Eastern counties could see more land use autonomy

Grant County Commissioner Boyd Britton discusses possible land use law changes during a Wednesday, May 24, Grant County Court meeting.

County purchases AEDs

By Rylan Boggs

Blue Mountain Eagle

Eastern Oregon counties may have a shot at creating their own land use laws.

Grant County Commissioner Boyd Britton updated the Grant County Court May 24 on a meeting he attended in Salem with Gov. Kate Brown, Sen. Ted Ferrioli and representatives from other counties in which they discussed Senate Bill 432 that could allow Eastern Oregon counties to write their own land use laws.

Still in its early life, the bill would give eastern counties more say in land-use designations. It would allow Eastern Oregon counties to opt out of the state’s land use laws and establish their own, according to the Oregon State Legislature.

The bill’s summary states it “allows (a) rural county with no population growth, and certain local governments in county, to adopt (a) comprehensive land use plan without complying with statewide land use planning goals.”

Britton said different land use laws could benefit the counties, which have seen little growth in recent decades. Grant County is in better shape than others because of industrial land located within the county, he said.

Britton expressed faith in East Oregonians to come up with land use laws that fit their needs.

“I do believe the citizens of Grant County are smart enough that we can write our own plan to protect our most valuable industry, which is agriculture,” he said.

Britton said the Oregon Farm Bureau was against it due to fears farm land would be taken over for housing and other uses.

During the meeting, the court also authorized the purchase of automated external defibrillators for the courthouse, library and airport. Four AEDs will be purchased for $1,225 apiece from Heartsine Samaritan.

Local resident and Red Cross volunteer Jim Spell described the devices as “very necessary to have.” Commissioner Boyd Britton expressed interest in providing training to employees on how to use the devices.

The court also heard from Corrections Manager Josh Wolf of the sheriff’s department to use funds from the jail’s expansion fund to hire an auditor and purchase a new air conditioning unit, washer and dryer for the jail.

Wolf had solicited bids for each, and the court gave him permission to move forward with a $7,026 bid for an air conditioning unit from Tri County Equipment in La Grande, a $12,566 bid from Dexter Laundry for a washer and dryer and a $4,500 bid for an auditor from the state.

The court also:

• approved a contract with 12X & Costa Fighting Bulls to provide stock for the Grant County Fair.

• approved a $207,000 liability insurance proposal for county vehicles and employees.

• approved a $3,400 bid from Tri-County Equipment to repair the fairground’s tractor.

• approved a resolution to receive funds from Business Oregon and pass them to Iron Triangle for a new biomass processing facility. A line item in the budget was also created for these funds.

• approved a request to remove a destroyed single wide trailer from the tax roll. The trailer, between Long Creek and Pendleton, had been destroyed but not removed from the tax roll.

• approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Burns Paiute Tribal Council to rent beds in the Grant County Jail when needed.

• approved a $16,393 transfer from the Grant County Airport’s contingency fund to fix runway lights.

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