Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station in Grant County 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 Commissioners Boyd Britton and Chris B. Labhart, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Brooks Smith, Billie Jo and Terry George, Howard Geiger and Wes Aasness. Judge Scott W. Myers was absent due to illness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Wes Aasness.

CLAIMS. The court approved claims and Extension District Warrant Nos. 177 – 189. Tagged claims were to Bank of Eastern Oregon – the DA and Juvenile Department were over per diem

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


Labhart attended an LCAC meeting in John Day last Wednesday. Thursday he met with the Road Master about road access concerns and attended the senior citizens lunch in John Day. Friday and Monday Labhart worked on the Wickiup Road with the Forest Service road crew. Monday he also attended a Blue Mountain Hospital compliance meeting and met with Greg Haberly about mitigation of the Wickiup Road. Labhart had dinner with AOC representatives Mike McArthur and Laura Clelland, Commissioner Britton, and Malheur NF Deputy Supervisor Steve Beverlin on Tuesday. He drove the VA van to Boise Thursday and to Prairie City Friday for the 4th of July Parade.

Britton participated in the 4th of July festivities in Prairie City and helped out at the Dayville celebrations. He met with the Forest Service about the Wickiup road access and signage issue.

MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Labhart-- to approve the June 25 minutes as corrected.

READY TO READ GRANT. Court members reviewed and approved a 2014-2015 Oregon State Library “Ready to Read” Grant Application to support the library’s Early Literacy Project. Funds totaling $8,087.00 would help support library staff 2 hours per week for 40 weeks to plan and implement story time, and 50 – 70- hours selecting and processing new materials. The grant also provides one computer, early learning supplies, books, DVD’s, games, book bags, and tokens. MSP: Labhart/Britton-- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Oregon State Library Ready to Read Grant Application as requested by Librarian Vicki Waters.

PUBLIC HEALTH. The court reviewed and approved Amendment No. 5 to Oregon Health Authority Intergovernmental Agreement No. 142010 for the Financing of Public Health Services. MSP: Labhart/Britton -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign Amendment No. 5 to Oregon Health Authority Intergovernmental Agreement No. 142010 for the Financing of Public Health Services.

SHERIFF’S DISPATCH SERVICE. Court members reviewed and approved an Agreement with the City of John Day to provide Grant County Sheriff’s Dispatch services at a cost of $62,608.00 for FY 2014-2015. MSP: Labhart/Britton -- to sign the Agreement with the City of John Day to provide Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Services as recommended by Sheriff Palmer.

EMERGENCY USE AGREEMENT. The court reviewed and approved an Emergency Use Agreement with Oregon Department of Forestry to receive $450 per month for helicopter parking and office space for helitack crew during the 2014 fire season. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Emergency Use Agreement with Oregon Department of Forestry.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Billie Jo George acknowledged the Forest Service opening up the Wickiup Road, but asked what the Forest Service would do to open up other roads around Magone Lake and Dixie Creek. Britton explained the Forest Service was looking at things differently now, and would be working on issues with the other roads to make sure this doesn’t happen again. It was generally felt that developments made on the Wickiup Road are an example of cooperation between the county and the Forest Serve. Britton added that the court would be forming an advisory board to work with public agencies about access issues. Britton recited pertinent information within Ordinance 2013-01 on which the proposed resolution establishing a Public Access Advisory Board is based. Labhart noted that many of the sign postings on the forest occurred before the county Ordinance was adopted last year.

9:15 am – Steve Beverlin entered

Public Forest Commissioner Brooks Smith talked about the Forest Service’s road density goal that would be addressed along with a number of natural resource concerns.

Howard Geiger saw the County Court’s advisory board as a sounding board for the county and a tool for communications with the Forest Service. He personally felt all types of users of the forest should be represented on the board. Geiger commented on the 911 Dispatch response for medical assistance on Pine Creek that he feels has been a problem. He understood that 911 has not been sharing information with the ambulance service. Labhart offered to talk with the Blue Mountain Hospital ambulance service about this concern.

Labhart asked those present if they thought loaning county funds to construct a new Courthouse (at a higher rate of return on investments) was a good idea. In response, Billie Jo George asked if we need a new Courthouse. Britton favored the idea of joining other counties in loaning money to Jefferson County for a new courthouse. He felt that could be mutually beneficial. Britton provided some information about the progress of improvements being made to our Courthouse.

PUBLIC ACCESS ADVISORY BOARD. The court discussed a draft resolution establishing a Public Access Advisory Board related to Ordinance 2013-01 adopted May 22, 2013. This document addresses roads, trails, stock driveways and by-ways over and across public lands used by citizens for search and rescue, fire protection, firewood gathering, access for hunting and fishing, livestock management, logging activities, mining, recreational uses and general welfare. Labhart didn’t like the draft as presented today and suggested adding a paragraph from the Ordinance that describes multiple use needs for access. He’d also like to expand the membership from 5 to 7. Britton agreed that 7 members would be acceptable. He provided information on the county’s discussions with the Forest Service about opportunities to better address road access on the 15 and 16 roads.

General discussion with the George’s followed about the current condition of some roads and the desire to maintain adequate public access. Geiger remarked on the steps taken by other national forests to close roads, such as regulating hunting seasons. Labhart felt we have a good opportunity to work collaboratively to address these forest access issues. Britton didn’t think a court member should be on the board.

9:50 am -- King Williams entered

Williams thought the draft resolution was good. He believed there were other ways to look at meeting access and safety issues. He didn’t think it was practical to go back and re-look at previous Forest Service decisions, but said it was important to have collaboration between the Forest Service and the county as we go forward.

Labhart expressed some concern about the county’s Ordinance possibly holding up forward movement on projects. Smith felt it’s too bad we don’t have a Forest Service plan with the changes in access management throughout the forest. Beverlin said the intent was to bring projects forward and display the maps (like for Galena). He commented on FS decisions, involving road closures that were made before the Ordinance was adopted (Soda Bear) that would be brought forward to the court. He said the FS would like to make sure the resolution is broad enough to include all mixed-use and resource issues that might be needed. Britton noted that the language would be broad. He suggested that the conservation community be represented on the board. Billie Jo George believed multi-use issues could be found among a few individuals, such as seven. Geiger felt broad representation of the community was important and hoped the board would be given the opportunity to provide guidance on adjusting prior Forest Service decisions. Beverlin said the Forest Service has come to understand that some policies are not working well for the public. But, going back and re-evaluating the entire public input and scoping process that lead to earlier decisions cannot be done, and it would prevent any forward movement. Although, Beverlin said, the Forest Service welcomes the public’s safety and resource concerns coming to the agency’s attention to see how those concerns can be mitigated. He added that the Forest Service would be happy to provide input to the board as needed. The resolution would be re-addressed next week when a full court is present.

10:30 am -- Brenda Percy and JC Oliver entered

CLERK’S COPY FEE. Clerk Brenda Percy proposed to increase the fee charged for document copies. She said the amount charged now for a document copy is a flat rate of $3.75, regardless of the number of pages. She would like to charge a $3.75 flat rate, plus 0.25 per page for each document. Percy said this was a standard among counties and would cover the expense. MSP: Britton/Labhart – to approve the Clerk’s proposal to charge $3.75 plus 0.25 per page for a document copy.

10:50 am -- Irene Jerome and Bruce Ward entered

COMMUNITY FIREWISE. Title 3 Community Firewise Program Coordinator Irene Jerome presented a locally created and produced video about the Community Firewise Program titled “The Five Seasons: Living with Wildfire” by Eric Sines, Patti Hudson, John Collins, Toney Merritt and Irene Jerome. She explained this video is unique among many other Firewise videos because it is meant to meet the needs of our broadly situated, very rural community. The video will be distributed nationally through the website and she’ll be developing a Power Point to accompany this video. Jerome noted that Grant County’s first Firewise Community is being established in the Pine Creek area.

FAMILY HERITAGE FOUNDATION. Family Heritage Foundation President JC Oliver requested a county contribution of $5,000.00 toward a PA system and reader boards for the fairgrounds for safety and public information purposes. An excerpt from the proposed Meyer Memorial Trust grant application was provided for consideration. The foundation will also be submitting grant applications to the Ford Family Foundation, Collins Foundation, and Oregon Community Foundation. The applications are being prepared by Judy Krutsinger. Oliver said the PA system would cover the entire fairgrounds area; the reader boards would be used inside the Heritage Barn and outside near the tennis courts. Oliver talked about recent fund-raisers and said he hopes to secure some future business sponsorships. Britton explained the county previously allocated $78,000.00 to be used to address public safety at the fairgrounds. Oliver thought a lot of that money had been used for improvements at the arena. He hoped what was left could be used for some “other” safety improvements. Britton and Labhart agreed that it was appropriate to use $5,000.00 from the $78.000.00 safety allocation for this purpose. MSP: Britton/Labhart-- to approve using $5,000.00 for a PA system and reader boards from the $78,000.00 amount previously allocated for safety improvements at the fairgrounds. Oliver added that these approved funds would run through the Heritage Foundation.

BRUCE WARD. Bruce Ward reported he was on a personal crusade to improve the look of our town west of John Day and north of Canyon City. Ward indicated the positive input on the work in the lot next to McDonalds and planned to do a limited amount of brushing on the Johnston’s corner during the coming week. He had attended the John Day City Council last night to talk about his concerns. Ward was looking for some collaboration between the city and the county that could address nuisance issues in these areas. He hopes to provide some assistance to people (where possible) in their particular situation. Ward planned to do some more research to clarify the jurisdictional responsibility for his areas of concern.

12:10 pm -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary

To access County Court Minutes from 2009 to present go to the County Commissioners page at

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