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
February 17, 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 Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Laurie Wright, and Pastor Levi Manitsas. Numerous other people were in attendance and some were unable to enter the courtroom for lack of room. An attendance list is attached as Exhibit A. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Manitsas. Judge Scott Myers was absent due to illness.
AGENDA. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to accept the agenda as presented.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton stated he has a meeting tomorrow in La Grande for the SEAC/NEAC projects and the John Day Main Street extension project is number two on the list so far. He went yesterday to review what was being done on the flood mitigation project and the contractor is doing a great job and he is very impressed. Britton said he is very pleased with how the project is going. Britton advised he was unable to attend the stock growers meeting last week.
Commissioner Labhart reported he attended the stock growers meeting last Thursday and went to a fundraiser for Dayville schools on Sunday the 14th. On Tuesday the 16th he met with the Depot Park Committee in Prairie City to discuss the intergovernmental agreement. Labhart said he will attend the Local Community Advisory Council meeting at ESD on Wednesday the 17th and has a Health Technology Assessment Subcommittee meeting in Wilsonville on Thursday the 18th. On Saturday the 20th Labhart will go to a Hope 4 Paw Spay-ghetti dinner at the Squeeze Inn (to raise money to spay and neuter pets in the community) and he will attend an Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization Board meeting in Portland on Monday the 22nd.
MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to approve the February l0th minutes as amended.
CANYON CREEK CHANNEL REHAB PROJECT. Doug Ferguson (Ferguson Surveying & Engineering) updated the court on the Canyon Creek Channel Rehabilitation Project. Doug said he feels the project is about half done and is ahead of schedule. He advised the choice they made for the contractor was a good one. Doug stated all of the contracts have been signed with landowners. He said on the Hill property they have a beautiful yard and didn’t want sandbags on it so they changed the work order to use existing posts on the property to create a wall that will be cheaper and more effective. Discussions are pending about the amount of sandbags that may be needed. Mitch Ferguson said the number of sandbags is going to be substantially smaller than first anticipated as they picked up more eco-blocks and jersey barriers. Mitch added these are more expensive but will last longer than sandbags would. Doug said the current bridge at the road department is a 60 foot bridge; he would like to see another bridge available. Mitch reported he believes the road department has a 40 foot bridge that is just not at the road department yet. Doug stated the permanent gauging station is in the works and he believes all the money has been approved, but the installation hasn’t been completed yet. Doug advised Eric Julsrud, Watermaster, has been going up Canyon Creek and taking measurements manually. Doug feels like things are coming together regarding the water monitoring. He reports that as of today the creek is flowing at 260 cubic feet per second. Sam Palmer asked if there was any contingency from Canyon City to the J Bar L regarding the potential for roads washing out. Doug said they haven’t been up there yet as most of the focus has been on the towns. Ferguson would like to see some of the debris removed up the creek and also sandbag staging stations. Palmer asked the court to possibly contact the emergency services in Burns in case the roads washed out. Doug said he would talk to Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams about contacting emergency services in Burns. Doug advised those in attendance that next week the Army Corp of Engineers will be here to look at the current project and then will be attending the court meeting next Wednesday. Ferguson will discuss the long range flood plan with the Corp when they are here. Britton urged the audience to attend next week’s meeting to let the Corp know how much the larger project is needed here. Doug stated flooding is a chronic problem here and he believes the final project would actually improve the creek. It was pointed out that the court needs to find a larger space for next week’s meeting if they want a lot of people to attend. Britton asked the audience if they had been contacted about the AlertSense emergency management program yet. Jack Seebart said he learned some about it at the flood preparedness meeting, but feels advertising would be a good idea. Linda Gingrich said she went online and tried to sign up but the link was broken so the court should make sure it is working before advertising.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE. Kathy Stinnett, Justice of the Peace, presented a request to the court to allow her to complete a Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ) and submit it to LGPI for evaluation. Stinnett advised the audience that LGPI is the entity that reviews job scale placement for Grant County. She went on to discuss the dates of when the job descriptions for other elected officials were reviewed. Stinnett said this year is the first year the Justice of the Peace job description has been reviewed since 1989 when it was created. Stinnett created a chart showing the other 9 counties around us and what level the Justice’s of the Peace are placed at in those counties. Stinnett said the only Justice of the Peace position that is placed lower than all other elected officials is here in Grant County. Stinnett asked the court to approve payment of approximately $82.50 for the PAQ review of the Justice of the Peace job description. Labhart is in favor of spending the $82.50 for the PAQ review. Britton explained the reason the county uses LPGI is to attempt to keep things fair for all employees so everyone is treated equally. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to submit the PAQ questionnaire to LPGI for placement analysis for the Justice of the Peace position and approve payment of the analysis.
JUSTICE COURT RELIEF HELP. Kathy Stinnett explained Justice Court budgets for relief help to assist with the backlog of cases, files and storage. She would like to use the relief help for the transfer of approximately 1000 documents to a new pdf format and to scan paper documents and enter them into the computer. Stinnett said an issue she is attempting to address is that Circuit Court and the DA’s office are going paperless and her court needs to be able to have electronic documents available as well. Stinnett said her budget wouldn’t allow for computer software like the Circuit Court and DA use, but she was able to purchase computer software that would allow documents to be changed into pdf format and this will help her to not fall so far behind the current technology. Stinnett asked the court to approve the use of the relief help fund to begin transferring the documents to pdf format. MSP: Labhart - to approve the use of the temporary relief help.
COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL VOLUNTEER APPLICATION. The court reviewed a volunteer application to serve on the Community Advisory Council. Labhart explained the committee’s role in the community and what responsibilities the committee has. The committee currently has 31 members. MSP: Britton/Labhart — to approve and appoint Haley Hueckman as a volunteer on the Community Advisory Council.
FERGUSON SURVEYING INVOICE. The court reviewed the invoice submitted by Ferguson Surveying & Engineering in the amount of $5,237.50 for research in an attempt to locate a possible water impoundment site. Britton told those in attendance this research started after Canyon Meadows Dam was removed and the State promised to assist the county with a new water impoundment. Britton said Ferguson was able to locate some possible sites, but ran out of time to apply for the grant that would assist with payment of the feasibility study. This is still a work in progress. Labhart advised it was discovered the site Ferguson selected would not work due to the fact water can only be impounded during the month of April in Oregon. Jay Carniglia said the court should look at Canyon Meadows again since there is already an existing water right. Sam Palmer requested the court ask Fish and Game to release their water right to Canyon Meadows. Jim Sproul suggested getting an authorization to store instead of a water right. MSP: Labhart/Britton - to approve payment of the Ferguson invoice in the amount of $5,237.50, to be paid out of the general fund.
MAGONE LAKE PROJECT ROADS. Commissioner Labhart said he wanted the court to have a say in what was happening at Magone Lake regarding the roads. Labhart stated right now he could take his four wheeler up to Magone Lake campground, but wouldn’t be able to leave the campground and ride on the roads around Magone. Labhart would like to see the county take over the roads around Magone Lake and will draft a letter to the Forest Service to this effect. Labhart wants the court to go on the record and be involved with the Forest Service on this project. MSP: Labhart/Britton - to approve Labhart submitting a letter to the Forest Service at the March 8th meeting regarding the Magone Lake Project.
RESOLUTION 16-06. This is a continued review from last week regarding Resolution 16-06 which requests a peaceful resolution of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, requests the militia go home and offers support to local, county, state and federal law enforcement. Labhart would like to see the court sign this resolution today. Britton feels the first item is a moot point since the occupation is over. Labhart thinks it should still be in the resolution as the court did support a peaceful resolution. Labhart read the resolution to the audience. Adele Cerny suggested the wording could be changed to state the court supports the “recent” peaceful resolution.
GRANT CO. PUBLIC FOREST COMMISSION. Britton advised Dave Traylor that the discussion of the resolution may cut into the time slot allotted to the Public Forest Commission. Traylor asked the court to continue the discussion on the Public Forest Commission’s request until next week and to find a larger venue that would allow for larger attendance. Traylor said there are a lot of people who want to be heard and they cannot hear what is happening or participate because of the lack of room. Commissioner Labhart asked Traylor if he brought the minutes Labhart requested last week. Traylor said no he thought Labhart was going to pick them up. Labhart further asked Traylor if the Public Forest Commission meeting that was held was published in the newspaper or on the radio. Traylor said they don’t do that and have been meeting for twelve years and everyone knows they meet at the Squeeze Inn every other Wednesday. Labhart stated the state law is specific on this and the commission must announce the meetings. Labhart asked if a session was held that the public was not allowed to attend. Traylor stated an executive session was held and it was not advertised. Labhart asked the commission to please follow the rules just like the county court must.
RESOLUTION 16-06 CONTINUED. Jim Spell said he understands the Chamber of Commerce has received numerous letters from out of town people stating they will not be traveling here because they are concerned about the militia and concerned about lack of safety from the local sheriffs department. Spell supports this resolution.
Jim Sproul doesn’t feel the resolution is necessary since the occupation is over and doesn’t see any point in signing it. Sproul said there is no active militia here and urged the court to review ORS 260.432.
Mark Cerny said he feels the court did a great job on this resolution and he thinks it is important to make a public statement regarding this issue.
Adele Cerny supports the resolution and it sends a clear message that the county court supports the laws of the State of Oregon and Federal Laws and the enforcement of these laws. It also stresses the issue of collaboration and working with people. Cerny said she disagrees with Sproul that there is no armed militia in this county.
Judy Kerr believes this resolution has caused more damage and division in this community than anything the court has done. She said the court has no right to have “law enforcement by the county” in the resolution and he is an elected official and the court has no jurisdiction over him and this should be taken out. Kerr added the court should add their oath to the Constitution because federal laws do not always follow the Constitution and if the court members support this she considers them traitors. Dan Becker stated he supports the resolution and it is better late than never to show people and other counties where our county stands.
Mytch Mead supports the resolution and what is essential is that Grant County residents are on the same page as the rest of the country. He added when we pick and choose rules we want to abide by people get divided and he would like to see Grant County move on and follow the rules the rest of the country does. Cody Wilson finds it ironic that the court has in the resolution that it supports all laws and if so how do the court members feel about Brandon Witty being charged with killing a wolf. Labhart stated someone is innocent until proven guilty. Wilson talked about the discrepancies of how some people are cited for things and others aren’t. He doesn’t agree with the occupiers entering the refuge buildings but does feel they had the right to protest. Wilson does not feel the laws are applied equally. Jim Hamsher would like the court to have a larger venue to hear from the public on this resolution before a decision is made.
Sharon Livingston agrees with Hamsher that this matter should be continued. If people are going to collaborate then this resolution should be continued to next week. She feels this resolution needs more work.
Britton said as much as he would like to put an end to this it should be continued to next week so everyone can have a voice.
Sam Palmer stated he is Sheriff Glenn Palmer’s brother and a nurse in Harney County and because of his profession he has not attended meetings or made public statements. He feels this resolution is inflammatory because people are innocent until proven guilty and the wording needs to be changed. Palmer said if the court wanted to send a letter he would be okay with that. Palmer added it is up to a judge and jury to convict the occupiers, not the county court. Palmer said this resolution should be unbiased and he can’t support it the way it is written. Palmer said he was in Burns during the occupation and he never saw FBI, State Police or militia members and he never felt threatened. He believes people here are making a much bigger deal out of this than they are in Harney County.
County Court Secretary