Jim Lunders’ job hardly changes from year to year but his approval
ratings, for want of a better term, fluctuate as widely as a
This is because Lunders’ performance depends largely on the weather.
Lunders gets paid to kill mosquitoes.
This is never an easy task in the 200,000-acre district that Lunders
manages. But some years his duty is considerably more daunting than in
The past two years illustrate this point perfectly.
Let’s be clear on one thing: The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s road-closure process is not a democratic one.
Only one person will decide which roads on the Wallowa-Whitman that are now open to motor vehicles will be closed.
His name is Steve Ellis. He’s the Wallowa-Whitman supervisor.
But although no one other than Ellis will make that decision, everyone else has the right to lobby him.
This includes residents of the five counties across which the
Wallowa-Whitman sprawls: Baker, Union, Wallowa, Grant and Umatilla.
Whoever started the fire last week in Baker City’s watershed probably figured the diminutive blaze was of little consequence.
Luckily, they were right.
Yet that fire, though it burned less than one-tenth of an acre before
four Forest Service firefighters put it out Friday evening, could have
left the city’s 4,000 or so households with dry faucets and a hefty
bill to get them flowing again.
The fire might prompt city officials to cancel hunters’ privileges to
legally walk into the watershed and go after a deer or an elk.
I will agree, in part, with a caller who left a message on my answering
machine complaining that not enough had been done about the mosquitoes
However, I must add that I feel the vector control district has done
everything within its power to reduce mosquito numbers as much as
At this point in the season, the district has logged 302 phone calls.
Of these calls 249 were adult mosquito reports, 16 event fogging
requests, 12 dead bird reports, four larval inspection requests, three
no-spray list, two for advice on out-of-district mosquito control and
16 miscellaneous calls, including thank-yous. The district has made 381
larvacide treatments covering 9,985 acres as well as 55 adulticide
treatments covering 63,939 acres.
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