Over 2,000 homes and businesses were destroyed by the Almeda Fire that started in northern Ashland and ripped through the cities of Talent, Phoenix and part of Medford, Oregon.  We now have 32,000 people displaced, many of them living in their motorhomes and trailers in parking lots of big box stores.  At almost the same time, the Obenchain Fire started about seven miles east of my home just outside the city limits of Eagle Point, Oregon.  The east wind was ferocious that day, and that fire should have been driven east directly toward my hilltop residence, but except for the hand of God it inexplicably burned in a northeasterly direction toward the towns of Shady Cove and Butte Falls.  The Almeda Fire is now out and the Obenchain Fire is 35% contained but is still threatening Butte Falls.  Evacuation orders for Shady Cove have been vacated for now.  We have experienced an unmitigated, but as you will see, preventable Human catastrophe

The “authorities” of Jackson County, Oregon bear total responsibility for this catastrophe, including the fact our highly-touted Emergency Alert System was never activated to alert residents to flee the Almeda Fire.  Only three lives were lost in the Almeda Fire so far, and that is a miracle in itself.  But the primary reason I blame these local “authorities” for this disaster goes back at least ten years.

Jackson County constructed a pathway called, “The Greenway”, that runs from Ashland in the south all the way to Central Point in the north.  It was originally intended to be a bike and hiking trail, lined by huge masses of blackberry vines that burn like gasoline when lit.  At the same time, Jackson County became inundated with what the local authorities like to call the, “Homeless”, which is a politically correct term for what I call Professional Bums.  The term, “Homeless”, suggests most of these people had homes at one time and lost them during the 2008 home mortgage fiasco, but the vast majority of these people are simply anti-social, anti-establishment transients, many of them drug addicts and criminals with long histories, including rapists, child molesters, burglars, thieves — and pyromaniac arsonists!  Those transient bums moved right onto the Greenway and basically took it over, often burrowing under the blackberry vines to camp and sleep.  The transients have left heaps of their garbage in piles all along The Greenway, and at taxpayer expense, local law enforcement would go in and clean up after them every so often, knowing full well nothing was being done to prevent or inhibit the transients from moving right back in to despoil it all over again.

Over the same ten years, those transients have started many fires on the Greenway when their cooking and warming fires got out of control, and again at taxpayer expense the local fire department dutifully put those fires out, time after time, while the County Commissioners, the various city mayors and city councils never took any meaningful steps to discourage the transients from taking up residence in the incorporated cities or the county itself.  In fact, the local authorities and private groups did just the opposite:  They took extraordinary steps to coddle and accommodate these Professional Bums to the extent they feed them, they built tiny homes to house them, they provided free laundry services to them and they even provided free dental, medical care and haircuts for them.  As a result, the transient population of Jackson County exploded!  Have you ever noticed the majority of these bums have cell phones?  We can thank former President Obama and his free Obama-phones for that.  The bums use those phones to let all their buddies nationwide know what a great destination resort Jackson County, Oregon is, and predictably, they came a-runnin’.

In legal terms, The Greenway has become an “Attractive Nuisance”.  Hikers and bicycle riders don’t use the trail nearly as often as intended because they don’t want to be harrassed by the transients camping there, and we still have an unsolved murder that occurred on The Greenway several years ago when a young man walking home from work was nearly decapitated by someone wielding a very large knife or a machete.  Local police have arrested several people over the same ten years who set fires intended to destroy some of the homes bordering The Greenway.  All of these instances and developments I’ve detailed here served as forewarnings of the disaster that finally transpired, yet the local authorities still refused to effectively address the transient problem on The Greenway.

The Ashland Police, in the jurisdiction where the Almeda Fire started very near The Greenway, have determined the fire was Human-caused.  One transient with a long criminal history was arrested after witnesses saw him deliberately lighting a fire as the Almeda Fire approached, and his fire merged with the Almeda Fire.

I have written before that Southern Oregon has the highest concentration of truly stupid people that I have ever observed, but I need to correct that.  Many of these people have very high IQs and educations, so they are not truly stupid in the traditional meaning of the word.  What they lack is wisdom.  People can be highly intelligent and highly educated, but if they lack true wisdom that can only come from God when asked for it, they are called, “Fools”, and Jackson County, Oregon has the highest concentration of Complete Fools I have ever observed anywhere I’ve ever lived before.

The vast majority of these fools are of the liberal persuasion.  Medford, Oregon was once considered a very conservative city until fools in the form of mostly young Liberals took over the City Council and began changing city policy.  You see, Medford doesn’t pay its city council members to serve, so they get volunteers and when you do that, you get your money’s worth!  Had Medford wisely hired a qualified and conservative city manager, they wouldn’t need a city council, and predictably, it was the liberal city council that decided setting up a village of tiny homes within city limits to house their, “Homeless”, was a good idea.  Now they’ve even set aside an area for the transients to camp on.  Like the complete fools they are, they have not only accommodated an anti-social, anti-establishment and criminal element into their city and county, they are all ultimately responsible for the Almeda Fire, the loss of over 2,000 homes and businesses and the displacement of some 32,000 people who are now homeless themselves.  That is what Fools do.  In the final analysis, it was Political Correctness that led to this disaster.  It wasn’t politically correct to suggest discouraging these criminal transients from taking up residence here, so the authorities remained silent and did nothing — literally nothing!

And what could have been done?  Oh, let me count the ways!  How do you think all that transient garbage ended up all over The Greenway?  It was hauled there by bums using stolen grocery shopping carts from local grocery stores.  And what did the City of Medford Council decide to do about the broken-down and abandoned grocery carts found all over the city?  They decided to penalize the grocery stores they were stolen from!  That’s right, if the grocery store doesn’t send an employee right out and retrieve their stolen and broken down carts, they get fined by the City of Medford.  So think about that for a moment:  The Medford Police as well as the Jackson County Sheriff and all the other police departments in the area see transients in possession of grocery carts piled high with transient belongings, and they have every reason to suspect those grocery carts are stolen, but they never stop the transients pushing them around to demand proof of ownership!  Apparently, that is liberal, politically correct countywide policy.  The law enforcement agencies all know those transients are nearly always in possession of stolen property, ie those grocery carts, and if they are, the police have the right, and indeed the duty, to search the transient’s belongings in those stolen carts for drugs and stolen items.  It’s called Probable Cause, but our law enforcement agencies are not exercising that, nor are they enforcing the law equally, because I can guarantee you if a local cop spots a stolen vehicle and arrests the thief driving it, s/he will search that stolen vehicle and can do so without waiting for a warrant.  What they should do is confiscate the cart and cite the offender to appear, then they should dump out the searched contents on the sidewalk or street and tell the transient s/he has one hour to remove them or a garbage truck will arrive and take the whole mess away for disposal.  If that policy was strictly enforced by every law enforcement agency in Jackson County, many of these transients would move away to greener pastures — like California, where they are more than welcome.

Next, The Greenway is prone to fires like The Almeda Fire because of all the blackberry vines and other brush present, so the authorities need to conduct controlled burns to clear it all away.  That will eliminate the Attractive Nuisance for transients to camp there.  Next, they need to fence the entire length of The Greenway with chain link fencing and gate it in such a way as to allow bicycles and hikers/pedestrians to pass through, but tight enough to prevent stolen grocery carts from being wheeled in.  They also need to lock the gates to The Greenway each night.  And if they think doing all this is just too expensive, then they need to get rid of The Greenway altogether and sell off the real estate.  As it turns out, The Greenway has become nothing but a transient highway, an avenue for fires to travel and a source of constant taxpayer expense so high that any benefits from maintaining it are negligible.

Finally, Jackson County is chock-full of do-gooder organizations that make money for themselves while collecting donations from well-intentioned people and businesses to feed and house transients living here no matter where they are from.  What, did you think these “benevolent” outfits do it for free?  No, believe me they get paid for it!  While I don’t have a problem feeding or even housing local people who are down on their luck, most of the transients getting all these welfare, food stamp and other freebies aren’t even from Southern Oregon, and they need to be cut off from getting those freebies in return for a one-way, nonrefundable bus ticket home.  It’s either that, or they can starve.  Their choice.

But will any of this be done by this gaggle of fools in authority here?  No, not these Southern Oregon fools!  They just experienced one of the worst single urban and suburban disasters ever recorded in Oregon, but Liberals never admit error and because they are the fools they are, they never learn from their mistakes.

If I’m right, they’ll just return to their foolishness like a dog returns to its vomit.


Carl F. Worden

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