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

MARCH 25, 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, John Eley, Kathy Gillam, Jason Kehrberg, and Pastor Michael Harvey. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Harvey.

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


County Budget Committee meetings were held last Wednesday and Thursday.

Britton reported on his attendance at an Oregon Soil & Water Conservation Districts ceremonial signing in Juntura Wednesday for the Sage Grouse Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances. He reported on local Farm Bureau and Oregon Department of Forestry meetings that he attended regarding fire protection. Monday Britton chaired a SEACT meeting in Burns and attended a Lake Creek Youth Camp fundraiser at the fairgrounds last Saturday.

Labhart attended an EOCCO Local CAC meeting at the airport on Wednesday and Thursday he participated in a TEC Workforce Board meeting in La Grande followed by a hospital board meeting that evening. He said two hospital CEO candidates will be visiting the area in the near future. He will be out of town next week.

Myers chaired an Emergency Food & Shelter Local Board meeting Friday at 10 am and attended an Emergency Preparedness meeting at the LDS Church at 3 pm to plan the Preparedness Fair on April 7 from 5-7 pm at the LDS Church. Monday he met with Terry Brandsma and Buba Lindley’s future replacement (Zeke) to tour CR 9 in Fox Valley concerning a potential realignment to improve safety. He performed a wedding ceremony yesterday at 4:00 pm. Today at noon there will be two retirement celebrations at the Courthouse. Tomorrow at 11 am the Courthouse Facilities Committee meets to review the elevator installation and 2nd floor asbestos tile abatement. Road Master interviews are Friday at the Road Department starting at 9:30 am.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the March 18 minutes as amended.

LEASE & MINING AGREEMENT. Court members reviewed and signed a Lease and Mining Agreement with 4GD Land Company, of Ione, for the Deonier Pit for another 20 year term. Office Manager Kathy Gillam and Advisory Board Chair John Eley were present. Myers explained that about 20,000 yards were crushed and re-crushed there last year. The owner requested a rate increase from $1,500 to $1,800 per year. Gillam reported the rate has not increased for 20 years and the department does not plan on another rate increase. She said the department feels it’s a reasonable request and is talking about increasing other lease rates as agreements renew. Britton requested that the department leave other agreements alone and only consider an increase if the owner makes a reasonable request. Gillam agreed with Britton. Other discussion took place about rock storage available at the pit, language on rock sale permits, negotiated crushing options, and non-exclusive lease / mutual entitlement. MSP: Myers/Britton – to circulate for signature the Lease and Mining Agreement renewal with 4GD Land Company for the Deonier Pit as recommended.

CRAMER FISH SCIENCES. Grant Soil & Water Conservation District Director Jason Kehrberg and Commissioner Britton proposed funding for a Cramer Fish Sciences Grazing Analysis presentation to area producers and agencies. Kehrberg provided information on the Grant County and District IGA with Cramer Fish Sciences to do an analysis of grazing measures utilized in the current biological opinions that regulate grazing in allotments and pastures that have ESA listed species. He said monitoring associated with stream conditions shows that current grazing practices are not causing impacts to associated streams. Kehrberg said there was no monitoring that went above the standards to document a level that was causing an impact. Statistical data collected cannot be separated to analyze a statistically significant difference in the watershed.

Kehrberg plans to have Steve Cramer make a presentation at the district’s annual meeting and would also like a similar presentation made the same day to interested agencies and producers. He felt the second presentation would have to be at the invitation of the court. Kehrberg said most of the budget has been used for the analysis, but about $2,700 is left in the budget for outreach.

Britton said the reason for two separate presentations is to allow for the use of less scientific language for the public. He felt it would be beneficial to the county and hopes to explore the future possibility that grazing levels can be increased. Britton noted that endeavoring to increase grazing on private land, and correlating it with the same type of analysis, could be quite expensive.

Discussion followed about a level of error that was found in the measurement. It was noted that statistical data is scattered and inconsistent. Kehrberg said Cramer found a big gap in the conservative (stream bank) level that’s authorized now and what still could be allowed (and not impact the stream conditions.) It was noted the level of error in these measurements is a frustration to standards for permitees. The request is to extend our current IGA for another year to allow use of the remaining $2,700 in the project budget. Jim Sproul expressed interest in receiving a copy of the analysis that attests to the findings, which Kehrberg said he could provide.

Road Advisory Board Chair John Eley did not question the benefit of doing the analysis, but wondered how it might relate and be used to benefit the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the Road Department’s work. He talked about the possibility of using this study to address our obligation to perform in-stream studies related to public road projects. Discussion followed about possibly incorporating the Cramer Study and other scientific data, i.e. Sage Grouse language within our Comprehensive Plan. Eley pointed out that a good Comprehensive Plan can be a viable and usable tool for a public entity when addressing important issues.MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to extend the current IGA between GSWCD and Grant County from December 14, 2014 to December 31, 2015 for the purpose of expending the remaining $2,700 for the public presentation as requested. With the court’s permission, Britton will coordinate the Cramer Fish Sciences Grazing Analysis presentation to producers and public agencies.

PUBLIC COMMENT. An opportunity for the public to comment was given, but none was offered.

10:50 am – Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.