Editor’s note: This is the letter Baker City Councilor Adam Nilsson sent to his fellow councilors. He also submitted the letter to the Herald. Nilsson was cited Aug. 1 for criminal trespass while in possession of a firearm (a handgun for which he has a concealed carry permit) and criminal mischief at the abandoned lime plant near Huntington.
Greetings from exile!
I’m planning to be there on Tuesday (Editor’s note: the Aug. 8 City Council meeting) but I’m not sure I’ll feel able to return by then. My very enjoyable Baker City life is pretty wrecked. I lack the time to write individually, Although I’d like to. So I will copy and paste a portion of the note I’m writing at this moment, as it provides a glimpse into my current situation and mental state, and it sheds a little light on my side of the story.
My Harley is outfitted to travel. I was not asked, in the course of the “investigation,” about the saddle bags (2), a tool pouch, an additional leather possibles pouch, or the 15-inch length of 4-inch pvc tubing with removable end caps for extra storage. Well before my scared, exhausted, awkwardly forced “consent” for search, which of course was only to get the hell out of there, Maldonado (Editor’s note: Baker County Sheriff’s Deputy Gabe Maldonado, who cited Nilsson) had already searched all my bags. He did it on the passenger side floor of the SUV while Van Arsdall (Editor’s note: sheriff’s deputy Jef Van Arsdall) was at the other vehicle with Ashley. He neglected to turn the sound off on the camera, so I could hear the photos being taken. Even more clear, was the unmistakable and unpreventable sound of moving spray paint cans. Nobody can move paint cans quietly. Even without the sounds, the light on inside the SUV, that prevented me from seeing outside, illuminated the interior in such a way that I could observe his activities in an angled reflection. Ashley is seeking professional help for PTSD. Walking around last night in a different city, she was unable to deal rationally with police presence, which was very heavy due to an event. “I’ll never feel the same about cops again,” she said. It makes me so sad to see the change in her, and to know how utterly avoidable everything about that encounter was.
I have tried to deal with this locally, among the people and community to whom it should matter most. It does not seem like there is enough interest or motivation toward conversation and change in Baker County for me to risk returning to such unfair treatment and nonchalant disregard for my well-being or the safety of my loved ones. Ashley is determined to pursue her mistreatment in the context of civil and human rights. She talks mostly about the way the experience felt. It was amazingly (bad), especially for her. “He did not treat us like humans,” she says.
I am, of course, laser-focused on the fact that a crime was committed against me, and then I had violence and abuse done to me in order to try to create a false scenario where I am guilty of crimes worthy of jail. Jail. We are looking at jail time. We’ve had fun joking around and tripping out on it; but it isn’t funny. Ashley could lose her PT license, which is her total and absolute livelihood. I haven’t even told my mom. Though I know that systemic law enforcement problems are the deeper issue, Baker County will end up in the spotlight mainly because of the sketchiness of Mike Downing’s request that I just roll over and play dead, letting my productive life crash needlessly against the rocks, in order to protect a poorly led, ill-equipped and under-trained sheriff’s department. Nobody has ever invited me to participate in a cover-up before. I’m not certain that’s what Mike meant. He was nervous, agitated and quite unclear. That, and the accusations of unethical behavior he deployed, as some sort of smokescreen to hide missteps and mistakes, crimes and incompetence, have put me in the strangest, most damaging, distracting and destructive circumstances I have ever experienced. And it is obviously just getting started.
This is simply terrible. I won’t get the time back. And neither Ashley, nor I, nor Pek, for that matter, will ever have the same warm feelings of community, safety, predictability and peace that we once enjoyed.
The next note I compose will be to the district attorney. I’m going to the non-local press with all the information I have, including having observed Maldonado searching my motorcycle before contact, his intimidating fondling, his terrorizing of Ashley, and his unseemly behavior once Van Arsdall helped him see what a terrible mess he had made. “There’s no heartburn, right?” This is how I answered: “I would have loved to have talked a lot more, a lot earlier. This was all totally unnecessary.”
And then we rode off, into the darkness we had planned so carefully to avoid, to start a weird new anxious, sleepless life. As criminals.
Voice your concerns about proposed power line
Monday, Aug. 14, 5 p.m., at the Courthouse, 1995 Third St., yet another meeting will address the proposed Boardman to Hemingway high voltage powerline that will bisect Baker County . This Idaho Power albatross has been on the table for over 10 years now, still threatening our county. We never were given a vote whether we wanted it or not and now we are being forced to choose between the lesser of evils: The final route through the county that, no matter where it goes is going to harm the entire county. T his meeting offers a chance for public input to cripple it. Remember, Idaho Power is a for-profit company worth multi-million dollars earning healthy profits annually. The powers who run it don’t live here nor do they care if a powerline runs through our front yards as they don’t see it or deal with its consequences, like:
• Whether the lines are routed behind or in front of the BLM’s Interpretive Center it is an act of arrogance to even consider desecrating this viewscape. It is a defilement of history and our heritage. Why did the BLM spend $16 million on the Center then destroy its purpose by bisecting this unique window into the past with wires and 15-story pylons?
• Electric magnetic fields are not allowed as a complaint against powerlines, yet damning evidence reveals powerlines emit harmful radiation to both humans and livestock.
• There is little in Idaho Power’s plan to check the spread of weeds. Building and maintenance will spread weeds like wildfire — just what an agricultural-based community needs.
• Who pays for forest fires started by shorts or line breakage?
• Idaho Power gives nothing back to the community.
• Who pays for road damage caused by heavy equipment building and maintaining this project? And dust abatement?
County Commissioners’ comments are due to ODOE by Sept. 1. There are concerns Idaho Power has only paid lip service to so far— (Remember the contractual fish ladders that Idaho Power was supposed to build at their dams?). Your concerns are important for the health of this community. Baker is a unique and special place to live: If you don’t want this invasive development, then please attend this meeting. Your voice can count.
Schools need money, but there’s enough to buy land
Baker City citizens are continually reminded that our existing schools are in bad need of repairs and updating. We are asked to grant them more funding to remedy this situation.
Despite all this, the District can afford to pay out $160,000 plus an additional $40,000 for a land purchase!
Does anyone else see a problem with this?
County should cancel contract with Greg Smith
Representative Greg Smith should have disclosed to the Baker County commissioners and the EDC board that he was a full-time employee of the Columbia Development Authority when his contract came up for renewal.
One wonders how a state representative even in off-session, can work 40 hours a week for CDA and also fairly market Baker County, Malheur County and Umatilla County for business development in all three counties.
I have not heard of any success Mr. Smith has brought into Baker County. Of course he also represents a county in his district, in addition to Baker and Malheur counties. How can he fairly represent any of the counties?
It was just announced Mr. Smith was successful at getting a $7 million grant for Columbia Development Authority. Baker County is truly the stepchild of Mr. Smith.
I find it deceptive this important information was not shared with the board and the commissioners during contract negotiations. It also is completely inappropriate for Commissioner Nichols to meet for lunch with Smith prior to the vote to renew the contract. Seems like collusion to me.
This contract needs to be canceled. The county commissioners hold the purse strings on financial business and they need to protect Baker County from back door deals such as this.