Possible property vacation creates stir

Posted on September 14th in News

Barbara Canaday’s request will come before the county in a public hearing on Oct.  19

By Tammy Downs
Burns Times-Herald

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the Harney County Court held a public meeting to determine whether the court  needed to initiate the process to vacate property in the Princeton area.

The court received a petition from Barbara Canaday, requesting vacation of county property near Highway 78. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty shared with the audience that the meeting was about starting the vacating process. There were  a lot of concerned residents in the audience, and Grasty said everyone would have time to voice their concerns at the hearing.

The court requested a report from Harney County Road Supervisor Eric Drushella to be completed by Oct. 5, regarding this property. This will give anyone interested a chance to look over the report, which will be available online and at the courthouse.

The court did share that they have received one letter in protest to this petition.

A hearing was scheduled for Oct. 19, and will be open to the public. More information will be available at a later date.

In other court business:

• the court approved an order appointing Dewey Newton as Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore for the Harney County Justice Court, for the period of Sept. 1 to Dec. 31.

• The court approved an application by Kiger Ranch Inc., for a commercial aggregate/rock pit that will be located on Kiger Ranch property;

• the court shared that they will be attending an Oregon Trail Electric (OTEC) board meeting on Sept. 20, in Baker City. There will be six counties represented at this meeting.

• The court received a joint letter from EP Minerals and George’s Shop and Rock requesting funds from the county in repairing the Juntura Cutoff Road. The court agreed there is no funding to help with this project, but if someone else can come up with the funding they would be willing to help.

• The court received a letter from Jay Winn expressing his interest in establishing a wrecking/salvage yard on his private property, located behind the Truck Stop.  The court was in support of this, as it is helping clean up the county.

• The court had a discussion regarding the pine butterfly situation. They said the most important thing in dealing with these butterflies is the timing, and that nothing can be done now as it is too late.

• The court discussed Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s attempt to purchase the Baylock Ranch in Malheur County, and they want it recorded that Harney County is against this purchase.

• The court appointed Michael C. Springer as the temporary county surveyor. Springer’s appointment will expire on Nov. 30.

The next scheduled county court meeting will be held on Sept. 21.

One Response to “Possible property vacation creates stir”

  1. Barbara Cannady Says:


    Regarding the vacation petition highlighted in the September 14 paper, it is intended to partner with an agreement being negotiated with the County to clarify disputed right-of-ways. If accomplished, a portion of our historic driveway would become a county right-of-way, and join a currently isolated one mile deeded county right-of-way. From there, the public would have the same access they have currently.

    Only one adjoining property, whose owner has her own unimproved permitted access and approach to Highway 78, is affected. This party is the only private landowner authorized by the county to develop a “county road” (at her own risk) to her residence. At the same time, one commissioner stating that “of course, we (the County) would not be liable.” Her driveway now runs through our property. Liability, and use of our pasture, is our concern in wanting to move her and her “guest/client” traffic to the western boundary of our property.

    Another non-adjacent landowner is applying his notorious rants of intimidation to try and force access where he has refused an offer of a Maintenance and Use Agreement in the past. That driveway (built by my father in 1953) is different than the proposed legal to be vacated. We have continued a tradition of allowing permissive access as late as 2010. But, because of his actions, and those of his linage, the offer of a Maintenance and Use Agreement is no longer available to them without consideration.

    The same party also refused the offer of an easement by the previous owner of the adjoining property mentioned above. Since their property adjoins Anderson Valley Road, they have access to a public road. Their preference is to use roads I and my family has paid many thousands of dollars to build. A letter of protest from his long time friend (and fellow ranter) is unfounded but follows the theme of a libelous performance staged in December, 2006.

    On a larger issue, we have been forced to file this petition for vacation to clear a cloud on the title created by the County. At some point in time somebody has to stand up and say that Private Property Rights still means something around here. There have been to many irregularities to mention in this space. There are proper ways to get access. It is not appropriate nor legal for any government to simply say, we want to allow person X to have access, so …….

    My family and I have always tried to operate within the law, with moral and ethical judgments, and paid dearly for it. You may not feel like you have a dog in this continuous fight for equitable justice. I agree. And, others will probably feel the same when your turn comes.

    Barbara Cannady


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