Two members of the Grant County Court expressed some optimism in the ongoing Blue Mountain Forest Plan revision process during their Oct. 25 meeting.
County Judge Scott Myers and Commissioner Boyd Britton said they traveled to Pendleton to meet with Forest Service officials and other Eastern Oregon county commissioners to discuss the plan revision.
“We’ve had discussions with the Forest Service nearly every day,” Britton said.
Britton said he was optimistic about how the plan would deal with grazing issues. He also noted that a representative of the Eastern Oregon counties would travel to Washington, D.C., to present the plan to the chief of the Forest Service.
“Things were not as rosy as we’d like,” Myers said, but mutual compromise was reached on study areas and backpacking protections.
Frances Preston asked if the presence of two county court members at the meeting constituted a quorum.
Myers said he and other court members could be together outside of official meetings so long as they didn’t discuss court business with each other. Britton noted that three other counties each sent two representatives to the Pendleton meeting.
In other county court news, Alan Hickerson, the Grant County roadmaster, recommended that the court accept a $62,800 bid from Columbia Basin Helicopters for snowplowing the 20-mile section of road from Sumpter to Granite. The county received only one bid for the work.
Hickerson said the county shares the snowplowing cost with Baker County. Columbia Basin did a good job of snowplowing the road last year, he noted, but their bid was about $6,000 to $7,000 higher this year.
“There was a lot of snow last year,” Hickerson said.
The court unanimously approved the Columbia Basin bid and also voted 2-1 to approve the purchase of a 22-foot trailer for hauling the county’s two mini-excavators. Britton cast the lone nay vote.
The court also approved an agreement with Blue Mountain Community College that will provide $11,706 to the college. Assistance to colleges by counties was mandated by the state, Myers said. The college maintains a small office here to help local students earn college credits at a lower cost, he said.
“This is a great deal for the residents of the county,” Britton said.
Victim Assistance Director Andrea Officer reported that the county had received a two-year Child Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Intervention grant. The $53,555 will be used to support a multi-disciplinary team dealing with child abuse, child sexual assault and child neglect.
“The team will meet once a month and look at what is most beneficial,” she said.
The money would also support training and transporting victims to sites for forensic interviews, she said. The court congratulated Officer for obtaining the grant.
The court also approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Department of Corrections that extends the life of the agreement from five to 10 years, and a second amendment to an agreement with the Oregon Health Authority that will increase public health funding to the county by $6,850.