Anti-trapping initiative comes at a price

Getting it on the ballot in 2014 will cost $900K, group's leader estimates

By Dylan Darling / The Bulletin

Published: May 25. 2012 4:00AM PST

A Central Oregon group trying to build momentum for a ballot vote that would ban trapping in the state in 2014 will likely need $900,000 to make it happen, its leader said at a Thursday night meeting in downtown Bend.

“We cannot do this without money,” said Lucinda Baker, executive director of TrapFree Oregon.

She based her estimate on the cost of a successful 2000 trapping ban initiative in Washington. TrapFree Oregon started earlier this year after neighbors living in Tumalo were shocked about an encounter with a trapped coyote. The topic drew more interest after a half dozen dogs were caught in traps over the winter in Central Oregon.

The group attracted about 60 people in early March at its first public meeting. About 50 people showed up for the Thursday meeting at the Old Stone Church, its second public meeting, during which the group tested how to get support for a trapping ban.

“It's a good dry run for us to get us focused and learn what will work and won't work,” Baker said just before the meeting.

Among the speakers, a Tumalo rancher talked about his run-ins with a trapper, a biologist spoke about the dangers traps pose for raptors, and a Redmond woman told the story of her dog being caught in a trap.

Mary Launer, 43, said her dog was trapped on public land across from her home near the Deschutes River last December, and her other dog was nearly trapped. After she and her husband talked with state law and wildlife officials, they found out the traps near her house are legal because they're on public land.

“We are to the point that we don't feel comfortable taking our dogs out,” she said.

Baker said TrapFree Oregon — which adopted its name from an informational website against trapping — is looking for volunteers to help with the initiative and people to spread word about it through social media.

TrapFree Oregon is targeting the 2014 vote because creating an initiative and collecting enough signatures to earn a spot on the ballot takes months, said Chris Baker, Baker's husband and another leader of the group.

Just going through the process to finalize the initiative language will likely take six to eight months, he said. Also, the state only considers initiatives every other year, and this year's deadlines are near.

The group's goal is to have 120,000 signatures, 30,000 more than the 90,000 required by the state, in by July 2014, Chris Baker said. The focus is on an initiative rather than a bill proposed by a lawmaker because it won't be subject to political negotiations.

“We want to control the wording,” he said. “We want to make it as strong as possible.”

Along with Washington, voters in three other Western states have passed trapping bans — Arizona in 1994, California in 1998 and Colorado in 1996. Oregon voters have twice rejected trapping bans, in 1980 and 2000.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812,

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