Grant County Court minutes from Aug. 9, 2017:

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 Jim Hamsher and Boyd Britton, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Ted Williams, Alan Hickerson, Jim Sproul, Angie Jones, Gerald Lummus, Judy Kerr, Billie Jo George, Katy Nelson, Frances Preston, Tanner Elliott and Pastor Levi Manitsas. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Manitsas.

9:02 Reporter Rylan Boggs entered.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants #11-20.

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton will be working the hamburger stand at the Fair again this year and will also be serving beer in the Stockgrowers booth. Britton spoke with Greg Walden’s staff this last week regarding various issues as well.

9:04 am Gordon Larson entered.

Judge Myers conducted a name change hearing on August 4th and then on August 5th performed a wedding at Lake Creek Camp. Yesterday Myers attended the final eclipse meeting at the Canyon City Community Hall.

9:05 am Dan Becker entered.

Tomorrow Myers will attend a board meeting at the Senior Citizens Center and Saturday the 19th he will perform a wedding on the foot bridge in Canyon City. Myers said the reader boards at the Fairgrounds are about ready to be lit up and they look good.

Commissioner Hamsher received a phone call from a rancher expressing concern over stream restoration on the East Fork of Beech Creek and then toured Camp Creek with the Forest Service to view previous restoration. Hamsher spoke with Tucker Billman from Greg Walden’s office to discuss concerns with fire season and the upcoming eclipse. Hamsher said he is concerned that there is an active prescribed burn still going on Crawford Creek. He met with Scott Fairley yesterday morning to discuss possible funding solutions for Prairie City’s water issues. Hamsher has also been working on getting the Fairgrounds arena painted and ready for Fair.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the July 26th minutes as presented.

ROAD DEPARTMENT. Roadmaster Alan Hickerson presented recommendations to the court for temporary road closures (5 days, Aug. 17-23) during the eclipse. He explained there would be signs placed on the roads and showed an example to the audience. The roads would be closed for public access, but still open to landowners. Hickerson received written and oral responses from the affected landowners in support of the temporary road closures of Cupper Creek (CR 2), Art Morgan (CR 57), Happy Valley (CR 46A), Upper Marysville (CR 52), Berry Ranch (CR 43), and Town of Austin (CR 20A). MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the temporary closure of County Roads 2, 57, 46A, 52, 43 and 20A.

9:17 am Reporter Logan Bagett entered.

RESOLUTION 17-20. Treasurer Julie Ellison had prepared Resolution 17-20 to transfer funds from the Fairgrounds budget materials & services to capital outlay for the purchase of a shade tent in the amount of $500. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve Resolution 17-20 and circulate for signatures.

RESOLUTION 17-21. Ellison had also prepared Resolution 17-21 to receive additional funding for the Veteran Services Department because of the additional funding received from Oregon Veteran’s Affairs. The department had received $40,294 in pass-through funds in the past, but will now receive $74,154 in funding. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve Resolution 17-21 and circulate for signatures.

FALL MOUNTAIN SITE LEASE. The Burns Paiute Tribe had requested permission to lease space on the Fall Mountain Communications Site for radio communications equipment. Myers said there is plenty of room on the tower for this. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the Fall Mountain Site Lease and circulate for signatures.

FAIR CONTRACTS. The court reviewed three fair contracts for the 2017 Grant County Fair. Two contracts were with Spitfire Cocktails and The Snaffle Bit to provide VIP Bars during the Ned LeDoux concert on August 11th and one contract was with 12X Bulls (Darrell Diefenbach) to provide bulls for the Bull Fighting on August 12th. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the contracts with Spitfire Cocktails, The Snaffle Bit and 12X Bulls for this year’s Fair and circulate for signatures. Hamsher recused himself from voting on the 12X Bulls contract.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT. Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams updated the court on emergency planning for the eclipse. Williams reported he has been working on this for over a year. He said every town in Grant County will be able to see the total eclipse. Williams presented a PowerPoint presentation to the court and explained the objectives of the plan. The central line in the path of totality will be just north of Long Creek and Williams said this may be where a lot of people try to get to. Williams expects increased traffic and increased petty crimes such as trespassing and parking problems. He encouraged people to stock up on prescriptions, food and water. Williams said fuel shortages might be a problem as well and suggested fueling up ahead of time. ODOT has plans in place to deal with traffic congestion, expect bumper to bumper traffic at times. Williams stated fire is a big concern during the event. He reported Oregon Trail Electric has plans in place to reduce the chance of utility failure. Williams explained the estimates for arrival and departure dates for the eclipse visitors. As of August 1st Williams said the total estimate of visitors was 19,157 and the number is steadily increasing. There will be National Guard helicopters located throughout the state along with Guard members stationed locally. Williams said the Forest Service is also planning on having crews stationed in different locations throughout the county. The different agency liaisons were explained and Logan Bagett added that he will be at the radio station all weekend long and can get information out as needed. Williams reported a state of the art communications trailer will be stationed at the courthouse. He said locations for emergency helicopter landings have been identified and coordinates are in place. Emergency evacuation plans have been created. Fuel tanks are in place at the road department in case of a fuel shortage for emergency use. Williams has created public information status boards that he will distribute throughout the County to provide information to visitors and he plans on updating them every 12 hours. Williams recommended having pallets of drinking water at numerous locations for emergency responders. Williams said the current radio channels will be used during the event and communications will be in plain English and not coded so that the general public can understand what is going on. Frances Preston thanked Williams for all of his hard work and encouraged the court to continue to support Williams and his efforts.

10:19 am Sharon Livingston entered. 10:20 am The court took a short recess. 10:30 am The court returned to session.

FAIR READER BOARD CONTRACT. The court reviewed the contract with Redmond Sign Co. for installation of the Reader Boards at the Fairgrounds. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the Redmond Sign contract and circulate for signatures.

JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION IGA #11072. The court reviewed Intergovernmental Agreement #11072 between Grant County and the Oregon Department of Education, Youth Development Division. This IGA provides up to $45,000 in grant funding for juvenile crime prevention through the Community Corrections Department. This grant pays for portions of salaries and programs for Community Corrections. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve IGA #11072 and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

COMMUNITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST. The court had previously authorized Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett to request funding for a part-time assistant in her office during budget meetings. The budget committee approved Bartlett’s request for an assistant and she is now requesting court approval of the job description and recruitment for the position. This position will be 30 hours a week with benefits. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the Community & Economic Development Specialist job description at a level of M-4 non-exempt and authorize recruitment for the position.

COUNTY ROAD 77 CLOSURE REQUEST. Undersheriff Zach Mobley sent a written request to the court for a temporary road closure of CR 77 to vehicle traffic at the head of Canyon Mountain Trail. Mobley said this road is very narrow with limited maintenance and is also a dead end road. Due to the upcoming eclipse Mobley expressed his belief that closing this road would be in the best interest of the public and leaving it open could pose a risk to public safety. If the road were closed to public access emergency resources would have the ability to respond to emergency situations in this area, but if public access were allowed the road might become blocked and impassible. Hickerson agreed with the temporary road closure. MSP: Hamsher/Myers -- to approve the temporary road closure of CR 77 at Gardner Ranch Road during the eclipse.

EXTENSION & 4H SERVICE DISTRICT LEASE. The court reviewed a lease between Blue Mountain Custom Homes & Development and the Grant County Extension & 4H Service District to rent office space at 116 NW Bridge Street in John Day (the former Blue Mountain Junior High building). The extension office wishes to move to this space because it offers additional room and is closer to the Fairgrounds. The lease is for $2,500 per month in rent and has been sent to Ron Yockim for review. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the lease with Blue Mountain Custom Homes and authorize Judge Myers to sign upon review and approval by Yockim.

SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT. The court reviewed a request from Undersheriff Mobley to apply for a DUI enforcement grant and seatbelt enforcement grant from the Oregon Sheriff’s Association and estimated he will request $10,000 for the DUI grant. The seatbelt grant funding is decided by OSAA. MSP: Myers/Hamsher – to authorize Mobley to apply for the grants after review of the applications by the court.

FUEL TANK RENTAL AGREEMENT. The court reviewed an equipment rental agreement with Ed Staub & Sons sent to the court from EMC Ted Williams. This agreement would be to rent fuel tanks for emergency fuel during the eclipse that will be placed at the road department. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the equipment rental agreement with Ed Staub & Sons and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

PEOPLE MOVER. Angie Jones presented a PowerPoint to the court showing the People Mover bus routes planned for the eclipse. She explained the signs they will be posting and the security measures they have in place on the buses. Jones said they are doing all they can to keep people off of the roads and safe. They will not be operating the regular demand services from August 17th through the 22nd, but if someone has a medical issue that is not an emergency they will get them to the hospital. One of the areas the People Mover plans on utilizing as a pickup location is the county property at the south end of Humbolt and Britton asked Jones to meet with Judge Myers after court to discuss placing no parking signs in the lot. Myers said he plans on posting no camping signs as well and Jones stated they plan on picking up on the sidewalk and not entering the county lot. Hamsher expressed concern that if we keep eliminating parking places for visitors they won’t have a place to go. He suggested instead of placing no parking signs on the county lot place park at your own risk signs. Discussion followed about parking concerns and possible fuel shortage issues. Britton and Hamsher thanked Jones for all of the hard work she and her staff have put into planning for this event.

STOCKPILE EASEMENT VACATION. The court reviewed a request from Triple 7 Ranch to vacate a county easement to a stockpile site located on its property in Monument. The County has never used the stockpile site and according to the original deed the stockpile site reverts back to the landowner if not used by the County. Kimberly Wirth of Triple 7 Ranch provided a Quitclaim Deed for the court’s review and approval. Hickerson had advised Myers he doesn’t see any future need for this site. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the request to vacate the county easement and authorize Judge Myers to sign the Quitclaim Deed.

911 BALLOT MEASURE & RESOLUTION 17-22. In order for the City of John Day to receive funding from the legislature to assist with the cost of 911 services the County was required to place a local option levy on the ballot in November. County Counsel Ron Yockim prepared Resolution 17-22 to approve sending a local option levy tax to the electors and also prepared the ballot title language. This issue was discussed in detail in court on July 26th. Myers said this proposal saves county taxpayers $65,000 per year in 911 costs for the next two years. Myers read the summary of the ballot measure to those in attendance. Hamsher encouraged all residents to contact their elected representatives about increasing the 911 telephone tax. Britton is concerned with the language in the ballot measure that states “the 911 center will need to be consolidated with another center” and would like to have the word “may” inserted instead if this is legally sufficient. Myers read the resolution to the audience. Frances Preston would like to see the cost of consolidation added to the initiative along with who would pay. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the Request for Ballot Title (Form SEL 805) for the November election and authorize Judge Myers to sign. MSP: Hamsher/Britton – to amend the earlier motion to also include drafting a letter to the legislature requesting additional 911 funding with an increase in the telephone tax. MSP: Myers/Britton – to approve Resolution 17-22 and circulate for signatures.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS. The court members reviewed the proposed Request for Proposals for a Natural Resources Policy Advisor. Ron Yockim had edited the initial version sent to him and returned his recommended RFP proposal. Myers believes there is no better time than now to have someone more educated and concerned about natural resources as an advisor to the court. He did express concern on whether this would be a sustainable position in the future, but said ultimately this would be a budget committee issue. Sharon Livingston said this position is critical to the future survival of our County. She read a paragraph from Range magazine to the court and said it is time to implement this position. Livingston expressed her opinion on how important this issue is to the citizens of our County and pointed out that she was watching a news program where it was discussed the eastern side of the US does not have wildfires as large and destructive as the western side of the US. Preston expressed her opinion that the Natural Resource Advisor should not be one person, but a firm with more resources. Myers said the RFP is not just for an individual, anyone who is qualified could apply including firms. Preston urged the court to make sure the advisor would regularly coordinate with federal agencies. Myers said this is already in the RFP and would be part of this position. Preston wanted the record to reflect that this position would deal with more than just cattle, grazing and ranching. Hamsher would like to take two more weeks to review this RFP and give the public time to comment and review the proposed RFP. Jim Sproul suggested having a group elected by the citizens of the county used in this position instead of an individual or firm. In Livingston’s opinion this matter has been on the docket for too long and it is time to move forward with this. Hamsher said he isn’t trying to delay the RFP; he just wants to ensure the RFP is correct and the citizens are getting the best service for their money. Sproul feels this issue should not be rushed into. Katy Nelson asked what the advisor would be doing for the County. Myers said this individual would make recommendations to the County Court. Dan Becker said he could be considered an expert on fire behavior and said huge fires have occurred on the eastern side of the country. He added the largest fire ever recorded in the US actually happened in Wisconsin in the 1800’s. MSP: Britton/Myers – to allow the public to view the RFP and to delay the decision until the next court date.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Myers offered the opportunity for public comment, but none was received.

11:43 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant

**** Please note the court minutes are a summary of the court proceedings. An audio recording of each court session is available, after approval of the minutes, by contacting Laurie Wright at 541-575-0059 or ****

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