County court holds discussion on Theimer Park burn project
By Debbie Raney
Angie Johnson, unit forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), John Day Unit, updated the Harney County Court on a few issues of local interest during the court’s meeting on June 1.
Discussion with Johnson was held on the progress of the pile burning project at Theimer Park. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said he had talked with Tony Hauth, the contractor on the project, and it was estimated that the work was about half done. Grasty said Hauth had burned the largest pile, and had moved other material for burning away from the trees. The project should be completed this fall.
With regards to burning, Johnson told the court that the ODF has the responsibility for smoke management in the forest. The ODF, she said, encourages the reporting of burn projects to their agency, as she then inputs the information into a data base. Reporting is, she said, a voluntary action.
Johnson also told the court that ODF was watching closely the progress of Oregon House Bills 2753 and 3465. Both bills relate to the establishment of the Silvies Valley Guest Ranch in Grant County. According to Johnson, there has been a mixed bag of emotions relating to the two bills. She said Grant County, as well as the cities of John Day and Canyon City, were in support of the bills and the guest ranch, as they were seeing the financial possibilities. The negative comments she had been hearing were from the neighbors directly affected because they hadn’t been notified of the possible actions.
Other county court business included:
• Discussion was held on the Greater Sage-Grouse strategy and core area maps, and the local meeting, which was held last week.
• Drewsey resident Jim Bentz requested that the court consider future action regarding the designation of historic trails used by ranchers to move cattle.
• Judge Grasty said all of the news regarding the Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility in Burns was good. He said that there would be 125 beds closed in the state, but the Burns facility would not be affected. Grasty said he believed the efforts from two years ago played an important role in the Burns facility not being considered for cuts in this budget.
• The court signed a bargain and sale deed for property near Crane sold to Richard Adams.
• An application by Susan Opie for an approach off of Anderson Valley Road was approved.
• An letter from Justice of the Peace Dewey Newton, stating his retirement on Sept. 1, was read.
• Eight bids were opened on belly-dump rental for hauling asphalt on the South Steens paving project. The bidders will be contacted as needed, on a lowest- price-first basis. Road Superintendent Eric Drushella said he anticipates needing five trucks.
• The court discussed the audit report from the Secretary of State, for the period July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.
• An agreement between Harney County and the Oregon State University Extension regarding vehicle use was signed.