ASHLAND, Ore. -- Some people in Ashland are worried about the Talent Irrigation District (TID) spraying Roundup near their properties along the canal in Ashland.
Hiyah Sirah lives on a small-scale, organic farm in Ashland. The TID canal runs in through her property. Last week, she saw workers spraying on her property, something she thought she dealt with 10 years ago.
"I got a tractor out here. It cost me around $900 to have them take out the blackberries and sure. It solved the problem," Sirah said. "I made such a fuss I figured that everybody knew that I didn't want the spray down at the TID. They come through my property all the time."
Sirah asked the workers spraying what they were spraying. They told her Roundup, the herbicide used to kill weeds. It's also the subject of thousands of lawsuits where people claim it causes cancer. One man was awarded more than $80 million when a jury determined the herbicide was the reason for his Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
"People walk along this canal with their dogs, with their children. They eat the foliage. The animals do. People ride their horses. This is dangerous," Sirah added.
The TID said Roundup is safe. It sprays to control the blackberries along the canal. The bushes can grow, block the road and sometimes mess up equipment that needs to get down the road. Workers spray once a year when the canals have been shut off. The TID allows landowners to sign a "No Spray Agreement" if they want their properties skipped on spray day. The TID said this has been the policy for years. The agreement says landowners have to post signs clearly around the area so workers can see them and keep the area clear. Landowners also must agree to be responsible for any damage to the canal or equipment wild foliage may cause. Landowners have to sign this agreement every year and have it on file before January 1st. This only applies to landowers who have TID facilities on their properties.
Sirah said she didnt know about this policy. She went around and talked to her neighbors who tell her they didn't either. For now, she's signed the No Spray Agreement and will be putting signs around soon. She's getting a group together to create a petition, hoping to get the TID to stop using Roundup.