Marijuana opt-out discussed

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

During its meeting on Nov. 17, the Hines Common Council approved Ordinance 312, prohibiting the practice of feeding, baiting, or maintaining wild mammals in the area subject to the jurisdiction of the city of Hines, and declaring an emergency.

The ordinance states that “feeding deer, elk, raccoon, bear, and other wild mammals results in artificially-high concentrations of animals, increases human-wildlife conflicts, and compromises the health and safety of humans and wildlife.”

Under the ordinance, anyone who knowingly places, deposits, distributes, stores, or scatters food, garbage, or any other attractant in an attempt to lure, attract, or entice wild mammals or potentially habituated wildlife may be issued a written notification by any authorized city agent/officer, requiring removal of the food, garbage, or other attractant within 48 hours.

The ordinance defines “attractant” as any substance (including, but not limited to, food, garbage, or salt lick) that draws wild mammals to a particular location. “Wild mammals” include any animals that are not normally domesticated (such as bears, coyotes, deer, elk, raccoons or skunks). Oregon Revised Statutes define “potentially habituated wildlife” as bear, cougar, coyote or wolf.

A citation may be issued for violation of this ordinance. Any violation may be considered a nuisance and is punishable with a fine of up to $250 for each offense. Each day that the nuisance is maintained may be considered a separate offense.

The ordinance does not refer to feeding birds or squirrels, or using a bird feeder that can only be accessed by birds or squirrels. The ordinance also excludes livestock and wildlife kept under a valid permit issued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Additionally, residents will not be penalized if their lawn, flowers, shrubs, trees or gardens are eaten by wild mammals.

Hines resident Eldon Hart asked why the city is addressing the issue, stating that it should be handled by ODFW. He suggested that ODFW revoke hunting privileges from anyone who is caught feeding wild mammals.

“That’d probably hurt a lot more than a fine,” he said.

Police Chief Ryan DeLange replied that ODFW staff probably don’t have the authority to make that decision locally. He added that deer have become a public safety concern, as they can be hazardous to motorists. DeLange also explained that the ordinance is a joint effort among citizens, the city, and ODFW, and it is just one of the tactics being employed to address the issue.


The council discussed the possibility of opting out of any one (or more) of the state-licensed or registered marijuana business.

Both Harney County and the city of Burns have passed ordinances prohibiting all six categories of marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions. These businesses include medical marijuana processors, medical marijuana dispensaries, retail marijuana producers, retail marijuana processors, retail marijuana wholesalers, and retail marijuana retailers.

According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC’s) website, a processor is a business that will transform raw marijuana into another product or extract. Processors are also responsible for packaging and labeling recreational marijuana. Producers are also known as growers. Wholesalers buy in bulk and sell to resellers (rather than consumers), and retailers sell directly to consumers.

City Administrator Joan Davies said the deadline for the city of Hines to opt out is fast approaching.

Councilor Dick Baird said an individual approached him about establishing a commercial grow site in the city, adding that the plants would be distributed outside the area.

DeLange and Davies said that the grow site would have to be indoors and out of sight.

Councilor Hilda Allison asked whether there is a location within Hines City limits that is more than 1,000 feet away from a school.

DeLange replied that portions of the law are still “up in the air,” adding that anyone who possesses marijuana while driving by a school is technically committing a felony.

Davies said opting out would not prohibit individuals from possessing marijuana in their homes or vehicles.

Councilor Rod Bennett noted that people would still be allowed to use it and grow it.

The OLCC’s website states that, as of July 1, Oregonians (age 21 and older) are allowed to grow up to four plants on their property, possess up to eight ounces of usable (ready to smoke) marijuana in their homes, and up to one ounce on their person.

Bennett said the city needs revenue and could benefit from marijuana taxes, adding that marijuana businesses could be regulated through city ordinances. He said he visited a dispensary in Hillsboro in an effort to learn more about it, and he was impressed with the level of security and regulation.


In his department head report, DeLange stated that a stun gun training was conducted earlier that day. He added that the Burns Police Department had been helping Hines cover staff shortages, and efforts to haze deer with paint ball guns seem to be effective. DeLange also reported that police calls regarding Eastern Oregon Academy (EOA) residents were down.

Later in the meeting, Councilor Ron Williams stated that he visited EOA and learned a lot about the facility.

“I was very impressed with what I saw out there, and what they are trying to improve on, and they’re getting a lot of help from the state,” he said, adding that the state is helping EOA build a fence.


Jerry Lewellen, public works department lead worker, said the truck that the department uses for garbage runs is no longer operational. He added that the department’s newest truck, a 2003, lacks fuel efficiency. Baird noted that this vehicle’s transmission also needs repaired.

After some discussion, Davies suggested selling the old garbage truck, using the 2003 truck for garbage runs, and purchasing a small/fuel-efficient pickup.

Bennett said money garnered from selling the older truck could be used to repair the transmission in the 2003 truck. Williams added that the city will save almost enough money in fuel costs to make monthly payments on a new vehicle.


In other business, the council:

• received a report from Davies who said that many people took advantage of the dumpsters that the city had available for yard debris Nov.6-8 and 13-15. Davies also reported that the four-way stop at the intersection of Highway 20 and Highlander Boulevard will remain in place until the traffic signal is fully operational;

• adopted Resolution 2207, authorizing a loan from the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund by entering into a financing contract with the Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority;

• agreed to authorize the mayor to sign the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development 2015-2017 Planning Assistance Grant application;

• approved a business license application for EOA. Davies explained that she asked EOA to apply for a license after discovering that it is not a nonprofit organization;

• approved the 2018-2021 Oregon Department of Transportation Statewide Transportation Improvement Program Enhance Proposal Application;

•approved OLCC license renewals for multiple businesses in Hines;

• agreed to sponsor an entrée for the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center in the amount of $150.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, at city hall.

Residents’ fire insurance costs should decrease

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

With a number of citizens concerned about the deer population in town, the city of Burns is considering a ban on feeding wildlife within city limits.

At their meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Burns City Council discussed a proposed ordinance that would prohibit “feeding, baiting, and/or maintaining any wildlife, including hand feeding or setting out of food to be left attended or unattended, which creates or has the potential to create a hazard to public health or safety.”

Wildlife is defined as “any animal which is not normally domesticated including, without limitation, bears, coyotes, deer, elk, feral cats, foxes, groundhogs, opossums, raccoons, skunks, turkeys, and waterfowl.”

A person found in violation of the ordinance may be issued a written notification by the city requiring them to remove the food, bait, or other attractant within two days or face a fine of up to $250.

Mayor Craig LaFollette said there are feeding stations for feral cats placed around town, so the cats can be trapped and either spayed or neutered. He questioned whether the stations create a hazard, as stated in the ordinance.

LaFollette said the group responsible for the feeding stations, Save A Stray, has provided a valuable service to the community by trapping and having the cats spayed or neutered.

It was suggested that the council invite a member of Save A Stray to the next council meeting to discuss the issue.

The city’s attorney, Jeremy Green, stated there may be some unintended consequences with the ordinance, and said it may be up to the police to use their own discretion in some cases.

Burns Police Chief Newt Skunkcap said the city does have a problem with skunks, and noted they may be drawn into town by the feeding stations.

The council did not take any action on the ordinance, and will resume the discussion at its December meeting.


Burns Fire Chief Scott Williamson had good news for the council and residents. He said when he first came to Burns, the city had an Insurance Service Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating of 5. The PPC rating is from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best. Williamson said the city now has a rating of 3.

“That’s huge for a volunteer fire department,” Williamson said.

He explained ratings are based on training, improvements, maintenance of equipment and vehicles, and several other areas, and require three years of documentation.

Because the ISO rating improved from a 5 to a 3, Williamson said residents should see a decrease in their fire insurance costs. He added that the new rating goes into effect Feb. 1, 2016, so homeowners should check with their insurance companies after that date.

The council congratulated Williamson and his department on all their hard work required to achieve the new rating.


Airport Manager Jeff Cotton reported he is working with a commuter airline to provide flights between Burns and Boise two days a week.

Cotton added that fuel sales were up for the month of October, and are ahead of past years for November.


The council discussed a proposal for a Burns Biomass District Energy System. Green explained the proposal was similar to other franchise agreements the city has with other entities, and this one would be for Wisewood, a biomass company asking for use of the city right-of-ways to provide heat to several community facilities.

Green said Wisewood will be holding a public information meeting Dec. 2, and encouraged council members to attend.


In other business:

• the council discussed a request to change the name of “Highlander Boulevard,” next to Burns High School (BHS), to “Hilander Boulevard.”

Green told the council the name change would require either an ordinance or a resolution, and he would look into it, and have something for the council at its next meeting;

• Public Works Supervisor Pedro Zabala told the council his department is preparing for the winter season, and he had applied for a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) grant. Zabala added that STIP grants are non-highway grants, and if received by the city, the grant would be used for improvements to the sidewalk on the east side of the highway in front of BHS;

• City Manager Dauna Wensenk said the highway project in front of BHS, necessitating the four-way stop, should be completed by Dec. 7. She also told the council the planning commission is looking at some zoning changes that it will address at an upcoming meeting;

• the council approved the Levee System and Stormwater Structures Operation and Maintenance Manual, and the Oregon Public Works Cooperative Assistance Agreement that allows assistance from the Oregon Department of Transportation should there be an emergency;

• Kari Nelson, from Harney County Safe Communities, told the council a winter driving clinic for students in grades 10-12 will be held Dec. 3 at BHS.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, at city hall.

Three staff resignations accepted

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

During its regularly-scheduled meeting, the Harney County School District (HCSD) No. 3 Board of Directors was addressed by Harney Education Service District (Harney ESD) Instructional Support and Technology Director Eric Nichols regarding the 2014-15 Oregon school and school district report cards that were released last month.

Nichols presented a general overview of the report card format. He noted that there were some differences to the reports from previous years because of changes in assessment programs, including the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) and Smarter Balanced tests. Nichols said the state of Oregon, as a result of legislative action, did not rate schools this year because of the transition in testing systems.

The HCSD No. 3 report card includes the district profile (enrollment and demographics, teacher proficiency, per pupil spending, etc.), district performance (showing testing results in comparison to the state and to similar districts), and outcomes (graduation rate, continuing education rate, etc.). It can be found at


The board accepted the resignations of three educators: Natasha Monroe, band/music teacher (effective at the end of the school year), Shannon Swindlehurst,  special education teacher (effective  at the end of December), and Ron Wassom, Monroe School principal (effective at the end of the school year).

McBride and Board Vice Chair Doug Gunderson expressed appreciation for the resigning staff.

“I would like to thank our teachers for the service they’ve given in this district,” said Gunderson.

McBride noted that there was a teacher shortage in the state, and that the district was working to advertise job vacancies.

Brenda Graham, administrative assistant for human resources, said that the special education teaching position had been posted internally, on the district website, through the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, TalentEd, SchoolSpring, and, and at numerous colleges across Oregon and Idaho.


McBride reported that the 2016-17 budget planning process had begun. The budget committee meetings have been set for Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6 p.m. and Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 5 p.m., both in the district office building.

McBride said that some of the boilers at Henry L. Slater Elementary were being replaced. She added that representatives from Wisewood Inc. (the biomass energy company that the district is working with) would be here on Nov. 20 to continue their work, and that things are moving along on schedule.

McBride also reported that:

• letters had been sent out to students with truancy issues;

• the district’s student population had increased from 849 to 863; and

• auditors were gathering information over the past week and would present a report to the board in January.


Slater Principal Nancy Moon delivered her report to the board. She noted that:

• Slater will be highlighted in the Oregon Standards newsletter for outperforming the state in math testing;

• Professional Learning Community practices had been updated to further incorporate the use of data-driven decision-making. She explained how regular meetings monitor goal progress, and the process of individual interventions;

• implementation of core instruction of English Language Arts continues, as teams work on pacing and alignment to Common Core standards;

• Red Ribbon Week, which occurred during the last week of October, featured many activities and an assembly that included high school sports teams delivering on the theme of, “I Won’t Let Drugs Ruin My Game”; and

• the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) committee has revised the handbook and established time frames for “Rule Rodeos” to be conducted at specific times of the year.


Hines Middle School (HMS) Principal Jerry Mayes reported that HMS has been working with Harney Helping Organization for Personal Emergencies (HHOPE) to set up a consistent counseling and intervention program through a grant developed by HHOPE’s executive director, Angela Johnson. The grant will pay for an intervention specialist to be placed on a part-time, weekly basis at the school. He said it is hoped that the program will be successful and possibly be expanded in the future.

Mayes said HMS staff are on schedule with evaluation cycles. All pre-self-evaluations, pre-goal and goal conferences, as well as first-round informal observations have been completed, in addition to first-round formal observations with probationary teachers. He added that the teaching staff are doing a great job of preparing students to present at their Student-Led Conferences.

HMS fall football, volleyball, cross country and cheerleading teams had a successful season and represented the school well by demonstrating positive sportsmanship throughout the season, Mayes said.

Mayes reported that the Fall Enrichment Day was a great success thanks to the persistence and planning of Ann Choate. He said there were more than 20 stations manned by community business professionals showcasing their jobs to the students. Mayes added that they anticipate even more stations in the spring for their students to attend.

He also noted that the student body showed great participation in the Red Ribbon Week activities, and that several artisans had been teaching at HMS this past month through an arts grant program with Harney ESD.


Burns High School (BHS) Principal Brandon Yant reported that BHS participated in the Great Oregon ShakeOut statewide earthquake drill on Oct. 15. He said he and the staff were working on evacuation communications using group texts, and that it seemed to be reliable.

Yant also discussed English Language Arts state testing scores, and first trimester grades.


Wassom reported that Monroe School’s staff attended a workshop addressing Collaborative Problem Solving at Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility (EOYCF), presented by Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP) Joe Ferguson. The presentation dealt with philosophies, rationales, and procedures to equip education staff with the tools necessary to take feelings and needs into consideration when disruptions and confrontations arise.

Wassom said they have seen a number of youth come and go over the past month. New youth have been exposed to safety protocols within the vocational programs, had updates of assessments, and been placed in appropriate classes, he said. All youth on Unit B have completed the work vignettes, which are now registered in the Juvenile Justice Information System. Unit A youth are currently going through the vignettes. All youth who finish them receive a number of certificates showing their successful completion.

Wassom also reported that:

• all of the iPad carts for Slater had been constructed and delivered;

• Unit B students are enjoying a cinema class this term;

• Harney Education Service District continues to work with the Oregon Youth Authority and a contracted agency for login data for the utilization of Chromebooks;

• a number of graduate students are taking college-level courses via; and

• Sandra Cargill continues to expand and improve the facility’s library. Wassom said it has been a great addition to Monroe School and the EOYCF.


Student Services Programs Director Chandra Ferguson gave a report on the Structured Learning Center. She said collaboration was a key focus this year, and that they were building and developing the program to adapt to individual student needs.

Ferguson noted that they were using a new assessment program to determine where students are in math and reading. She said there are continuous placement meetings, and noted that the overall purpose is to meet individual students’ needs at their level.


In other business, the board:

• heard Veterans Day poems written and recited by three HMS students;

• approved the second read of Board Policies JHCDA – Prescription Medication, EBCB – Emergency Drills and Instruction, EBC/EBCA – Emergency Procedures and Disaster Plans, JFCF – Hazing, Harassment, Intimidation, Menacing, Bullying, Cyberbullying, Teen Dating Violence, Domestic Violence-Student, KL – Public Complaints, GAA – Personnel: Definitions, KGB – Public Conduct on District Property;

• accepted Sally Hendry’s donation of $200 to the BHS baseball team;

• voted to surplus the slide at Slater Elementary. In a letter to McBride, Moon said that the Slater safety committee proposed that the slide on the north field be removed due to ongoing safety concerns.

The next regularly-scheduled school board meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. in the district office building.

Several 4-H members who received a 4-H Gold Medal for outstanding work in their project areas pose for a photo with OSU Extension Agent Shana Withee. (Submitted photo)

Several 4-H members who received a 4-H Gold Medal for outstanding work in their project areas pose for a photo with OSU Extension Agent Shana Withee. (Submitted photo)

Harney County 4-H gathered to celebrate the past year, organize for the new 4-H year, and invite our friends to become 4-H members and leaders. The 2015 4-H Awards Night was held on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Lincoln Junior High auditorium. Layle Bennett was master of ceremony, with assistance from Shyanne Petersen.  Other older youth assisting were Douglas Bush, Lucy Baron, Risa Thompson, and special assistants Eli Ward and Maurice Petersen.

4-H members received year pins for completing the year by turning in a completed 4-H record book by the August deadline.  Yearly certificates are given to all members and leaders. Each year a new gold seal is added.

The average 4-H volunteer donates 220 hours per year preparing and teaching. At a value of $22.55, that donation to 4-H is $4,961, almost $5,000 per leader; that is a one million dollar value to Harney County’s 4-H program and youth. A volunteer drives an average of 400 miles in their personal car, and spends $80 to $100 on teaching materials. With mileage and materials value of 1.5 million, Harney County’s 4-H Leaders donate almost three million dollars to our youth… thank you.

Joanna Corson (right), with OSU Extension Agent Shana Withee,  was honored for her 40 years of serving as a 4-H volunteer leader. (Submitted photo)

Joanna Corson (right), with OSU Extension Agent Shana Withee, was honored for her 40 years of serving as a 4-H volunteer leader. (Submitted photo)

4-H leaders also received yearly pins for their efforts. Of special note are first-year leaders: Katy Otley and Midge Smith; fifth-year leaders: Annette Carson, Brianne Bryan, Dahlia Bennett, and Jimmy Zamora;  10th-year leaders: Claire Larson, Linda Williams, Monica McCanna and Janna Mims; 15th-year leaders: Angie Ketscher and Karen Moon; 20th-year leaders: Fred Pelroy and Tiny Pedersen; 30th-year leader: Becky Cunningham; and a 40th-year 4-H leader, Joanna Corson.

Joanna Corson has been a 4-H Volunteer Leader for 40 years. Thirty-eight of those years have been with the Friskey Fleas 4-H Dog Club. She has worked with 15-30 youth and their dogs each Tuesday throughout the year. Imagine doing this for 1,900 consecutive Tuesday evenings…Sound like your idea of heaven?  Corson has, on a weekly basis, dealt with 1,200 youth and more than 3,000 dogs… impressive?  Yes. Add to that her work as a 4-H Association treasurer and we substantially increase the numbers of youth and adults’ lives who she has touched.

Junior leaders received pins and recognition for their efforts. Receiving pins were Sydney Temple, Caylyn Gilmer, Douglas Bush, Lucy  Baron, Ellie Riess, Lacy Singhose, Olivia Farnsworth, Shyanne Petersen, Madison Carson, Kirstin Miller, Layle Bennett and Kayla Mims.

4-H members receive a 4-H Gold Medal once in their 4-H career for outstanding work in their project area. The following 4-H members received gold medals this year:

Rabbit – Douglas Bush

Dog – Shyanne Petersen

Dog – Caylyn Gilmer

Dog – Olivia Farnsworth

Leadership – Lucy Baron

Leadership – Summer Andersen

Public Speaking – Layle Bennett

Citizenship – Nicol Gahley

Champion 4H Record Books were awarded cash awards sponsored by Safeway. Receiving cash for their outstanding 4-H record books were: Shaylee Root, Macy Temple, Jalee Chandler, Reese Rothwell, Olivia Farnsworth, Sayge Root, India Paramore, Shyanne Petersen, Layle Bennett, Kayla Mims, Warren Johnson, and Kirstin Miller. Our thanks to Safeway for their generous sponsorship.

4-H is an informal, practical, learn-by-doing educational program for youth. The purpose of 4-H is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills, and forming attitudes that will enable us to become self-directed, productive, and contributing members of society.  Our motto, “To Make the Best Better,” is something we strive for, not just in 4-H, but in everything.

To learn more about 4-H, contact the Harney County Extension Office in the courthouse basement or  at 541-573-2506 or

Court hears Title II project proposals

Posted on November 11th in News

Planning commission bylaws revised

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

During the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court, Josh Giles and Howard Richburg of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) presented Title II project proposals to the court.

Under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS Act), counties receive payments based on historic national forest revenues, with the requirement that a certain percentage of the funds received (Title II funds) be used by the counties for specified purposes, in accordance with recommendations of resource advisory committees for projects on federal lands.

The Northeast Oregon Forest Resource Advisory Committee recommends projects and funding to improve forest health, watersheds, roads and facilities on or adjacent to the Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.

Giles and Richburg presented five proposed projects: Marshall Creek Aquatic Restoration, 2016/2017 Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) Crew for Emigrant Creek Ranger District (ECRD), ECRD Recreation Facilities Improvement Project, Ant Aspen Restoration, and Thinning and Grapple Piling.

Various details of the projects were discussed. The court will review and prioritize the projects.


Harney County Planning Director Brandon McMullen presented a revision to the Harney County Planning Commission Bylaws. He explained that the purpose of the change to Article 10, Findings and Decisions Preparation, is to streamline the process for individuals working through the local land use process and shorten the internal process time to finalize the written findings. The current process can take about two months, and the revision will shorten the processing time to about one month, McMullen said.

The commission and the county’s legal counsel supported the draft language, and recommended that it be presented to the court for approval, McMullen said. The court voted unanimously in favor of making the changes.


Harney County Judge Steve Grasty discussed several cost-saving measures for the county that would be presented at the department head meeting on Nov. 5. He said it would be requested that:

• All employees take five furlough days between now and June 30, 2016, with the understanding that all offices are to be kept open during regular business hours and there would be no use of part-time or on-call staff to cover the absence.

• A written rationale be presented to the court to fill any vacant positions.

• The court review the efficacy of all county programs.


The court heard from Grasty about the situation with the local radio station (KBNH 1230 AM/KORC 92.7 FM), which went off the air recently. He said he had spoken with Rep. Greg Walden’s office about how the county can help the situation, especially with regard to emergency management. Loren Emang, emergency preparedness coordinator, will be looking into different options for getting information out to the community in the event of an emergency.


Grasty reported that the Harney County Fair is working hard to rectify budget issues, but is still currently “in the red.” Grasty said he has been in contact with Fair Manager Don Slone on a weekly basis to discuss current and future plans, and that the Harney County Fair Board will continue to address funding concerns during its regular meetings.


In other business, the court:

• received a report from Grasty on the town hall meeting he attended in Adrian on the proposed designation of the Owyhee Canyonlands as a national monument;

• received a report from Grasty on a recent meeting with the county’s six Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) regarding the upcoming receipt and distribution of state funds;

• received an update from Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols and Mark Owens on a recent meeting regarding water issues in the Harney Basin;

• heard from Grasty about the progress toward a negotiated settlement for the bridge on Old Experiment Station Road. He said there is a check for $95,000 coming to Harney County;

• voted unanimously to give Grasty permission to sign for a permission code for access to the Oregon Department of Education E-Grant Management System;

• approved a funding request from the Training and Employment Consortium (TEC) for the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC) in the amount of $12,500;

• heard a request from Grasty to put the courthouse heating system out for bid on Nov. 5, with bids to be reviewed at the Dec. 2 meeting. He explained that the current boiler has been experiencing problems and that a new one is needed to tie into the biomass heating system. He said that there may be upcoming grant monies available for courthouse upgrades through the state court system. He added that the heating system in the jail had temporarily failed recently and would also require a long-term solution;

• reviewed correspondence from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Boise and Vale District (notice of a document of National Environmental Policy Act Adequacy for the Soda Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation actions), and from the U.S. Department of the Interior regarding Payments in Lieu of Taxes.

The next scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court will be held Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.

by Steph Bonson
for the Burns Times-Herald


A pair of helicopters were employed to help spray weeds in Harney County. (Photo by STEPH BONSON)

The Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) partners successfully worked together this year to treat more than 55,645 acres of the noxious weed, Medusahead rye (and some cheat grass). This is the largest treatment project of its kind, to date, in Harney County. A strategic plan was developed by the CWMA partners based on funding and an effort to capitalize on natural fire occurrences and defendable adjacent boundaries.

The CWMA partners who participated this year were the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL); Harney Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD); Harney County Weed Board; and 19 private landowners. A project of this scale would not be possible without the coordinated focus of each of these individuals.

The project, or projects, as they were concentrated in several areas, began Aug. 3. Two fixed wing applicators were used, Nick Schott, of Schott Ag Air located here in Harney County, and Mike Morris, of Morris Ag Air, out of Orovada, Nev. Two helicopters were supplied by Florida-based applicator company Agroflite. These aerial applicators did all of the treatments for the entire group. This made the projects more efficient and cost-effective. All of the applicators did a good job. There are great expectations for the results next year.

The areas treated in this million-acre county are near and around: Drewsey, Warm Springs Reservoir, Crane, Venator, Riverside, Riley, East Steens, Miller Homestead and Holloway fire areas. Next year, the plan will continue with more treatments in concentrated areas that will compliment and expound on this year’s treatments.

With each treatment project, efforts are being made to make them more effective by adjusting timing, incorporating adjuvants (products added to the spray mixture to provide drift control, adherence to soil, and encapsulation of herbicide molecules) and improving delivery. The hope is to limit the spread of Medusahead, while encouraging growth of desirable vegetation.

If you have Medusahead and wish to have it treated, please contact CWMA Coordinator Steph Bonson at 541-573-8397. If treatments are being done in your area in the fall of 2016, we would love to include it.

A large highway sign will be unveiled during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. at the Harney County Courthouse. (Submitted photo )

A large highway sign will be unveiled during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. at the Harney County Courthouse. (Submitted photo )

More than 4.7 million Americans served during WWI

As a Veterans Day tribute to WWI Veterans, the WWI Veterans Memorial Highway will be dedicated at the Harney County Courthouse at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9. A large highway sign will be unveiled at the ceremony.

WWI ended at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. To commemorate that day ending the “Great War” or the “War to End All Wars”, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, Nov. 11 was declared Armistice Day and a national holiday. It is now known as Veterans Day.

More than 4.7 million Americans served in uniform during WWI with 116,516 perishing from wounds and illness. Another 234,000 were wounded. Almost 45,000 Oregonians served during WWI, with 1,066 dying and 2,000 more wounded helping free France of the German enemy. Six veterans from Harney County lost their lives during WWI. Their names and the famous In Flanders Fields poem will be read at the dedication.

This first of 10 WWI Veterans Memorial Highway signs honoring WWI Veterans on U.S. 395, and to be installed between Oregon’s borders with California and Washington, will be unveiled by sign donor Mary Jane Tobiason, daughter of WWI Army veteran Arthur Moody, with Ron Copeland and Ron Estep assisting. Copeland is commander of American Legion Post 63 and founder of the Burns Chapter of the Oregon Band of Brothers. Estep is the Southeast Oregon coordinator of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. Copeland and Estep raised $900 for a second sign to be installed soon on U.S. 395 near Riley.

Light refreshments will be served after the dedication. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will install the new sign near the intersection of U.S .20 and U.S. 395 east of Burns following the dedication ceremony.

The new WWI Veterans Memorial Highway is one of four new border-to-border Veterans Memorial Highways in Oregon:

• WWI Veterans Memorial Highway: U.S. 395, 383 miles;

• Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway: I-5, 308 miles;

• Purple Heart Trail: I-5, 308 miles;

• Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans Memorial Highway: U.S. 101, 338 miles.

Eighteen WWII Veterans Historic Highway signs have already been installed on U.S. 97 between the Oregon/California border and Columbia River. Seventeen Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway signs were installed on I-84 between Portland and the Oregon/Idaho border.

Bend Heroes Foundation requested the Oregon legislature to designate these six highways honoring the nearly half million Oregon veterans who served in five major wars over the last 98 years, beginning with WWI. More than 6,000 veterans lost their lives and another 21,000 have been wounded since WWI.

Bend Heroes Foundation accepts donations from veterans groups, the public, individuals, city councils and county commissions, and pays Oregon Department of Transportation to fabricate and install signs on the highways. The projected cost for the 65 signs on the six highways, totaling 2,040 miles in length, is about $70,000. Eight thousand dollars are needed to fund the eight remaining signs on U.S. 395 near Lakeview, John Day, Pendleton and Umatilla. Patriots can donate to the project on the Bend Heroes Foundation web site: or send donations to Bend Heroes Foundation, 1900 NE 3rd St., Ste 106, #205, Bend, OR 97701. Donations are tax deductible as the foundation is a non-profit tax exempt entity (ID 27-207 1808).

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

Members of the Crane Rangeland Fire Protection Association and others gathered for the official groundbreaking for the new fire hall to be built on Harney Avenue in Crane. (L-R) Harney County Judge Steve Grasty, Fire Supervisor Don Lindner, Board Chair Jerry Rank, Treasurer Linda Miller, Vice Chair Dave Thomas, and Dan Kryger. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Members of the Crane Rangeland Fire Protection Association and others gathered for the official groundbreaking for the new fire hall to be built on Harney Avenue in Crane. (L-R) Harney County Judge Steve Grasty, Fire Supervisor Don Lindner, Board Chair Jerry Rank, Treasurer Linda Miller, Vice Chair Dave Thomas, and Dan Kryger. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

The dream of having a fire hall has been long in the making for the Crane Rangeland Fire Protection Association (Crane RFPA). That dream took another big step toward reality on Tuesday, Oct. 27, when ground was officially broken on the plot of land where the building will sit, near the end of Harney Avenue in Crane.

Board Treasurer Linda Miller explained that the “L”-shaped property on which the groundbreaking took place had been donated to the Crane RFPA by the Crane school district two years ago, when it had to reclaim the space where the fire trucks had been stored for school bus storage. Miller said all the materials for the construction of the building have been purchased, and a request for bids on the labor to assemble the building has been advertised. The next step will be to select the bid, which will be done at a public board meeting to be held Nov. 9.

The 40-by-48 foot building will have room for three trucks, a parts room and meeting area, and a restroom.

“This will give us a place to work on the trucks year-round,” said Fire Supervisor Don Lindner.

The first stage in the process will be to construct the building. Following that, a concrete floor will be installed. Finally, the walls will be insulated and finished.

Miller said they have pursued grants and donations. She said they received $40,000 in donations during the last fiscal year, and noted that all donations are tax deductible – Crane RFPA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

“We need to acknowledge all donors, including Treetop Ranches, McEwen Ranches and Harney Electric,” said Miller. She added that members are also sending in extra on top of their annual memberships to help pay for the new hall.

Members of the RFPA pay $100 per year for fire protection. As a member, if a fire occurs on your property, you do not pay for the firefighting response.

The Crane RFPA has 25 vehicles distributed throughout the area. Lindner said in 2003 when he started working with the association, there were six vehicles. The trucks are placed around the district, which covers 1.8 million acres.

The public board meeting of the Crane RFPA will be held Monday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. at Crystal Crane Hot Springs. Construction bids will be reviewed, and the election of 2016 officers will be held. A potluck dinner will follow the meeting. For more information, please call 541-493-2678.

Court discusses Vehicle Use Agreement 

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

During the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 14 Manager Paul Woodworth was present to discuss the U.S. Highway 395 Vance Creek and Sheep Gulch culvert replacement projects and temporary highway closure scheduled to occur in November.

ODOT will be replacing two culverts under Highway 395 (between Burns and John Day) in November. The Sheep Gulch Culvert near mile post 6.1-C and the Vance Creek Culvert near mile post 11-C have been determined insufficient to handle water and debris flows anticipated due to erosion issues left after the Canyon Creek Complex fire that burned through the area in August and September. The U.S. Forest Service  (USFS) is estimating a 100 to 650 percent increase in water and debris flow along several creeks that drain off the mountainside into Canyon Creek and other local tributaries. The project will replace the culverts with new structures that are designed to accommodate the anticipated flows.

“It is critical to address these culverts now, before rain and spring snow melt,” Woodworth said in a news release. “If the existing culverts get plugged due to debris and excessive run-off, the highway could be washed out, resulting in a possible month-long highway closure. Our goal is to control timing and mitigate potential long-term impact due to a washout event.”

To facilitate the project, Highway 395 will be closed between mile post 2.5-C and 17-C for 10 days beginning Nov. 4. The closure will be followed by several days of single-lane travel controlled by pilot cars and flaggers, while crews continue the work. ODOT will work with local fire and emergency service providers and private property owners located between the two work sites to help accommodate critical needs as much as possible.

There is no local detour around the work sites for through traffic. Travelers will need to detour along U.S. Highway 26 to Vale, then back along U.S. Highway 20 to Burns or take other alternate routes that remain passable in winter.

Woodworth explained to the court that this was a continuation of the work ODOT has already done on Highway 395 as a result of the Canyon Creek Complex fire.

ODOT had to close the highway down for days due to the direct threat of the fire, and then for the threat of hazardous trees. He said he estimated that they removed a thousand hazard trees (trees that were currently or would in the future be dangerous to highway traffic). Using a numbering system in which a number was assigned to, and spray-painted on, each cut tree and its stump, ODOT made sure that trees cut on private property were available for property owners to claim, Woodworth explained.

Woodworth said the big issue now is increased water flows in Canyon Creek and all the tributaries that flow into it. Canyon Creek runs parallel to Highway 395 for about 10 miles. USFS analysis predicts flows in Canyon Creek could be at 300 percent of normal and in Vance Creek (a tributary of Canyon Creek) at 700 percent of normal, during a 10-year, 24-hour storm event (a storm event with a 10 percent chance of happening in any given year).

“But even the normal flows are projected to be higher – but not at flood stage,” said Woodworth.

This first phase of safeguarding the highway against the threat of flooding is taking care of the two culverts, Sheep Gulch and Vance Creek, that are at most risk for getting clogged with debris and potentially causing the road to be washed out, Woodworth explained. At Vance Creek, a five-foot diameter culvert will be replaced with one that is 20 feet in diameter.

Another topic Woodworth discussed was the traffic signal project at the intersection of Highway 20 and Hilander Boulevard in Burns. In order to complete the work, the intersection will be turned into a four-way stop for an expected 30 days.


Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Agent Shana Withee discussed with the court the Intergovernmental Agreement and Vehicle Use Agreement between OSU Extension Service and Harney County. The purpose of the agreements, which will expire June 30, 2017, is the provision of the delivery of OSU educational programs to the citizens of Harney County. Both agreements were passed unanimously.


In other business, the court:

• heard from Harney County Judge Steve Grasty regarding legislation that is providing monies to counties with greater sage grouse habitat in support of Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) for the 2015-17 biennium. Grasty suggested that meetings be scheduled with county RFPAs to discuss the use of the funds;

• Grasty discussed the need for a new dedicated fund for state lottery dollars received by Harney County. The court unanimously approved Resolution No. 2015-13 in the matter of establishment of a dedicated fund for furthering economic development;

• reviewed correspondence from the Oregon Water Resources Department giving notice of the annual required water use report due by the end of this year;

• reviewed water use requests.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court will be held Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.

From L-R: Chris Boyd, Mary Letham, and Sam Ellibee. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

From L-R: Chris Boyd, Mary Letham, and Sam Ellibee. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Concert to be held Nov. 23

Three Burns High School band students have been selected to perform in the Gala Honor Band concert at the Western International Honor Band Clinic (WIBC) Nov. 20-23.

Mary Letham will be performing on clarinet with the Phoenix Band, Sam Ellibee, oboe, with the Thunderbird Band, and Chris Boyd, alto saxophone, with the Sunbird Band.

These students were selected on their outstanding musical merit through the WIBC audition process. More than 1,200 applicants apply, and 640 students are selected to perform in four honor bands at the gala concert. Students are chosen from throughout the United States and Australia.

The world-famous Canadian Brass will be part of the honor concerts and the WIBC event. Guest conductors for the bands are Johan deMeij (Holland), Dr. Mike Bankhead (Utah State University), Lowell Graham (University of Southern California), Fran Tracz (Kansas State University), and Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, the founder of American Band College.

Ms. Monroe, director of the Burns High School band, will also have the opportunity to perform on flute and piccolo with the Director’s Band during the WIBC event.

The WIBC Gala concert will be at noon Monday, Nov. 23. The groups are performing at the Double Tree Seattle Airport Convention Center. The public is invited to attend.

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