March 13, 2015

Grazing goats are coming to Salem.

Pringle Creek Community is among the first organizations to take advantage of the city’s new ordinance allowing goats to be used for weed control.

On Tuesday, Yoder Goat Rentals will bring a small herd to the Southeast Salem property to chow down on invasive weeds along the community’s stretch of Pringle Creek.

“Pringle Creek Community was one of the businesses that worked to change the ordinance and is happy to serve as a showcase for the implementation of this new policy” said Kerry Fox, event and outreach coordinator for the community.

The community is inviting the public to come see the goats in action, and will offer children the chance to pet a few later in the week, depending on the weather.

Bill and Rachel McCollum started Yoder Goat Rentals about four years ago after buying a small herd to clear their own property in Molalla.

“We got to thinking other people probably needed this too,” Rachel McCollum said. They now have about 100 goats, and are looking to add 50 more.

Goats are eating machines that can reach steep hillsides and other areas that mowers can’t reach.

They cause less damage than machinery, and are an option for those who don’t want to use herbicides.

The tactic fits with the 32-acre Pringle Creek Community’s focus on nature and environment.

Its namesake, Pringle Creek, has been restored and certified as Salmon Safe, meaning the watershed is clean enough for native salmon, Fox said.

The Marion Soil and Water Conservation District has helped fund the creek’s restoration, Fox said.

Meanwhile, Salem resident Stephanie Hazen is campaigning to bring Yoder Goats to the Salem Audubon Society’s Nature Reserve in West Salem.

The 6.7-acre property, on Eola Drive behind Safeway, has a 2-acre hillside covered with English ivy that’s resistant to herbicides and difficult to hand-pull.

Hazen hopes to raise $2,500 to bring the goats to the property in late April, the week of Earth Day, and another $2,500 for a second visit.

“One of the objectives of the reserve is to provide a natural setting that houses birds and wildlife and provides an opportunity for public enjoyment of them,” Hazen said. “The ivy in particular stands in the way of restoring the native vegetation that belongs in the Reserve.”

Grazing goats

Pringle Creek Community is at 3911 Village Center Drive in Salem. Contact them at (503) 315-1055.

Donations to the Salem Audubon Society project can be made through the Pay Pal link on its website,, or by check made out to Salem Audubon Society and mailed to 2110 State St., Suite 110, Salem, OR 97301.