Sherman County eNews #25

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Table of Contents

  1. Sherman School District Basketball Schedule Update
  2. Sherman County Private Sector Businesses, Estimated
  3. 2013 Sherman County Economic Profile
  4. There’s a Substantial Federal Presence in Eastern Oregon’s Economy [2013]
  5. ODOT’s online survey will help develop better transit options in the Gorge
  6. Opinion: Equality can breed poverty
  7. Links

1. Sherman School District Basketball Schedule Update

  • Today’s JV Boys Basketball game vs. Arlington at Arlington will only be 2 quarters starting at 5:00 instead of 4:30. The bus will depart the High School at 3:15.
  • We have added a Junior High 5/6 Boys JV Game on Jan. 27th vs. South Wasco at the Maupin High School starting at 4:00.

2. Sherman County Private Sector Businesses, estimated

An estimate of the number of private sector non-farm businesses [not counting employees] based on the Sherman County Agri-Business Directory:

Kent 2

Grass Valley 9

Moro 14

Wasco 25

Biggs 8

Rufus 14.

3. 2013 Sherman County Economic Profile

by Dallas FridleyJanuary 13, 2014

Sherman County lies between the deep canyons of the John Day River on the east and the Deschutes River on the west in north central Oregon. The mighty Columbia River forms the boundary on the north. Much of the boundary on the south is defined by the rugged canyons of Buck Hollow, a tributary of the Deschutes. Six small towns – Biggs, Rufus, Wasco, Moro, Grass Valley, and Kent – provide basic services for the approximately 1,750 residents of the County. The county seat is Moro. The economy is based on wheat, barley, cattle and tourism.

Population Trends: Sherman County’s population rose by 15 residents in 2013 to total 1,780, marking its first year of population growth in 10 years. Sherman County’s 0.8 percent gain in 2013 was good enough to rank 11th in Oregon, following two no-growth years in 2011 and 2012. Back in 2003, Sherman County grew by 44 residents but from 2004 to 2010 its population total fell by 113. Despite its favorable showing in 2013, Sherman County lost 154 residents since the 2000 Census and its loss of 8.0 percent placed it at the bottom of Oregon’s growth rankings in 36th position. In 2012, the county ranked ninth in Oregon for the share of its population age 65 or older, according to the latest available estimates from Portland State University. With 23 percent of its residents age 65 or older, Sherman County was well above Oregon’s 14.8 percent. Births in Sherman County are typically outnumbered by deaths, although its natural increase from 2010 to 2012 was strong enough to offset its net migration loss.

Labor Force Trends: Farm proprietors represent a significant share of Sherman County’s labor force, with 124 self-employed farm operators according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. Sherman County’s annual jobless rate typically ranks in the middle third of Oregon counties, averaging 8.4 percent in 2012 while ranking 11th. Oregon’s annual average unemployment rate peaked at 11.1 percent in 2009 and has been subsiding ever since. By contrast, Sherman County’s 2009 unemployment rate was considerably lower, at 9.0 percent, but it rose to 9.9 in 2010 as wind farm construction projects ended. Over the next two years, Sherman County’s jobless rate fell by 2.1 percentage points. Seasonally adjusted jobless rates showed improvement in 2013, reaching 6.4 percent in November while ranking fifth. High self-employment and a sparse population translate to low unemployment rates in Sherman County and a high labor force participation rate (LFPR). In 2012, Sherman County ranked second for its 74.9 percent LFPR, exceeding Oregon’s LFPR by 11.5 percentage points.

Industry Employment Trends: Total nonfarm payroll employment in Sherman County benefited from regional wind farm construction projects, reaching 755 jobs in 2008. Unlike most Oregon counties, Sherman did not lose jobs during the recession: in fact, it managed to add jobs in 2009 and 2011 while holding steady with 790 jobs in 2012. We don’t yet have final figures for 2013, but preliminary data suggest an average of 800 jobs. Farm proprietors play an important role in the local job picture, supporting nonfarm jobs throughout the county. Nonfarm industries in Sherman County are led by trade, transportation, and utilities, which represented close to one out of three jobs in 2012 (29%). Around 22 percent of Sherman County’s jobs were found in local government, while leisure and hospitality represented around 17 percent. Taken together, Sherman County’s top three nonfarm industries represented 530 jobs or about 67 percent.

Wage and Income Trends: According to Oregon Employment Department data, the average job in Sherman County paid $39,654 in 2012. That was 90 percent of the statewide average. Sherman County’s median household income rose faster than any other Oregon county from 2009 to 2012, increasing by $9,439, or 26.9 percent, to $44,583. But its 2012 median household income estimate actually fell below 2011, dropping by $1,870 or 4.0 percent. Despite its sizeable three-year gain, Sherman County’s median household income estimate ranked near the middle of Oregon’s pack, in 15th position. 

4. There’s a Substantial Federal Presence in Eastern Oregon’s Economy [2013] [State of Oregon Employment Department]


 “In fact, there are only two places in Oregon – Sherman County (15.2%) and Lake County (12.1%) – where the federal government is a more important contributor to the local job market than in Harney and Grant counties. Sherman, Lake, Harney, and Grant are, by far, the Oregon counties most heavily affected by federal employment trends. No other county comes close. After those four, the next highest share in 2012 was in Crook County, at 5.9 percent. Baker County’s 4.3 percent put it in sixth place for federal job dependency among Oregon’s 36 counties in 2012.” [2013: State of Oregon Employment Department]


SUMMARY: Government Employment in Sherman County

Total All Government Employment 293

 Total Federal Government Employment 125

            Natural resources & mining 2

            Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 2

Trade, transport & utilities 4

Postal services 4

Professional & business services 115

Administration of economic programs 3

 Total State Government Employees 43

            Construction & engineering 27

            Education & health services 5

            Social assistance 5

            Leisure & hospitality 9

            [arts, entertainment, recreation, parks, historic sites, museums].

 Total Local Government 125

            Construction 8

            Education & health services 43

            Education services 30

            Leisure & hospitality 4

            Public administration 69

            [executive, legislative, general government, justice, public order, safety]

            Administration environmental programs 3.

5. ODOT’s online survey will help develop better transit options in the Gorge

ODOT has launched an online public survey to help develop new transit options that will address congestion in the popular Columbia River Gorge.


The online survey will be available through Jan. 31 to residents and visitors. The survey and additional information is available at

The survey is seeking ways to improve access, reduce congestion and improve safety for all users. ODOT is working on this project with local, state and federal officials; Gorge-focused organizations; private sector groups; recreational outlets and transit providers.

This year, the Historic Columbia River Highway will celebrate its 100th birthday, with local communities, public agencies and land managers are looking for ways to combat congestion that affects Gorge residents and visitors alike.

Popular destinations such as Multnomah Falls are often overwhelmed with traffic, forcing closure of the parking lot, and parking at other sites cannot meet the public demand. Few public transit options connect recreational and tourist attractions with population centers.

Enhanced public or private transit options may play an important part of any solution.

6. Opinion: Equality can breed poverty

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 22, 2016 by Jay Ambrose – The book’s title is From Dawn to Decadence. It’s about the past 500 years of Western culture, the author was the brilliant late Jacques Barzun, and one topic he discussed was what he called the “Great Switch.” It’s the disastrous point at which liberalism changed from a philosophy emphasizing individualism, rights and liberty to something very nearly its opposite: equality.

No, we’re not talking here about equality under the law. That’s a good. That’s vital, and it’s vital as well to have different social classes interacting with each other, with respect for each other.

What contradicts the old meaning of liberalism is the thunderous hue and cry to make greater equality of monetary outcome a prime objective. The plot is to move forward through coercion and disruption of a free enterprise system that’s among the chief blessings of history. Vast redistribution of dollars would solve next to nothing that’s humanly amiss in today’s society. Sometimes abetted by self-avowed conservatives, it’s divisive and it appeals to envy.

You begin to see the problems more clearly when you look at specifics, such as a Washington Examiner analysis showing Bernie Sanders—who at least concedes he is a socialist—would pay for incredibly outlandish spending schemes through incredibly outlandish taxing schemes adding up to more than $19 trillion over 10 years.

That’s close to a 50 percent tax hike for the nation, taking enough money out of the private economy to hurt it dramatically, giving the unemployed even less chance of finding work and bringing us a step closer to a major debt crisis that’s coming anyway in part because of a refusal to adjust entitlement programs.

Perhaps with good intentions but just as likely because of polls indicating voter approval, a major theme of virtually all Democrats this year is hiking the minimum wage even though the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office says this could cost a half million to a million jobs. It would mainly be the least skilled and the poorest who would suffer.

An outright lie in another equality issue is that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar men make for equal work. The fact is that this difference in pay is not for equal work, but for different work chosen freely, differences in experience and differences in the hours put in.

For real economic solutions, how about an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit that goes only to low-wage employees and provides an incentive to work? How about getting rid of the interventionist regulations that reduce work opportunities?

A further need in the end is to restore a working class spirit that right now looks very desperate. It was revealed last year that white middle-aged citizens with no more than a high school education had been experiencing an increased death rate since 1999 while most large groups in the world are experiencing an increased longevity rate. The reasons were suicide, drugs and alcohol.

The answer is not government as a substitute family but of communities coming together, of churches reaching out, of individuals standing up and leading, of vocational programs in schools and emphasis on learning trades generally.

Meanwhile, at least some liberals—who tarnished the name so badly they now misleadingly call themselves progressives—need to stop their decadent way of supposing that people are poor because others are rich.

7. Links

Vision for OSU Cascades Campus

What a $15 Hourly Wage Would Mean in the Columbia Basin

The Accountability Project

Evangelical 16th-century religious term now used in modern American politics

The Gourmet Retailer: Salad Dressing Made with Dulse 

A Ravel of Knitting Words

Agri-Times Northwest 

East Oregonian | Commentary: The Folly of Taking Back the West

Conservation Groups Demand End to Refuge Occupation

Walden speaks out against proposed Crater Lake wilderness

Sutton Mountain Wilderness Bill

The Oregon Natural Desert Association

Opinion | Do Emotions Trump Facts?

Refugees Riot in France

The Gorka Briefing

Shadow Warriors Project