IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT
Access the County Court Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at www.gcoregonlive2.com
December 23, 2015
Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station, county website, and e-mail distribution list, a regular meeting of the County Court was held at the County Courthouse in Canyon City, OR.
9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Laurie Wright, Doug Ferguson, Mitch Ferguson, Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams, Jim Sproul, Road Master Alan Hickerson, Al Altnow, Rob Raschio, and Pastor Wes Aasness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Aasness.
AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to accept the agenda as presented.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Labhart reported he attended a flood mitigation meeting last Wednesday at the Canyon City Community Hall and he was impressed with the one-on-one attention the people attending received from Ferguson Surveying. On Thursday, December 17th he attended the monthly meeting of the Chamber of Commerce. Labhart will be having lunch today at the Prairie Senior Center.
Commissioner Britton said he met with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and discussed partnering with them on a lot of different things. The Tribes have substantial funding and it would be beneficial to partner with them. Britton also attended the flood mitigation meeting last Wednesday and complimented Doug Ferguson on his professionalism. Britton reported his daughter is flying in today from LA and he will be leaving the meeting at around 9:45 am today to pick her up at the airport.
Judge Myers reported he performed a wedding last Friday on the bridge over Canyon Creek. Myers advised county offices will be closed to the public tomorrow although circuit court will be open and some county employees may choose to work. Myers said next Tuesday he will be going to Blue Spring Crossing, a new Northeast Oregon Housing Authority Development project, which is located outside of La Grande in Island City. He said it is a very nice facility. This will be the NEOHA quarterly meeting. He also went to the flood mitigation meeting last Wednesday and echoed the compliments of the other court members to Ferguson.
Britton stated he visited with Merle Miller of Christian Aid Ministries who was checking to see what had happened with DEQ. He also said he is extremely impressed with the Alert Sense Emergency Notification System and he hopes the other court members vote to go through with it. Britton said he is all for signing the asbestos abatement contract and the OHA amendment.
9:13 am Pat Holliday entered
CANYON CREEK CHANNEL REHAB PROJECT. Doug Ferguson (Ferguson Surveying & Engineering) reported on the progress of the rehabilitation project. Ferguson said they obtained a good portion of the easements needed at the meeting last Wednesday and they have received a few more over the last week. Doug Ferguson and Mitch Ferguson met with ODOT yesterday. ODOT is going to construct about 700 feet (nearly half) of the flood berm behind the ODOT facility. Ferguson said about 1500 yards of material to build the berm and Mitch Ferguson is working on locating this along with sand for the sandbags.
9:16 am Ryan Nehl, Ryan Falk, Courtney and Dean Fox entered
Ferguson needs to be able to hire local contractors and equipment and be able to keep track of this. ODOT has this method clearly defined and Ferguson plans to follow something like what ODOT uses. Ferguson said some work will begin next week; ODOT is going to start on their portion. He is hopeful things will be underway around the first of the year. Meteorologist Marilyn Lohman of NOAA out of Pendleton has been very helpful and is establishing what will be used as a trigger flow down Canyon Creek and a flood flow. The figure of 500 cubic feet per second is what they have come up with for the flood trigger (which is right on the edge of when damage may occur). They have designed for, and can hopefully protect, for up to 850 cubic feet per second. Ferguson added he believes the temporary bridges have been ordered. Britton wanted to know how force account would be monitored. Ferguson said someone will probably need to be on the ground monitoring the development. He will follow ODOT for advice and accounting. He is going to talk to local contractors to inventory their equipment probably next week and said most of the equipment will be small equipment such as bobcats and 10 yard dump trucks. Britton would like to see everyone have an opportunity to be involved in this project and suggested Ferguson place an ad in the newspaper. Ferguson stated he has thought about the ad as well as possibly having a meeting with contractors. Ferguson said the contractors will need to be licensed, bonded and insured just like they would for a public works contract.
Britton asked Ted Williams how long it would take the Alert Sense people to up and running. Williams said it can be up and running in a day, but there would still be some training involved. He feels it can be ready to go within a couple of weeks. Williams said the emergency radios are in (10 radios) and ready to be distributed. He has logged them in and will begin distribution soon. Jim Sproul asked how quickly the emergency warning system could be up and running. Williams said between 2 weeks and a month. Sproul feels the emergency warning system needs to be up and running as soon as possible. He said there is about eight feet of snow up the canyon. Ferguson added things are moving along as fast as they can make it and he knows it is frustrating.
9:28 am Karen Chadwick, Eva Harris and Sue Stovall entered
MARIJUANA ORDINANCE NO. 2015-01. Judge Myers advised the audience the court was somewhat rushed last week when they passed the marijuana opt out ordinance and there was some question on whether the court followed appropriate procedures. Myers said the court would again discuss the ordinance and vote again on it. Myers stated he would read the ordinance again in its entirety. Commissioner Labhart said as a commission member he would like the ordinance read by title only and the statute states when a commission member requests this it must be read by title only. Myers said he thought this was just an option and asked Commissioner Britton’s opinion. Britton said he would like the entire ordinance read as it isn’t that long. Myers read the ordinance in its entirety to the audience. Britton said he does think Commissioner Labhart was right and the ordinance only needed to be read by title.
9:34 am Jerry Russell, Amy Stiner and Elaine Eisenbraun entered
Myers said in case someone hadn’t heard the ordinance read before, he feels it was appropriate to read the entire document again. Britton advised the audience he is still in favor of signing the ordinance based on the 65% of the voters who voted against Measure 91 and pointed out this is the only opportunity to opt out, but the county can always opt back in at a later date. Myers told those in attendance that a citizen’s initiative could be brought forward for public vote on this matter.
9:37 am James Vaughan entered
Labhart said in his opinion the way the ordinance was handled by the court was not appropriate and the Oregon Statute was not followed. Labhart stated either this ordinance is an emergency or not and he believes a unanimous vote is still necessary, but he has not contacted an attorney about this. His concern is if the ordinance is challenged and overturned then everything would be in and the county would have no option to opt out of the other items in the ordinance. Labhart doesn’t want everything in; he just wants item “C” removed to allow growers. He cautioned the court to really think about the ramifications of voting to opt out entirely. Britton asked why Labhart only wanted to remove “C”. Labhart talked with a mental health director in Harney County and was told a medical marijuana dispensary had shut down in Burns because the community couldn’t support it and doesn’t believe our community can support a medical marijuana dispensary either. Labhart would like to see marijuana grown here and shipped out. Dean Fox asked the court members if they had taken a poll of the citizens to see what they wanted. Fox feels there are a lot of people in this county who use medical marijuana but would be too embarrassed to admit it. Fox added there are people here who grow it medically and provide jobs. Myers feels the court cannot guess at what the portion of Measure 91 the people voted against and the only way to clarify what the people want or don’t want is to have a vote. MSP: Myers/Britton – to approve and sign Ordinance 2015-01.
Labhart said the county would have complete control over the growers if they allowed it. Labhart added he wanted to go on record stating that if this decision comes back to haunt the court he was not in favor of it. He said he feels the county attorney gave the court bad advice and this ordinance should require a unanimous vote.
Myers voted yes to pass the ordinance. Britton voted yes to pass the ordinance. Labhart voted no on passing the ordinance.
Rob Raschio advised the court it could bring this matter to the public for a vote on the courts own initiative. Raschio asked the court to consider this option. Myers said he would like to research this matter before any decision is made. Jerry Russell concurs that he would like to see this on the ballot in the spring to give the voters a chance to decide.
9:48 am Commissioner Britton left the meeting
Labhart added he would like to see the court look into placing this issue on the ballot as well.
NORTH FORK JOHN DAY WATERSHED. Elaine Eisenbraun, Executive Director North Fork John Day Watershed Council, intended to present proposed extensions of the Council boundaries. Eisenbraun told the court they have been talking to other watershed councils and to the Grant Soil and Water Conservation District about the proposed extensions and the Soil and Water Conservation District has requested more time to meet with their board regarding this matter. Eisenbraun would like to bring this back to the court at a later date. Pat Holliday would like to comment on the proposed boundaries because 85% to 100% of Holliday’s land will be in this watershed. Labhart said Commissioner Britton should be here for a discussion on boundary extensions and this matter should be tabled for now. Holliday said she could come back at another time to make her comments. Eisenbraun said she would utilize the court time today to present the Watershed Council’s Annual Report. Eisenbraun went on to explain the different programs the council provides and provided a hard copy of the 2015 Annual Report, attached as Exhibit A. Eisenbraun reported the intensively monitored watershed (IMW) on the middle fork of the John Day River. Eisenbraun said some of the projects being done at the IMW include ground water temperature being done by Oregon State University, geomorphic work being done by the University of Oregon, temperature by the NF John Day Watershed, macro-invertebrates being done by the Watershed, and fish studies being done by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Eisenbraun said all of these studies are all interacting and they are going into the tenth year of this project. Labhart asked Eisenbraun why someone would want to be involved with the council. Eisenbraun said the watershed focuses on community and looks for funding sources to help complete restoration. The watershed council is a 501(c)3 non-profit and explained the benefits of this. Eisenbraun explained the NF watershed is a grassroots based council with members that live here and understand the issues in this area. Labhart asked if it cost a landowner for the watershed council to assist them and Eisenbraun said it doesn’t cost anything to work with them. The council is an intermediary and assists the landowners to locate funding sources. Eisenbraun said in Oregon there are 64 different watersheds, but there are some small areas that are not covered by a watershed and the Canyon City, John Day and Mt. Vernon areas are one of these.
10:13 am King Williams entered
Eisenbraun explained the watershed is not a regulatory agency and no one is forced to participate.
10:20 am Kathy Stinnett entered 10:30 am Karen Officer and Lane Burton entered
EMPLOYEE ACCRUALS. Karen Officer, Chief Deputy Assessor, discussed the option with the court of paying her accruals at the beginning of next year versus when she retires. Labhart asked for clarification of how the accruals work. Kathy Smith explained when an employee becomes an elected official the employee is paid for their vacation time and half their sick leave and when they retire the other half of sick leave is rolled over to PERS. Lane Burton asked if Officer’s accruals could be paid to her in January and Smith said that would be fine and she could be paid the accruals in January’s pay period. Labhart asked Officer if she was interested in being appointed as assessor until the next election and Officer said yes she was. The consensus of the court was to allow payment of Officer’s accruals to her in January at her December pay rate. Smith said historically this is the way accruals have been handled and nothing would be done until Officer is actually appointed as the interim assessor.
EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM. Myers said the only concern he has with Alert Sense is he thinks other quotes need to be obtained. He said Ted Williams should be able to get additional quotes. Kathy Smith asked what fund the annual fee for the notification system would be paid out of. Labhart searched online for additional vendors and found MIR 3 and Send Word Now. Myers said he believes the emergency management fund would be the appropriate department to pay for this system.
MSP: Myers/Labhart – to accept the quote from Alert Sense pending additional quotes from other vendors and providing Alert Sense is the most reasonable quote and this system will be funded from emergency management funds.
ALPINE ABATEMENT CONTRACT. Myers advised the courthouse building will be closed to everyone from January 15th through January 18th and there will be no admittance and no exceptions. Alpine Abatement will be removing the asbestos tiles in the hallways, stairs and conference room of the courthouse. Kathy Smith suggested getting a request for bids out as soon as possible to place new tile where the asbestos tiles are removed. Myers asked the court secretary to begin preparing the request for bids. The court members signed the contract with Alpine Abatement for removal of asbestos tile in the common areas of the courthouse.
OHA AMENDMENT. Myers said this amendment is for an additional $400 the health department is receiving from Oregon Health Authority. MSP: Myers/Labhart – to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Oregon Health Authority Amendment.
DA OFFICE REQUEST FOR COMPUTER EQUIPMENT. Andrea Officer, Victim Assistance Director, and Jennifer Thompson, Legal Assistant, presented quotes to the court for the purchase of scanners and a computer that will be compatible with the new Karpel computer system the DA’s office will be getting. The VOCA grant will pay for one computer ($754) and 2 scanners ($225) for the Victim Assistance Office along with extra memory ($100) for existing computers, and the Equipment Reserve Fund 116100 Line 5400001 will pay for 2 scanners ($272) for the DA’s office. The projected total for all the equipment is $1,848.The VOCA grant funds probably won’t come in until March, but Robert Waltenburg from ESD has agreed to wait until March to bill for the equipment. Labhart asked why the different scanners are needed. Officer said she and her assistant each need a scanner and Thompson said the legal assistants need larger capacity scanners for the amount of scanning they must do. MSP: Labhart/Myers – to allow the District Attorney’s office to purchase four scanners ($497), a computer ($754) and extra memory ($100).
MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to postpone approval of the December 16th minutes until December 30th.
11:09 am -- Adjourned
County Court Secretary