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.