Sherman County eNews #43


  1. Patricia Mobley 1938-2019

  2. Oregon State Archives: Our State’s Sense of Humor

  3. Oregon Raceway Park Announces White Rat 1: A very short notice event!

  4. Sherman County Court News, Dec. 5

  5. Sherman County Court News, Dec. 19

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

1. Patricia Mobley 1938-2019

flower.rose.starOn Sunday, February 10, 2019, Patricia Cora Mobley of Neskowin, Oregon, passed away at the age of 80. Pat was born in Winnemucca, Nevada on November 6, 1938 to Richard and Cora Flaiz and was the oldest of 4 children. They moved to the John Day area in 1944 where she went to school and graduated from Long Creek High School in 1956. The family then moved to Kinzua in 1958.

Pat graduated from business college and worked for a lumber company in Portland for 2 years. She came home for the Spray rodeo and met the love of her life, calf roper Verne Mobley. A year later Pat and Verne were married in Kinzua, Oregon, on May 27, 1961. Son Mark was born in 1962 and Ron was born in 1964. Pat was the bass player and lead vocalist for the Sundowners band that included Verne, Mark, Ron and Don Mobley. Pat helped teach at the Kent grade school, she organized a women’s bowling team in Madras, and then took a job as Postmaster in Shaniko for 12 years. After retiring from their ranch near Kent, Oregon, Pat and Verne did some traveling around in an RV. They fell in love with the Oregon Coast and built a home in Cloverdale in 2007, where they lived for 10 years before buying an ocean view home in Neskowin where they have resided for the past three years.

Pat is survived by her husband Verne; her sister Sandy Dames and brother Richard Flaiz; son Mark, his wife Susan, and their sons Dave & Jon; son Ron & Amy Coy, Ron’s son Nolan and daughter Karissa, her husband Tyler Gorham and their sons Heston and Royce (born 2-5-2019); and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Elsa Mae Gibson.

Memorial services will be held on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in The Dalles, Oregon at the Spencer Libby & Powell Funeral Home.

2. Oregon State Archives: Our State’s Sense of Humor

Oregon.Flat.poleOregon State Archives

Cecil Edwards, Oregon’s Legislative Historian, received a 1992 letter from a graduate student in New York, requesting “a joke, anecdote, or brief story representative of your state’s sense of humor.”

Edwards replied with a quote from T.T. Geer, Oregon governor from 1899 to 1903. Geer, the state’s first governor born in Oregon, said “he was tired of hearing about the hardships endured by pioneer men. Pioneer women endured the same hardships — and besides that, they had to endure the pioneer men.” ~Kristine Deacon

3. Oregon Raceway Park Announces White Rat 1: A very short notice event!

Bring your helmet and your mittens, put your big boy pants over your long johns and head to the track. Oregon Raceway Park is ready right now with fresh snow scheduled every day this week.

Saturday February 16th — I need 30 sign-ups minimum by Thursday, February 14th. Studs are only allowed behind the wheel and the only chains are tow chains.

$200 entry fee / $75 for additional drivers (same car), non-driving guests $20 (this includes lunch and gate fee), rental cars available at winter rates, reserve now, the jumper cables are ready. Hot lunch included. To register call Brenda at the track office: 541-333-2452. A STAR Projects Event.

4. Sherman County Court News, Dec. 5

ShermanCoLogoBy Kayla von Borstel, Administrative Assistant

Quarterly Reports, ODOT and WSDOT Mobility Management Match 2018-2019, and Golden Hills SIP Agreement were the main items on the agenda during the December 5th session of Sherman County Court in Moro.

Beth McCurdy, Fair Board, reported the Board had another good fair. The Building Committee has had a few meetings regarding the new Fair Grounds facilities. The 2019 Fair is expected to have a similar schedule as the 2018 Fair, and the Board continues to work on finalizing entertainment. Board reappointments will happen at the end of the week. Beth mentioned a presentation was not held for the Road Department being chosen as Grand Marshal, and asked if the Court could give the plaque to the Road Department for her. 

County Court asked that Marnene Benson-Wood, Transportation, explain the ODOT and WSDOT Mobility Management Match 2018-2019 request. She stated that all of the Counties that are part of the Gorge Translink each provide a $2,000 match contribution every year towards the Mobility Management position at Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD). The Mobility Management position seeks grants, and communicates with all the Counties to see what kind of help they could provide to each County. Brief discussion held on the Transportation Plan update in order to receive STIF funds in the future. MCEDD would be updating the plan; however, the Court feels $20,000 to do so is too expensive. County Court approved the ODOT and WSDOT Mobility Management Match for 2018-2019 in the amount of $2,000 to Mid-Columbia Economic Development Services.

Christa Rude, Four Rivers Early Learning Hub, presented a Hub update to County Court. Rude mentioned the Hood River Intergovernmental Agreement as they have had significant turn over in staff; she lost three employees in the last six weeks. Rude has done some research on how to restructure to be more sustainable; they are in the process of three new positions. The goal would be to work with public health, the Early Learning Hub, and Parenting Education, to align with Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) and Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Council Organization (EOCCO), with a contracted position which they would own. Rude mentioned the Governors’ recommended budget had been released, and there is a huge potential for expansion in preschool resources/funding. Court motioned to approve the Intergovernmental Agreement between Hood River County and Sherman County, to provide Administrative Services to the Four Rivers Early Learning Hub, and authorize Judge Thompson to sign. Court motioned to approve the Amendment to the Intergovernmental Agreement between Sherman County and Columbia Gorge ESD to serve as a 2nd tier contractor for preschool infrastructure grants, and distribute funding as applied for and approved by the Four Rivers Early Learning Governance Board, and authorize Judge Thompson to sign.

Brian Walsh, Avangrid, stated the original SIP was executed in 2009, and is currently under amendment. Walsh attended Court to discuss about revisions to the SIP that reflect accurate and true costs to build wind in the Pacific Northwest. The current price of power in 2009 was $90 per megawatt hour; since then, prices have come down; he has been negotiating with Commissioner McCoy to get the SIP amended in a specific section to reflect the lower cost. Art Fish, Business Oregon, provided guidance that if there was no material changing of the project and the megawatts are kept the same, he did not believe the amendment would need to go to the Oregon Business Development Commission (OBDC) for approval. Notice will be given to the OBDC of the changes as their decision could affect the resolution; a draft copy was currently available to the public, and could be approved at next County Court meeting. Don Hilderbrand, Community Member, voiced his concern about the jobs this project would create not being filled by Sherman residents. Commissioner McCoy reported the SIP offers $1 million towards housing as the County realizes there is a housing problem. Walsh mentioned Avangrid could try to make it more appealing for its employees to want to live and stay within the County. Paul Sather, community member, stated Sherman needed to encourage the use of subcontracting local contractors.

Actions taken by the Court included:

  • approved the Transit Written Quarterly Report as presented.
  • declared the 2014 Dodge Charger surplus, as recommended the Sheriff’s Office.
  • declared a Glock 19 surplus, to be traded in for a new Glock, as recommended the Sheriff’s Office.
  • declared Office of the County Court desktop printers surplus, as recommended by the Administrative Assistant.
  • declared the 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser as surplus.
  • approved the Association of Oregon Counties’ (AOC) request for additional payment in the amount of $5,724.38, to be put in the AOC County Road Fund to replace borrowed funds without AOC Board authorization.
  • approved the National Association of Counties (NACo) membership dues in the amount of $450.
  • approved Active Shooter training and Stop The Bleed training for all County Employees as recommended by the Sheriff’s Office.
  • appointed Carol von Borstel to the Regional Solutions Advisory Committee as the Sherman County cities’ representative.
  • approved minutes of October 3, 2018, as corrected.
  • approved the Revenue/Expenditure Summary for the month of October 2018, as presented.
  • approved the Treasurer’s Report for the month of October 2018, as presented.
  • approved the Claims for the month of November 2018, as presented. 

Topics of discussion were Commissioner Reports.

5. Sherman County Court News, Dec. 19

ShermanCoLogoBy Kayla von Borstel, Administrative Assistant

Life Jacket Kiosk Update, Quarterly Reports, Traffic Safety Overtime Grant, Rural Renewable Energy Development Zone (RRED), Golden Hills SIP Agreement Public Hearing, and Financial Software Upgrade, were the main items on the agenda during the December 19th session of Sherman County Court in Moro.

Katie Woodruff, Victims Assistance, gave the Court an update on the life jacket kiosks. The shop teacher at the Sherman County High School had his students build two kiosks, one for Giles French Park and one for Philippi Park. Brad Lohrey, Sheriff, provided some background on park kiosks. Cliff Jett was a Marine Deputy at LePage Park, and provided some life jackets on a kiosk. The Corp of Engineers liked the idea of providing life jackets to borrow, and adopted the idea. County Court to have a plaque created in honor of Cliff Jett to be hung at the LePage Park kiosk.

Brad Lohrey, Sheriff, reported the Sheriff’s Office applied, and was awarded $14,000, for an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) grant for overtime funds to be used for seat belt enforcement, driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement, and distracted driving. The grant states specific times that they can work traffic safety, such as when there would be an influx of people on the roads due to events, holidays, and the Super Bowl. Lohrey has been overseeing at Northern Oregon Regional Corrections (NORCOR), and has been, for the last month and a half; he has learned a lot and enjoying the work. The Sheriff’s Office normally has around 600 cases per year; this last year it increased to 750.

Georgia Macnab, Planning, informed the Court the Rural Renewable Energy Development Zone (RRED) was last done in 2006 and has expired; however, the County can reapply if they wish. RRED is for smaller renewable energy projects for three to five years. She stated instead of trying to expand Enterprise Zone, the County might want to look at doing another RRED Zone as it covers the whole county, while and Enterprise Zone only covers the Cities, race track, and Biggs Service District. The Court agreed for Georgia to move forward with a new RRED Zone.

Golden Hills SIP Public Hearing opened at 10:07 a.m. Commissioner McCoy stated for the record he has a potential conflict of interest as he was on the negotiation committee for the Golden Hills Project, and owns land within the project area. Mike McArthur, audience member, inquired how the estimated value per megawatt was calculated. Commissioner McCoy stated the County hired Brian Skeahan as an expert on renewables, who gave an estimate of $1.6 million per megawatt. Commissioner McCoy and Skeahan met with Brian Walsh, Avangrid, who stated there has been a secular decline in building these projects; by 2020 the estimated cost would be $1.25 million. After their discussions, Commissioner McCoy was comfortable accepting the proposed project cost from Avangrid. This would be the cost of building the project and determining property tax. McArthur inquired what figure of tax rate was used to calculate the max assessed value. Commissioner McCoy replied 8.7141 percent. McArthur asked what the total tax rate was for Sherman County. Commissioner McCoy stated including the school it would be 15 percent; if the school was taken out, and Fire Districts added in it would be approximately 10 percent. McArthur stated the agreement contemplates up to 200 megawatts, and asked what would need to happen if Avangrid wanted to go up to 400 as permitted; Commissioner McCoy replied they would have to create a new SIP agreement. Sherman County did not create a new SIP agreement; the County only negotiated an amendment to the original SIP that was created in 2009. McArthur asked for some clarification on language presented on page 3, #4A; Commissioner McCoy stated the language was in all of the past agreements. The Court motioned to approve and the Oregon Strategic Investment Program (SIP) Agreement, amending the 2009 SIP Agreement between Sherman County and Golden Hills Wind Farms LLC to promote industrial competitiveness and to improve employment in the area where projects are to be located by encouraging businesses engaged in projects to hire local employees and will forward onto Business Oregon. The Court motioned to approve and the Resolution #07-12-2018, amending the 2009 SIP Agreement between Sherman County and Golden Hills Wind Farms LLC to promote industrial competitiveness and to improve employment in the area where projects are to be located by encouraging businesses engaged in projects to hire local employees and will forward onto Business Oregon. The Public Hearing closed at 10:53 a.m.

Debbie Hayden, Finance Officer, stated this software she sought was different than the Helion upgrade that was recently approved. Helion doesn’t support financial software; it only supports Assessment and Taxation. Hayden sent the request to three companies: Caselle, Chaz Consulting, and Springbrook; only Caselle and Chaz Consulting responded. Chaz Consulting was the most economical, however, they have been running the same software for past 30 years, and have no intention of upgrading their software. Their cost estimate was $17,575 not including the conversion of the County’s current information; Chaz Consulting recommended going to their competitor, Caselle, for the conversion. Caselle’s estimated quote was for $107,162 which includes onsite training, conversion, and total software set up. Software maintenance would be $1,551 per month, which would be about half of what the County currently pays for maintenance. County Court motioned to approve Debbie Hayden, Finance Officer, to move forward with the financial upgrade with Caselle. 

Actions taken by the Court included:

  • approved the John Day River Territory Annual Contribution for July, 1 2018 – July 30, 2019 in the amount of $4,000.00 with a request for a yearly update in County Court.
  • approved the following contracts between Sherman County and Helion Software Inc: The Client Software Support Agreement for Helion to provide Sherman telephone, electronic, remote and onsite assistance, the Personal Services Contract For Computer Services Agreement for Helion to provide Sherman comprehensive computer services in data conversion, data importing and ORCATS system training, and the Helion Software Licensing Agreement allowing the Sherman the right to make lawful use of the product belonging to Helion, and authorize Judge Thompson to sign.
  • declared surplus the 1972 Royal 24 x 62 mobile home located at 401 Hood Street in Moro, to either demolish or sell as negotiated by the County Judge.
  • approved the Lease of Office Space Agreement, between Biggs Service District and Sherman County, to lease office space in the Sherman County Courthouse to conduct Administrative Services.
  • approved an operating loan to Frontier TeleNet in the amount of $100,000, and up to another $100,000 authorized by the County Judge before the end of the 2019 fiscal year, if needed.
  • approved the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) Annual Dues for 2019 in the amount of $7,540.19.
  • authorized budget transfers/payments as recommended by the Finance Director, including $123,700 from the County General Fund, $116,520.13 to the Community Transit Fund, $1,478,788.91 to the SIP Community Service Fees Fund, and $5,015,070.00 to the SIP Additional Fees Fund, and authorize Judge Thompson to sign.
  • denied the 2018 Resident Incentive Application Appeal by Lisa Miranda.
  • approved minutes of October 17, 2018, as presented.
  • approved minutes of November 6, 2018 Work Session, as presented.
  • approved the Revenue/Expenditure Summary for the month of November 2018, as presented.

Topics of discussion were Commissioner Reports.

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

bird.owl.limbLegislative Testimony: Housing Underproduction in Oregon: Missing Middle Housing

Oregon Legislature SB 88: Accessory Dwelling Unit allowable on rural residential lot >2 acres

Rural Dwelling Bill Perturbs Farmland Advocates

Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles. El Paso a Major Smuggling Route for Mexican Drugs, Illegal Aliens, & Islamic Terrorists

Town in northern Russia battling invasion of polar bears

Coloradans Fight Big Pharma and Big Soros to Stop Nation’s First Heroin Injection Site


Sherman County eNews #42


  1. Sherman County School Closure, Feb. 12

  2. Cultural Coalition 2019 Spring Grant Cycle

  3. Grant Awards Announced by Development League

  4. Expressing Love

  5. Sherman County Court News, Oct. 17

  6. Sherman County Court News, Nov. 7

1. Sherman County School Closure, Feb. 12

Logo.Sherman High SchoolSuperintendent Wes Owens notified students, guardians, staff and constituents of the decision to cancel school again tomorrow, Tuesday, February 12th, to allow more time for crews to clear the significant drifting.

Sherman County Public/School Library will also be closed.

2. Cultural Coalition 2019 Spring Grant Cycle

music-notesThe 2019 Spring Grant Cycle for Sherman County’s Cultural Coalition will begin March 1, 2019. Applicants may be individuals and/or groups and need not be legally recognized non-profits.

Application Deadline: March 29, 2019

Awards up to $1,500 will be granted in support of local Sherman County activities and events which promote Culture, Humanities, Heritage and the Arts in Sherman County.

Additional information including Grant Guidelines and the application form, may be found at:

Completed grant applications may be mailed to:

Sherman County Cultural Coalition
P.O. Box 23
Moro, OR 97039

Or emailed to:

Contact Melva Thomas at 541-442-5488 or

3. Grant Awards Announced by Development League

dollar.sign1Sherman Development League (SDL) has announced the successful completion of grant awards for 2019 committing $19,087.00 to projects of benefit to Sherman County.

Formed in 2000 as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, SDL’s mission is to provide grants and/or loans in support of community-based programs and projects to enhance the social, cultural and educational environment of Sherman County. SDL provides fiscal sponsorship to organizations and/or unincorporated groups for projects which further its tax-exempt purposes and are of public benefit to the residents of Sherman County. A revolving loan fund has been established to provide loans to for-profit and non-profit businesses. SDL also serves as the Sherman County Cultural Coalition Board and provides related fiscal administration of funds received annually from the Oregon Cultural Trust and matching funds from Sherman County.

Five project applications met the requirements and goals established by SDL. Included are projects proposed by Sherman County Ambulance, Sherman County Historical Museum, Sherman County Preschool, Sherman County School – PTO and Wasco School Events Center.

Since 2007, the Development League has awarded seventy-seven (77) grants totaling $1,138,095.00, emergency funding in the amount of $78,412.00 for eight organizations and provided several loans to private and public entities.

Applications for the next round of grant requests will be available in the fall of 2019. Requests for loans may be submitted at any time.

~ Sherman Development League Board of Directors

4. Expressing Love

Valentine heartWith Valentine’s Day coming up this week, perhaps this would be a good time to address “love.” There are those who have difficulty with the whole concept, but love in all its many forms really does make the world go ’round.

How do you say, “I love you” to someone you care about? How do you express your feelings of love and affection to your spouse and other family members? Florists would like us to believe that we should “say it with flowers,” but there might be better ways.

For instance: If you love someone, compliment them often for jobs well done and refrain from downgrading them. Rather, reassure that person when they don’t go right. Most of us could use a little support now and then. We are made of flesh and bone, after all, and not stone.

If you love someone, listen to what they have to say without judgment or feeling like you have to solve all of their problems. Active listening builds the self-esteem of the talker, while it builds your quality of empathy

If you love someone, let them know when you feel low or lonely or misunderstood. It will make them stronger to know they have the power to comfort you.

If you love someone, respect their silences. As alternatives for problems or challenges, creativity and spirituality often come in times of quiet.

And, finally, if you love someone, tell them often, through your talk, your actions and your gestures. It is a mistake to assume that they know how you feel. Even if they act embarrassed or deny that they need it, don’t believe them. Do it anyway. And they can promise to do the same for you.

It is these things done consistently and consciously over the years that help build a loving relationship and keep it growing. And, it is the absence of these things that rob life of its joy. ~The Pacific Institute

5. Sherman County Court News, Oct. 17

ShermanCoLogoBy Kayla von Borstel, Administrative Assistant

Compensation Board, Quarterly Reports, and Biggs Water System Update, were the main items on the agenda during the October 17th session of Sherman County Court in Moro.

The County Court met as Compensation Board. Judge Thompson motioned to enter into Executive Session in Accordance with ORS 192.660 (2) (i) Personnel. Entered Executive Session at 9:03 a.m.; discussion held on employee compensation and potential employment; exited Executive Session at 9:30 a.m. County Court presented their Compensation Board decisions. The Court approved for the Weed District to hire David Rooney as a 0.75 FTE employee to work for a 9 month period (March 2019 – November 2019) and to be paid over a 12 month pay cycle with 75% County paid benefits at a rate of 64% class, Step B. There was no change made to the current Veteran’s Officer status. 

Rod Asher, Weed District, presented his quarterly report. He provided the Court with a list of employees and their responsibilities, as well as an equipment list. He informed the Court an employee clipped the roll up door with their side – by – side ATV; the damage cost just under $2,000 to repair. Rod would like to install electric door openers to avoid any further issues. Asher mentioned that due to the lengthy legal process of proper weed violation procedures, it was late in the season to send notices. He sent out informative letters instead; all notices, except one, were B Class weeds.

Mark Coles, Road Department, reported he met with Craig Sanders on the Flap grant on Starvation Lane; there will be improvement, however, he does not believe it will be as much as the County expected. Boat pull outs are still in the grant plan; Coles doesn’t believe they will be effective in the location chosen, and thinks most of the funding will end up being used for design. County Court stated improvements can be made by the County later on. Coles also reported the earth bind paving project had been completed on Helm Springs, and he is pleased with the outcome thus far. He believes it will work on other places in the future. Coles stated they are still crushing chip rock for next year as well. He was one employee short in the Department; he had previously asked the Court to take out the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirement before hiring; however, he may come back asking for the CDL to be part of a requirement again. High School Loop has a one year warranty inspection to go through soon; there are a few spots that are of concern.

Wes Owens, Sherman County School District, stated the School has been working with Water Resources in regards to the North playing field well situation. The property was purchased as an extended play field (soccer, baseball, etc.), and green space for the community. An application was submitted to Water Resources, but was not approved; there was some question with new State requirements. The School District can’t prove the well was cased properly. The School has been working on an interim solution with the City of Moro until the issue can be resolved. Owens stated the Safety plan is a major program, and is in the final stages of full implementation. They continue training with the Sheriff’s Office as well and there had been no impact on instruction or delivery of material to the students. The program to implement Safe, Respectful, and Responsible behavior in Sherman’s students has been working well. Football season was suspended for the duration of the season due to low player numbers, academia, and injuries, in order to keep students safe.

Marnene Benson-Wood, Treasurer, presented a Treasurer’s packet to the Court. Every August, the limitation that’s allowed in the State Treasury goes up; currently it’s set at $49,500,000 with a 2.25 interest rate. Sherman County has $37 million in the pool and is not bumping against the set limitation. The packet provided showed the County investments with bonds or agencies, and brokers through time value investments, were evenly split between all the different investments. It shows who they are, the cost and value of it, and maturity dates. This information was spread from June 2019 through February of 2022. Moneys are invested in the SIP fund, and the County Reserve Funds.

Brad Baird, Anderson Perry & Associates, provided an update on the Biggs Water project. Baird was able to get a quote on piping needed, and the Engineering agreement officially approved by Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The well is ready to go out to bid; it needs to be drilled in winter while the rest of the project is being bid in January or February to make a favorable bidding schedule. Baird would contact Pat and Lori Beers to get the BCM Development deed recorded and paid. The Engineering Agreement was previously acted on in September 2018; Baird updated it with an October date to match the approval letter from USDA, and asked them to sign on behalf of Biggs Service District. He presented a pipe materials quote to the Court; the pipeline totals just over 700 feet. The pipe supplier quote Baird obtained was $24,838.14. Court asked Baird to gather two more quotes. Brief discussion was held on running pipe and a fire hydrant beyond Linda’s Restaurant for potential future building. The Court approved the lowest most reasonable bid for pipe purchase for the Biggs Water System Project, and authorized Judge Thompson to make the final decision.

Nate Stice, Regional Solutions, presented his quarterly report. In regards to Broadband, Sherman County received $200,000 from the Regional Infrastructure Fund. In regards to fire recovery, the Governor and two Senators sent a letter to Secretary Perdue, asking to extend CRP grazing to the start of nesting season. The Governor has tasked her team to look at fire response as well. Stice has continued to work with the local hemp company; the farm bill has stalled which does not help the import issue at hand. A Portland based Agriculture company visited sites in Rufus and Wasco, for potential business purchase.

Actions taken by the Court included:

  • approved the Broadband Network Operating Agreement and Lease between Sherman County, Gorge Networks, Inc., and the City of Moro, for Gorge Networks, Inc. to design, construct, install, and operate Broadband network to provide broadband service to residents and businesses throughout the City of Moro, pending approval from the City of Moro and listing the appropriate corrections of County payment amount to GorgeNet.
  • Gorge Net request the use of dark fiber from the County free of charge. Discussion was held on Frontier TeleNet needing to be able to generate enough revenue to cover the $42,000 cost. County Court agreed to take no action at that time.
  • approved the following to the Sherman County Community Transportation Board: Randy Hilderbrand, Chair; Mary Adams, Vice-Chair; Bonne Whitley, Secretary; Ree Ella von Borstel, Member; and one more Member position that is to be filled by Transportation Board’s discretion.
  • approved extending the scope of work and allowing use of the remaining funds of less than $3,000 in the Columbia Gorge Bi-State Renewable Energy Zone (CGBREZ) account at Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) to support staffing and operations related to CGBREZ meetings.
  • approved the Intergovernmental Agreement with Sherman County between Sherman and Gilliam County for the provision of independent assessment services necessary to assist the Sherman or Gilliam County Board of Property Tax Appeals in the performance of their functions upon request.
  • approved the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2018-2019 Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas Grant Agreement between the State of Oregon and Sherman County in the amount not to exceed $45,000.
  • approved minutes of September 5, 2018, as corrected.
  • approved minutes of September 19, 2018, as presented.
  • approved the Revenue/Expenditure Summary for the month of September 2018, as presented.
  • approved the Treasurer’s Report for the month of September 2018, as presented.

Topics of discussion were the Written Quarterly Reports, Senior Center Back Up Cook, Quarterly Report Summary, and Commissioner Reports.

6. Sherman County Court News, Nov. 7

By Kayla von Borstel, Administrative Assistant

ShermanCoLogoGorge TransLink Alliance Project, Match request for backup generators for Sherman Cities, Grant Housing Review Committee, Financing for Fiber to the Home, Housing, and Wellness Center Recognition, were the main items on the agenda during the November 7th session of Sherman County Court in Moro.

Kathy Fitzpatrick, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, reported the five transportation providers in the five Counties: Sherman, Wasco, Hood River, Klickitat, and Skamania, came together in 2001 as an informal group to share and coordinate resources, to eliminate duplicate services. In 2008, they signed a formal agreement to be the TransLink Alliance. Fitzpatrick, is staff for TransLink Alliance which is funded by ODOT, WSDOT, and County Match. Recently they developed an Employee Pass Program; it’s a yearly pass to use public transportation in the designated region. Cost was depended on how much was included in the pass; lowest was $50 per pass and the employer must purchase for all employees as a universal buy in. Kathy and Marnene are working on the Everybody Rides campaign to show communities the bus system is not just for seniors. The Columbia Gorge Express has teamed up with the Employee Pass Program as well. Fitzpatrick, is also working with the transportation providers and the healthcare with any technology that would be innovative to work with the inflexibility of Dial a Ride; the community has been looking for something more like Uber or Lyft services. Fitzpatrick, would like Sherman County support of the TransLink Alliance and its efforts; County Court supports the organization. Marnene Benson-Wood, gave a STIF update to the Court. Sherman will apply by May 1st 2019; the first year the County will receive $50,000, and then each year after that, $100,000 will be received from the State. Benson-Wood hopes that money will be able to build a new bus barn, and coordinate with the County on a car wash area. Judge Thompson reported the County was in the process of acquiring land to build a bus barn with grant funds and County match. One of the new requirements for STIF funds was to transport students 9th -12th grade to activities they couldn’t go to otherwise.

Shawn Payne, Emergency Services, stated there was some mitigation money available to the Counties for the Substation fire. She will be writing a grant for a back-up generator for each of the Cities. A Letter of Intent was sent to the State with an estimated pump value of $20,000-$25,000 per City; there was some concern from the Cities when they were told a 25% match was needed for the generators as part of the grant. Payne inquired if the Cities could not provide enough match, would the Court consider providing the appropriate match amount. These generators would be mounted and permanent at each site. The City of Moro burned up a pump during the Substation fire, which the Fire Departments are dependent on water to shuttle to fires. The County mentioned there needed to be a building, like the Wasco Events Center or the School District, which could receive back up power in the event of a major power outage for an extended period of time; this would be to keep people safe and warm if need be. Payne reported the City of Moro has never been flood mapped; there was a grant for Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Land Conservation Development to complete the Moro mapping, and to re-map the other Cities. Payne must send out notices to all residents in the Middle Columbia Hood, that live within 500 feet of a stream beginning in November. If a resident does not want the surveyors on their property, they will need to contact the agency to be taken off the list. Once flood mapping is done, a requirement will be to have flood insurance.

Carrie Pipinich, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, presented a few requests for the Housing Program on behalf of the Grant Housing Committee. There was a request to approve the modification as recommended by the Committee to remove the requirement for the Mechanics Lien on the Hoctor grant. A second request was for approval of the Hoctor and West projects with the provided documents for completion, to move forward with payment pending Judge Thompson’s final review. County Court motioned to waive the Mechanics Lien for the Rebecca Hoctor grant, and to approve funding for the Travis West grant in the amount of $17,396.62 and the Rebecca Hoctor grant for $9,394.26. Judge Thompson will approve payment after a final review.

Commissioner McCoy presented a spreadsheet on financing Fiber to the Home, detailing all parties cost share amounts, which also showed a funding gap of $42,530.64 to still be paid after the grant was received. It was discussed there would be a percentage or a $5.00 charge added to each users bill to help offset this funding gap. If Gorge Net had over a certain percentage of the Community enrolled in their services, that added amount to the bill would come back to the Cities; if under that certain percentage was enrolled, the money would stay with Gorge Net to be used for maintenance purposes. If the Cities do not receive money back from Gorge Net, the County will not make them pay towards the funding gap, the County will cover that amount. The payment for Moro’s work went to the Finance Office the day prior as Gorge Net needed to be paid; the agreement for Moro is in the final stages and the agreement for Grass Valley should be in progress soon. It was agreed upon having a work session with the County, Gorge Net, and a representative from each City, followed by a work session on dark fiber use. The rate of the fee added to the users bill will be set between Gorge Net and the Cities.

Dan Meader, Land Use Planning Consultant, and Carol von Borstel, Grass Valley Administrator, wanted to discuss the housing crisis in Grass Valley with the Court. Previous discussion had been held on the lack of housing for employees of the hemp facility in Grass Valley. The facility had done some conditional use permits for some housing units to be brought in which have been placed in the Grass Valley RV park. There are currently 25 employees at the facility, and the facility is looking at hiring more; this creates an even bigger housing shortage issue. Grass Valley has marked on a map all land that could be buildable, and Dan will be helping them figure out some of the housing issues at hand. A buildable land map was created in 2007 that was part of the comprehensive plan update. The map will be updated with the floodplain, and with lands that are large enough to be buildable and can support subsurface sewage disposal. A letter will be sent to property owners that are identified in the buildable areas informing them of the housing shortage, and asking if any owners would be interested in selling their identified property. The map shows half of Grass Valley is not developed. The analysis of the City will cost about $2,000 to complete, and the City does not have the funds; Grass Valley would like to know if the County could cover the cost. The Court motioned to allocate $2,000 from the Housing Fund or the infrastructure Fund for the Grass Valley Housing Analysis.

Perry Thurston, Community Member, would like to recognize Don Thompson, Latrel Smoot, and other primaries, at the Wellness Center for all of their efforts. He would like the Court to sanction holding a fundraiser to formally recognize the key founders of the Wellness Center with pictures and/or plaques. Thurston offered to be the Treasurer of the fundraiser. Court consensus to move forward with the recognition fundraiser.

Actions taken by the Court included:

  • approved Bruce Lumper as the Tri County Hazardous Waste & Recycling Program Steering Committee alternate.
  • approved with Legal Counsel approval, and authorized Judge Thompson to review and sign the final version of the Helion Software Contracts with Debbie Hayden and Ross Turney.
  • approved to pay both invoices for the Rural Technology Group Fairgrounds upgrade and the Rural Technology Group Kent repairs.
  • declared Monday December 24, 2018, and Monday December 31, 2018, as Courthouse Holidays.
  • recommended to not hold a County Court meeting on November 21, 2018 due to the proximity of the Thanksgiving Holiday. A Special Session could be held if the need arise.
  • approved the Claims for the month of October 2018 as presented.

Topics of discussion were the Library Drains, Written Quarterly Reports, “Queen of Hearts” Seeking Business Location, and Commissioner Reports.




Sherman County eNews #41


  1. Participate in Times-Journal District Basketball Tournament Booster Ad

  2. Public Meeting Announcement: Sherman County School District Board, Feb. 19

  3. Notice. SWCD & Watershed Council Meetings & Annual Meeting Cancelled

  4. Notice. Biggs Service District Public Hearing, Feb. 20

  5. Public Notice. Sherman County Court Session, Feb. 20

  6. Sherman County Senior & Community Center Seeks Head Cook/Kitchen Coordinator

  7. Congressman Walden: Equal Access to Justice Act, Public Lands, Tax Payers, Legal Fees

  8. Letter to the Editor: Accountability & Credibility of News

1. Participate in Times-Journal District Basketball Tournament Booster Ad

sports-basket2ballWould you be interested in participating in a Times-Journal Booster Ad for the District Basketball Tournament? The cost would be $10. We are still figuring out which teams are going and conference games are still being played. However, Sherman boys are ranked #1 so we know they will be at district and it appears that Arlington boys will also go.

Contact The Times-Journal

Newspaper of record for Gilliam, Wheeler & Sherman counties

Ph. # 541-384-2421  Fax # 541-384-2411

The Times-Journal is published every Thursday. Deadline is every Monday by 5 PM with the exception of holiday weeks, then it’s the Friday before by 12 noon. Thank you for helping us meet our press deadline!

2. Public Meeting Announcement: Sherman County School District Board, Feb. 19

Logo.Sherman High SchoolThe Sherman County School District Board of Directors regular board meeting scheduled for 7:00 pm on Monday, February 11, 2019, has been canceled due to inclement weather. This meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at 7:00 pm and will be held in the meeting room of the Sherman County School/Public Library.

3. Notice. SWCD & Watershed Council Meetings & Annual Meeting Cancelled

The SWCD and Watershed Council regular meetings and Annual Meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Feb. 12, have been cancelled. The regular Board meeting has been rescheduled for Feb. 19th. Watershed Council meeting at 8am and SWCD at 8:30am. We will have a new Annual Meeting date next week.

Amanda Whitman, District Manager

Sherman County SWCD

541-565-3216 ext 109

4. Notice. Biggs Service District Public Hearing, Feb. 20

The Biggs Service District will hold a Public Hearing February 20, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room at Sherman County Courthouse, 500 Court Street in Moro, Oregon 97039, for the final reading of  Ordinance 11-7-18, establishing regulation regarding connections, operations, and rates for water service for the Biggs Service District. Following the hearing, regular business items for Biggs Service District and/or the Biggs Service District Water System Project will be addressed.

5. Notice. Sherman County Court Session, Feb. 20

ShermanCoLogoThe Sherman County Court session scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. will be held in the Commissioners Meeting Room at the Sherman County Courthouse, 500 Court Street, Moro, Oregon, 97039. The agenda, including updates, will be posted on the Sherman County Website at

Agenda topics as of February 11 are Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy List by Georgia Macnab, Planning; Sherman County Transit Quarterly Report by Marnene Benson-Wood; Regional Solutions Quarterly Report by Nate Stice; a public hearing on Rural Renewable Energy Designation at 10 a.m.; Coordinating Care Organization Boundary Change; Appointment of Janet Pinkerton to Senior Center Advisory Board; Commissioners’ Reports and Consent Agenda: Minutes of January 16 & 30, Revenue & Expenditure Summary for January 2019 and Treasurer’s Report, January 2019.

Approved minutes for the November 29, 2018 Work Session, December 5, 2018, December 19, 2018, and January 2, 2019 are now available in the Archive of County Court Meeting Minutes

6. Sherman County Senior & Community Center Seeks Head Cook/Kitchen Coordinator

ShermanCoLogoHELP WANTED:  Head Cook/Kitchen Coordinator at the Sherman County Senior & Community Center.  This is a permanent part-time salaried position, 30 hrs/week, 8 AM – 2:00 PM, Monday-Friday.  Primary responsibilities include preparing and serving meals in the Center and preparing home-delivered meals for the Meals on Wheels Program.

For application and complete job description, contact the Sherman County Senior & Community Center at 541-565-3191, or at PO Box 352, Moro, OR 97039, or Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 28, 2019.  Successful applicant must have or be willing to obtain a Food Handlers Card and pass a criminal history background check.  Sherman County is an equal opportunity employer.

7. Congressman Walden: Equal Access to Justice Act, Public Lands & Legal Fees

American flag2Across the West, lawsuits from special interest groups have held up needed fire prevention projects on our federal lands.  Meanwhile, we choke on smoke as our forests and watersheds go up in flames every summer. Groups often use the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) to get their legal fees reimbursed by the agency with taxpayer dollars. This program greatly needs reforming and this week, I supported legislation to make sure we know who and how much is being paid.

As I meet with people across our district I hear frustration about the use of EAJA and the impact it has on everything from forest management and reducing wildfires, to grazing and other uses of our public lands. Unfortunately, there is no accounting of how much money goes out through this program. In the past, I’ve asked agency officials involved in cases where the funds come from only to be told they don’t even know. We should know where your taxpayer funded payouts are going. The Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act (H.R. 752) would create a public, online database showing legal fees and expenses paid out under EAJA. I was glad to support this legislation when it recently passed the House

There is plenty more to do to reform EAJA. I’ve long supported things like capping legal fees, and stopping well-funded organizations from utilizing the program, and will continue to push for those. Gathering these data on what is being paid out, is an important step to accomplishing these other needed reforms. I look forward to the Senate taking up this important legislation that will help improve the management and reduce the threat of fire on our public lands.

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon’s Second District

8. Letter to the Editor: Accountability & Credibility of News

pencil.sharpGood morning Sherry,

It is important to check the accountability and credibility of sources when posting news items, or things to think about. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but some are based on facts and science, and others are founded on a religious or political biases.

Unfortunately as a society we find ourselves in a predicament where we are dependent on fossil fuel. The evidence that our business as usual life styles are causing problems for our biosphere and affecting our climate in ways that could profoundly influence the future for human beings on this planet. There is a broad spectrum of ideas about what we should and can do about this predicament. On one end of the spectrum are those that claim it is already too late, and as a species we are already doomed, as well as most other species on the planet. Guy McPherson is probably one of the most outspoken scientists that adhere to this way of thinking, but there are many more.

Many of these scientists are fairly shy about their conclusions as they are compromised by their jobs etc. On the other end are those who think we can manipulate the atmosphere to remove the CO2 and other greenhouse gasses to get us out of this predicament. There is a lot of diverse thinking in between that believe we have time to change our behavior to mitigate the damage we have done. The many individuals that I have researched that accept human caused climate change to be a real and present danger come with extraordinary credentials as scientists with diverse disciplines of expertise.

Those who believe humans have no affect on our climate come in many colors as well. There are scientists who claim that we as a species are having no affect on climate change. Most of the scientists that are on the denier side are being funded by some right wing think tank or group that is being funded by individuals or corporations that have considerable investment and wealth in jeopardy if human caused climate change is real. Many of these manipulate the evidence and make claims with no peer reviewed scientific evidence to back up their claims. Many of these are just slick con men posing as authorities on the subject to many people that have no background in science and don’t put out the effort to check the credentials of the individuals or their claims. As serious as the consequences could be I think that it behooves us to do as much research as we possibly can on these matters and question everything.

There is an overwhelming amount of peer reviewed papers, studies and documents that provide evidence of anthropogenic climate change. As I see it the best hope that we have is that…We don’t know what we don’t know.

Fred Justesen