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Unexpected events add to sheriff’s costs

Rainbow Gathering, two shootings add to workload.

By Richard Hanners

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on April 13, 2018 4:19PM

Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer speaks during a past Grant County Court Meeting in this file photo.

Eagle file photo

Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer speaks during a past Grant County Court Meeting in this file photo.

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The Grant County Sheriff’s Office has accumulated about $17,000 in overtime costs since last July, but sufficient funds exist in the current budget to handle the unanticipated expenses, Sheriff Glenn Palmer told the county court April 11.

While the county could anticipate increased needs for the eclipse event last year, they were not able to plan for the Rainbow Gathering. Palmer said a few Rainbow members are still in the county, and deputies have had to respond to domestic disturbance calls for two of them.

Two shooting cases added to the sheriff’s workload since last July, from securing the crime scene and investigating the case to providing courtroom security and testimony.

There also have been five suicides and 12 search-and-rescue missions since last July. SAR missions tend to be late at night or off-shift and labor intensive, Palmer said. He said he’s trying to limit deputy assignments to the more serious ones.

In other county court news:

• The court approved an intergovernmental agreement for the Grant County Digital Network Coalition by 2-1, with Commissioner Jim Hamsher opposed. The amended ordinance that created the coalition was approved by 2-1 on March 28 with Hamsher opposed.

Grant County Judge Scott Myers held off signing the intergovernmental agreement until April 11 so Hamsher could speak more with county counsel Ron Yockim before giving his approval. Hamsher said he still had concerns with the agreement as a matter of policy and voted against it.

The court also appointed Dan Becker to represent the county on the coalition’s five-member board. Becker owns a computer and technology support business. Members from the county, John Day and Seneca will choose two at-large members to fill the remaining seats.

• The court approved a request from Blue Mountain Hospital CEO Derek Daly and Community Counseling Solutions Executive Director Kimberly Lindsay to provide Grant County’s share of state marijuana tax revenue to the Community Health Needs Assessment Substance Abuse Committee.

Myers said the county will provide $15,175 of its marijuana tax revenue to the program. He also noted that future funding for the program was possible if the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use in Grant County passes this year.

• The court reviewed and approved an order for the sale of 31 tax-foreclosed properties, which were deeded to the county April 10. The court earlier approved Grant County Assessor David Thunnell’s suggestion that the minimum bids be set at 50 percent of each property’s real market value. An auction will take place in the county court meeting room at 10 a.m. May 17.

• The court approved hiring Salem-based attorney Gerald L. Warren to represent the county for certain legal services.


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