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
January 20, 2016
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, Kenny Delano, Road Master Alan Hickerson, Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams, Dennis Flippence, Jim Sproul, Judy Kerr, and Pastor Wes Aasness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Aasness.
CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrants.
AGENDA. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to accept the agenda as presented.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Judge Myers said last Friday he performed a wedding on the walking bridge in Canyon City because the courthouse was closed for asbestos tile removal. He stated the concrete flooring underneath the tiles was in better condition than anyone expected it to be, especially considering it is almost 70 years old. Yesterday he attended the Board of Property Tax Appeals training in Prineville. He advised one of the commissioners or the county judge is required to be on the county property tax appeals board and this year there are two appeals pending.
9:07 am King Williams and Zach Williams entered. 9:08 am Mark Hansen entered.
Myers said the BOPTA training is an annual event. Tim Holshbuck from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is the liason with FEMA through ODF and is currently in town. Myers stated Holshbuck will be at the airport most of the day and will be helping the county and other local entities with their FEMA paperwork regarding what to submit to FEMA, how to track the paperwork and how to apply for FEMA reimbursement.
Commissioner Britton said on Monday he attended the annual farm bureau meeting and some fascinating things came up. Some people discussed bringing a proposal to the county to contribute towards an animal control agent. Britton added there seemed to be a lot of interest in this. Britton said there was a gentleman from Nampa that is developing a soil amendment product to control cheat grass and medusa head and they have a lot of good numbers on it. The product is safe and is usually applied in the fall because it needs rain within two weeks of application. It is a biological agent that attaches itself to the roots of the plants and causes them to diminish over time and has a three to five year potency. Britton feels the product is a little expensive at $8 an acre but said the documented research on the product was very good. The product is currently being used as a soil amendment because the company hasn’t gotten through the EPA process to declare it a herbicide. Britton advised he and Doug Ferguson have continued to discuss the flood berm project. Britton stated he had a good talk with Bert Brownscomb, one of the Governor’s natural resource advisors.
Myers said he will be making a call today to Steve Beverlin to request a meeting between the court and Forest Service to discuss coordination regarding the Canyon Creek Salvage Project. Myers added he will make a public announcement of the date of this meeting as soon as he has one.
9:13 am Shannon Springer entered.
Commissioner Labhart told the audience he attended the Prairie City Council Meeting last Wednesday and updated them on what the court has been doing over the last quarter. Labhart said last Thursday he traveled to Wilsonville to attend the health evidence review commission and he will be attending the LCAC meeting at the airport today. Friday he will be taking veteran’s to Burns and on Thursday he will be heading up a meeting about a recreation/wellness facility project he would like to see brought to the community.
9:18 am Mike Springer entered.
CANYON CREEK CHANNEL REHAB PROJECT. Myers said he, Ted Williams and three other volunteers filled about 800 sandbags in four hours last Saturday. The sandbag filling machine works well, but wet sand does tend to clog the hopper. Myers estimates with 9 or 10 people probably 400 or 500 sandbags could be filled per hour. Ted Williams said he plans on having additional volunteer days to continue to fill sandbags. Williams stated they will be filling sandbags in different staging areas such as at the high school and behind Les Schwab. Labhart told Williams the food bank had pallets stacked behind their building he might want to check on. Doug Ferguson added some of the contractors will also be filling sandbags.
Doug Ferguson (Ferguson Surveying & Engineering) reported on the progress of the rehabilitation project. Doug told those in attendance they might be able to borrow some hesco abutments that may replace some of the sandbags and would treat about 1000 feet. This allows for one more option for treatment. Mitch Ferguson said they are a 3 foot by 3 foot high, 15 foot length, 3 cell pre-line baskets and weigh 100 pounds empty and can be easily moved by two people. Doug said Ted Williams has been doing a good job on putting the gauging stations together.
9:21 am Eric Julsrud entered.
Ted Williams said a gauge has been loaned that can be temporarily installed until the FEMA gauges come through and by the end of the week they should be getting data from the gauge. The gauge will be installed today on the Thissell Bridge at Fawn Creek. Doug said he received good information from Kathleen Cathey in Senator Wyden’s office and Jim Star from water resources has been very helpful. Doug stated the work Williams has done has made it much more likely that FEMA will reimburse the cost of the gauges. Doug’s main focus was just getting the gauges installed. Britton asked how the notification from the gauges will be made. Williams advised the National Weather Service in Pendleton would notify emergency services, law enforcement, dispatch, etc. Doug said he would also be monitoring and evaluating the data and offering technical advice. Doug reported one threshold will be at 500 cubic feet per second and the second threshold will be at 850 cubic feet per second which is considered a full blown flood. He added the situation can be monitored daily via the internet. Williams reported the first step after notification would be to notify key groups of people through the emergency notification system, and the second step would be alerting the public. Williams added he is using the same level of notification the Forest Service uses because people are familiar with it already. He explained the different levels of notification: Level 1 – get ready because there is a problem on the horizon; Level 2 – you have 30 minutes to evacuate; and Level 3 – evacuate immediately. Doug stated the stream gauges and the weather station are going to be very important. Myers said Marilyn Lohmann from NOAA is working on arranging with the forest service to get notification gauges on Dry Soda Lookout and Miller Mountain as well. Williams said the AlertSense emergency notification program is on its way to being ready and he attended training at the airport last night and around the 5th of February a more advanced training will be held. Williams added that after the next training he feels confident that he will be ready to make emergency notifications and if a problem arises AlertSense can be contacted to assist. Williams stated it is very simple for people to opt in to the system and can do so online. Watermaster Eric Julsrud said the installation of the gauge should begin at around 2 pm today and it is estimated to be finished by 3:00 and 4:00 pm. Once the funding clearance comes through from FEMA the work that has already been completed for the bridge preparation will be utilized. Julsrud added Vance Creek and Canyon Creek are focal points for the gauges.
9:31 am Dave Traylor entered.
Myers stated last Thursday he toured the area with Alan Hickerson, and Terry Brandsma to review sites of concern in Canyon City and John Day.
Doug said he will be going on Coffee Time on KJDY radio tomorrow to discuss the berm project. He will stress the chronic flooding issue and the necessity of moving forward with the larger flood mitigation project in the future. John Day and Canyon City have always had potential flooding issues and this really must be addressed. Doug stated the current project is a good one and will mitigate some damage, but the larger project needs to be completed. Doug added the project currently going is the best that can be done at this time due to permitting issues and the time frame.
9:36 am William Gibbs entered.
Doug reported the large flood mitigation project would handle about 2000 cubic feet per second and would cost millions of dollars, but would save money in the long term because of the damage it would prevent. Zach Williams stated the cost of a new K-12 school alone would be around 20 million. Jim Sproul asked Eric Julsrud if he knew what the current percentage of the snowpack is. Julsrud said the last information he had is it was 123% to 128% of average. Kenny Delano said they aren’t as concerned with the depth of the snow; it’s the moisture content of the snow. Delano added the moisture content of the current snowpack is still below 130% of average. Discussion followed about the different creeks and the current water levels at this time.
COUNTY SURVEYOR UPDATE. Mike Springer, County Surveyor, updated the court on the usage of Public Land Corner Preservation Funds. Springer stated last September he advised the court he would be using the fund more than he normally does. He said during a normal year they use approximately $25,000 to $30,000 of the fund; this year they have used about $33,000. Springer explained they have assessed about 37 corners, physically going out and inspecting the corners and accessories such as bearing trees, etc.
9:44 am Sean Hart entered.
He said for each corner they assess they create a document showing the history of the corner and any accessories they have brought up to date. The last two or three weeks he has had a temporary employee going through several books that were done by County Surveyor Vernon Glaze in about 1908-1922. He said the books contained about 400 references to corners, section and quarter corners, all the way from Dayville to Prairie City. The employee created maps that indicate a corner that Glaze visited or updated himself. Springer plans to get this information online, or at the least get flash drives from other surveyors in the community to load the data onto. Springer wanted the court to have an update on the expenditures since it is almost to the end of the large expenditure period. Treasurer Kathy Smith advised this fund still contains $122,000. Springer explained the process he utilizes when a bearing tree is destroyed to mark corners. He said they put a fiberglass post or a metal fence post and tag in place of destroyed trees. By statute the County Surveyor, when possible, must put state claim coordinates on the corners (latitude and longitude) which is another accessory to assist in finding corners and Springer has been doing this when he can. He added former surveyor Glaze was somewhat ahead of his time and placed iron pipes with brass caps on corners he located.
9:49 am Joe Clark, Jim Berry and Lorin Hodge entered.
Springer explained the funding source is by statute from the Corner Preservation Fund and by statute the County Surveyor must maintain corners as much as they can. He said the Forest Service has corners marked and have most of the boundaries between forest and private land surveyed and for the most part it is marked. Springer added that in an ideal world the Forest Service would be maintaining that line, but for the most part the Forest Service doesn’t maintain it other than the occasional project. Britton asked if there was an opportunity to get the Forest Service to contract with surveyors to locate corners. Springer thinks there might be an opportunity there and he plans on talking to the Forest Service about maybe doing some type of inter-governmental agreement, but he doesn’t know what this would look like. Springer said the corner markers are extremely important and expensive to locate. Kenny Delano stated the corner markers are most important for private landowners and the preservation fund was developed to protect those land owners. Delano added the Forest Service doesn’t really worry about where their boundary is until a project is initiated and the surveys they conduct are done when they are utilizing a commodity in an area.
MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the January 13th minutes as amended.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE PRO-TEM APPOINTMENTS. The court reviewed resolutions appointing a Justice of the Peace Pro-Tem and two alternate Justice of the Peace Pro-Tems. Riccola Voigt was appointed as Justice of the Peace Pro-Tem, Hon. Robin Ordway was appointed as Alternate Justice of the Peace Pro-Tem, and Hon. Don Williams was appointed as Alternate Justice of the Peace Pro-Tem. MSP: Labhart/Myers – to approve Resolutions 16-01, 16-02, and 16-03 and circulate for signatures.
FERGUSON SURVEYING INVOICES FOR BRIDGE WORK. The court reviewed and discussed the invoices submitted by Ferguson Surveying for bridge work. Myers said after the fire several people could not access their residences due to bridges being burned. Myers stated the court asked Ferguson to check on the bridges and the work has been completed. He didn’t feel comfortable approving these claims without approval from the other court members because the work was completed on private bridges. Doug Ferguson advised the invoices were only for the engineering of the bridges, not the construction. Myers said this was an emergency and at the time this happened the court was just attempting to get things done as quickly as possible and this bill should be paid. Britton stated he agrees with Myers and this bill should be paid because at the time they were working on just getting things done. Britton said Ferguson was under contract with the Road Department and the road department should pay the invoices. Alan Hickerson stated that Ferguson is not currently under contract and the contract expired last June. Britton wants to know why a new contract hasn’t been completed yet. Kathy Smith advised a request for proposals must be advertised for the engineering contract. Hickerson said Ferguson has been working on projects he had already started in the past. Britton would like a new contract codified right away and Hickerson said he would get to work on it. Myers does not think the invoice for the bridge work should be paid from the road department and asked Kathy Smith if there was another source of funding. The invoices are for $5,480, $225, and $874.97. Kathy Smith advised the court has an “other” line item in its budget, but this fund didn’t have $5000 in it. Smith stated if the general fund paid the invoices a resolution would have to be completed transferring the funds. Labhart stated he has a problem with this because these are private bridges and the court will be setting a precedent for other private bridges that have been destroyed or will be in the future. Labhart feels the landowners should share some of the cost for this as they were benefited by the bridge work. Myers said in his opinion this was an emergency situation, the work was performed and the invoices should be paid. MSP: Britton/Myers – to approve payment of the Ferguson Invoices in the amount of $5,480, $225, and $847 from the general contingency fund. Myers voted yes, Britton voted yes, Labhart voted no as the court is setting precedence by paying for work on private bridges.
EMERGENCY FLOOD BERM PROJECT PROPOSALS. Judge Myers opened the four sealed proposals received for the project. Britton asked for clarification on how the proposals would be awarded. Ferguson said he and Alan Hickerson would be reviewing these and awarding them quickly and more than one contractor could be awarded work on the project. The first was from Little Buddy Construction, LLC, in the amount of $173,290.40. The second was from Tidewater Contractor’s, Inc., in the amount of $198,353.20. The third was from Iron Triangle, LLC, in the amount of $387,113.00. The fourth was from Mark Hanson Contracting, who only offered a proposal for hauling the eco-blocks, in the amount of $35,000.00. Myers thanked the companies for submitting proposals and Ferguson Surveying will now take them for review.
PUBLIC COMMENT. Judy Kerr asked Judge Myers if he had reviewed her e-mails yet. Myers advised her he was gone to a training yesterday and hadn’t had a chance, but he will get to them. Jim Sproul wanted to know if a date had been set for the court to meet with the Forest Service yet on coordination and Myers told him not yet.
10:27 am -- Adjourned
County Court Secretary