NEWS FOR THE NIGHT – Be careful what you wish for. In this case, one city in Oregon wished for an army of goats to devour everything within their sites. Well, they got their army, but what fell in their sites was not exactly what the city was hoping for.
It all started when the city of Salem recognized that it had a bit of a plant problem, mainly that two types of weedy plants were taking over the city. These plants were the Armenian Blackberry and the English Ivy.
The troublesome plants had invaded Minto-Brown Island Park and the city wanted the weeds done away with. So, in a menacing tone that would make Shakespeare proud, they murmured to an army of goats, “who will rid me of these meddlesome weeds?”
So the city brought in an army of 75 plant-crunching, relentless goat soldiers to march through the Park and reclaim the territory for the city and for the people. It was all going well when the project was launched back in October of 2015, but, as they say, the bloom has left the rose. In this case, the rose was probably eaten altogether.
According to a recent report by the city, the goats cost $21,000 in upkeep. They graze over a 23-acre section of the park. The cost of the goats’ upkeep, however, proved to be more expensive than it would have cost to hire mowing crews, let alone deploying inmates to do the job (as had been done in the past).
But alas, our relentless goat army didn’t merely eat the city’s budget, though, if they had left the money lying around, our bet is the goats certainly would have literally eaten that too.
No, the Salem goat army didn’t perfectly heed the vexing question metaphorically muttered under the Salem authorities’ breathes, “who will rid me of these meddlesome weeds?”
The goats paid no heed to the limits the Salem authorities had placed on their assaults. Sure, they rid the city of those meddlesome weeds, but…well…they kept going.
The report explained that, “the goats were not selective in what they ate, devouring native plants along with invasives. Determining suitable locations for goats must be carefully considered should this practice be used in future.”
The people, though, loved the goats, save for the wonderful byproduct of a goat army assaulting those meddlesome weeds, the…er…..leftovers, to put it delicately.
The report elaborated, “The goats were almost universally welcomed by park users as a pleasant, pastoral addition to the scenery. The area, however, had a barnyard aroma during the time the goats were present.”
In these tough economic times, we know what you’re thinking, where will the goats get new jobs? Fear not, friends, for the city isn’t done with the goats just yet. They plan on using the Grand Goat Army for special missions, like vegetation trimming on steep banks.
But, the days of the Goat Army running amuck in the City’s Parks are done, kaput.
“We made it clear at the council meeting that we would not say we would never use goats again,” Mark Becktel, public works operations manager for the city of Salem told a local newspaper, “We consider them a special tool in our toolbox. But you’re not going to see large numbers of happily grazing goats in our park system anytime soon.”
So farewell Grand Goat Army. You served well, too well.
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