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Pilot Butte’s noxious, flammable weeds growing out of control

Park managers working to remove them, cite COVID-19 staff cuts

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- If you frequent Pilot Butte to hike or cycle, you've probably noticed the large amount of vegetation, but one thing growing out of control is the weeds. And as you might expect, staffing cuts, due to COVID-19 impacts, are at the root of the problem.

It's so bad, the city of Bend issued a $150 citation to the Oregon State Parks' Tumalo Management Unit in charge of the state scenic viewpoint for noxious and flammable weeds. 

Noxious weeds are non-native, aggressive plants that can destroy native plants and habitats. Oftentimes they bring in new insects, suck up scarce water and can spread rapidly in some areas.

One viewer shared with NewsChannel 21 that he noticed noxious weeds spreading on Pilot Butte alongside the trails, the backside of the butte where houses are and even along the playground.

Weeds found around the butte such as the yellow Dalmatian toadflax and the purple knapweed can be harmful to livestock and prevent the growth of other plants.

Park Manager Joe Wanamaker told NewsChannel 21 Thursday that COVID- 19 has affected their staffing this year.

"The damage done by the pandemic is that we we've had a significant number of layoffs in the agency," Wanamaker said. "One of them happened to be our natural resource specialist, who was doing most of the spraying over at the butte. She had organized several volunteer weed pulls."

The park is operating with about 50 percent of its usual staff and simply doesn't have the bodies to keep up with the weed problem, he said. 

Wanamaker said they've also noticed many people in the area have started pulling the weeds themselves, and they're grateful for the effort to assist in solving the problem.

Bend / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Government-politics / Top Stories
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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.



  1. Harmful to livestock? Hmmmm…….I didn’t know they were in the area. Why doesn’t the city hire people to pull weeds? 2 workers can’t keep 6 feet apart in the whole park?

    1. The city can claim lost wages and get some ‘rona relief money this way. Same fashion people did with the extra 600 bucks a week…. just say corona scares you and you don’t feel safe at work…boom… you get to stay home and collect 2,400 extra dollars a month. They gave all that money away and now the next handout wil be to the cities and grease all those palms of people that complied in the plandemic

  2. “The damage done by the pandemic is that we we’ve had a significant number of layoffs in the agency,” Wanamaker said.”

    Ummm- the “pandemic” never materialized in CO- but the disastrous effects of Governor Brown’s Executive Orders have.

    This is where the local Government should have told the Governor “no”- we can’t afford your girly hysterics over here in CO- let us handle this at the local level.

    That is exactly how other semi-large scale cities across America have handled their Governor’s looking to shut everything down- unfortunately we are not hearing about the numerous law suits nationwide because of left leaning political positioning we have here at the Z.

    Sorry- but the “pandemic” is not to blame- local and state government are- lets learn the difference !

    1. Glad you think the Pandemic never “materialized”. I better go tell my cousin that since he died of it, alone in a hospital on a ventilator with no family to be there to comfort him. I’m sure he’ll be glad to know. Better go and dig him up so I can tell him that.

      The Pandemic is REAL. Death and long term health affects from it are REAL. Which is why the Governor is trying. Yes, I think the should shut down the state borders in order to keep the flow of tourists out of Oregon and Bend. There are WAY too many tourists coming here from other states that are completely overrun with COVID cases.

      Yes, this is going to affect peoples paychecks if we close the borders. But Europe did it right, they closed their borders and the government PAID their citizens anywhere from 80% – 100% of their normal pay to STAY HOME. Versus our Government paying big companies money and telling their citizens to figure it out on their own and for State Governments to try to pay unemployment to the folks that lost their jobs using computer software that is 40 – 60 years old programming languages. Since, there are very few people that know those old PC languages anymore, the states were then unable to update their unemployment software to allow for the new expanded payout benefits to pay independent contractors, gig workers, etc . So hundreds of thousands of people were left for many weeks and sometimes months without being able to get unemployed from the states.

      Had the Federal Government simply paid their citizens, versus the big companies as of 2 months ago, it was estimated that each family could have received about $80,000 per family across the entire USA. Versus handing the money to the airlines etc. For which, the only stipulation was that if a big company accepted the bailout money, they have to keep their employees on the payroll until September 30, 2020. In case you missed the headlines, United Airline plans to layoff 36,000 employees and Delta plans for 17,000 starting October 1, 2020. That’s just those 2 companies. There will be hundreds of thousands more.

      This whole Pandemic clearly shows how “Dismal America” really is. Not how “Great America” it is. Infrastructure and healthcare are failing nationwide and have been for the last 45 years. Hospitals have been geared towards ‘for profit” and running on shoestring supplies of storage of PPE and skeleton staff, so that they can make more profit and skimp on taking care of patients with the very bare minimum of supples and staff. So now their shortfalls are showing during a time of crisis. No PPE and exhausted staff and patients dying due to all of their money saving nickel and dime’ ing polices. Health care should never have been allowed to run as a “ For Profit” to begin with. IIt is stupid that our so called Fake version of American Capitalism is allowed to let the health of its Citizens suffer Faust for the green pieces of paper that we call money. Sick and unhealthy citizens cost more in the long term to all of society. Thus, a loss of Tax Revenue and work loss from those folks.

      State government is about the same. Failing infrastructure and 40 – 60 year old computer systems, which the majority of our vulnerable rely upon.

      America in our lifetime or within the next 100 years will never be “Great Again”. It is a sad fact. The only reason America built so much wealth and infrastructure after WWII and 1970 was because most of Europe, Japan, etc had been bombed and destroyed throughout WWI and WWII. They have long since recovered from those wars and rebooted their Government’s and Health Care systems several times. Meanwhile during those times, America become more controlled by lawyers, lobbyist’s, and corporations. Most all the Manufacturing and Warehouses were closed and moved overseas….to the countries that rebuilt themselves. So unless America is going to build massive manufacturing plants again and then destroy their compilation in Asia, India, Europe, etc. It ain’t going to happen folks.

      Until our Government is “For the People, by the People” again, our so called “handlers”, (those politicians) will continue to look out for the best interest of the corporations and not the health or well being of its citizen.

      People, wear a mask….correctly…which means over your nose! Not under it. Stay away from gatherings, GET OUT AND VOTE, run for political office, and demand change from your local, county, state, federal representatives. As we have all seen, protesting is doing very little for any reform. Prime example: our protests for police reform and equal rights for our minorities. Yeah great….companies are changing their names, statues are coming down…but hey,…what about uncheck police brutality? Oh wait… you’re going to change the name on my syrup bottle? Great!…but..umm..what about all the poor folks with no health care?….What!? You’re going to change the state flag of Mississippi?! Ok….now what about all the people not getting unemployment and are being kicked out of their homes?! You can see where I’m going with this right? They are distracting everyone with all these changes that should have been done years ago, with half heart attempts of changing names etc….still there has been no massive reform to our untrained militarized police force. No healthcare reform to provide well structured free, non profit care for all citizens. Etc… The protests aren’t working too great and they are not paying attention. Along with these protests are destroying locally owned businesses in the areas of the protests and keeping customers away from shopping in those areas. So really, this method is just hurting ourselves…. Vote, replace our poor performing leaders, maybe join together within your local communities and withhold your tax dollars and maybe we will get our money hungry leaders to pay attention. Boycott them! It worked on December 16, 1773 with the Boston Tea Party….

      In order to make America Great Again, we need major Government overall and replacement of our Representatives that no longer practicing Government for the People by the People. Peacefully and legally. Join together and boycott…which means withholding your tax dollars to get their attention. Not rioting and destroying your neighbors small businesses or giving a “thumbs up” vote on social media. Vote, Boycott, and Reform.

      Enough of my rant, now I gotta go tell my cousin that passed away from COVID, that there is no Pandemic and that there is no need for him to be 6’ under.

      1. Yup- that was a rant indeed- so my condolences to you and yours- and while we’re at it- to the families of all the auto accident victims that will die on Central Oregon highways this year- which currently doubles the covid-corona-wuhan virus global pandemic in our region.

        ‘Death and Taxes”is all this old world promises- Those of us wishing to get on with our lives won’t spend days upon days worrying about what CNN says “might getcha” !

        Your post has some solid points- but for those us in Oregon- it starts with getting rid of that Brown stain in Salem. The one at the helm of this disastrous response- which is still- to this day- is 100% preventable- is defined as mild in nature- and where 90+ survive !

        That data don’t lie- it’s global- it’s consistent. America’s response has been and is currently flawed- and that is “by choice” ! You tell yer cousin whatever you want- I doubt he’s listening !

    1. Yeah, and it’s more violet or pink than purple but at least they’re trying to make people aware of it. And I agree, if you’re going to pull it, BAG IT! It doesn’t do any good to pull it and carry it or just throw it on the ground.

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