April 1, 2020: "Portland Welcomes the Return of Canis lupus, the Gray Wolf."
Now that the newly replanted gray wolf populations have spread into the Willamette Valley, their original range, Portland and Multnomah County are to be praised for their consistent and courageous response. Oregonians can now enjoy watching wild wolves (though these wolves may really be Canadians) and sharing their original habitat.
Portland city and county commissioners have jointly passed an ordinance, the Wolf Protection and Save the Environment Card Act, to “Welcome wolves, protect the environment and children, and require pro-environmental/anti-climate change advocates to put their money where their mouths are.”
Unlike other parts of the Northwest, where farmers and ranchers opposed and sought excuses to kill marauding wolves who killed their sheep and cattle and even threatened human life, Portlanders, weird to the last, have welcomed the wolves, and, with them, the logical consequences of environmental policies.
According to the mayor, all politics are local, and real environmental reform must begin at home, with informed citizens refusing to use anti-environmental products in order to save the planet. After all, in Portland, food comes from supermarkets, not from farms and ranches, so there are no cattle subject to harm.
Portlanders, who have long told rural ranchers to grin and bear it and to welcome wild wolves, have proven that they are willing to do the same. As wild wolves now roam the West Hills of Portland, and run with joggers and homeless throughout the city, environmentally conscious citizens resist climate change by refusing to use those products that cause harm.
Wolves were exterminated in Oregon in the 1800s. Some said that wolves continued to be present in Portland (Homo homini lupus, such as predators coming down from the West Hills for sexual prey on Burnside, or financial prey on Broadway), but real gray wolves, though an apex predator, are a thoroughly social species, and do not thus mistreat each other. Wolf behavior should not be confused with that of humans.
Portland wolves, lacking domestic cattle and sheep and finding few deer and elk, must kill pets which owners have allowed to be outside or off leash. Portland officials state that such pet owners have only themselves to blame.
Meanwhile, both city and county are saving money, as there is no longer a need for County Animal Rescue programs and the Humane Society. PETA has praised the ordinance. The Portland Audubon Society especially has praised county leaders for its protection of birds no longer threatened by urban domestic cats, which have virtually disappeared with the coming of the wolves.
Preliminary studies show an increase of 30% in native bird populations since the ordinance went into effect. The Wolf Protection Act has also reduced the number of homeless in Portland by over 30%, as the wolves have used the running paths, such as the Springwater Corridor, to expand throughout the region. While all studies show that wolves are not dangerous to humans, the Portland homeless population has been resistant to enlightened education on wolf behavior.
Classes have been established for the homeless to learn the true nature of gray wolves, but this drug and alcohol affected population do not trust city science. The net savings to the city have been immense.
As homeless and wolves compete for priority, the endangered wolves are clearly native and protected, here before the first Europeans, while the homeless are not. The wolves have also brought under control the local deer and elk populations, reducing the chance of collisions with traffic.
The City of Portland has replaced the elk statue in the downtown Plaza Blocks with a more realistic statue of a herd of wolves bringing down the elk. Several of the bronze beavers located near Pioneer Courthouse Square are now also represented with bronze wolves devouring them.
The core part of the act is that the Portland City Council has mandated pro-environmental identity cards. All citizens who support the wolves, and are opposed to logging, oil, gas, and mineral extraction, pipelines, and electricity production by means harmful to the environment, such as dams, and nuclear and coal plants, must declare their opposition. No citizen without the card will be allowed to write or speak against anti-environment practices.
“Hate speech,” a crime, is redefined to include any speech on environmental issues by someone who does not possess the required card. Each Portland citizen can be the proud possessor of the pro-environment identity card, which must be displayed externally at all times in public by the owner. The annual fee is waived for the first year for subscribers to PBS and the Oregonian. Such admirable persons will no longer be permitted to purchase any product produced by anti-environmental means.
Both councils will maintain and update a list of such products and services, to include all wood and metal products, all materials produced by killing or misuse of animals, and all products of the energy revolution (including oil, gas, natural gas, electricity, pipelines and transmission lines). Those who continue to use anti-environmental products will be stigmatized by their lack of this card, and shamed by their conspicuous use of disfavored products.
No one without an environmental card will be allowed to testify before the city and county councils. All Portland and Multnomah County businesses and government agencies will be required to demonstrate, by annual filings, that they are not responsible for slavery and to purchase a pro-environment card.
The Capital Press praises progressive Portland for living up to the ideals which it has long sought to impose on the rural Northwest.
Alan L. Gallagher