Sherman County eNews #247


  1. Newest Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail Segment to Open, Sept. 24

  2. Leadership Development Classes Offered on Thursdays

  3. Editorial: County Commissioners & Transparency in Public Service

  4. Oregon Farm Bureau: 60,000 Oregon Families, COUNTRY Financial Insurance

  5. Goals: The Long and the Short of It

  6. E. OR. Correctional & Two Rivers Correctional Institutions Recruiting, Oct. 8

  7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.” —Samuel Adams (1779)

1. New Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail Segment to Open, Sept. 24

ColumbiaRiver.gorge-stampjpg-16f8d9ef4abd765cOn Saturday Sept. 24, state and federal agencies will join the public in celebrating the opening of the newest segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.

ODOT, Oregon State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service and Western Federal Lands will join in the event which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday Sept. 24 at Viento State Park, exit 56 off Interstate 84. After a brief ceremony, the public will be free to wander the 1.2 miles of new trail and stop at the visitor information stations set up along the way.

Shuttle buses will operate Saturday between the dedication ceremony at Viento State Park and the trailhead at Starvation Creek, exit 55, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Here are details of the dedication.

  • What: Dedication of the new 1.2-mile segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, from Lindsey Creek to Starvation Creek.
  • When: 10 a.m. Saturday Sept. 24. Arrive early to allow time for parking.
  • Where: Viento State Park, exit 56 off Interstate 84.
  • Who: State and federal agency representatives will be stationed along the new section of trail.
  • Why: Celebrating the newest trail segment and preparing to launch work on the next segment.

Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway and the Friends of the Columbia Gorge will be available in the Viento State Park parking lot as will the authors of books about the Gorge, including Peg Willis, author of “Building the Columbia River Highway: They said it Couldn’t Be Done” and Laura O. Foster, author of “Columbia Gorge Getaways: 12 Weekend Adventures from Towns to Trails.”

The public then may take the shuttle or walk less than a mile from Viento State Park to the eastern trailhead of the new segment at Starvation Creek and visit five stations along the new trail which will feature information about the trail.

  • Station 1:Talk to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and learn about opportunities to explore the Historic Highway State Trail at the new and improved Starvation Creek Trailhead.
  • Station 2: Check out the great view of Hole-in-the-Wall Falls and learn about the trail construction from the Western Federal Lands Division, the project managers.
  • Station 3:Speak with the U.S. Forest Service at the new Warren Creek Bridge about how the project is enhancing the landscape.
  • Station 4:Talk to the Oregon Department of Transportation at the Wonder Creek Overlook and learn about future trail connections.
  • Station 5: Check out an interactive groundbreaking selfie stop to get a photo taken with a gold shovel — in honor of the next segment of State Trail that will be under construction in 2017-18.

This new segment is the latest link in the State Trail Reconnection Project, authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1987 to remember, restore and reconnect the Historic Columbia River Highway, which opened 100 years ago this year.

Much of the old highway — the nation’s first scenic highway — was abandoned or torn up after Interstate 84 opened in the 1960s. But the Legislature authorized the new project to reclaim this important piece of Oregon history and to provide new opportunities for exploring the Columbia River Gorge.

ODOT is now seeking funds to complete the remaining five miles of trail to finish the connection between Troutdale and The Dalles.

For a detailed map, go to

For more information, including maps, facts sheets and videos, go to

2. Leadership Development Classes Offered on Thursdays

pen.markerBeginning October 20, Columbia Gorge Community College will offer Leadership Skills for the High Performance Workplace, Mardac Consultants.  This high-level, upbeat seminar series targets organizations who want to compete more effectively by increasing employee involvement. It is designed to give participants the technical skills necessary to turn them into exceptional performance managers and supervisors. Classes meet once a month, on the third Thursday, from 1-5:00 pm. at Hood River Indian Creek campus. Workshops cover the following topics:

Emotional Intelligence

Problem Solving & Decision Making

Recruitment, Interviewing, and On-Boarding

Managing Day-to-Day Performance

Holding Employees & Others Accountable

Coaching and Giving & Receiving Feedback

Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Working with Difficult People

Team Development for Greater Productivity

Tuition for the series is $750, or $99 per class. Preregistration is required by calling the college at 541-506-6011.

3. Editorial: County Commissioners & Transparency in Public Service

newsletter2County commissioners consider a wide range of services, some shared with the state (assessment & taxation, elections, community corrections, court security, district attorney, 9-1-1, juvenile/ children/ family/ aging/ veterans’ services, alcohol & drug programs, mental health, public health, economic & community development, planning, roads, housing, federal land policy, telecommunications, county fair), and some reserved for the county (including property management, records, county law library, sheriff patrol, medical examiner, animal control, solid waste, surveying, capital projects, county parks and libraries).

Members of the County Court (board of commissioners) are paid for a transparent, ethical, diligent, thoughtful, and collaborative performance of public service. Their work is substantially supported by an Administrative Assistant, Finance Officer, Clerk, Treasurer, legal counsel and others, as well as personnel working for regional boards that deliver services to Sherman County.

Members of the County Court and its committees and boards are on the same team. As a matter of ethics and integrity, when problems arise, we expect them to be resolved by board members.

For that matter, we’re all on the same team doing what is best for the most people in the county with the resources available to us! We’re all in this together.

In a nutshell, in addition to regular and special meetings of the County Court, here are some of the duties of a county commissioner.

County Court Division of Responsibilities / Board & Committee Assignments


County commissioners represent the county on state, regional and local boards in a division of responsibilities. These board meetings, annual, quarterly or monthly, are a routine part of the work that commissioners are paid to perform. Commissioners are routinely chosen to chair regional boards and agree to serve in that capacity based on their interest and work load in an informal rotation among counties. Their reports on these meetings are made during regular meetings of the County Court, and are summarized in the minutes.

Sherman County Commissioners are members of the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) and the Eastern Oregon Rural Alliance. They serve as the Biggs Service District board and on the Public Contract Board of Review, Sherman County Budget Committee and Board of Property Tax Appeals. Service on some assigned boards or committees is ex officio or as a non-voting liaison.

Sherman County Judge Gary Thompson is the juvenile judge and represents the county on the Lower John Day Area Commission on Transportation, Sherman County Special Transportation Fund ex officio, Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, Frontier Telenet, Frontier Digital Network, Association of Oregon Counties and National Association of Counties committees, Sherman County Court Security/Courthouse, Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, Sherman County Senior & Community Center Advisory Committee and Central & Eastern Oregon Juvenile Justice Council.

Commissioner Mike Smith represents the county with Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, North Central Public Health, Tri-County Mental Health/Center for Living; Mid-Columbia Community Action Council, Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, Association of Oregon Counties and National Association of Counties committees, Tri-County Communications, Tri-County Community Corrections, Workforce Investment Board/The Oregon Consortium, Sherman County Community Advisory Council and Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care, and Oregon Broadband Advisory Committee.

Commissioner Tom McCoy represents the county with Northern Oregon Regional Corrections (NORCOR), Lower John Day Area Commission on Transportation, Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, Sherman County Soil & Water Conservation District, Sherman County Public/School Library, Prevention Coalition, Sherman County Community Advisory Council, Sherman County Weed Control Advisory Board and Sherman County Rural Road Advisory Committee.

Interested constituents may follow their work on the county website (Governance) where the County Court minutes are archived and, to a lesser extent, in The Citizen-Reporter, which provides information about local services. See

4. Oregon Farm Bureau: 60,000 Oregon Families, COUNTRY Financial Insurance

pencil.spiralThe Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) is a grassroots, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing the interests of the state’s family farmers and ranchers in the public and policymaking arenas. As Oregon’s largest general farm organization, its primary goal is to promote educational improvement, economic opportunity, and social advancement for its members and the farming, ranching, and natural resources industry as a whole. The voice of Oregon agriculture, OFB works to find solutions that will benefit all of the state’s agriculture producers.

With Oregon roots dating back to 1919, Oregon Farm Bureau was established as a statewide organization in 1932. Today with 7,000 farming and ranching members raising over 220 different types of crops and livestock, and a total membership of over 60,000 Oregon families, Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general agriculture organization.

The county Farm Bureau is the foundation for Farm Bureau at the state and national levels. Oregon has 32 organized, active county Farm Bureaus covering all 36 Oregon counties. Each county Farm Bureau has its own board and officers and is a vital link between the organization’s membership, its policy development, and implementation efforts.

Eligible farmers and ranch­ers can get a substantial Verizon discount for business lines. Also find savings on propane, prescription medications, hotel stays, rental cars, and more. Farm Bureau members are eligible for COUNTRY Financial insurance and other services.

Members with farm stands, u-pick fields, on-farm festivals, CSAs, etc. can be included in OFB’s renowned Oregon’s Bounty guide and website, the state’s most comprehensive listing of direct-market ag ventures open to the public.

Virtually every aspect of public policy touches family agriculture in some way. Farm Bureau employs a time-tested, open, democratic annual grassroots process to reach its public policy positions. The ultimate goal is the survival and success of the family farm and ranch in Oregon.

Among Farm Bureau’s core principles are voluntary membership; open, democratic, and transparent processes of governing, finance, and policymaking; equal opportunity; the importance of family; and above all, power resting in the hands of voting members.

OFB is part of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a member-funded, politically independent federation of nearly 3,000 county Farm Bureaus throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Oregon Farm Bureau helps:

  • Farm and ranch families keep Oregon green and remain good caretakers of land, water, and animals.
  • Connects farmers with charities such as Farmers Ending Hunger and the Ronald McDonald House.
  • Preserves Oregon’s agricultural heritage through the Century Farm & Ranch Program.
  • Provides over $65,000 per year in scholarships to students from across the state.
  • Educates teachers through the Summer Ag Institute.

COUNTRY Financial® is a family of companies. Your membership in the local county Farm Bureau and the Oregon Farm Bureau allows us to offer you coverage through COUNTRY Preferred Insurance Company® and COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, which offer preferred rates to members.

Big Value, Small Price… Associate membership is just $15 annually and includes:

  • Better rates – your membership gives you access to preferred auto and home insurance rates.
  • Valuable discount program – visit the Oregon Farm Bureau or your local county Farm Bureau website for discount information on a variety of services.
  • Community outreach – your Oregon Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureau provide materials to schools and support for programs aimed at educating our younger generations about the role agriculture plays in society.
  • Supporting Healthy food for your family – your Oregon Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureau support local farmers that put healthy food on your table.

5. Goals: The Long and the Short of It

Some people say that long-term goals are the kind you need to set if you really want to get anywhere. Other people say that long-term goals are too distant to get their arms around. Here’s another way to look at short- and long-term goals, and it’s backed up by research out of Stanford University as well as other leading edge studies. 

The best kind of goals to have is a combination of short- and long-term. If you have only long-term goals, you may find it rough going. The realities of life are that most of us have many pressing goals in the present – things we must get done on a daily and weekly basis in order to avoid unpleasant consequences. These things often cause us to put off the long-term goals – and put them off, and put them off. Also, we may become demoralized because we don’t see ourselves accomplishing or achieving anything right now. It can seem very difficult to keep a long-term goal in focus, when it doesn’t seem like we are making much progress.

On the other hand, if you have only short-term goals, you may feel fragmented, or lacking in a sense of overall direction and purpose. Short-term goals become more of a “to do list” than the building blocks they can be. However, when you combine short-term and long-term, you have the best of both. 

So by all means, set long-term goals. But set goals that you can accomplish in the near future, too. Your eventual goal may be to be financially independent. But what can you do today, this week, and this month to move you closer to that desired end-result? It may be having an extra $20, $50 or $100 to put into a savings account. Your long-term goal may be to graduate with honors, but this week your goal is to get an “A” on a math test. 

You get the idea. Combine long- and short-term goals if you are really determined to make something happen. They work together to get you where you want to be. ~ The Pacific Institute

6. E. OR. Correctional & Two Rivers Correctional Institutions Recruiting, Oct. 8

Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) and Two Rivers Correctional Institution (TRCI) have joined resources to hold a one-day recruiting event on Saturday, October 8, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. During this event, corrections professionals will share information about careers including Correctional Officers, Food Service Coordinators, Physical Plant/Maintenance Specialists, Correctional Counselors, Medical Professionals, Mental Health Professionals, and Administrative Support. Refreshments will be offered throughout the day.

Those who come on board at EOCI or TRCI will join a team of 4,500 corrections professionals across the state within the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). In addition to excellent benefits, DOC provides many opportunities for job rotations, promotions, and continuing professional development.

All attendees will receive assistance with the online application and scheduling for the National Testing Network (NTN) REACT Test for Correctional Officers ($35 fee — accepted payment methods are: valid credit card, debit card, or prepaid debit card). Participants may register prior to the event at:

Those wishing to attend will need to bring valid photo identification (driver’s license, military ID, or passport). Attendees may not wear clothing that is blue (including denim), camouflage, or suggestive. Cell phones and smartwatches cannot be taken inside the facility. Tours of EOCI will be available.

The event will be held at the Blue Mountain Community College Science Building located at 2411 NW Carden Avenue, in Pendleton. Interested applicants with questions about the recruiting event may call (503) 930-2462. They may also visit for more information.

EOCI is a multi-custody prison located in Pendleton that houses over 1,600 male inmates. The institution is known for its Oregon Corrections Enterprises industries, including a garment factory that produces Prison Blues(C), whose products are sold in and outside the United States. Other industries are its embroidery and laundry facilities. EOCI provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, religious services, and inmate work crews. The buildings that make up EOCI were constructed in 1912 and 1913 and were originally used as a state mental hospital. After two years of renovation, EOCI received its first inmates in June 1985.

TRCI is a multi-custody prison in Umatilla that houses approximately 1,800 male inmates. TRCI participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including institution and industrial laundry, mattress manufacturing, and sewing. Other institution work programs include reparation and cleaning of irrigation ditches, maintenance of local baseball fields, and work with local cities and the Hermiston School District. The facility provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, religious services, and behavioral health services. TRCI opened in 2000.

7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

Bird.Black.EnvelopeDrive Subaru Historic Columbia River Highway

Oregon Farm Bureau and Financial Services/Health Insurance

Spiders of Oregon

Former Sherman County Resident, Author Nancy Lanni

Gorge News Center

Sherman County Tax Map Explorer

Oregon Transparency: Opening State Government to Everyone

Open Books Project (local schools)

This Animation Was Created Using Old Photos from the Early 1900s

Carla Fox, Metal Smith

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