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Commentaries and editorials

Oregon Turns to Idaho
for New Fish and Wildlife Director

by Associated Press
Capital Press, July 14, 2006

Virgil Moore is avid hunter and fisherman

SALEM -- Virgil Moore of Idaho has been selected as the new director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and is expected to start his new job on Aug. 1.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 5-2 recently to hire Moore, the chief of fisheries for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Moore was chosen over Roy Elicker, who has been the acting director since Lindsay Ball resigned at the end of 2005 to lead the state Department of Administrative Services.

The public session during which the vote was taken drew an audience of about a dozen people, most of them representing fishing and hunting groups.

Moore, 54, has a national reputation for working with professional fish managers, both within the American Sportfishing Association and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

A former high school biology teacher in Missouri, Moore earned a master of science degree in zoology from Idaho State University before joining the Idaho department in 1979.

Moore, an avid hunter and fisherman, said one of his first jobs would be to build bridges on contentious commercial and sport issues, a reference to the debates earlier this year over the allocation of Columbia River hatchery spring chinook salmon between sport anglers and gill-netters.

That debate seeped into the public comments to commissioners about Moore and Elicker. Some saw Moore as sport-friendly and Elicker as more favorable to gill nets.

"The attempt to turn this process into pitting gill nets versus sportfishing was extremely unwise and unfounded," said Commissioner Donald Denman of Medford. "Neither of these fine candidates should have been tainted, and the attempt to have a war develop was a very bad thing."

Most of the post-vote comments by commissioners who had voted for Moore were directed toward Elicker, expressing a desire that he stay with the department.

"I just wanted to say that the selection in no way adversely reflects on Roy Elicker and the performance and dedication that this individual has made to this department," said Zane Smith of Springfield.

Commission Chairwoman Marla Rae of Salem negotiated an annual salary with Moore of $94,284.

"There's a tremendous amount on everybody's plate," she said of the task ahead. "We've got sea lions, some pretty dramatic ocean issues, coastal community relief, wolf bills for the Legislature to look at, relicensing dams on the Columbia River ..."

Associated Press
Oregon Turns to Idaho for New Fish and Wildlife Director
Capital Press, July 14, 2006

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