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Grant County Court: Landowner’s private fire plan sent back for specifics

Commissioners not opposed to expansion of northern watershed council.

By Rylan Boggs

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on December 27, 2016 6:11PM

Grant County Comissioner Boyd Britton at the Dec. 21 Grant County Court meeting.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

Grant County Comissioner Boyd Britton at the Dec. 21 Grant County Court meeting.

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The Grant County Court declined to approve a fire management plan for a resident’s land.

Allan Mullin and former County Judge Mark Webb presented a plan to fight fire on Mullin’s land in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Forestry. The plan states, “ODF will coordinate any fire-fighting efforts on this property with Allan Mullin. Mr. Mullin will have final say in how the ODF approaches wildfire containment, fire line placement and back-burns on his property.”

Mullin said he would have a bulldozer, road grader and 2,500-gallon water truck on site to fight fire.

Commissioner Boyd Britton opposed the plan. He said, since it was the first of its kind, it would be a dangerous precedent to set and wanted the plan to be “tightened up.”

Mullin said he had asked for a template or criteria to be provided for the plan a year ago but never received anything. Britton admitted he had not provided Mullin with specific guidelines. Britton said he would like to see the issue resolved before the end of the year and hoped to see Mullin and Webb at the next court meeting.

“That’s what I’ve come to expect when working with the government,” Mullin said in closing.

The court also heard a presentation on the Summit Creek Restoration Project on the Prairie City Ranger District. The project is in its early stages, and comments can be submitted until Jan. 20. The project would take place on an estimated 38,000 acres of Forest Service land 20 miles southeast of Prairie City. Restoring riparian vegetation, reducing fuel loading, fire hazards road related impacts on the land are all project goals. Timber harvest, thinning, under-burning, road closures and wildlife habitat enhancements would all take place. The project plan can be obtained by emailing amymathis@fs.fed.us or by contacting the Prairie City Ranger District.

The court also heard an annual report from North Fork John Day Watershed Council. Executive Director Elaine Eisenbraun described the council as having a “phenomenal year.” She said they hired 61 summer crew hands, including 58 local youth, implemented 36 projects and prepared a new five-year strategic plan.

The watershed council also sought a letter from the court in support of extending the council’s area of operation to be sent to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Grant County resident Pat Holliday said she was opposed to the expansion because she did not believe it offered any new services to landowners and was worried about the council’s board not representing the interests of agricultural producers.

The court voted to provide the council with a letter of no opposition.

During the meeting the court also:

• reviewed and signed an agreement with Oregon Telephone Corp. for internet services at the extension office.

• reviewed and approved a resolution to create a budget line item to train a new appraiser for the assessor’s office.

• reviewed and signed an amendment to a commercial property lease allowing Canyon City continued access to a building used as shop space.

• reviewed and approved travel expenses for Deputy District Attorney Mara Houck to attend justice reinvestment training in Salem.


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