the letter said took claims of sexual abuse of minors against him to the Ontario police.
MALHEUR COUNTY ECONOMY May. 10
WATCHDOG: Nyssa rail project faces jeopardy as state stops funds, seeks overdue agreements
The Oregon Department of Transportation, citing questionable information from Malheur County's development company, has suspended payments for the Treasure Valley Reload Center. The county's economic development director was warned more delays could jeopardize $26 million in state funding needed to build the rail center.
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT May. 7
VIDEOS: Rodriguez, upset by decorum call, marches out of Ontario City Council meeting
UPDATE: NEW VIDEO ADDED VIDEO: Councilor Freddy Rodriguez, facing a recall petition for his conduct, walked out during an active Ontario City Council meeting on Thursday, May 6.
MALHEUR COUNTY ELECTIONS May. 7
May election will give local voters first opportunity to weigh in on plan to move the Oregon-Idaho border
Measure 22-64 stipulates the Malheur County Court must meet three times a year to consider the plan that includes counties in eastern and southern Oregon.
MALHEUR COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY May. 6
Dry weather over Malheur County proves worrisome for federal fire managers
The local high desert range is parched and future forecasts do not call for a deluge of moisture. The dry conditions may create greater wildfire challenges in the coming months.
POLITICS May. 5
Recall drive homes in on signature goal as Ontario businesses host petition
A petition to recall Ontario city councilor Freddy Rodriguez is close to the requisite 494 signatures needed to force the matter to a vote. But that hasn't preempted a seemingly unending stream of drama on Facebook and at city council meetings.
MALHEUR COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY May. 5
State officials say worker Covid testing could foment unrest at Ontario prison
Snake River Correctional Institution officials said that if they test their workers for Covid before entry, delaying the start of shifts, it "could strike a powder keg" with adults in custody, who have been on lockdown for Covid for months.
MALHEUR COUNTY May. 5
Malheur County could get billion-dollar energy project on Owyhee Reservoir
Executives from a Utah company, rPlus Hydro, recently briefed the Malheur County Court on a proposal to build a pumped storage facility. Matthew Shapiro, chief executive officer of rPlus Hydro, said the project could generate 300 new jobs and generate a significant amount of electricity.
COMMENTARY May. 4
LETTER: New Interior secretary offers hope for protection of lands like Owyhee Canyonlands
A former member of the Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council notes that with a new administration, there's an opportunity to restore conservation efforts that languished in the past several years.
OREGON POLITICS May. 4
Oregon delegation sees greater access, clout with addition of sixth representative
The latest Census tally gives Oregon a new Congressional district. Oregon's current representatives say that will give the state added clout in decision-making on matters of national and state import, and also offers constituents one more place to get help.
AROUND OREGON Apr. 30
AROUND OREGON: Klamath irrigators claim state permit allows them to divert water
Reagan Desmond, general counsel for Klamath Drainage D, said KDD obtained the state permit from the Oregon Water Resources Department in the 1970s as a backup for situations when Reclamation would be unable to satisfy the district’s Project right in full.
MALHEUR COUNTY ELECTIONS Apr. 29
May election offers a full slate of choices for voters
There will be 20 contest races on the May 18 ballot that run the gamut from school boards to cemetery districts. Local ballots for the election were mailed between April 28.
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT Apr. 29
Ontario City Council rejects plea to keep tiny homes open past May
Despite the recommendation of its own staff to extend the shelter's operations through the end of June and give the shelter a chance to become permanent, Ontario's city council decided to close the tiny homes at the end of May in response to neighbors' concerns.
MALHEUR COUNTY BUSINESS Apr. 28
Businesses in Malheur County grapple with sudden, acute labor shortage
Since the state eased Covid restrictions, many local restaurants are welcoming record numbers but a lack of available employees created new, and lingering, challenges.
FreeMALHEUR COUNTY POLITICS Apr. 27
Ontario forum on Wednesday will test school board candidates with questions
The Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting an open forum on Wednesday, April 28, for the public to hear from candidates for seats on the boards of the Ontario School District and Treasure Valley Community College.
MALHEUR COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY Apr. 23
UPDATE: One dead, another seriously injured in early-morning crash near Cairo Junction
State police are still investigating the head-on collision that occurred at about 3:46 a.m. Friday. Jennifer Haueter, 31, Vale, died in the crash while another Vale resident was seriously injured.
MALHEUR COUNTY COMMUNITY Apr. 23
Nyssa residents object to rezone decision
Some homeowners in the southern part of town are frustrated with a recent move by the city council to switch several acres of land from a residential zone to a commercial zone to make way for the possible expansion of a local onion firm.
MALHEUR COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY Apr. 22
Local volunteer fire departments seek new recruits to protect communities
In Vale and Nyssa the help wanted signs have been up for a while but as participation nationally declines, local emergency responders find the route to fully-staffed crews to be a challenge.
MALHEUR COUNTY GOVERNMENT Apr. 22
Key piece of rail crossing deal included unusual provision to muzzle local farm family
The county agreed to settle the lingering dispute with Froerer Family Farms for $400,000 but the pact included a condition that they could not speak to the media regarding the Treasure Valley Reload Center.
MALHEUR COUNTY COMMUNITY Apr. 16
Longtime Malheur County water manager heading to retirement
For two decades Jay Chamberlin stood at the helm of the Owyhee Irrigation District and now, as he sets his sights on stepping away next year, he reflects on what he believes was a noble career.
AROUND THE REGION Apr. 12
IN THE REGION: Idaho legislators hold hearing on redrawing state border to take in Oregon counties
The proposal to shift parts of Oregon into Idaho faces long odds and many questions. Malheur County voters get a related ballot measure for this year's primary vote.
ENVIRONMENT Apr. 8
Malheur County streams would get federal protection under Senate bill
Up to 4,700 miles of river and streams in Oregon could gain new protection with the River Democracy Act, introduced by U.S. Sens. Wyden and Merkley to Congress this February.
GOVERNMENT Apr. 1
Governor plans to plow federal cash into into housing, other rural initiatives in Oregon
The $1.9 trillion dollar federal stimulus is one-time money that the state is planning to spend with the help of regional advisory committees on issues like housing, community colleges, agriculture and childcare.
MALHEUR COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY Apr. 1
New coordinator of human trafficking task force on duty in Malheur County
Kim DeRose will focus on education and outreach efforts to educate the public about the role of the Tri-County Anti-Trafficking Task Force and the dangers of human trafficking.
ONTARIO Mar. 25
SURVEY: 'This kind of drama does not lend itself to inspiring trust'
More than 200 people left comments about the political situation in Ontario city government as part of the Malheur Enterprise online survey. They had plenty of criticism for the Ontario City Council and for Councilor Freddy Rodriguez. Rodriguez drew a few defenders.
MALHUER COUNTY GOVERNMENT Mar. 24
Millions to flow into Malheur County in unexpected boost for local governments
Ontario, Vale, Nyssa, Adrian, Jordan Valley, and Malheur County itself will get cash infusions from the American Recovery Plan, the new stimulus package.
COMMENTARY Mar. 23
EDITORIAL: Ontario council's silence on Rodriguez controversy speaks volumes
Amid concerns about Councilor Freddy Rodriguez's conduct, members of the Ontario City Council have kept mostly silent, claiming they have no authority to take any action. But they could – and should – speak out on the troubling issue of domestic violence and a range of other matters raised by the controversy. As we note in our editorial, the public's trust is at stake.
ONTARIO Mar. 23
Survey finds disappointment in Ontario City Council, supports Rodriguez resignation
An exclusive online survey conducted by the Malheur Enterprise asked respondents to rate the recent performance of the Ontario City Council relating to Councilor Freddy Rodriguez. The survey, in which more than 400 people participated, also showed support for the effort to recall Rodriguez.
POLITICS Mar. 23
Incumbents get challenged for school board seats across Malheur County
With the filing deadline past, the races are set for the local election in May. School board members in Ontario, Nyssa and Adrian are seeking re-election - but also drew challengers.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 17
Former Ontario officials ask for action against Rodriguez, who tells of having two homes now
Ontario city councilors on Tuesday once again ignored pleas for them to act against Councilor Freddy Rodriguez, listening but taking no action as former mayors and councilors united in a call for accountability. Rodriguez then described how he went from going homeless in January to having two homes and meeting residency requirements for city office.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 17
Ontario panel picked to start first revision of charter in decades
The city charter, Ontario's governing document, hasn't been revised since 1985. Councilors and citizens hope to introduce amendments to constrain the city council's ability to pass sales taxes and to create election districts.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 12
Council to put pot tax towards debt
The Ontario City Council voted to spend its marijuana money on one-time investments and public employee retirement debt.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 12
Second restraining order against Councilor Freddy Rodriguez dismissed
A judge found Thursday that a local woman had not proved she'd been abused and was in imminent danger from the councilor. The contested custody of a dog named Unicorn that currently resides with the woman remained unresolved.
MALHEUR COUNTY POLITICS Mar. 12
Filing deadline nears in Malheur County as citizens urged to step up and help
Volunteers mostly fill slots on obscure posts such as the Owyhee Cemetery Board or the Arock School District Board but their participation is important for local voters
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Mar. 10
Second effort to recall Rodriguez kicks off in Ontario
The petitioner, Cydney Cooke, gave several reasons for the recall, among them Rodriguez's two active restraining orders for domestic violence and his behavior on social media.
STATE NEWS Mar. 4
Oregon's child welfare director sees reforms taking hold
Midway through her second year Oregon's child welfare director, Rebecca Jones Gaston says the agency is working hard to bolster training for its workers, improve response times on an abuse hotline, and address difficult issues such as structural racism.
STATE NEWS Mar. 2
AROUND OREGON: Biden administration rescinds grazing permit for Hammond Ranches a day after environmental groups file lawsuit
Officials at the U.S. Interior Department officials rescinded a 10-year grazing permit for Hammond Ranches Inc. and directed the Bureau of Land Management to further consider the matter. Four environmental advocacy groups on Thursday sued the Interior secretary and Bureau of Land Management, alleging last month’s permit approval on the final day of the Trump administration was “tainted by political influence” and that a “rushed and truncated public process” cut out opportunities for public participation required by law. The Oregon Farm Bureau argued that the Hammonds’ grazing permit should be restored and not issued or taken away based on “ever-changing regulatory whims,” according to farm bureau spokeswoman Anne Marie Moss.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Feb. 25
Rodriguez asks for hearing to contest January restraining order
Ontario City Councilor Freddy Rodriguez has requested for a hearing with the Malheur County Circuit Court to contest the restraining order filed against him by a local woman last month. No hearing date has been set yet.
VALE Feb. 25
Vale's old city hall is filling with new tenants
The city signed an agreement with Elkhorn Public Defenders in early February and the county already rents space in the facility for grand jury proceedings.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Feb. 24
Ontario keeps team in Washington chasing project money
The city is working on grants for public art and economic development with Merchant MacIntyre, a firm based out of Washington, D.C.
YOUR GOVERNMENT Feb. 24
Push by Malheur County to open low-grade ag land for development back on the legislative docket
Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, is a key priority for the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board.
ELECTIONS Feb. 22
Plan to move Oregon-Idaho border leaps ahead with local ballot measure
The measure, supported by the non-profit, grass-roots group Greater Idaho, will require the Malheur County Court to meet three times a year to discuss the border modification blueprint.
PUBLIC SAFETY Feb. 21
Oregon legislation to ease Measure 11 draws concern from Malheur DA
Senate Bill 191 is just one of several pieces of legislation that aim to make changes to the minimum sentencing law state voters approved in 1994.
MALHEUR COUNTY SPORTS Feb. 19
Governor's decision clears the way for spring prep football in Malheur County
The new season is slated to start March 1. Some details, including safety protocols, still need to be finalized before the first football hits the grass.
PUBLIC SAFETY Feb. 18
Truck crash temporarily closes U.S. Highway 20 west of Harper
The early-morning accident injured the driver of the truck and damaged guardrails at the Squaw Creek Bridge. Both eastbound and westbound lanes were closed but police were able to reopen the eastbound lane later.
NYSSA Feb. 18
Ani-Care inks deal with Nyssa for new animal shelter, moving from Ontario
Ani-Care Animal Shelter will relocate from Ontario to the Thunderegg Capital of the World within the next few weeks. City officials said they were pleased with the deal.
PUBLIC SAFETY Feb. 16
Ontario man sentenced to 10 years in federal prison
Carlos Alberto Berrios Jr., 30, pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine Jan. 23 and was sentenced in federal court Tuesday.
ONTARIO Feb. 12
Ontario funds lobbyist to seek more pot taxes
Ontario will send a new lobbyist to Salem to support two bills that would change how the state redistributes existing taxes, and allow Ontario to raise local taxes on marijuana products.
AROUND OREGON Feb. 8
AROUND OREGON: Congressman calls for removal of Snake River dams
The weekend proposal for a massive infrastructure initiative to “end the salmon wars” is sending shock waves through the Columbia River Basin. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-idaho, is behind the push.
VALE Feb. 5
Fuller ready to step into Vale city manager slot
Longtime resident will step down from council set to take the reins of the city. Fuller, who works as a manager at Woodgrain in Fruitland, said he wants to build strong relationships with city staff.
COMMENTARY Feb. 1
EDITOR'S COLUMN: Keeping close watch on public officials is a core duty for the Enterprise
Reporters at the Enterprise have produced story after story in recent weeks about powerful public officials. Such work isn't easy - but we know you expect us to do it.
MALHEUR COUNTY ECONOMY Jan. 27
Decision by state commission clears the way for construction of Malheur County rail facility
Nearly four years after funding was earmarked for the project, dirt will begin to move at the site north of Nyssa in the spring. Local officials praised the judgement by the Oregon Transportation Commission Jan. 21.
YOUR GOVERNMENT Jan. 27
Fuller tapped to lead Vale as city manager
Todd Fuller will begin work as city manager of the Malheur County town March 1. The Vale City Council made its decision Tuesday.
NYSSA CITY HALL Jan. 27
Small town politics delivers lessons, insights for Nyssa mayor
Betty Holcomb was voted to the top political spot in Nyssa by the city council recently. For the lifelong Nyssa resident, building trust and looking out for seniors are key priorities.
ONTARIO CITY GOVERNMENT Jan. 27
Freddy Rodriguez, Ontario city councilor, subject of new restraining order over abuse, the second in a year
Malheur County Circuit Court judge Lung S. Hung found that Rodriguez “represents a credible threat to the physical safety” of an Ontario woman and that she “is in imminent danger of further abuse.”
MALHEUR COUNTY POLITICS Jan. 26
Resolution by state Republican party sparks questions, bewilderment from Malheur County lawmaker
The document links recent mob violence at the U.S. Capitol as a false-flag operation designed to discredit former President Donald Trump. GOP lawmakers and officials were caught off guard by the resolution.
ONTARIO Jan. 25
Riley Hill, mayor of Ontario, sues his own city over $500
Ontario mayor and developer Riley Hill is appealing a civil penalty levied on his company, Eldorado Investments Inc, for a nuisance ordinance involving weeds and an abandoned car left on one of the company's lots. His company recently took the city to court to overturn the penalty.
YOUR GOVERNMENT Jan. 22
Malheur County Court approves commitment letter for rail reload center
The documents spells out six, non-binding guidelines between the county, a group of Malheur County onion shippers and Americold Logistics will follow regarding the taxpayer-funded facility north of Nyssa.
YOUR COMMUNITY Jan. 22
Transportation department gears up for sidewalk, curb renovation project in Malheur County
Beginning Monday, crews will start to set up traffic control signs in several areas across Vale. The project will focus on U.S. Highway 26 and Ellsworth Street and U.S. Highway 20 between 10th Street North and Viking Drive.
COMMUNITY NEWS Jan. 15
Rec district seeks city partnership for pool, asks public input
The Pool Committee of the Ontario Recreation District will ask Ontario City Council for financial support to get the project moving this Jan. 19.
YOUR GOVERNMENT Jan. 13
Bentz votes against impeachment of President Trump
Lawmakers affirmed the article of impeachment 232-197. Ten GOP lawmakers broke ranks and voted to impeach the president.
FreeYOUR GOVERNMENT Jan. 6
Local lawmakers speak out about attempt by rioters to seize U.S. Capitol building
Most Malheur County and regional politicians decry the mob violence that erupted as Congress worked to certify the presidential election results Wednesday.
COVID IN MALHEUR COUNTY Dec. 29
County court awards aid to more than 50 Malheur County businesses
Elected leaders signed off on the distribution plan Wednesday and the county will immediately cut and send checks out to local merchants. The county received about $700,000 in state financial aid to help area merchants and others recover from the Covid pandemic.