Sherman County eNews #52


  1. Frontier TeleNet and Frontier Regional 911 Board Meetings, Feb. 26

  2. Sherman County Commissioner Joan Bird: Experience and Enthusiasm

  3. Sherman County History Tidbits: Bake a Cake for Sherman County’s Birthday!

  4. Free Digital Guide to the Constitution from Heritage Foundation

  5. Food Drive: Sen. Hansell, Oregon Potato Commission & Oregon Food Bank

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

1. Frontier TeleNet and Frontier Regional 911 Board Meetings, Feb. 26

~Courtesy of The Times-Journal:

— “Frontier Telenet directors will meet at the Sherman Co. Courthouse in Moro, 10 a.m., and conduct a public hearing re: supplemental budget at 10:30 a.m.

— “Frontier Regional 911 Dispatch directors will meet at the Sherman Co. Courthouse in Moro, 1 p.m.”

2. Sherman County Commissioner Joan Bird: Experience and Enthusiasm

ShermanCoLogoJoan Bird opened a new chapter in her life when she was appointed and sworn into office as Sherman County Commissioner on January 2nd. She joins Judge Joe Dabulskis and Commissioner Tom McCoy who welcome the enthusiasm and experience she brings to the County Court.

She will represent Sherman County in meetings with other jurisdictions: Mid-Columbia Community Action Council; North Central Public Health District Board; Sherman County Prevention Coalition; Sherman County Public/School Library Board; Sherman County Watershed Council; Sherman County Soil & Water Conservation District; Sherman County Senior & Community Center Advisory Board; and Sherman County Fair Board. Contact Commissioner Bird at

In seeking appointment, Joan expressed appreciation for living and raising her family in Sherman County and wants future generations to feel the same about this county.

Joan holds strong ethical standards, is a good listener and likes to gather as much information as possible before making decisions.

Her education and employment gave her a strong foundation for this appointment. She graduated from Dufur Public Schools in 1974 and from Merritt Davis Business School as a legal secretary in 1975.

She worked for Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, 1975-1976, The Dalles Public Schools, 1976-1977 and for the Wasco County Court, 1979-1981, where she learned a great deal about local government administration, planning and governance.

Joan married Jim Bird in 1981 and moved to Sherman County.  They have two daughters, Jenna and Marci, and one grandson, Isaiah.

In Sherman County, she worked for Oregon State University Extension organizing 4-H camp, programs for members and leaders and the 4-H side of the county fair.  She retired from a job she loved for 28 years with OSU.  She just couldn’t stay retired so she went to work for Edward Jones in The Dalles, 2009-2013.

She’s volunteered for youth programs and more recently for the Grass Valley Pavilion Restoration project. Perhaps being a member of the City of Grass Valley Council since 2011 best prepared her for local issues.

Well-deserved honors tell us a lot about her: OSU Exemplary Employee; Jim Klahre Award for Service to Children; Fair Board State Award for Service to Children; Sherman County Cattlemen’s Service Award; and Sherman County Fair Grand Marshal.

3. Sherman County History Tidbits: Bake a Cake for Sherman County’s Birthday!

The anniversary of the formation of this place where we live deserves notice! Birthday cake for the people at the Courthouse, Sherman County School, Senior Center and anywhere we, the people, gather!

birthdaycake.candlesFebruary 25th!  Happy Birthday, Sherman County!

IMAGINE! Imagine the history and the stories of our handsome historic county courthouse! Imagine the pride, anguish, trials, joy, excitement and frustration of the years…of public service, justice, weddings, mortgages, deeds, county business transactions.

A BIT CURIOUS! It is a bit curious that, while Sherman County was carved from Wasco County in 1889, the courthouse was not built until ten years later. E. O. McCoy petitioned the legislature for formation of the new county in 1889, proposing to name it Fulton County for Col. James Fulton, a prominent pioneer legislator. In a political move because Col. Fulton opposed a visit to the state house by General William Tecumseh Sherman, the new county was named Sherman. Governor Sylvester Pennoyer signed the modified bill on February 25, 1889 and the new county was named for General Sherman.

OFFICIALS. The governor appointed officers to serve the county until the next general election: Col. James Fulton, county judge, [who declined, and Owen M. Scott was appointed]; John Medler and Dayton Elliott, commissioners; V.C. Brock, clerk; E.M. Leslie, sheriff; Levi Armsworthy, treasurer; C.C. Meyers, assessor; and C.J. Bright, school superintendent. On March 12, 1889, the newly-appointed officers and constituents met at the Oskaloosa Hotel in Wasco for the official swearing-in. Wasco was declared the temporary county seat. The new officials rented a rock and concrete building in Block 6 on Lot 7 in Wasco to be used by the sheriff and clerk. County and circuit court business was conducted in the school building.

EXPANSION. During the 1891 Oregon legislative session, a bill was introduced to expand the county 18 miles south, taking in Townships 3, 4 and 5 South. This new boundary followed Buck Hollow and an 11-mile east-west boundary across the south. 

COUNTY SEAT. Selection of a county seat resumed in earnest. Three towns were selected for the ballot: Wasco, Moro and Kenneth [a hamlet once located near DeMoss Springs]. Strong emotions led up to the vote for Moro, influenced by the county’s southward expansion and new residents. In 1892 the county contracted for construction of a temporary building to house the clerk, sheriff and a vault. Records were moved to Moro. In 1893 a jail was added and the vault was rebuilt. A flag pole and flag were ordered in 1895. In 1896, a deputy clerk and deputy sheriff were hired.

1899. When the county began construction of the new courthouse on Block 23 in 1899, the temporary house on Block 23 in Moro was moved across the street to the south where it remains today. Charles Burggraf of Salem designed the handsome brick structure with Queen Anne architectural features, varied wall surfaces and a corner tower. It was built by contractor, A.F. Peterson of Corvallis, of thrifty material – brick manufactured in the brick yard behind it. The bell-shaped cupola was originally painted alternating bands of dark and light paint 

FOR THE RECORD. In a story written by Patricia [French] Moore and published in Sherman County: For The Record in 1983, it is noted that the Grass Valley Journal reported completion of the new courthouse on November 3rd, 1899. On the 10th the Journal editor observed that, “Everyone who has seen the new courthouse wonders how such a house could have been built with so little money [$6,665]. On November 22nd, 1899, Sherman County’s handsome, new courthouse was turned over to county officials.” 

PROGRESS. In 1905, the Observer reported that there was a pot-bellied stove in each office and a complex of chimneys in the attic. Will Raymond produced ten large photographs of Sherman County scenes for the county’s exhibit at the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland and later for the courthouse walls, where they may be seen today. A jail and related supplies were purchased for $3,847 in 1905 and was located in the room the assessor now occupies. The assessor worked in the front room next to the clerk’s office.

CHANGE. Moore’s story continues. “Major changes took place in 1934…the decision to dig a basement, construct walls, install a furnace and chimney for central heat and to put in a vault…work done as a relief project…under the leadership of county engineer, Hal White.” In 1941, the clerk’s vault was extended and the jail was moved to the rear of the courthouse. The brick on the south wall shows evidence of this move and brick replacement with matching windows. Upstairs remodeling accompanied construction over the jail, with chambers for the judge and jury. The handsome cupola was removed because of wind and storm damage by 1963 when Lee Gunnels painted the courthouse trim.

MORE CHANGE. Modern carpeting, tile ceilings, computers and glass doors joined delicate wooden ornamentation, filigree knobs and round-topped windows. The white picket fence is long gone; the jail is a museum artifact. New sidewalks and landscaping in 1999 marked the 100th anniversary of the county’s seat of government. In 2018, a new building adjacent to the old was constructed and the original courthouse improved to meet the standards of modern local government.

4. Free Digital Guide to the Constitution from Heritage Foundation

constitution-wethepeopleThe Heritage Guide to the Constitution is a landmark, one-of-a-kind book that presents the U.S. Constitution as never before. With your instant access now, you’ll receive:

  • Useful, clause-by-clause analysis of the entire Constitution and each amendment
  • Input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts including former Attorney General Ed Meese
  • 475 pages reviewing what the Constitution actually says and how it applies today
  • A copy of the Constitution and the documents that serve as its foundation.

So get your free digital access to The Heritage Foundation’s Guide to the Constitution and have it at your fingertips as your reference. Be able to explain every clause in the Constitution in a way that is clear and understandable.

5. Food Drive: Sen. Hansell, Oregon Potato Commission & Oregon Food Bank

SALEM, Ore.— Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, welcomed potatoes from Amstad Farms today at the Capitol along with Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem. The truckload of potatoes weighed over 65,000 pounds and they will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank as part of the Governor’s state employee food drive.

Hansell released the following statement:

“I am proud and grateful to see such a generous donation from District 29 to the Governor’s Food Drive. I would like to thank Skeeter Amstad, JR Cook, Jeff Urbach and Bill Brewer, President of the Oregon Potato Commission for making this donation possible. These potatoes will feed hundreds of Oregonians and shows how Senate District 29 is one of the leading Ag producing regions in the state.”

The governor’s state employee food drive was started by then-Gov. Vic Atiyeh in 1982 “to reduce the suffering of those without adequate food resources” and “to show that true Oregonians believe that we can and do help our friends and neighbors in need.” The food drive runs the entire month of February.

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

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Legislative: Preliminary Bill. Oregon License Plate for County Historical Societies

Opinion: Oregon’s new and unbalanced way of governing

Legislative: Holocaust education bill gets big support in first Capitol hearing

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What’s Inside of the White House?

USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II nicknamed the “Warthog”

Smaller, safer, cheaper: One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and save a warming planet

UNESCO: Galapagos Islands