The Burns Times-Herald can now be found online at: http://btimesherald.com
Court approves MOA with Burns Paiute Tribe
by Samantha White
During its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 16, the Harney County Court agreed to appoint Harney County Judge Steve Grasty to represent Harney County in settlement negotiations on the Transportation Management Plan (TMP).
Grasty said the TMP has been in litigation since about 2008.
On Nov. 28, 2007, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a Decision Record adopting the proposed TMP for the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. On Jan. 4, 2008, the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) petitioned for stay of the effect of that decision to the Department of Interior’s Board of Land Appeals. A long, complicated legal battle ensued.
The court will meet for an executive session the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2016, to work on litigation. Grasty said he’ll use the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000 in the negotiation process.
The court approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Burns Paiute Tribe and Harney County to develop a plan for clarifying right of way issues for the Kassler Parcel and the right of way for West Loop Road.
A survey was conducted of the Kassler and surrounding parcels, and some confusion arose as to whether there was clear demarcation of the right of way for West Loop Road.
The tribe and county agree that no conflict exists, or is anticipated, regarding continued use and right of way of the road. The MOA memorializes the parties’ mutual trust and commitment to determining how to clarify and resolve right of way issues on the road by survey, quitclaim, agreement, or other means.
The court reconvened at 8:30 a.m., Dec. 17 to open and review bids for the courthouse heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) project, as bidding for the project was scheduled to close at 5 p.m., Dec. 16.
The county received sealed bids from Custom Plus Heating & Air Conditioning ($535,300), Central Oregon Heating & Cooling ($612,613), and Bend Heating & Sheet Metal. The original bid for Bend Heating & Sheet Metal was $572,600, but modifications and clarifications adjusted the bid to $530,000.
There are some tasks, such as removing the old boiler, that the county can perform to lower project costs.
Anthony Dickman, HVAC engineer, will review the bids.
The current boiler is condemned and must be replaced by September 2016.
The court received a letter from Chris Marklund, National Association of Counties associate legislative director, stating that the Omnibus spending bill fully funds the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program at $452 million for fiscal year 2016.
The PILT program was created to partially offset the cost of providing county services to federal public lands, which are exempt from property taxes. Without this funding, Grasty said there would be significant layoffs.
Marklund also stated that the Omnibus spending bill will add $1.5 million (for a total of $79 million) in fiscal year 2016 to make additional resources available to reduce the backlog of BLM grazing permit applications. The bill also included $60 million within the BLM budget for sage grouse habitat conservation activities.
Public lands policy concerns are also addressed in the bill, including a provision requiring the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service to report on nonemergency closures of public lands to hunting, fishing, shooting, and other recreational activities. There is also a prohibition on funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue further rules to place sage grouse on the Endangered Species List, and the Department of the Interior is prohibited from administratively creating new wilderness areas. The bill also contains a directive that the Forest Service, National Park Service, and BLM work with state and local governments in drought-stricken regions to facilitate the prompt removal of hazardous trees and prioritize funding to reduce the threat of wildfire.
In other business, the court:
• received an invitation to Tony Svejcar’s retirement party, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Jan. 23, 2016, at Burns Elks Lodge No. 1680. Svejcar is a rangeland scientist and research leader at the Agricultural Research Service in Burns.
“That’s a big loss,” Grasty said regarding Svejcar’s retirement. “I hope he stays around and weighs in on some stuff;”
• upon recommendation from Harney County Roads Supervisor Eric Drushella, approved John and Cheryl Williams’ application for an approach off of East Steens Road. Drushella explained that this is an improvement to an existing approach;
• received a letter from Rod Klus, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife district wildlife biologist, stating that the department is preparing to review its Management Objectives (MOs) for deer and elk. Harney County Commissioner Pete Runnels volunteered to serve on a committee to review MO proposals;
• discussed the BLM’s application to withdraw approximately 1,929,580 acres of public and National Forest System Lands, which are identified as Sagebrush Focal Areas, in Oregon. The proposed withdrawal would close these lands to location and entry under the United States mining laws to protect and preserve greater sage grouse and its habitat.
Grasty said he will push for an analysis of the loss of economic opportunity that could result from the proposed withdrawal;
• received a letter stating that the Prineville District of the BLM is proposing to expand and update its existing district-wide integrated noxious weed management program, primarily by increasing the kinds of plants controlled from noxious to all invasive plants and increasing the number of herbicides to be used from four to 14.
“My hunch is that this will almost mirror what the Burns district did,” Grasty said;
• received a request to lease county-owned land for grazing. Grasty suggested that the court develop a process;
• reviewed Senator Wyden’s Outdoor Recreation Bill Discussion Draft Outline for Feedback. Grasty and Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols expressed concern about the bill. Grasty said he will ask community members to read it and provide input;
• mailed a Notice of Public Works to the Bureau of Labor and Industries for emergency replacement of the bridge that burned on Old Experiment Road;
• reviewed water use requests.
Grasty will ask Geographical Information Systems Coordinator Bryce Mertz if he can start providing maps showing the locations of water use requests.
The next regularly scheduled county court meeting will be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.
About 20 percent of Oregonians have chronic pain
Living with chronic pain can be overwhelming, and it frequently leaves people feeling isolated, frustrated, dependent, and even depressed or anxious. The person with chronic pain, not only endures physical discomfort, but often experiences psychological, social, and economic stressors, as well. According to the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Annual Report from 2012, about 20 percent of Oregonians suffer from chronic pain. Common methods for treating chronic pain typically come from prescription drugs that mask pain and provide temporary relief. These methods can also lead to adverse side effects and do not cure the underlying cause of pain. A new, local Pain Clinic has been created through Cornerstone, a mental health outreach program, with the goal of treating chronic pain through behavioral support methods specifically addressing the body’s physiological response to pain and the areas in life that have been negatively impacted by this chronic condition. The Cornerstone Pain Clinic intends to meet the needs of those in the community suffering from chronic pain, and it is a collaborative effort between medical, mental health, and pharmaceutical professionals.
In collaboration with health care providers, the Cornerstone Pain Clinic will utilize treatment strategies proven to decrease the brain’s overall response to pain, effectively reducing the amount of pain experienced and simultaneously better equipping a person’s ability to self-manage pain that may persist. In order to reduce the brain’s response to pain, it is important to understand why pain can become a neurological chronic condition. An individual’s pain usually originates either from an injury or another chronic condition or illness. When an individual is injured, pain serves as a purposeful signal and should last until the injury has been healed. On the other hand, chronic pain continues past the normal time of healing and no longer serves a functional purpose. The experience of chronic pain changes the way the brain functions and processes pain. The central nervous system becomes highly reactive to any form of pain and ceases to function normally. Additional stress to the central nervous system (such as anxiety, stress, trauma, or other psychological issues) prior to or just after an injury, can also greatly attribute to the a person’s susceptibility to chronic pain. The treatment methods of Cornerstone Pain Clinic all focus on decreasing the reactivity of the central nervous system that has been altered by persistent pain and/or psychological stressors.
A free Living with Chronic Pain workshop will be held Jan. 8, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cornerstone Building, 610 West Monroe in Burns. The workshop will provide information on how chronic pain originates in the brain, the body’s physiological response, and the emotional response from living with this condition. This workshop is open to individuals experiencing chronic pain or to people who have a family member or friend who suffers. Refreshments will be provided. Additional information on the Cornerstone Pain Clinic program will be provided for those interested. Contact Ashlee Voges at 541-589-1729 with any questions.
by Samantha White
During its meeting on Dec. 15, the Hines Common Council resumed its discussion concerning adopting an ordinance that would allow the city to opt out of any one (or more) of the state-licensed or registered marijuana businesses.
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 transforms 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 explained that this was the council’s final opportunity to pass an ordinance, as the next council meeting will be held after the deadline.
Councilor Loren Emang presented data regarding the health concerns associated with smoking marijuana. He added that he didn’t see the value in allowing recreational marijuana, and thinks medical marijuana should be offered in the form of pills that are distributed through pharmacies.
“Where do you think pharmacies are going to get it?” Councilor Hilda Allison asked, explaining that the supply would depend on marijuana businesses.
Emang said he didn’t want to opt out of businesses that grow marijuana, just those that dispense it. Allison and Councilor Rod Bennett said they didn’t want to opt out of any of the marijuana businesses.
They added that there are a variety of options for using medical marijuana, aside from smoking it. Councilor Dick Baird noted that medicinal oils lack THC (marijuana’s primary mind-altering compound).
Allison said cannabis can be used for a variety of other products, including cosmetics and toiletries.
She added that the businesses would provide revenue that could be used to benefit the community.
“If you don’t let somebody develop something, you are standing in front of a free enterprise that might help everyone,” Baird added.
According to An Overview of Oregon’s Recreational Marijuana Program, an article by Katherine Thomas, League of Oregon Cities Assistant General Counsel, “Cities that prohibit OLCC licensees from operating within their jurisdictions will not receive any state tax revenues after July 1, 2017.”
Davies said Hines might also be able to impose local taxes, and she provided copies of an ordinance adopted by the city of Ontario. However, Mayor Nikki Morgan questioned the legality of imposing local taxes.
According to Thomas’ article, Measure 91 “purports to prohibit cities from imposing local taxes on marijuana.” However, the article adds that, “Nonetheless, to date, more than 60 cities have imposed such taxes based on different legal theories and interpretations. Those taxes have not yet been tested in court.”
Davies noted that overtaxation could price legitimate businesses out of the market.
The council also discussed where marijuana businesses could be located within the city. According to the OLCC’s website, medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational marijuana retailers may not be located within 1,000 feet of a school. Davies provided a map showing property buffers for Hines’ schools, noting that very few areas within the city’s jurisdiction would meet this qualification.
Allison said, “I’m looking at the map saying, ‘It’s practically nil,’ but why get ourselves out of an opportunity?”
Emang warned of the social costs of allowing these businesses, but Bennett asserted that a lot of information concerning marijuana isn’t based on scientific facts. Morgan added that anything from gasoline to potato chips can be abused.
Davies said, whether or not the ordinance is passed, adults will be allowed to grow and use marijuana in the city.
Morgan asked if the council had reached a consensus. Baird, Allison, Bennett and Councilor Ron Williams said they didn’t want to opt out, and Emang said he did. Councilor John Mims wasn’t present during the meeting. An ordinance was not passed.
Police Chief Ryan DeLange said the department had been swamped. He added that Officer Casey Held may be leaving the department, as he interviewed for a position with the state police. DeLange also informed the council that Alan Johnson volunteered to serve as a reserve officer.
After some discussion, the council agreed to reinstate the department’s reserve program.
DeLange reported that Officer Roxane Ellis is doing an excellent job, and the council welcomed her aboard.
DeLange added that he recently wrote two citations for underage marijuana use.
Public Works Department Lead Worker Jerry Lewellen said Randy Tiller and Lee Thumberg, recently hired utility workers, are doing well in their new positions. He said they’ve already responded to a water main that broke on Roanoke Avenue, and they’ve been busy plowing snow.
“Whenever it snows, we appreciate you guys so much,” Morgan said.
Lewellen said the grader could use two new tires. Expressing safety concerns, Williams, Bennett, Davies and Morgan stated that the tires should be purchased as soon as possible.
Fire Chief Bob Spence reported that the Hines Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) assisted the Burns department with 10 calls, including a structure fire on Thursday, Dec. 10. Spence said firefighters were unable to enter the building because it was too dangerous.
Davies said the building was full of antiques, and US Bank set up an account for donations to assist owner John Mims.
Allison asked whether it’s now safe to enter the building, and Spence replied that it isn’t.
He added that the safety of firefighters and community members is the department’s number one priority, but firefighters do their best to salvage property when they can. He explained that, whenever possible, firefighters place tarps over furniture, put runners over carpets, and save irreplaceable possessions such as family photographs.
“Bob, that just touches my heart that you try to save peoples’ things. That’s a big deal,” Davies said.
Spence added that Glen Williams, owner of Central Pastime, donated seven large pizzas to the firefighters.
“People like that are pretty nice to have in the community,” he said.
Spence also reported that the annual Grant-Harney training is set to begin in January, and he thanked Davies for assisting with the purchase of a new air compressor to replace the one that stopped working.
The council also discussed issues concerning the doors at the HVFD fire hall. A company from Bend came over to fix the inoperative door at Engine 5 and evaluate the other needed repairs. The bill for repairing the inoperative door was $274, and the estimated cost of fully repairing all three doors is about $2,100.
Spence expressed concern about the doors collapsing onto a fire truck.
Morgan asked whether the contractor who installed the doors would be liable for the cost of the repairs. Davies said the doors need to be repaired immediately, as they are a safety hazard, but she’ll discuss the possibility of recovering costs with the city’s attorney.
The council approved an animal impound contract with Carolyn Mathews of CJ Bar Dog Ranch.
The ranch will provide boarding for all dogs impounded by the city for a period not to exceed five days. Any dog not claimed by the end of the impound period may be adopted or fostered by a new owner or organization. The city, the ranch, and the veterinarian on call will discuss what to do with animals that are not claimed, adopted, or fostered by the end of the impound period.
Sick or injured dogs will be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian to alleviate undue suffering. No other veterinary care will be provided to impound animals without the prior approval of the city.
Impound and veterinary fees will be paid by the owner. If the owner does not pay, the city will be responsible for paying the amount due.
The council also approved a special hold agreement for animals that are not current on their rabies vaccinations and have injured a person.
The special hold agreement also applies to animals that are held by the ranch because the owner is incarcerated (or for other reasons, as approved on an individual basis).
DeLange said he toured the ranch, and he thinks it will be excellent.
In other business, the council:
• received a report from Davies regarding a meeting that she attended with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the city of Burns to discuss the cities’ deer populations.
DeLange said he’s been hazing the deer with paintballs, which has been helping. He added that he and ODFW District Wildlife Biologist Rod Klus have been discussing the possibility of issuing controlled kill permits to select landowners with properties surrounding the city;
• discussed the 2014 Department of Environmental Quality Material Recovery and Waste Generation Summary;
• received a thank you letter from Kids Club of Harney County for its $100 donation;
• agreed to amend the contract for the preparation of a water system master plan to add required language;
• approved a business license for Jerome Headlands Press, a book production business owned by Diane Rapaport;
• agreed to purchase $30 beef certificates for city employees. The certificates are purchased annually to show appreciation;
• commented that the city’s department heads are doing an excellent job;
• agreed to close city hall at 3 p.m. on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) and Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve).
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, at city hall.
Maintaining overall good health involves more than just addressing physical symptoms. It also requires looking at behavioral health and evaluating the mind-body-behavior connection. An integration of physical and behavioral health services continues to develop at Harney District Hospital (HDH) Family Care clinic, where primary care providers have been joined by Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC) Richard Friday. As part of a year-long fellowship, Physician Assistant Lisa Howe is working to create work flow and communication processes between the providers and Friday to unite two areas of health care that have been historically kept separate.
Clinical Innovation Fellowship
Howe was selected in June to be a participant in the 2015-16 Clinical Innovation Fellows program. The program’s stated aim is “to build the capacity of health system transformation leadership within Oregon, support the success of coordinated care organizations, and spread the coordinated care model.” Fellows are selected by the Oregon Council of Clinical Innovators, a steering committee of Oregon health care leaders convened by the Oregon Health Authority Transformation Center.
Howe and 14 other Oregon health care professionals are participating in this year-long learning experience by developing innovation projects in their communities, through which they will “develop and refine skills in leadership, quality improvement, implementation and dissemination science” to create a “network of expertise.”
Howe heard about the fellowship opportunity through the Central Oregon Independent Practice Association. This is the second year of the program, and she noticed there had been no representative from Eastern Oregon in the program yet – so she decided to apply.
Part of the application process was to have a project planned or already in place. Howe said that former HDH Family Care Clinic Manager Stacie Rothwell had been working on behavioral health integration at the clinic for a year already, and that the topic is a major one in health care right now. This made it a natural choice for her fellowship project.
Howe explained that the fellowship provides the manpower and financial help (a $15,000 grant) to launch behavioral health integration at HDH.
Behavioral Health Consultation
One of the aims of the project was the recruitment of a BHC for the clinic. But even before Howe’s fellowship began in July, Friday, a licensed master’s social worker, was coming on board at HDH Family Care.
Friday moved to Harney County from Portland, where he was educated at Lewis and Clark College and Portland State University. He is in the process of becoming a licensed clinical social worker.
Friday’s primary role involves being available for patients following a visit with their primary care provider, to address habits, behaviors, stress, worries, or emotional concerns about physical or other life problems that are interfering with the patient’s daily life and overall health. These behavioral health concerns may come up during patient-provider conversation, and the provider may suggest a meeting with Friday to discuss them further. Most often, that meeting is able to happen immediately after the patient speaks with the provider. Ultimately, the patient may have between one and five brief (approximately 40-minute), solution-focused sessions with Friday. Along with the patient’s provider, Friday will work to develop and implement an integrated care plan that fits the individual. Behavioral change plans might address smoking cessation, weight loss, alcohol use, exercise, or other lifestyle modifications.
A BHC can help manage symptoms associated with various psychological conditions such as anger, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, grief, insomnia, panic attacks, stress, and more. However, a BHC does not provide traditional psychotherapy. If the patient or the BHC thinks that there may be benefit from specialty mental health services, a referral is made to other resources in the community.
Howe said the main focus of her project is on work flow and communication between Friday and the providers. This means identifying patients that may benefit from behavioral health consultation, determining how and when they will be referred to Friday, and maintaining the conversation between all involved.
Howe noted that, historically, physical and mental health services have been “siloed,” and that integrating these services involves changing the health care culture, which takes time.
“It’s important for patients to realize that their providers are working as a team with their behaviorist,” said Howe, “and it’s important to create an environment of total care.”
Howe said the fellowship gives her the structure and resources to give behavioral health consultation the boost it needs to take off at HDH.
“This fellowship is a bridge between the providers and the behavioral consultant, providing resources and project management,” Howe said.
As the year-long project continues, Howe noted that one upcoming challenge is to develop metrics to evaluate the success of behavioral health integration, and to make sure it’s sustainable. She and Friday are working on creating a system to document statistics and patient satisfaction.
Although the fellowship program has an end date, behavioral health integration, and the move toward a team-based approach to health care, is a long-term cultural transformation toward patient-centered, coordinated care.
For more information about behavioral health consultation, contact your primary care provider or HDH Family Care at 541-573-2074.
Taylor Crafts selected to serve as Fair Queen
by Randy Parks
Ed and Reta Herrera were introduced as the Grand Marshals for the 2016 Harney County Fair, Rodeo, and Race Meet, and Taylor Crafts greeted the crowd as the 2016 Fair Queen at the Harney County Fair Volunteer Appreciation Christmas Party on Sunday, Dec. 13.
Fair Manager Don Slone also announced “Bucking Chutes and Dusty Boots” was chosen as the theme for next year’s fair.
A report on the 2015 fair was presented to those in attendance as follows:
• 163 adults entered 900 Open Class exhibits. 134 youth entered 539 Open Class exhibits. 221 4-H and FFA Youth entered 1,029 exhibits.
• There were 200 youth events with 9,530 people attending. This is 36 more youth events, and 1,931 more people than in 2014.
• There were 238 public events with 27,846 people attending. This is 36 more events and 1,175 more people attending than in 2014.
• There were 40 private events with 1,335 people attending. This is six fewer events and 356 fewer people attending than in 2014.
• All of this was a total of 478 events with 38,711 people attending. That is 66 more events and 2,733 more people than in 2014.
• There were 557 volunteers and sponsors working directly for the Fair Board in 2015. This is 144 fewer volunteers than in 2014.
• Estimated hours by those volunteers were 8,257 or equivalent to 3.9 full-time employees.
• At a minimum wage, those volunteer hours would cost $76,250.
• The expense of the 2015 fair was $192,521. The income of the 2014 fair was $175,000.
• The estimated gross dollars earned by 24 community organizations during the fair is $714,920 or $228,172 more than in 2014. This is four times what the fair revenue was.
• The 4-H and FFA auction alone grossed $410,615, or $135,529 more than in 2014.
• The estimated gross dollars generated by community organizations at the fairgrounds during the off season was $107,278 or $1,038 fewer than in 2014.
• The economic impact of the 2015 Fair to Harney County is $6.674 million.
by Samantha White
When you open the door to Horseshoe Antiques, owner, Jan Reed, greets you with a warm smile and invites you to peruse the shop’s inventory of collectibles and “vintage things.”
Located at 353 W. Monroe St. in Burns, Horseshoe Antiques offers a trove of treasures, including vintage furniture, home decor, kitchen items, glassware, western items, and linens. With the holidays hastily approaching, the store is currently filled with Christmas collectibles, including gifts, bulbs and decorations. Additionally, Reed recently added Persian rugs to the inventory.
Reed, who moved to Harney County from Vancouver, Wash., has been collecting antiques since she was about 25. She said she started by salvaging the sentimental items that her mother attempted to toss while cleaning out the closets, and she ended up accumulating antiques from various family members.
“I always liked the old things,” Reed said. “I was the kind that would keep it, so I got stuff from aunts and cousins. They would call me up and give it to me.”
Reed has been in the antique business for about 20 years. She had an antique space in a mall in Camas, Wash., for five years and conducted estate and garage sales before and during that time. She also had a successful career in banking.
Although she’s a new resident, Reed has roots in Harney County. In fact, her grandparents, Clifford “Teddy” and Julia Reed, were early pioneers in the area. Clifford and his brother co-owned Reed Brothers Pharmacy.
Reed’s father, Richard, and his siblings, Homer, Wally, and Louell, were all born in the area.
Being a jazz musician, Richard moved to Portland to continue his music career.
However, Reed visited Harney County frequently, bringing her father to town for Pioneer Day celebrations and his class reunions. She and her sister also attended the Hines Junket annually.
“Pretty soon, I knew that when I retired [from banking] I wanted to come here, and I did,” Reed explained, adding that it only took her one day to sell her condominium in Vancouver.
Reed bought a house in Hines, and as she was unpacking her things, she came to the conclusion that she needed to get rid of some stuff.
“A lot of it had come from my shop and wasn’t of personal, sentimental value, so that kind of got the ball started,” Reed said regarding her decision to open a shop in Burns.
She started looking around for a space to rent and found a vacant building owned by Mike and Corinne Huseby. Reed met the Husebys when she stayed at the Sage Country Inn, the couple’s bed and breakfast.
“They are such good people. I saw the ‘for rent’ sign and rented the next day,” Reed said. “Everything just fell into line.”
Reed said business has been good so far, adding that the store’s furniture has been very popular. In fact, Reed said she’s looking to buy furniture for her shop, and people can stop by to tell her what they have.
She added that customers can also list items that they’d like to purchase, and she’ll go on “field trips” to find them. In addition to traveling, Reed said she plans to fulfill customers’ “wish lists” by looking locally.
While she’s out “hunting for treasures,” Reed said her son, Jarrett Baker, will help hold down the shop. She hired an additional part-time employee to help out, as well.
Reed added that she appreciates the warm reception that she’s received from the community, and she’s looking forward to attracting tourists this summer.
Horseshoe Antiques is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Court prioritizes Title II projects
by Samantha White
Community Corrections Director Lodi Presley attended the regularly scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court on Dec. 2 to discuss the Grant Award Agreement for the 2015-2017 Justice Reinvestment Grant.
Awarded by the Criminal Justice Commission, the total grant funding amounts to $141,594. The grant period runs from July 1, 2015 until June 30, 2017.
Ten percent of the funding ($14,597.30) will be awarded to Harney Helping Organization for Personal Emergencies (HHOPE). HHOPE is a local, nonprofit organization that has been helping domestic abuse survivors for more than 26 years.
The remaining $126,997 will be allocated toward program funding. Funding will be disbursed in two installments — the first no later than Feb. 1, 2016. The Year 1 amount will be $70,797.
The Project Description and Budget explains that the goal of the grant program is to “financially support Oregon localities in fulfilling the requirements of House Bill 3194 by reducing prison populations and averting future prison construction; reducing recidivism [repeat offenses] through evidence-based practices and data-driven research; increasing public safety through collaboration; and increasing offender accountability.”
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC) will be meeting to determine priorities for the program funds.
Presley said, “One of the biggest issues that we’ve had, and witnessed firsthand, is a lack of transitional housing for offenders,” explaining that some lose their housing while they’re in jail or prison.
She added that a local motel has been accepting these individuals on a case-by-case basis, but, “It’s been pretty rough.”
Presley said she’d also like to establish a reentry court, which would provide extra services to individuals who are reentering the community without job skills or a support system.
The court agreed to authorize Presley to sign the grant agreement and provide a fully executed copy to the court.
Declaring an indirect conflict of interest, Harney County Commissioner Pete Runnels abstained from the vote.
“We did a good job hiring,” Grasty said regarding Presley, adding that she “has really stepped up and turned the program around.”
After some discussion, the court reached an agreement regarding how Title II project proposals should be prioritized.
Under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination 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 court prioritized the projects in the following order:
1. (High) 2016/2017 Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) Crew for Emigrant Creek Ranger District (ECRD);
2. (High) Thinning and Grapple Piling;
3. (Medium) Marshall Creek Aquatic Restoration;
4. (Low) ECRD Recreation Facilities Improvement Project; and
5. (Low) Ant Aspen Restoration.
The court accepted a $24,600 bid from Brian Wall of Wall Construction to improve Theimer Park’s “Boy Scout Cabin.”
Grasty said the Harney County Parks Committee recommended replacing the deck and siding, replacing all of the doors and windows, and constructing a ramp.
Darrell Williams of the Oregon State Snowmobile Association (OSSA) attended the meeting to discuss a map of trails that the association maintains.
Williams explained that the OSSA has been working with the U.S. Forest Service to develop the map and is still waiting for the agency’s approval.
Once approved, the map will be mass produced and made available to the public.
Williams said the local OSSA club is responsible for grooming 300 miles of trails, which connect to trails maintained by other clubs throughout the state.
He added that Harney County Search and Rescue has used the groomed trails for rescue missions during the winter.
“I think it’s an economic driver,” Grasty said regarding the trail system.
He requested that any changes to the map be provided to the court, so they can be recorded in the Commissioner’s Journal for future reference.
In other business, the court:
• received a letter from Herb Vloedman asking which county department employees are going to take furlough days. Vloedman also requested information regarding the county court’s salaries for the last five years, as well as the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget detail (including monthly income and expense).
Grasty said he’ll meet with Vloedman to discuss his request for information.
He later explained that only general fund employees will be furloughed, and he asked department heads to create staffing plans so that none of the departments have to shutdown.
Grasty and Runnels will begin budget discussions in January;
• discussed the replacement of a position in the juvenile department;
• was addressed by Barbara Cannady who requested to be appointed to the proposed committee to review the Harney County Comprehensive Plan.
Grasty replied that everyone is welcome to join the committee. However, he added that Cannady’s request is premature, as the county has yet to receive a grant to begin the comprehensive planning process. He asked Cannady to submit a copy of her letter of interest to Harney County Planning Director Brandon McMullen;
• received a letter from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), announcing a second call for public nominations to fill three positions on the national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. The board advises the BLM and Forest Service on the protection and management of wild free-roaming horses and burros on the public lands that the agencies administer. The deadline to submit nominations is Dec. 28;
• learned from Grasty that the National Association of Counties conference will be held Feb. 20-24, 2016;
• received a letter from the BLM regarding a series of public meetings that will be held throughout the West to gather information on a proposal to withdraw lands determined to be crucial to the survival of the greater sage grouse from location and entry under the 1872 Mining Law, subject to valid existing rights.
The meeting that was scheduled to take place in Burns has been canceled.
However, a meeting will be held in Lakeview on Monday, Dec.14, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Lakeview BLM District Office, 1301 South G St., Lakeview, OR 97630;
• received a letter from Oregon State University (OSU) staff, stating that the OSU Extension Service fund balance for Harney County was $83,295.09 at the end of the 2015 Fiscal Year (June 30, 2015).
Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols complimented the work of OSU extension agent Dustin Johnson. Nichols also requested presentations from OSU Extension Service and Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center staff.
“I think we ought to give them an invitation to blow their horn a little bit,” Nichols said;
• received an update from Grasty concerning the courthouse heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) project. The bid process has been postponed until Dec. 16, as the court has yet to receive a funding commitment. Grasty will meet with state agencies to secure funding before proceeding with the project;
• reviewed water use requests.
The next regularly scheduled county court meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.
Thus far, Mark Owens, Brent Beverly, and Shana Withee have filed for county commissioner; Commissioner Pete Runnels has filed for county judge; Dag Robinson for county clerk; and Joseph Lucas for district attorney.
All local positions are nonpartisan.