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Thousands of western white-faced sheep walk through Elgin Wednesday afternoon. While the sight was humorous to many, there were reports of damage. The sheep were being moved to the Imbler area and will eventually be moved to Washington for the winter. (Phil Bullock/The Observer)
Thousands of sheep line city streets Wednesday on their way to being relocated to Washington
The City of Elgin had about 1,500 four-legged visitors Wednesday. Jim Marek and a crew of seven men ran the sheep from the Palmer Junction Road and Gordon Creek area all the way to Imbler.
Marek, owner of the sheep, said they combined two bands for the move. The sheep summered in Elgin and will eventually be relocated to Washington, where they stay for the winter.
“It went pretty smooth, I think,” said Marek, who lives in Idaho.
Unlike some other animals, herding the western white-faced sheep isn’t too difficult.
“We have a goat and a lead sheep that we lead,” Marek said. “When one goes they all go.”
The herders also had dogs to help.
And while the sheep got a chance to snack on grass, the herders worked for about 12 hours going the 15 miles without much of a break.
Mention of the sheep drive brought the audience at Tuesday’s Elgin City Council meeting to laughter, but it wasn’t all smiles.
Union County Sheriff’s officials said while Elgin is open range, they received several complaints.
Sue Moore said the animals wreaked havoc on her yard. An employee at Community Bank reported damage to the bank’s sprinkler system. Deputies said the owner is working with parties to repair any damage caused by the sheep.
Residents at the council meeting said it has been 20 or 30 years since they have seen a blanket of sheep being herded through the city.