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LA GRANDE — Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen knew the scene would be bad, but what he saw was worse than he anticipated.

Bowen had just arrived at a site off Forest Road 3120, a place people pass while traveling to Indian Rock and Mount Emily. The sheriff was with a group of 40 volunteers who came to help clean up an abandoned encampment where people who are unsheltered had been staying. The site, on U.S. Forest Service land about 4 miles north of La Grande, was filled with garbage, cars and trailers.

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