The Minor Offenses Ordinance Ad Hoc Committee met Wednesday night to wrap a months-long effort to streamline the list of violations. But in an unusual twist, a new offense was added to the ordinance.
You can’t turn a corner in Haines without seeing or hearing ravens and crows. They are everywhere. And it’s the cawing, clicking, squawking sounds of these clever corvids that have many in the Chilkat Valley up in arms.
“We need to control this raven menace! They are creepy sounding. Have you ever one of them sound like a baby?”
That’s concerned citizen John Hagen. He’s says he’s OK with taking care of the noise by any means necessary.
“It’s that incessant cawing,” Hagen says. “I mean, you can’t even conduct a radio interview outside without that ‘CAW CAW!’”
The first step in making Haines a more peaceful town, is to gather up all the ravens and crows and ship them elsewhere. Here’s interim borough manager Brad Ryan:
“There’s just been a lot of public outcry about the noise and they wanted us to do something about it,” Ryan says. “Previously, I was a biologist and we used cannon nets and so I think we’ll get some researchers in from Oregon State to take care of the capture for us.”
The birds will be relocated, but Ryan says they’re not sure where yet. A couple options have been discussed including Lemon Creek, or a refuge in Oregon.
If the transplant works, then problem solved. If it doesn’t, well, that’s where the minor offense ordinance comes in.
The committee agreed to recommend to the assembly a fine structure to be handed out to the ravens should they return and continue on with their shrieking.
Any raven or crow making excessive noise will be fined $50 per day with a maximum penalty of $500. Margaret Friedenauer is one of three assembly members on the minor offenses ad hoc committee.
“I would prefer that we don’t immediately ship the ravens off,” she says. “I would like to see them issued warnings and allowed a chance to comply before enforcement takes over.”
Friedenauer did vote in favor of the fines for feathered nuisances, but she says it’s a delicate balance between overtaxing the ravens and encouraging them to keep their beaks shut.
“I want to keep the ravens here. I think they’re a valuable part of the community.”
A disorder of ravens gathered Thursday outside the borough offices. Approached for comment, one especially disgruntled bird had this to say:
(Happy April Fools’ Day!)