Blue Mountain Eagle | Blue Mountain Eagle Sat, 23 May 2015 19:10:25 -0400 en Blue Mountain Eagle | Geology Dept. will ask Legislature for more money Fri, 22 May 2015 16:36:13 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau PORTLAND — The agency that tracks tsunami, landslide and other geologic risks in Oregon is struggling to get a clear picture of its own looming budget hazard.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries recently brought in accounting staff from other state agencies to answer some basic questions: How much money does the agency receive, and how much does it spend?

One month into a financial review, the agency knows it faces a shortfall going into the next two-year budget, and officials could ask the Legislature for help as soon as Friday.

However the amount of the anticipated shortfall remains a secret: staff at the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Department of Administrative Services and governor’s office either declined to say how large of a shortfall the geology agency faces, or said they simply do not know.

The Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has also declined to say what caused the shortfall, but employees have acknowledged one problem they found is with a fund where the agency keeps money provided by small surface mining operations as a security to ensure they will perform the required reclamation. The agency also regulates mining and drilling for oil, gas and geothermal wells in Oregon.

“What we know is there’s a correction that has to be made with how those funds get separated out,” agency spokeswoman Ali Ryan said of the reclamation security funds last week. However, Ryan said the agency does not yet know whether those security funds were misspent on other work.

Ryan said Friday that the agency still assessing the situation.

The agency has a current two-year budget of $14.7 million, with approximately 18 percent of revenue from the state general fund. Its other revenue comes from a variety of sources, from federal grants to mining permit fees, and the agency has run into problems tracking that money.

Jon Dufrene, a retired state employee hired back temporarily to work on these types of reviews, told the agency’s governing board on May 15 that he and other state employees would spend the next two weeks working with the governor’s office and Department of Administrative Services on the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries’ budget to figure out, “what do we need to do to close that gap?”

Nonetheless, the agency maintains it does not know what the shortfall is.

“I don’t have the number,” Ryan said this week. “I hadn’t heard that there was a number.”

Despite the agency’s uncertainty about its finances, Ryan said staff anticipated they would present their budget to a legislative budget-writing committee on May 29. That hearing had not yet been scheduled as of Friday afternoon.

The Department of Geology and Mineral Industries asked for help figuring out its finances earlier this year, because agency employees were unable to come up with a comprehensive budget outlook or plan for the future. At the May 15 board meeting, Dufrene explained that accounting staff brought in to examine the agency’s finances had to answer basic questions.

“What we’re trying to do is identify all the revenue sources, and then identify all the expenditures, and then see how all those relate,” Dufrene said at the May 15 meeting.

Former Gov. John Kitzhaber was already worried about the agency’s financial outlook in December when he presented his budget proposal. Kitzhaber laid out two-year plans for most state agencies, but only included a one-year budget for the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

Ryan said Kitzhaber wanted the agency to consider changes to its business model, which relies heavily on revenue from federal grants and other sources that fluctuate. Since then, Ryan said lawmakers have expressed support for giving the agency a two-year budget.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Kate Brown did not respond to questions about the size of the budget shortfall, or whether Brown plans to advocate for the Legislature to stick with Kitzhaber’s one-year budget plan.

“Gov. Brown is committed to continuing the delivery of these important services to Oregonians,” spokeswoman Melissa Navas wrote in an email Thursday. “Now that the May (state) revenue forecast has been announced and agency budget bills are starting to move through (the legislative budget committee), she is working with legislative leadership to chart a sustainable future for DOGAMI.”

The problems became more apparent after State Geologist Vicki McConnell left earlier this year to take a new job, and Ian P. Madin took over as interim state geologist.

The agency asked for outside help from the Department of Administrative Services. The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has a chief financial officer, but there was also recent turnover in that job. Derrick Moten has only served as chief financial officer since Dec. 15. The previous CFO, Seay Johnson, took a job working on grants for the Oregon Health & Science University.

The agency’s governing board also appears to be in the dark as to the details of its financial situation.

Larry Givens, a Umatilla County commissioner and chairman of the board, declined to comment on Friday. However Dennis Luke, a former state lawmaker who also sits on the board, said at the May 15 meeting that the financial reports which the board currently receives do not provide a clear picture of its financial situation.

“There is no way as a board we could have picked this problem up,” Luke said.

Board members also have limited knowledge of the current discussions between the state agencies and governor’s office.

“I’m not privy to a lot of things that are going on,” Luke said this week.

Dufrene told the board he is still reviewing information, including paper records, and said the agency’s existing system is inadequate to track the types of federal grants and other revenue it receives.

“Their structure is, for the complexity of the business they’re trying to run, is pretty rudimentary,” Dufrene said. Although the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries is small compared with other state agencies, it needs a financial management system on par with those of mid-sized agencies, Dufrene said.

Another factor that hurt the agency financially was that it has not updated the fees it charges to review permit applications for surface mining, and oil, gas and geothermal well drilling in a decade.

“Even Walmart’s raised their prices since then,” Dufrene said

Flag ceremony on tap for Memorial Day Fri, 22 May 2015 14:26:58 -0400 PRAIRIE CITY – All are welcome to a ceremony commemorating Memorial Day at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25, at Prairie City Cemetery.

American Legion Post 106 will lead the short remembrance, which will include a gun salute, taps and prayers. The cemetery will be decorated with American flags, courtesy of Legion members.

Drop in the bucket: Rains don’t relieve our parched summer forecast Fri, 22 May 2015 14:16:59 -0400 Scotta Callister JOHN DAY – File the past week’s heavy rains in the “looks can be deceiving” category.

Officials say that shot of moisture, while welcome, isn’t enough to deter the region’s now-inevitable plunge into extreme drought this summer.

This Friday, Gov. Kate Brown made it official, issuing a drought declaration for Grant County and seven others: Deschutes, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow, Umatilla and Wasco.

In all, 15 counties now are under drought declarations, a measure that allows more flexibility in managing water when the supplies dry up.

The declaration follows a sobering report from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, which warned that streamflows will be significantly lower than normal this season due to the winter’s record-low snowpacks.

“The winter of 2015 will go down in Oregon history books as the year that was dominated by bare ground in the mountains,” said Julie Koberle, NRCS hydrologist.

The agency reported Oregon’s snowpack, as of May 1, stood at 11 percent of normal. Only 15 of 112 snow monitoring sites across Oregon had any snow at all.

Only one of the 15 measuring sites listed for the John Day Basin region – the Anthony Lake Snow Course – had snow on May 1, and the rest were bare.

Across the basin, the forecasts for summer streamflows range from 10 percent to 52 percent of the average for the May-September period.

Scientists say the snowpack not only was less than normal, but it peaked five to eight weeks earlier than normal. Five SNOTEL sites had their earliest snowpack peak on record.

“Water managers in the basin should expect significant water shortages this summer,” according to the May 1 report from NRCS.

While most of the state is pegged for moderate to severe drought, the forecast in Eastern Oregon is for extreme drought, according to the national Drought Monitor.

Koberle said that means water shortages are likely, and especially for areas that depend on streamflows without reservoirs – like Grant County.

“The John Day Basin relies on snowmelt runoff to sustain stream flows through the summer months in most years,” said Scott Oviatt, an NRCS hydrologist.

Sporadic precipitation won’t counter the effects of record-low snowpack and warm temperatures on streamflows for long, he said.

“While welcome, this is most likely a brief break from the regionwide drought conditions that are impacting water supply – and thus agricultural and forestry concerns in the region,” he said.

Once the area starts to dry out – soon – the creeks and rivers will be back to below average levels, he said.

Oviatt said one benefit of the recent rains may be to temporarily dampen soils and low-tier fire fuels, but only for the short term.

Rob Pentzer, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s John Day Unit forester, sees a hot time ahead for fire crews.

“I’m afraid we’re receiving our June rains in May,” he said last week. “Everything is a month earlier as expected.”

While there might be a little reprieve now from the drought, he said, “It will turn hot and dry before we know it, and with the added growth to our grasses we will potentially have another busy fire season.”

ODF is planning a pre-fire season meeting on June 4 to talk with landowners about the current outlook and ways they can help with fire suppression efforts if needed. The session will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the John Day office, 415 Patterson Bridge Road.

“As most folks are already aware, ongoing drought conditions have set the stage for a potentially severe fire season in Grant County and around the state,” Pentzer said. “This meeting is intended to help landowners understand what happens if they have a fire.”

Meanwhile, the NRCS has announced that $21 million in funding will be available to help agricultural landowners in eight states, including Oregon, mitigate the effects of drought on their lands. Plans will roll out soon for how that will look in Oregon. For information, visit the NRCS website or contact the local office in John Day.

Forests issue campfire safety tips Fri, 22 May 2015 09:59:14 -0400 JOHN DAY – With the Memorial Day holiday weekend kicking off the summer camping season, the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests announced seasonal safety regulations for building campfires on the three forests.

Beginning June 1, visitors will be required to build their campfire in a fire pit surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings, in areas cleared of all flammable material within a three-foot radius from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. The campers must have a shovel and a gallon of water available while building and tending campfires.

These requirements also apply to the use of charcoal briquettes.

The seasonal regulations do not prohibit the use of campfires, when conditions permit; it only designates proper conditions for safe campfires. The June 1 date for campfire safety regulations in dispersed and developed campsites is meant to encourage campfire safety before fire season comes full-swing.

“The intent is to allow campfire use while promoting safe campfire building techniques that, in the long run, will protect lives, property, and our natural landscapes,” said Brian Goff, Umatilla fire management officer.

He noted the history of wildfire in the Blue Mountains, with conditions indicating this summer will be “particularly challenging.”

Lightning is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in this area, but human-caused wildfires also can occur without warning.

The seasonal campfire regulations continue in effect through Oct. 31, unless more restrictive measures are warranted.

During times of high or extreme fire danger, forests will implement additional public use restrictions, which limit use of campfires, as well as chainsaws, smoking, and travel. Those generally are phased in as the fire danger and weather conditions change.

“We get very busy at this time of year dealing with the numerous lightning caused fires, so preventing the added workload from human caused wildfires is our ultimate goal,” said Roy Walker, Malheur fire management officer.

Forest officials offer this advice regarding campfires:

• Always abide by local campfire laws.

• Only adults should build and maintain campfires.

• Find a shady spot away from dry logs, overhanging branches, bushes, needles, or leaves.

• Use existing fire rings where it is safe to do so. Don’t build fire rings in roads.

• Keep campfire rings small and use wood no bigger than the ring.

• Keep tents and other burnable materials away from the fire.

• Never leave a campfire unattended. Those leaving campfires unattended can be billed for the cost of fire suppression.

• Drown the campfire with water and stir charred material.

• When leaving, make sure your fire is dead out. Carefully feel all sticks and charred remains. Make sure no roots are smoldering. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

Paving project coming up near Burns Fri, 22 May 2015 09:45:59 -0400 Blue Mountain Eagle

BURNS – Oregon Department of Transportation maintenance crews will be paving a 3-mile section of U.S. Highway 20 northeast of Burns starting June 1.

The work will constructed between mile posts 132 and 135.

Travelers can expect flaggers and pilot cars directing traffic through the work zones with up to 20-minute delays. Work will typically take place during the daytime Monday through Thursday, however, some Friday work may occur.

Motorists are advised to slow down, pay extra attention and plan extra travel time along this route. Speed and distracted driving are two primary causes of work zone crashes. The project is expected to be completed by June 25.

This paving job is among more than 30 major projects taking place this summer in Eastern Oregon. For more information, visit the ODOT Region 5 website, or check for highway traffic information.

The Oregon statewide Summer Construction Map is also available on the main ODOT webpage at

Judge rules some of Hayes’ emails are public, some private Thu, 21 May 2015 21:53:57 -0400 Capital Bureau SALEM — In a split decision, a Marion County circuit judge ruled Thursday that forcing former first lady Cylvia Hayes to release emails from her private account would be a violation of her Fifth Amendment rights — unless they relate to any of the more than 94,000 emails already made public by the state.

In February Hayes filed suit to block the release of emails from her private account to The Oregonian in response to a public records request seeking records concerning her tenure as first lady.

Hayes and former Gov. John Kitzhaber are under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for potential influence peddling. In her lawsuit, Hayes argued that emails in her private account were private and exempt from release under Oregon’s public records law, and that a release would violate her Constitutional right against self incrimination.

In a ruling on the paper’s motion for partial summary judgment, Judge Tracy Prall said the newspaper’s request for records was narrowly constructed to exclude material of an exclusively personal nature, and had proven a legitimate public interest in the release of records related to official business.

However, Prall ruled that ordering Hayes to produce the emails would require her to admit that the emails exist, are in her control, and authenticate their content. That would violate her Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination.

However, Gov. Kate Brown has already released 94,000 emails from Kitzhaber’s tenure held by the state. Therefore, Prall ruled, emails held by Hayes that correspond to those already released should be made public because “any testimonial aspect is a foregone conclusion.”

Hayes filed a lawsuit in February to stop the disclosure of emails on her private account that dealt with state business, after the Oregon Attorney General’s Office ordered Hayes to release the emails in response to a public records request by The Oregonian newspaper.

The Oregonian had asked Prall to dismiss Hayes’ entire lawsuit and order Hayes to release the emails. Hayes’ response to that motion is currently due by the end of the month, Oregon Judicial Department Legislative Communication Manager Phil Lemman wrote in an email.

GMO mediation bill encounters opposition Thu, 21 May 2015 16:29:39 -0400 Mateusz PerkowskiCapital Bureau SALEM — After an uncontroversial start, legislation that would require mediation for disputes over biotech crops in Oregon is now facing opposition from critics of genetic engineering.

House Bill 2509, which would direct the Oregon Department of Agriculture to mediate conflicts over genetically modified organisms, didn’t initially meet with objections and passed the House by an overwhelming margin.

The bill arose from a work group convened by Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, that evaluated a range of GMO proposals.

During a May 20 legislative hearing, Clem said he’s surprised by the recent surge of antagonism toward HB 2509, which emerged from the concerns of GMO critics who worried that biotech farmers wouldn’t agree to mediation.

“This came from the anti-GMO community,” he said. “This was designed to be helpful for people worried about being interfered with by GMOs.”

Friends of Family Farmers, a group that favors stronger GMO regulation, participated in the work group negotiations and credited the bill with providing an incentive for mediation during a work session last month.

Now that HB 2509 is before the Senate, however, the nonprofit group and other GMO critics are asking lawmakers to reject the proposal because they say farmers who are harmed by biotech cross-pollination should not be forced into mediation.

“I strikes us that mediation should be a choice farmers make, not a mandated situation,” said Ivan Maluski, policy director of Friends of Family Farmers, during the recent hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

If a dispute over genetically engineered crops occurs between farmers, the bill calls for ODA to provide mediation to seek a coexistence solution. If a grower refuses mediation and later loses a lawsuit in the dispute, he’d be required to pay the opposing party’s legal costs.

While Friends of Family Farmers believes mediation may be useful in some circumstances, the group has decided to oppose the bill because mandatory mediation could impose a financial burden on small growers.

The mediation requirement may delay a timely court decision when a farmer faces market rejection of his crop due to cross-pollination, the group claims.

Our Family Farms Coalition, which successfully campaigned for a GMO ban in Jackson County, argues that HB 2509 would hinder the ability of organic and conventional growers to enforce that prohibition.

The group argues that small farmers would effectively be blocked from seeking a “quick legal action to prevent contamination of their crop” due to fears of paying astronomical attorney fees.

“This bill would prevent that as a practical matter,” said Kellie Barnes, a representative for the group.

The Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit involved in prominent legal battles over GMOs, alleges that ODA can’t be trusted to oversee the mediation program because the agency has served as the “mouthpiece of the agricultural biotechnology industry.”

Since the mediation requirement lacks any limit on duration or expense, ODA could use it as an obstacle for farmers who need a fast legal remedy to their dispute, the group says.

Scott Dahlman, policy director of the Oregonians for Food and Shelter agribusiness group, said he’s disappointed by the hostility toward HB 2509 after the work group tried to establish a middle ground.

The bill was intended to shed light on how many biotech conflicts actually exist in Oregon and encourage compromises that would be difficult to reach in court, he said.

“It might be as simple as communicating your planting schedule with your neighbor and planting at different times,” Dahlman said.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

Senate confirms Atkinson, Buckmaster to fish commission Thu, 21 May 2015 12:33:51 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau SALEM — The Oregon Senate voted Thursday morning to confirm two controversial appointees to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The sport fishing industry and some recreational anglers lobbied hard to stop Gov. Kate Brown’s appointment of Astoria resident Bruce Buckmaster to the commission because of his work on behalf of the commercial fishing industry, but the Senate voted 18-12 to confirm Buckmaster. The Senate also voted 27-3 to confirm Jason Atkinson of Jacksonville to the commission. Senators voted unanimously to confirm 92 other appointments by the governor to various boards and commissions.

During a committee hearing earlier this week, sport fishers said they want the governor to appoint a commissioner who works in their industry. It is unclear how Brown might respond to that request, but the Senate Committee on Rules held back the governor’s two reappointments to the commission — Holly Akenson of Enterprise, and Michael Finley of Medford — because senators said they were concerned commissioners did not do enough to prevent budget problems at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The seven fish and wildlife commissioners serve four-year terms and are appointed to represent the state’s Congressional districts. Brown appointed Buckmaster to fill the position representing Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, after former Gov. John Kitzhaber left that position vacant for more than two years.

Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, carried the Buckmaster nomination. Buckmaster previously owned a salmon feed company and served on the board of Salmon for All, a group that represents commercial fishermen, processors and other businesses on the Lower Columbia River. Buckmaster also registered as a lobbyist while serving on the board of Salmon for All and although Buckmaster said he was never paid for the work, sport fishers said this should preclude him from serving as a commissioner.

Roblan said the commercial fishing industry in southern Oregon appreciated Brown’s appointment of Buckmaster.

“His goal has always been to have plenty of fish to share with everybody, because it is very important to our community,” Roblan said of Buckmaster. “This is a person who has been actively engaged in his community wherever he lived, trying to make things better.”

Sen. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, said he disagreed with Buckmaster on salmon policy several years ago but would still vote to confirm him.

“He was an opponent on that particular issue that was tenacious, and he was fighting for what he thought was right,” Edwards said. “I disagreed with him. We prevailed on that issue.”

Kitzhaber and the Fish and Wildlife Commission ultimately put in place a plan to ban gillnets on the main stem of the Columbia River and move commercial use of the nets into side channels.

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, said he was involved in the effort to ban gillnets on the main stem of the Columbia River and called upon other senators to vote “no” on the Buckmaster appointment.

“Everyone here knows I represent a region that has a lot of spawning grounds,” Girod said. “The problem with Mr. Buckmaster is, he wants to go back to the old ways ... You might say that he compromises, but the people I deal with say he doesn’t compromise.”

Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, asked the Senate to confirm Brown’s appointment of Atkinson, who is a fly-fisherman and hunter, former state senator and Republican candidate for governor.

“I think you all know Sen. Atkinson very well for his many years of involvement in this body,” Beyer said. “We certainly all know of his passion for hunting and fishing and preservation of wildlife.”

Atkinson also has important professional experience as a corporate “turnaround specialist,” and he could use those skills to improve the financial outlook at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Beyer said. Lawmakers are currently considering how to respond to the agency’s $32 million budget shortfall. The agency has a $345 million proposed budget for 2015 through 2017.

Malheur office closed for holiday Thu, 21 May 2015 11:17:28 -0400 JOHN DAY – All Malheur National Forest offices will be closed Monday, May 25, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

Offices will reopen for regular business hours Tuesday, May 26.

Weather Service warns of flash floods, debris flows Thu, 21 May 2015 11:08:41 -0400 PENDLETON – The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch – warning that landslides are possible – for much of Eastern Oregon including Grant County.

The watch is in effect from 3 p.m. today through Friday night for the John Day Basin, Northern and Southern Blue Mountains, Ochoco-John Day Highlands and Wallowa County.

A flash flood watch is in effect from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. today for east slopes of the Oregon Cascades.

Forecasters warn that debris flows – fast-moving slides of soil and water slurry – are possible. Such slides are known to travel a mile or more, and can carry boulders and logs.

“Intense rainfall is a common landslide trigger,” says Ali Ryan, earth science information officer for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. “Debris flows are possible during this event, so it’s important to be aware of the potential hazard and avoid areas with steep terrain.”

Officials say people, structures and roads below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk, and caution should be used when traveling.

According to the state agency, the most dangerous places include:

• Canyon bottoms, stream channels, and areas of rock and soil accumulation at the outlets of canyons.

• Bases of steep hillsides.

• Road cuts or other areas where slopes of hills have been excavated or over-steepened.

• Places where slides or debris flows have occurred in the past.

For latest flash flood watch updates, visit:

Grant Union hosts Baker today at Malone Field Thu, 21 May 2015 11:03:43 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – The Grant Union baseball team is scheduled to host the Burns Hilanders at Malone Field at noon today.

The doubleheader will decide which of the two teams is at the top of the 2A/1A-Special District 7 league.

Both teams will advance to the state championship playoffs Wednesday, May 27 – the time, location and team to be played will be announced Sunday or Monday.

Grant Union is set to host the Baker Bulldogs for an extra game on Friday at noon; this will also be senior recognition day.

Lawmakers consider pot sales tax, residency requirement for investors Wed, 20 May 2015 20:35:37 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau SALEM — Oregon lawmakers are working on legislation that could determine who can invest in the state’s new legal recreational marijuana market and change the way it’s taxed.

A two-year residency requirement is among the provisions in the bill a legislative committee considered at a hearing Wednesday night. Measure 91, which voters passed in November, did not include a residency requirement for pot businesses.

The bill would also create a sales tax on recreational pot, to replace the weight-based excise tax the state would charge growers under the legalization measure voters approved in November.

Oregonians age 21 and older can legally possess marijuana starting July 1, although the state currently does not expect recreational pot stores to open until sometime in 2016. Several members of the marijuana industry who testified before the House-Senate committee working to implement Measure 91 asked lawmakers to get rid of the residency requirement in the bill.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, said marijuana businesses need to have the option to raise money from relatives or other out-of-state investors. Patrick Moen, managing director and general counsel for the Seattle-based private equity firm Privateer Holdings, voiced the same concern.

“We know from experience that cultivating and distributing lab-tested, professionally packaged cannabis requires significant and ongoing investment to ensure quality and prevent diversion to the illicit market and stop the product from ending up in the hands of children,” Moen said in written testimony submitted to lawmakers.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, said lawmakers included the residency requirement in an effort to comply with guidance from federal prosecutors that states with legal marijuana must ensure marijuana is not diverted to the black market in other states. Prozanski said it might be possible to place a sunset on the provision.

Some members of the marijuana industry and medical program cardholders have opposed bills to regulate medical marijuana and other legislative proposals, saying they go against the will of voters who approved Measure 91. However Johnson said after the hearing Wednesday that he supports changing the point of taxation from growers to stores.

“There were policy and political reasons why it was at the producer level (in Measure 91),” Johnson said. “However, as far as really the intent of the measure, and what i think voters and consumers expect, moving the tax to the retail level makes sense.”

Johnson said that a sales tax would not violate the intent of voters, so long as the level of taxation does not increase.

The legislation lawmakers considered Wednesday night would also require recreational marijuana growers, processors and retailers to be at least 21 years old. It would require the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which will regulate recreational pot, to set up a seed-to-sale system to track weed and the recreational marijuana industry to participate in the tracking system.

Liquor commission officers would receive authority to inspect regulated pot businesses and issue citations, seize product and arrest people. These officers would specifically be prohibited from taking any action to enforce Oregon’s medical marijuana law. The amendment considered Wednesday would also address a variety of details involved in setting up Oregon’s legal pot system, from business liability insurance requirements to how the Oregon Liquor Control Commission can calculate fees on marijuana businesses.

Lawmakers did not vote on the bill Wednesday, and said they would likely continue to work on it next week.

County Court special meeting 05-15-15 Wed, 20 May 2015 15:43:15 -0400 IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT

Access the court’s weekly Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at

MAY 15, 2015

Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County and the radio station, a special meeting of County Court was held at the County Courthouse in Canyon City OR.

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioner Chris B. Labhart, and Secretary Mary Ferrioli. The following interested citizens were also present: News Reporter Scotta Callister, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, King Williams, Zach Williams, Brooks Smith, Marlene Greer, Gary Jacobson, Howard Gieger, Sherri Giffin, Ron Phillips, Jim Sproul, Pete Teague, Larry Blasing, Carl Stinnett, Wanda Voigt, William Fields, Harley Allen, Bob Kerr, Bob Flath, and Cathy Gibbs.

The special meeting was scheduled to provide time for the court to make a decision on its response to the Malheur NF proposed draft decision on the Elk 16 and Big Mosquito projects. Comments must be submitted to the Objection Reviewing Officer by today. Myers noted that he composed and submitted personal comments on line yesterday. Labhart said he wants everyone to understand this meeting was called for this special purpose, with 24 hours notice, and no other topics would be addressed.

Labhart said he received EIS documents on all projects noted in the Elk 16 and Big Mosquito projects. He indicated most of these decisions were made in 1990’s under Forest Supervisor Mark Boche, and one was made in 2009. The list of previously closed roads in these draft decision documents were referenced as to action taken on prior decisions. Labhart felt proposed road closures currently in the Elk 16 project should only be a topic of discussion during this objection period. He hopes the court could address the process which he feels needs to be more transparent. Myers believes the best time for the public to comment is in the beginning during scoping. He felt it also made sense now to look ahead at projects just getting started.

General discussion followed about public concern for having good travel routes, a continuing need for clarification of previously closed roads, and the roads affected by the projects. Brooks Smith provided a variety of information about the Forest Service’s road management procedure and the status of roads within these project areas. An exchange of information took place about various participants’ understanding as to how and why previously closed roads are now appearing in these project documents.

Sheriff Palmer remarked on his responsibility for search and rescue. He strongly objected to the closure, decommissioning, or obliteration of any other roads in the name of public safety. He felt it was of upmost importance, under county Ordinance 2013-01, to maintain road infrastructure and not close access to public lands. Palmer believed restricting public access would kill our community. Some attetdees voiced support of Palmer’s comments.

Larry Blasing felt there were serious issues with the proposed closure of public roads. He said a lot of these road beds scheduled for decommissioning would be needed for sustainable timber harvest. Blasing believed those infrastructure investments had been made for multiple-use purposes and must be preserved unless there is a solid reason for non-use. Smith pointed out, once closed, a road becomes very difficult to re-open.

Howard Gieger objected to the closure of any road. He felt the Forest Service should proceed with projects, without road closures or addressing travel management issues.

Britton agreed with others about no more road decommissioning. He commented on the Forest Service’s position on road density. Britton talked about the importance of forest resources and supported the good work of the Collaborative Groups. He believed in keeping these projects going because forest products keep our local businesses moving forward. Britton hoped to get to a position someday where the county can step in and help the Forest Service with their management of road resources.

Palmer believed the Forest Service had created its own budget problems; he’d like to see the federal government create revenue from timber harvesting so money is available to take care of forest roads.

Other discussion continued about a variety of natural resource issues of concern to the public i.e. goals outlined in the project documents, specific NEPA analysis to justify the proposed action, the public’s desire to have federal dollars spent on improving the health of natural resources, maintaining access routes, and the Forest Service’s need to pay more attention to local citizens who have a strong interest in our natural resources.

10:00 am – Byron Haberly entered

Debate began about the purpose and effectiveness of the county’s Ordinance. Myers interjected (he said) to prevent the group from losing tact. He felt there was consensus of the court to support no further decommissioning of public roads. Additionally, the court would urge the Forest Service to consider and support Ordinance 2013 01, ask it to step back and take a look at the consequences of the proposed actions, and attempt to build trust with the public whom they are employed to serve. Britton was on board with no more road decommissioning and would like to see the Forest Service give better rationale for some of these proposed road closures. And, he would like to see these forest projects go forward. Myers offered to, and did, recite his personal comments as submitted yesterday. The group voiced agreement with Myers’ comments and urged all court members to sign a similar letter. Labhart said he would sign that letter, after it is condensed. He added that the process was not working and needs to change. Myers planned to prepared a shorter version of the letter and make it available for three signatures and public review after the meeting.

10:20 am-- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary

County Court minutes 05-13-15 Wed, 20 May 2015 15:36:32 -0400 IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT

Access the court’s weekly Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at

MAY 13, 2015

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 Mary Ferrioli, Jim Sproul, Brooks Smith, Kathy Stinnett, Howard Gieger, Kathy Smith, Hap McLeod, Marlene Greer and Gary Jacobson. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Commissioner Britton.

AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the agenda as presented


Britton reported on his attendance at the School-Based Health Center grand opening last week. Today he’ll be leaving the meeting at 11:00 am to attend an ODF meeting with George Ponte about Zone 1 lands and fire protection. However, he will be back for the special work session at 1:15 pm. Tomorrow Britton plans to attend a Stock Growers meeting.

Labhart attended a Health Evidence Review Commission meeting in Wilsonville last Thursday and was in Salem Monday for AOC Veterans, Public Lands & Natural Resources and Legislative Committee meetings. Today he will attend an EMS recognition meeting in the ambulance classroom at the hospital this evening and an open house for EOU & BMCC. Thursday Labhart has a TEC Budget meeting in Baker City and will attend a Stock Growers meeting at Keerins Hall in the evening. Friday, Labhart will be at the District Track Meet at the High School and attend a Healthy Together meeting at the Canyon City Community Hall on Monday. Last Saturday he meet with some local citizens to tour roads located within the Elk 16 and Big Mosquito project areas.

Myers talked about regular site meetings he’s been having with General Contractor Joe Prinz and Architect Tim Clem about the elevator project. Cement was poured for the elevator project late yesterday and another pour will be done late today. Last Friday he was in Mt. Vernon to pick up about 30 boxes of Title 3 materials which he relocated to Suites 1 & 2 at the L-Bldg . Tomorrow he meets with Sally Bartlett, Irene Jerome and Kathy Smith to discuss how we can continue to track and submit reports for the County Title 3 program (due to the recent death of Sue Newstetter). Friday he’ll help at the District Track Meet at the High School. Employment Applications were received for the vacant Equipment Operator positions; interviews will be all day Friday, May 22.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the May 5 minutes

9:10 – Shannon Springer and Mary Weaver entered

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER. The court discussed how to best define the county’s need for a Human Resources Manager. The Budget Committee approved funding for a full time HR Manager position starting July 1, 2015. Myers provided background on the county’s unfilled HR position. He reported that he’s no longer willing to continue taking on this responsibility since neither he, nor Mary, are trained. The County Judge and Court Secretary have been responsible for HR since the County Clerk resigned from those duties last October. Labhart said that after attending CIS training on the “Top 10 Supervisor Mistakes” he is now even more willing to fill the HR position. Assessor Lane Burton suggested the Court Secretary position be revised to include HR responsibilities, since it is a full time position and the individual would be available when needed. Myers felt the job description could be changed to include HR responsibilities along with everything currently in the job description -- but how that would work depends on who we can find.

9:25 am – Clerk Brenda Percy and DA Jim Carpenter entered

Some discussion followed about the county’s need for part-time versus full-time HR services, and the idea of contracting with Blue Mountain Hospital. (The hospital has suggested sharing an HR position). Budget considerations were discussed and a suggestion to replace the Court Secretary position early, so adequate time is available for catch-up and training. It was pointed out the county has come too far now to turn back from filling the HR position. Comment was made about a retired HR professional currently available in the community. Myers believes the county needs a strong HR professional that can do other duties, rather than a Secretary that can be sent to HR trainings.

9:30 am – News Reporter Scotta Callister and Larry Blasing entered

Britton believed that Clerk Brenda Percy had been doing a great job fulfilling HR duties. He still feels it was the way to go, if Percy could have the full support of the court. However, Britton did not know if Percy would be willing to take back those responsibilities. Myers and Labhart both said they don’t believe the court turned away from or had not supported Ms. Percy in the past. Britton didn’t think we needed a full time HR position, especially when legal assistance is just a phone call away. Labhart said he has been very concerned about the HR position. He also believes we are obligated to publicly advertise the open position, rather than appointing someone currently on staff. Myers did not have a problem with hiring an HR professional who could also act as Court Secretary, with a training period of a few months. Myers also did not have a problem temporarily contracting for HR if we can come to terms with the hospital or another entity. Although, he added, we would need to have a designated period of time devoted to the county. Concerns were expressed about combining HR duties with elected official duties, adequate compensation for performing these services, and the need to sustain this important function beyond a particular individual’s term of service.

In response to Britton’s inquiry, Public Forest Commissioner Brooks Smith explained how the Malheur NF handles HR services from a regional location. Mr. Smith pointed out that critical issues need to be dealt with right away. And, he added, financial issues are not necessarily a good reason to have remote HR services. Britton felt we could handle HR ourselves, if it is structured correctly and we pick up the phone for legal assistance.

Labhart said he was willing to approach the hospital about sharing HR on a part time basis for now. Myers suggested that HR continue in its present state with the help of CIS until the end of October. At that time Myers would like to begin a hiring and training process to fill the HR / Secretary position. Some discussion followed about melding the HR Manager job with the Court Secretary job and determining the wage placement. Labhart thought it was a good idea and asked for consensus. Britton wanted Labhart to look into the option of contracting a 75-25 split with the hospital. Treasurer Kathy Smith asked Britton for clarification as to why Labhart would ask the hospital for a 75-25 split. Britton thought it would be good to “work two fronts” in case Myers discovers the other option is not feasible. Labhart believed we should let Myers handle the situation as he just suggested. There was consensus to proceed with Myers’ recommendation.

DA Jim Carpenter was asked for his opinion. In reply,Carpenter asked how many times the county has been sued. Myers said, several, but the best HR specialist could not stop the county from being sued.

News Reporter Scotta Callister pointed out the importance of periodic training for department heads, which raises awareness of the issues. She said her newspaper has two staff in Salem dedicated to HR who will quickly go to satellite offices to deal with issues when they develop.

MT. VERNON MASTER PLAN. At the request of the City of Mt. Vernon, the court reviewed and signed a letter of support for Mt. Vernon’s 2015 Local Government Grant Program application to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to fund a Master Plan that can be used to renovate the City Park. MSP: Britton/Labhart – to sign the letter supporting the Mt. Vernon City Park Master Plan as presented.

COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS. The court reviewed and signed an updated Interagency Collection Service Agreement with Oregon Department of Revenue which outlines the collection services and type of debt assigned by Community Corrections for collection by DOR. MSP: Labhart/Myers – to sign

Contract No. 3175 DOR Interagency Collection Service Agreement.

MENTAL HEALTH ADVISORY BOARD. The court considered appointing volunteers to fill current vacancies on the Mental Health Advisory Board. Myers explained some previous confusion about the county’s role versus Community Counseling Solutions’ role in recruiting to fill vacancies. Britton suggested waiting on this decision until we can speak with CCS Director Kimberly Lindsay. However, the subject did not get addressed during Ms. Lindsay’s meeting with the court, so it will be re-scheduled for next week.

10:30 am -- Kimberly Lindsay, Erin Osgood, Lindsay Maghan, Alex Lindsay (Kimberly’s son) and Jessica Wineger entered

GRANT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT. Community Counseling Solutions Director Kimberly Lindsay introduced Jessica Wineger who’s replacing Lindsay Maghan as Health Department Manager, and her son Alex who is job shadowing today. Lindsay talked about the WIC Annual Report and the Grant County Health Department’s higher-than-average participation in the WIC program. Information was provided about the School Based Health Center grand opening and a Core Grant that was received for an anti-stigma campaign at the high school. It was also reported that a full time Mental Health Clinician to address prevention/promotion at the high school may be available for two years, if a grant is awarded. Maghan and Lindsay reported on yesterday’s SBHC open house at the high school and identified the types of services provided, as well as who may participate. Maghan talked about the grant awarded to implement the first Teen Health Fair at the high school on May 29. There was discussed about the county’s healthy rankings data and the variety of teen issues that can be addressed through the SBHC.

The 2015-2017 Strategic Plan for the Grant County Health Department was presented for adoption by the court. Erin Osgood reviewed and discussed the plan and noted that it’s a significant step toward accreditation. The document addresses domains to increase health integration and collaboration, increase access to care, improve health, improve care, reduce cost and increase cost effectiveness, expand regional efforts, promote sound health policy, strengthen our organization, and pursue excellence. The strategic planning group, public health accreditation, plan timeline, domain standards were also described. Myers identified a clerical error for correction and the signature page was signed by the court as presented.

11:00 am – Commissioner Britton left to attend a meeting at ODF

Lindsay requested signature on an Agreement with Multnomah Education Service District concerning Medicaid administrative claims processing services from July 2014 through June 2017. The agreement describes MESD’s provision of Medicaid administrative claiming processing services to Grant County, as the Local Health Authority. Lindsay answered the court’s questions about Medicaid billing versus claiming. Labhart said the Budget Committee put additional money into the Health Department. He added that the committee hoped revenue would increase with additional Medicaid Claiming, so General Fund support can decrease. Myers asked to clarify some language through legal counsel review today. MSP: Labhart/ Myers -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Agreement with Multnomah Education Service District for Medicaid administrative claims processing services after receiving legal counsel’s blessing. Discussions followed about items in the attached By-Laws that need to be more accurate and the financial benefit available to the Health Department through this agreement.

11:15 am -- Kim Hilton entered

HERMAN FINANCIAL. Herman Financial Services consultant Kim Hilton met with the court to discuss health insurance renewal rates for this year to provide coverage for 70 regular employees. She presented a MODA Health rate comparison spreadsheet showing last year’s rates and the average rate increase proposed at 6.29% for the current medical/dental/vision plan. Hilton talked about the possible impact of moving to another company and said she was comfortable bringing this no-bid proposal to the court this year. She recommended staying the course with our past history in MODA rather than switching to another company. Hilton provided information on the county’s claims, future impacts of the Affordable Care Act, and re-grouping to a new pool next year. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to accept Ms. Hilton’s recommendation to stay with MODA at these rates and take our chance next year with the competitive process.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul, Public Forest Commissioners Brooks Smith and Larry Blasing, and Commissioner Labhart talked about the 9-hour tour they took last Saturday to look at roads proposed for decommissioning. Labhart explained that travel analysis reports were available, except for three that will be available today. He noted that, among the group, Larry Blasing has standing. The condition of Deep Creek Road was discussed and the historic status and the access it provides. Big Creek Road was also addressed. General discussion took place about the types of Forest Service informational documents that are available to the public. Other topics were discussed associated with road access, road maintenance, and other natural resource management issues. Labhart pointed out the court needs to make a decision on Elk 16 and Big Mosquito comments by Friday, May 15. Sproul noted the objection period on the Wolf Project closes at the end of the month. He said the Forest Service is meeting with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative about the Wolf Project on May 19.

12:00 pm -- Recess for lunch. The meeting reconvened at 1:15 pm with all court members, the Court Secretary, Treasurer Kathy Smith, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, JP Kathy Stinnett, Extension District Director Shanna Northway, Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett, Shannon Springer (representing Planning Director Hilary McNary), Road Master Alan Hickerson, Community Corrections Director Dean Hoodenpyl, DA Jim Carpenter and office staff Cleo McCluskey and Ashley Mc Clay, Senior Programs Manager Veanne Weddle, Fair Manager Mary Weaver, Librarian Vicki Waters, Assessor Lane Burton, Airport Manager Patrick Bentz and Clerk Brenda Percy present.

SPECIAL WORK SESSION. The court held a special work session to discuss re-implementing regular management training sessions for department heads and elected officials. The county officials identified above were present to participate in the session. Myers provided background on the county’s past practice of holding mandatory management training twice a year. Burton voiced support of having CIS management classes, perhaps shared with cities / other public agencies. Labhart remarked on a national conference he recently attended where it was believed the term “accountability” was pertinent to everyone’s job. Myers brought up annual performance evaluations and suggested there may be training available to make that process more complete. Sally Bartlett felt that Department Head evaluations would and should be done differently than departmental staff evaluations. She felt there may be a software program for this process. Bartlett saw county government as being in a unique situation with the variety of department heads, etc. Jim Carpenter believed it would be interesting to hear from someone who has expertise in the area of performance evaluation. He suggested we use today to set dates (possibly March & September), to start the process of providing training on a variety of important topics. Kathy Smith suggested Tuesday and Thursday as the best day of the week, in the middle of the month. Glenn Palmer pointed out that he and Community Corrections have a different procedure with regard to discipline. Discussion took place on the benefit of having on site group training versus individual webinar training. Shannon Springer said Hilary McNary wanted to point out that training including employees as well as managers is important so everyone has access to the same information. The idea of a 3-4 hour training scheduled well in advance, held twice yearly was suggested. Myers suggested that attendees’ preferences as to dates / times be submitted by email to the County Court office. Kathy Smith asked, if the goal of training is to reduce liability, how would the court encourage compliance with mandatory trainings? In the past the consequence for missing mandatory training was loss of the annual COLA. Britton talked about the opportunity managers would have to attend the same training topic at another location – if a mandatory training date is missed. Sally Bartlett encouraged the court to do whatever is needed to communicate their training expectations to hired department heads. It was generally believed that trainings on ethics, sexual harassment, discipline, and hiring & firing are important and pertinent to all departments. Scheduling the same training topic two times per year was felt to be a good way to encourage attendance.

Myers reported on the court’s earlier discussion about filling the HR Manager position by combining the current job descriptions for HR Manager and County Court Secretary.

2:10 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary

Prospectors plan for games this week Wed, 20 May 2015 11:46:25 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – After two rained out games, the Grant Union baseball team has been in a holding pattern.

Grant Union athletic director Jason Miller announced the team will play against Burns on Thursday, May 21, the location and time still to be decided.

The game may be played in Ontario, but other locations were possible – depending on the weather.

The Prospectors are scheduled to host the Baker Bulldogs for an extra game on Friday at 12 noon; however, if Thursday’s game is rained out, then they will play Burns instead.

Friday’s game will also be Grant Union’s senior recognition day.

Grant Union will compete in Round 1 of the 2A/1A Baseball State Championship on Wednesday, May 27, the time, location and team played to be announced.

The Prospectors are tied with Burns for first in the 2A/1A-Special District 7, the top two teams advancing to state competition.

Joseph/Enterprise finished third, Union/Cove placed fourth and Wallowa finished fifth.

2015 GU senior prom court Wed, 20 May 2015 09:37:24 -0400

Delaney, Parsons win hospital seats Wed, 20 May 2015 08:46:50 -0400 Blue Mountain Eagle

CANYON CITY – The unofficial results are in for the contested races in Tuesday’s election, both for Blue Mountain Hospital District board positions.

For Position 3, Dotty Parsons was elected with 509 votes to Aaron Lieuallen’s 440.

For Position 5, Marsha Delaney was elected with 549 votes to Hal Smith’s 400.

Also elected to the hospital board was Karla Averett, and re-elected were Virginia Miller, and Amy Kreger. All three were running unopposed.

Buckmaster, Atkinson to get full Senate vote for fish and wildlife commission Tue, 19 May 2015 18:47:50 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau SALEM — Two controversial appointees to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission are headed to the state Senate for a confirmation vote, after they received support from a committee on Tuesday afternoon.

The sport fishing industry raised an outcry after Gov. Kate Brown announced last month the appointment of Astoria resident Bruce Buckmaster to fill a seat on the commission that has been vacant for two years. Sport fishers complained that Buckmaster had opposed a plan that allocates more fish on the Lower Columbia River to anglers, and they pointed out that none of the current commissioners or Brown’s appointees work in the sport fishing industry.

The Senate Committee on Rules nonetheless voted unanimously to send Buckmaster and fellow appointee Jason Atkinson of Jacksonville to the full Senate for confirmation.

In a surprise move, the committee held back the governor’s two reappointments — Holly Akenson of Enterprise, and Michael Finley of Medford — because senators said they want new commissioners who will take a more active role in helping the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to fix its long-term budget problems.

The agency has a $345 million proposed budget for 2015 through 2017 but as committee member Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, said on Tuesday, it is also $32 million short of the revenue necessary to balance that budget.

“In short, the agency’s upside down,” Boquist said. “It’s in serious financial problems.”

Atkinson said he would bring to the commission his experience working on corporate turnarounds, and he would push for the state to more effectively market fishing and hunting opportunities in Oregon. Buckmaster said he would also apply his business experience to improve the agency’s financial health and would like the state to rank the agency’s programs in terms of their importance to its mission.

Atkinson said he initially considered what it could mean to his professional reputation if he takes a position overseeing an agency that is in financial trouble. Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said this was a valid concern.

“It’s doing everything it can to alienate its customer base,” Ferrioli said of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which receives much of its revenue from hunting and fishing fees. “You want the job, you got it. I’m going to vote for both of you. But I’m going to tell you something, I’m not sure you’re going to like me year from now because I voted to confirm you. You’re worried about your credibility senator? You should be.”

Ferrioli and other senators said another reason they did not vote on the two reappointments Tuesday, aside from the desire for commissioners who would take a more active role in overseeing the agency’s budget and policies, was that they want more balance among interests on the committee.

Buckmaster previously owned a salmon feed company and served on the board of Salmon for All, a group that represents commercial fishermen, processors and other businesses on the Lower Columbia River. Atkinson is a fly-fisherman, former state senator and Republican candidate for governor.

Liz Hamilton, of the Northwest Steelheaders, said the Fish and Wildlife Commission is already imbalanced because it lacks a member from the sport fishing industry.

“This doubles down on that imbalance,” Hamilton said of Brown’s appointees.

Oregon is currently implementing a plan to phase out gillnetting on the main stem of the Columbia River by 2017 and increase the portion of fish allocated to sport fishers. The sport fishing industry raised concerns that Buckmaster could undermine implementation of that plan, something that Buckmaster said Tuesday he would not do.

Tom Hester of Poulsen Cascade Tackle in Clackamas asked the Senators to vote “no” on Buckmaster’s appointment because “it’s very plain for all to see that there is no balance at all” on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Hester said that if the Senate confirms Buckmaster’s appointment to the commission, there will be two commissioners from the commercial fishing industry and none from the sport fishing industry, despite its contributions to the economy. “That is not a balance, it’s a stacked deck,” Hester said. “Oppose Buckmaster, put someone from our side in there.”

Opponents have described Buckmaster as a lobbyist for Salmon for All, but Buckmaster said Tuesday he was never paid to serve as a lobbyist and only registered with the state as a lobbyist because that is required for anyone who frequently testifies before the Legislature.

Among those that spoke in support of Buckmaster Tuesday was Paul Lumley, executive director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

“He understands that the only way our region can have successful fisheries is by rebuilding abundance, a view that the tribes have shared for decades” Lumley said.

Atkinson said Buckmaster was among the first people he met in the state capitol building and although they do not agree on everything, they became good enough friends that Atkinson met up with Buckmaster on a boat trip past Astoria.

“I want strong personal relationships on the commission, even with people you might not 100 percent agree with,” Atkinson said. “I don’t think anyone’s interested in doing a management by consensus that’s a slow death.”

The Senate Committee on Rules already sent the 92 other candidates in Brown’s latest round of appointments to the full Senate last week, after separating out the Fish and Wildlife Commission candidates.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

Impeachment amendment OK’d by House Tue, 19 May 2015 16:56:14 -0400 PETER WONGCapital Bureau SALEM — Oregon would join the other states where legislators could remove the governor and other statewide officials if a propsed constitutional amendment passed Tuesday by the House is eventually approved by voters.

The 47-12 vote moved the proposed amendment to the Senate. If cleared there, voters would decide the matter in the November 2016 general election.

The issue arose after influence-peddling allegations that led to the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber on Feb. 18. Kitzhaber could be removed from office otherwise only through a recall election — which under the Oregon Constitution could be initiated after six months into his new term — or through a felony conviction. A federal investigation is continuing of Kitzhaber and fiancée Cylvia Hayes.

“Most people in Oregon feel we already have the power (to impeach), and we do not,” said House Majority Leader Val Hoyle, D-Eugene.

Impeachment would apply to the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general and labor commissioner.

The constitutional amendment would require a 60 percent vote by the House (36 of 60 members) to impeach an official on grounds of malfeasance, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Senate would then conduct a trial. A 67 percent majority (20 of 30 members) would be required for removal of an official.

Impeachment is a political process, and does not preclude criminal charges.

“This resolution is not a weapon and should never be used as such,” said Rep. Jodi Hack, R-Salem, the other floor manager. “It is a tool for accountability of the executive branch and should be exercised for only that purpose.”

But Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, was one of a dozen opponents of the measure.

He said the recall election, which is a century old, has served Oregon well. No statewide official has faced an actual recall election, although several attempts were mounted against Gov. Barbara Roberts in the 1990s. None obtained the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot.

“I have watched the federal Congress make a mockery of the impeachment process,” Greenlick said in reference to the Republican effort to remove Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999. The House voted to impeach Clinton in connection with his affair with a White House intern, but the Senate fell far short of the two-thirds majorities required to convict him.

Rod Blagojevich of Illinois was the most recent governor to be impeached. He was removed by the Illinois Legislature in 2009, ahead of his conviction on federal criminal charges.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

GU ball team pushes forward Tue, 19 May 2015 16:21:54 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – The Grant Union Prospectors are holding their own as they near postseason play.

Currently, Grant Union is ranked No. 11 in the state and tied in the 2A/1A Special District 7, with No. 6-ranked Burns.

Grant Union is a young team, graduating several starters last year.

“We knew going into it we were going to be young, and pitching and defense would have to be our focus,” said Prospector head coach Brian Delaney. “For the most part, Garrett McConnell, Hayden Young, Justin Gravley and Billy Copenhaver have stepped forward and carried that load for us, as far as pitching.”

He added the team focuses in on defensive work and fundamentals during practice.

“We work to eliminate errors,” Delaney said.

There are 21 members of the varsity and junior varsity teams.

Helping Delaney with coaching are Kyle Myers, Aaron Kienzle, David Blood, Dominic DeHaven and Travis Heiple.

Blood, DeHaven and Heiple mainly coach junior varsity, however, Delaney said they take turns assisting where needed.

Gravley, Tyler Manitsas and Jerry Carter are this year’s varsity senior team members.

Delaney said Gravley is doing well pitching, and Manitsas, the catcher, is one the team looks to for leadership.

The coach also noted Carter’s progress.

“He’s improved a ton,” Delaney said. “I never thought he would be starting outfielder and a key hitter.”

Gravley said the team is trying to continue their upward climb “rather than ride the roller coaster,” he said.

Manitsas said coming together “as a family” is working for them.

“We definitely mesh a lot more than we have in the past, and that’s been helping us out a lot,” he said.

“I like how even if we’re ‘out-talented’ on the field, we can out-heart the other team and get the victory when we play as a team,” Carter said.

Looking to the remainder of the season, Delaney is optimistic.

The top two in league will continue on to the state playoffs.

After Wallowa forfeited two games last week, Grant Union was tied with Burns with a 6-0 league record.

The Prospectors are scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Hilanders in Burns at noon Friday, a contest that will determine who tops the league.

“To beat Burns will be a challenge, but hopefully, we’re up to it,” Delaney said. “We’ll do everything in our power to get prepared.”

He said his team has been making progress.

“We feel like we’re climbing a peak right now and need to ride it out to the end,” he said. “They’re a great group of kids who can play great baseball if they believe in themselves, and that’s our job as coaches to build their confidence and help them understand their potential.”

PC athletes focus on maximizing success Tue, 19 May 2015 16:18:40 -0400 Angel Carpenter PRAIRIE CITY – The Prairie City team has been busy this week preparing for the 1A Special District 4 District Championship set for Thursday at the Baker High School track.

There are seven regular participants on the team, coached by Joe Weymouth.

He said the team is working hard.

“We’re taking care of details such as starts and improved techniques in all the throws and jumps and trying to maximize their chances,” he said.

This is Weymouth’s ninth year coaching high school track.

Weymouth has volunteer help from Joe Hitz with pole vaulting and hurdling events.

This year Prairie City School has a middle school coach, Kerry Foster.

It’s been helpful to have Foster coaching.

“There is a tremendous amount of learning that goes on at that level, especially for sixth graders,” Weymouth said.

He said most athletes on the varsity team have made regular progress throughout the season.

Of special note, junior Garrett Hitz broke the school record for pole vaulting this year.

He also placed first in all of his events at the High Desert League meet: the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, javelin and pole vault.

For 1A at state, he’s currently in third place in 110 hurdles, fifth in 300 hurdles, seventh in javelin and second in pole vault.

This summer he’ll attend a Down Under Sports international track meet at Australia’s Gold Coast, representing Oregon.

The two seniors on the Prairie City team, Michel Hitz and Samantha Molt, have focused on improving, while also having fun.

“It’s a blast,” Michel said. “It’s an individual sport and I enjoy it because my brother Garrett and I do similar events, and our dad helps us because he did some of those events in high school.”

She is in her second year of track and field and competes in the 100-meter hurdles and javelin.

Molt competes in all the throwing events: discus, javelin and shot put.

“Sometimes I do a fourth event, but mostly throwing,” she said.

She said she’s enjoying her senior year.

“I’ve always enjoyed track,” she said. “You can focus on improving yourself. When you see other athletes struggling you can help them out and vice versa.”

She said she’s come a long way in discus, gaining 15 feet since last year.

“When I get to the district meet, I hope to surprise everyone,” she said.

Weymouth, who’s coached various sports for 26 years and high school track for nine, said he’s always enjoyed working with the athletes, and in track and field.

“Placing high is great, but making improvements is always considered a success,” he said.

Lady Pros earn trip to district playoffs Tue, 19 May 2015 16:18:06 -0400 Angel Carpenter NYSSA – The Grant Union/Dayville/Prairie City softball team, after sweeping Nyssa on Monday, will travel Wednesday to the first round of district playoffs.

The local team, which finished fourth in the 3A-5 Eastern Oregon League, will face the Elgin/Imbler Huskies in Elgin for a 4 p.m. game.

Against the Bulldogs in Nyssa, the Lady Prospectors had decisive wins – 23-10 and 23-16.

Sydney Stearns pitched two innings, with Natalie Stearns finishing the game.

In Game One, Grant Union fired up its offensive attack in the third, scoring nine runs. They added six in the fourth.

Head coach DeAnna Nash said there were many contributors in the game, including Mariah Meyerholz and Mariah Moulton with four hits apiece.

Whitney McClellan was 2-for-2 and had two walks, and Natalie Stearns was 3-for-3. Janelle King and Babe Nash had multiple hits, and Rheanna Cartner, Brianna Zweygardt, Sydney Stearns and Ravyn Walker each had a hit.

Mariah Moulton started the pitching in the second game. Natalie Stearns relieved her in the third, and Moulton closed out the game in the seventh inning.

“After getting down 9-4, we had a big fifth inning with 11 runs,” Nash said.

Offensively, Walker had four hits, and Sydney Stearns and Mariah Meyerholz had three each. Moulton had two hits, and Babe Nash was walked five times.

Having Natalie Stearns and Moulton in the circle was somewhat of a departure for the varsity team. Coach Nash noted that both pitched some in junior varsity.

“Natalie has pitched a little varsity and Mariah was a rookie yesterday,” Nash said, lauding their contributions.

“All the girls have done anything and everything they have been asked to do this year with confidence and the trust of their teammates,” Nash said. “They really gutted out these wins, and all 16 athletes contributed to our success – they believed in each other and never got down.”

The Lady Pros faced Elgin earlier in the season, splitting wins at home.

“They are similar to us and consistently in the playoffs,” she said. “We hope to be at full strength for Wednesday’s game but we believe that all our athletes are ready to contribute.

Dustin Elliott hosts online show about ‘all things rodeo’ Tue, 19 May 2015 16:15:22 -0400 Angel Carpenter NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – Locals know Dustin Elliott, formerly of John Day, for his success in the rodeo world – and he’s still leaving his stamp on the sport.

The 1999 Grant Union High School graduate went on to become a 2004 PRCA World Champion bull rider.

He now coaches rodeo for Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, Neb., and recently started “The Dustin Elliott Show” online at

“My show is hosted by the website and is free to listeners,” Elliott said. “It’s simply my thoughts and opinion on the latest happenings in rodeo and bull riding, from junior high to professional ranks.”

The website includes free videos on everything from boots and spurs to how to tie a bull rope.

The online store offers books and videos for purchase.

Visitors to the site can sign up for The Dustin Elliott Show.

He said the show is about “all things rodeo,” and his first episode discusses helmets in bull riding, and recent rules and rule changes.

“I’m going to try to do them weekly,” he said.

Elliott is also online at facebook/Dustin Elliott and Twitter @DustinElliott81.

4-man GU golf team ends season Tue, 19 May 2015 16:14:09 -0400 Angel Carpenter PENDLETON – The Grant Union golf team was four strokes away from a trip to state after the May 11-12 District 3 Golf Championship at Pendleton Country Club.

Day One of the event had the Prospectors in sixth place, and left to wonder if they had a chance to make it to the state championships – the top four teams, and the top five individuals, qualify for state.

The team’s hopes rose on Day Two when they finished in third place. However, averaging the scores out, the Pros ended four strokes off their goal.

The district meet drew 12 boys teams and six girls teams, with over 98 players battling the challenging par 72 course.

“The greens were fast and hard – when you get it on the green it rolls and rolls,” said coach Ron Lundbom.

He said all the teams likely had bad holes, and the Prospectors did well.

The winning team was Nixyaawii with 373 for Day One and 349 for Day 2, for a 722 total; Wallowa, second, 394 and 374, 764; Heppner, third, 376 and 398, 774; Vale, fourth, 386 and 394, 780; and Grant Union, fifth, 405 and 379, 784.

Low medalist was Riley Langford of Nixyaawii with 156.

Grant Union’s Matt Broemeling finished at 183 for 10th place. Nathan Gehley was 187 for 13th, Duane Stokes was 199 for 19th, and Chance Barrietua was 215 for 29th.

Both Broemeling and Barrietua set personal records for the year.

“I was really proud of the way the boys played this week,” Lundbom said. “After being in sixth on Day One, to rebound back on Day Two to have the third best score of the day was impressive.”

He said it was a little disappointing to miss the state championship by just four strokes, but added, “With only four boys all year, we really made a statement with how we played these last two days.”

Five GU athletes vault to state Tue, 19 May 2015 16:13:02 -0400 Angel Carpenter EUGENE – Five Grant Union track and field athletes are traveling to Hayward Field in Eugene this week, hopeful their season of hard work will pay off.

The three girls and two boys are competing in the OSAA State Track and Field Championships, hosted by University of Oregon.

The Prospector athletes received qualifying marks at last Friday’s 2A-6 Wapiti League Districts, held for the first time at Grant Union’s Three Flags Field in John Day.

On the girls team headed for state, Kori Pentzer, a freshman, is district champion in the long jump and triple jump. She’s seeded first in state for the long jump and second in the triple, just 1/2 inch away from first place. She is also seeded fifth in the 100-meter hurdles.

Jozie Rude, also a freshman, earned district champion status for three events. In javelin, she’s seeded second at state; pole vault, seeded third; and shot put, seeded fourth.

Chelsie Kodesh, a sophomore, is seeded seventh in javelin. The district champion in discus, she is seeded 10th in that event.

For the boys, senior Michael Ashmead is 13th in the state for long jump, and he placed second at the district meet.

Andrew Copenhaver, a junior, is seeded in a four-way tie for eighth place in pole vault; He also placed second at the district meet.

Grant Union head coach Sonna Smith said Antonio Dancer, a junior, came close to qualifying for state, setting personal records in the long jump with a mark of 35-8.00 and the triple with 18-0.00.

Rainy, chilly weather marked the district meet, which drew seven schools.

“When you have weather like that, it hampers the kids who might have made state,” Smith said.

“I was amazed at how many kids still had good records,” she said.

That there were only five competing in the triple jump helped the Grant Union girls.

“We’re really strong in the field events going to state, but weak in running,” Smith said. “If the girls place where they are seeded, we have a chance of placing fifth – there is a good chance the girls will be leading after the first day, since only field events are played the first day.”

Preliminary events begin on Thursday.

Smith’s goal for next year is to have a better balance of events for the girls team to improve their chances for winning state.

She’s looking forward to having most of the girls back next year – and also to having this year’s eighth-graders join the high school team.

“We have two eighth-grade girls who can already high jump 5 feet, and we have another javelin thrower and some sprinters,” she said.

The boys team will still be in a major rebuilding phase, but she expects a couple of exceptional eighth-grade runners to join the ranks.

She’s looking for more students, and especially runners, to take an interest in track and field.

“When you have a small school, you need athletes who want to work hard and compete, and they can always find an event that they can excel in,” she said. “Our specialty coaches provide quality instruction in all their events.”

She said she’s noticed that when one athlete lets up in practice it has a negative impact on other team members – and the opposite is true; when one athlete starts working harder, others will follow suit.

Smith said while individuals on the team certainly work to improve personally, track and field is a team sport – “you have to work hard and do your part.”

2A-6 Wapiti League Districts

Grant Union

Top five results

Girls team

Kori Pentzer

2, 100 m hurdles, 17.03

1, long jump, 17-04.50

1, triple jump, 35-11.00

Jozie Rude

1, shot put, 34-04.00

1, javelin, 117-08

1, pole vault, 8-00.00

Chelsie Kodesh

1, discus, 85-01

2, javelin, 103-00

3, shot put, 29-11.00

Kenzie Wilson

4, high jump, 4-08.00

3, long jump, 14-08.50

3, triple jump, 31-07.00

Boys team

Daniel Carpenter

5, 3,000, 13:01.22

Nick Springer

5, shot put, 35-07.00

4, high jump, 5-08.00

Dillon Maley

4, discus, 98-06 (prelims)

Andrew Copenhaver

2, pole vault, 11-00.00

Michael Ashmead

2, long jump, 18-11.75

Antonio Dancer

5, long jump, 17-07.50

5, triple jump, 35-08.50

Michael Ashmead, Antonio Dancer, Philipp Jaletzky, Andrew Copenhaver

4, 4x100 relay, 48.13

Andrew Copenhaver, Philipp Jaletzky, Daniel Carpenter, Trejan Speth

5, 4x400 relay, 4:14.37