Sherman County eNews #290


  1. Sherman County Court Notes, Nov. 2

  2. Do You Understand the Electoral College?

  3. Camping reservations to open Nov. 17 for eclipse viewing at Oregon State Parks

  4. Break This Law?

  5. Turn Back Your Clock, Test Your Fire Alarms, Nov. 6

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


1.Sherman County Court Notes, Nov. 2

ShermanCoLogo~ By Administrative Assistant Lauren Hernandez  (A brief summary of topics addressed – not official minutes. For details, please see the official approved minutes posted after the December 7 court session on the Sherman County website at

The Sherman County Court met in regular session on November 2, 2016, and in conducting the business of the county,

  • heard an update on the courthouse facilities project from Heath Gardner, Wenaha Group, and Ron McDermid, Justice of the Peace; Heath presented the 50% Construction Documents (CD) Budget Comparison; originally, the budget estimate jumped approximately $140,000; the project team reviewed and adjusted the estimate; the electrical contingency contained in the bid was removed; the progress cleaning allowance was reduced to twelve months; the demo of the Weed Department building will be done outside of the project; figures for the security gate were corrected, and courtroom bookcases were added; other cost savings ideas were discussed, including using existing defibrillator units, using plastic condensate pipe, approving aluminum electrical feeders, and reducing current data and communication cables from four cables per box to only what is needed; other alternates include skylights as optional, seat walls as optional, and new finishes in existing restrooms as optional; these adjustments and savings ideas can be bought back on bid day depending on pricing; alternates can typically be accepted up to 60-90 days after bids are accepted; the project team’s job is to do best practices to hit the budget, but if the court decides there are important things it would like to keep, it can make that decision; it is best to wait until bids are received in case the unstable market produces elevated prices; with these strategies, the CD budget is only approximately $5,000 higher than previous estimates; Kirby Nagelhout Construction is in the process of communicating with sub-contractors about the project; the bidding process is a public bid process and will be advertised as required and in addition to required; the bid period will be 4-6 weeks and will end in mid-January; the Weed Department facility is in for permit and should break ground next week; Ron will meet with Rod Asher, Weed District Director, to determine some of the final details of the building; Pat Powell will do the earthwork at the site; Ron will meet with the Fair Board and update them with more details about the project; Heath showed site plans of the Weed Department building; a new quote has been received for the cupola in the amount of $40,000; three quotes were received, and Fiberglass Specialties in Texas was chosen; a few small checks have been received for the project from Energy Trust of Oregon;
  • heard a request to establish a full-time position for the Weed District from Rod Asher, Weed District Director; Michael Henricksen has been a seasonal weed technician for three years; establishing Michael as 1FTE includes health care and wages, which will cost an additional $31,149.09 to be taken from the General Fund Operational Contingency; Michael’s current position is funded 75% through contract work, and discussion was held about the potential of acquiring more contract work or seeking other funding to cover the cost increase; the court expressed the county has worked hard to not fund positions with SIP dollars, and the county should be careful when funding a new full-time position because SIP dollar amounts will be decreasing in the future; Debbie Hayden, Finance Director, explained the Weed Department assists with grounds maintenance, and the county continues to accumulate property that needs to be maintained; Rod has built up so much compensation time that he will not be able to use it all and he will not be paid for unused time; this is a clear indication that the need is present to bring on more help, and adding a full-time position would help alleviate these issues; Debbie explained the court is the Compensation Board and has the authority to authorize this change outside of the budget process; the court has moved towards making the Weed Department a major priority, and this expansion follows that direction; the court approved changing Michael Henricksen from a .75 to a 1FTE full-time position in the Weed Department, effective November 1, 2016;
  • heard a quarterly report from Bryan Hunt, Tri-County Veterans’ Service Officer;
  • entered into the Contract Review Board; heard from Jenine McDermid, Clerk, only one Request for Quote (RFQ) was received for the new recording system; reviewed the RFQ response by Helion; the Clerk’s office is switching from the Progress system to Helion, which is consistent with other counties in the state; there is a one-time licensing fee of $5,775, an installation, configuration, and training fee of $6,200, and a data conversion fee of between $5,000-$7,000; all of these fees are budgeted; after the conversion, there is an annual cost of $2,950; the court accepted a Request for Quote from Helion in the amount not to exceed $22,000 including a $2,950 annual fee for the county clerk’s office recording system;
  • heard a Biggs Service District Water Project update from Brad Baird, Anderson Perry & Associates; the reservoir/well site process will be started; Brad presented a tentative plan of the site; there will be a 30-foot utility easement where conduit can be installed; a Conditional Use Permit is needed, and paperwork will be turned in next week; the partition could be completed in January; Judge Thompson signed the Water Use Permit Application; preparation of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) application and Environmental Report are underway; agency notification letters and figures will go out next week, which starts the thirty-day comment period; the process should be complete by mid-December and ready for submission to USDA; depending on loan funding arrival, the project may not be started in 2017; the court asked if it is possible to fund the project through reserves and then replace the funds with the loan money, as water service in Biggs is a public health emergency as well as a fire issue; the USDA does allow this; this will be pursued if it becomes necessary; brief discussion was held about holding a public hearing in Biggs to add water to the district’s services; this meeting will likely be held in December and will be advertised; Brad asked to be placed on the agenda every month for the next three months;
  • heard from Shawn Payne, Emergency Services Director, that she contacted the state and found that nothing in the OAR or ORS states a county is required to have an Ambulance Service Area (ASA) Plan Advisory Committee; Glenn Fluhr, South Sherman Fire & Rescue (SSFR) Chief, submitted a letter asking if SSFR could endorse a person to be on the committee and if a committee member may reside outside of the county; the court encourages endorsements for committee members and determined all committee members are required to be Sherman County citizens; the court approved the makeup of the ASA Advisory Committee to include one community member from Kent, one community member from Grass Valley, one community member from Moro, one community member from Wasco, one community member from Rufus, one community member from Biggs, one member from dispatch, one member from Sherman County Ambulance, and one representative from Sherman County Court; Shawn will work on advertising the committee openings;
  • heard an update from Carol Benkosky, Prineville District Bureau of Land Management (BLM); BLM is trying to increase the number of herbicides available for use for weed control from four to fourteen; the decision was recently appealed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), and BLM is anticipating a favorable ruling; Cottonwood Canyon saw changes in the way the public uses it, including changes at Starvation Lane; the BLM had to change the proposed action to adjust to the way the public is using the park versus anticipated use; the Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Assessment (EA) has temporarily been postponed to accommodate other priority work; the EA will result in a Cooperative Management Agreement between Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and BLM; Public Lands Day was successful, with over fifty volunteers picking up garbage, pulling weeds, cleaning campsites, and maintain trails; the McGreer land exchanges are complete and issues are being worked out with Deferred Tax Liability; during peak season in 2016, boater use on the John Day River was up 39%; Segment 2 (Cottonwood Canyon) saw a 66% increase; BLM is working to upgrade the boater pass system; the new system will include several improvements, including a seven-day block release and blocks of passes released at 7am instead of midnight; outfitters sell their businesses and transfer their permits to the new owner, but in the past, permits were not given to new businesses; this was challenged in IBLA and BLM was directed to allow transfers from one business to another in addition to offering new permits; four new permits will be added to the lower Deschutes River in 2017; Segment 3 whitewater day-use increase is taking a majority of allocated passes during limited entry weekends, leaving fewer passes for other boaters in the remainder of Segment 3; a recommendation has been made to divide Segment 3 into two segments, 3A and 3B; the eclipse on August 21, 2017, will attract many visitors to the area; Carol announced her retirement and will be finished January 2nd, 2017;
  • authorized North Central Public Health District WIC to use a room at the Wasco Annex for the satellite WIC clinic on the second Tuesday in February, April, June, August, October, and December during 2017 at a cost of zero dollars;
  • authorized the revised general service contract between PacifiCorp and Sherman County for electric service on the courthouse facilities in the amount of $47,178.00 and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • approved the distribution of $590 to eligible applicants for the 2016 Resident Incentive Program;
  • approved the expenditure of $180 for Community Action Partnerships to use the Senior Center November 8, December 6, and December 19 to offer assistance to residents in need of help with winter heat bills;
  • authorized the expenditure of $450 to continue membership in National Association of Counties in 2017;
  • approved an Intergovernmental Lease of Office Space between Sherman County and Department of Human Services for office space and use of the conference room for meetings in the Senior Center for a period of five years to end on June 30, 2021, for a rental cost of $3,780 per year, and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • re-signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Reunification Site between Sherman County and Sherman County School District;
  • approved a letter of support for Dan Talley’s application to the Attainable Housing Development Revolving Loan Fund with Mid-Columbia Economic Development District and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • discussed the county website and the prevention coordinator position;
  • heard reports from court members about regional board activities.


 2. Do You Understand the Electoral College?

Do you understand what the Electoral College is? Or how it works? Or why America uses it to elect its presidents instead of just using a straight popular vote? Author, lawyer and Electoral College expert Tara Ross does, and she explains that to understand the Electoral College is to understand American democracy.

3. Camping reservations to open Nov. 17, 2016 for eclipse viewing at Oregon State Parks

Salem OR — Starting November 17, 2016, state park campers can make reservations for campsites, yurts, and cabins to enjoy the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. The normal advance campsite reservation window opens nine months before the first night of a visitor’s stay, but a temporary change to the reservation system will affect people who want to make a 14-night reservation, the maximum allowed in Oregon’s State Park system.

The state park system accepts reservations nine months in advance, but it would normally be possible to get a reservation for Aug. 21 by booking the maximum 14-night stay on November 7, 2016. Given the expected high demand for sites around the eclipse, and to prevent overbooking that could interfere with other visitors’ summer vacation plans, state parks along and near the eclipse path will not accept reservations for Aug. 17-21, 2017 until November 17, 2016. This is ten days after OPRD’s standard rolling nine month reservation window would normally allow a camper to make a long reservation.

On Nov. 17, 2016, the normal rolling nine month window will resume for all sites that accept reservations at parks along and near the eclipse path.

“We made this change to accommodate all visitors, both those planning for the eclipse and those who are planning an unrelated camping trip,” said Chris Havel, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson. “We encourage eclipse campers to extend their stay with us for a day or more before and after the eclipse to reduce the congestion on the roads.”

The Nov. 17 reservation opening date applies to the following campgrounds inside the path of totality–Devil’s Lake, Beverly Beach, South Beach, Silver Falls, Detroit Lake, The Cove Palisades, and Farewell Bend.

Campgrounds that are up to 30 miles outside the path of totality are also affected by the temporary change to reservation rules: Beachside, Cape Lookout, Washburne (yurts only), Honeyman, Nehalem Bay, Stub Stewart, Champoeg, Milo McIver, Ainsworth, Memaloose, Viento, Deschutes River, Tumalo, LaPine, Prineville Reservoir, Lake Owyhee and Wallowa Lake.

OPRD is making plans to temporarily convert first-come, first-served state park campgrounds to reservation-only for the eclipse, so additional campsites will be made available at a later date.

“We are also working on ways to open more state park areas to camping for the event,” Havel said. “We want to make sure people can make solid plans well in advance to avoid congestion.”
Customers can make reservations for any stay that includes Aug. 17-21 beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 17 at, and 8 a.m. by phone at 1-800-452-5687.

Campgrounds run by the US Forest Service will start taking reservations six months in advance, in February 2017.

The eclipse will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 21, 2017. The 60-mile wide path of totality–when the moon completely blocks the sun–will last for about two minutes starting at 10:15 a.m. on the coast between Newport and Lincoln City. The path of totality then sweeps through the state and on to Idaho, then runs across the United States toward South Carolina. For more information about the eclipse, visit

4. Break This Law?

Have you heard about the Law of Entropy? Whether you have heard of it or not, keep reading. We’ll talk about how this law can help or hinder you.

In physics, the Law of Entropy says that all systems, if left unattended, will run down. Unless new energy is supplied, every organism deteriorates. Looked at in a different way, the same law applies to individuals and relationships, teams and organizations.

A marriage doesn’t continue to thrive simply because two people love each other, have some things in common, are compatible, and get off to a fine start. No matter how good our lives seem to be, we won’t continue to enjoy those good lives if we don’t work to maintain them and pump new energy into them. When attention fades over time, old habits creep back into organizations and the momentum to push forward disappears.

We cannot assume that our internal system, if left unattended and un-refreshed, will go on running smoothly. Machines don’t work that way, and neither do we. Albert Schweitzer once wrote that some people “harm their souls… without being exposed to great temptations. They simply let their souls wither not realizing that thoughts, which meant a great deal to them in their youth, have turned into meaningless sounds.”

What do you do to counteract personal or organizational Entropy? What do you do to make certain that your relationships with others, and with yourself, are well nourished and flourishing? What do you do, within your teams or departments, to keep creativity bubbling up, and drive and energy ready to be tapped?

With proper attention and care, you can keep the energy in your life flowing and growing for the rest of your days. There are a lot more resources today than ever before, and sometimes, they are right at your fingertips. Perhaps the Law of Entropy is one law we need to break. ~ The Pacific Institute

5. Turn Back Your Clock, Test Your Fire Alarms, Nov. 6

clock.793Sunday, November 6 marks the end of daylight saving time and serves as a good reminder for Oregonians to test their smoke alarms. The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is urging residents to test their smoke alarms before automatically changing the batteries.

“Smoke alarm technology has advanced and many now come with 10-year batteries and some are tamper-resistant,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “So, I encourage residents to test their alarms before changing the battery.”

Oregon law requires ionization-only smoke alarms that are solely battery powered to come equipped with a hush feature and a 10-year battery. Because of this technology, the national slogan “Change your clock, Change your battery” may not apply to Oregon residents who have these ionization-only smoke alarms.

Other types of alarms are also being sold with either a 10-year battery or a standard-life battery.

“Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family’s safety from a home fire,” adds Walker. “Also, be sure to replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older.”

To test your alarm properly we recommend you:
1) Push the test button to be sure the battery is working.
2) When replacing batteries, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct battery type to use.
3) Always retest alarms after installing new batteries.
4) Replace any alarm that fails to operate after installing a new battery.
5) Inspect your alarms to determine if they are 10 years old or older, and replace any smoke alarm 10 years old or older. Look for a date on the back of the alarm. If there is no date, your alarm is more than 10 years old and should be replaced.
6) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regularly cleaning your alarms of dust and cobwebs.

Working smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to a fire, allowing you vital minutes to escape, which increase your chances of survival. Additional safety tips:
* Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area (hallway).
* Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
* Use the smoke alarm’s hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
* Make a home fire escape plan and practice it with family members.
* Practice you home fire escape plan at least two times a year at different times of the day/night.
* Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Ensure that someone will help them.

For more home fire escape planning information visit:

For more smoke alarm and fire safety information, contact your local fire department or visit

Follow the OSFM on Facebook and Twitter @OSFM.

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

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Size of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Workforce Stable After the Great Recession 

Map. Which Country Would You Like to Live in?

Energy Northwest

Sherman County, Oregon