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OR: Hillsboro gun store to bring in live wolves for fundraiser

Geoff Pursinger

Arm Yourself Gun Store on TV Highway will be raising money for the U.S. Wolf Refuge, in Nevada

Wolves aren’t a common sight in Hillsboro, but a local gun store plans to bring a wolf to town this weekend in order to educate the public about one of Oregon’s most endangered species.

This Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13 and 14, the Arm Yourself Gun Store on Tualatin Valley Highway is partnering with the United States Wolf Refuge, a Nevada-based nonprofit that rescues wolves, to have wolves on display in the store, according to company spokesman John Lewis.

Lewis, a former magician, lived in Reno, Nev. and had wolves perform in his magic act for years, he said. He met Wolf Refuge founder Bill Chamberlain and the two became fast friends.

“Having owned wolves, they’re often misrepresented in the press and in movies,” Lewis told the Tribune on Monday. “Bill has a way of explaining their history that makes people fall in love with these animals.”

Check it out

What: Howling in Hillsboro

Where: 4855 S.E. Tualatin Valley Highway

When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 13 and 14

How Much: Free

Lewis moved to Oregon last year to help his son, Matt Lewis, open the Arm Yourself gun store, 4855 S.E. Tualatin Valley Highway. He said this weekend’s event will serve as a fundraiser for the Refuge.

“Here at the gun store, we wanted people to know about these wolves before they potentially take their life because they think that they are dangerous,” Lewis said. “They’re a predator, sure, but so is man. We want to open people’s eyes and educate them.”

Wolves in Eastern Oregon were taken off the Endangered Species Act list in 2015, but are still listed as endangered through much of the state, including the Portland area. Hunting wolves in Oregon is illegal, but special exceptions are made in the case of chronic livestock attacks, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s not legal to breed or sell wolves in the state and under state law wolves are not allowed to be kept as pets.

Matt Lewis said he expects a large turnout at the store over the course of the two day event.

“When gun stores have promotions, it’s reps that come in from Leipold or Ruger,” he said. “We wanted to do something different. Something that’s not about guns, but about seeing something special.”

The store has heavily promoted the event on radio for the past few weeks, John Lewis said, and said that the public’s response has been largely supportive of the event.

“It’s all been positive,” Lewis said. “Everyone seems really excited to see the wolf. It’s just something different. It’s really about education.”

The event, known as “Howling in Hillsboro” runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13 and 14 at Arm Yourself, 4855 S.E. Tualatin Valley Highway, in Hillsboro.