Sherman County eNews #166


  1. Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.2 Percent in May

  2. Oregon Transportation Commission Formal Meeting Agenda, June 20

  3. Presentation: Rajneeshpuram 35 Years Later, June 27

  4. Commission on Historic Cemeteries Awards Project Grants

  5. Sherman County Court Notes, May 15

  6. The Language of Labels

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

“No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.” —George Washington (1786)

1. Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.2 Percent in May  

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in May, from 4.3 percent in April. Oregon’s unemployment rate has been between 4.0 percent and 4.4 percent for 31 months, dating back to November 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in both April and May.

During this economic expansion, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been lower than at any time since comparable records began in 1976. The previous low was reached in January and February 1995 when Oregon’s rate touched 4.7 percent. In addition to the very low level of Oregon’s unemployment rate, it has been lower longer than ever before. Since the late-1970s, during the prior five economic expansions, the unemployment rate would generally drop to a bottom in the cycle and then start moving upward within a few months. In contrast, during the past three years, Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped down close to 4 percent, remaining near there for 31 consecutive months.

In May, Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment rose 1,200 jobs, following a gain of 4,000 jobs in April. Monthly gains for May were strongest in health care and social assistance, which added 900 jobs, and in construction and government, which each added 600 jobs. Two industries cut jobs modestly in May: private educational services (-500 jobs) and retail trade (-400 jobs).

Looking at longer-term trends, Oregon’s economy continued to grow rapidly. Since May 2018, total nonfarm payroll employment was up 47,400 jobs, or 2.5 percent. The most rapid gains over the past year were in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+4,900 jobs, or 7.6%) and construction (+7,500 jobs, or 7.2%). Job gains were widespread, with five other major industries each adding between 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent to their jobs base in the past 12 months. These industries were manufacturing (+6,500 jobs, or 3.3%), health care and social assistance (+7,300 jobs, or 2.8%), professional and business services (+6,700 jobs, or 2.7%), leisure and hospitality (+5,600 jobs, or 2.7%), and wholesale trade (+1,900 jobs, or 2.5%). During that time, none of the major industries cut a substantial number of jobs, although three industries showed little change: retail trade; financial activities; and mining and logging.

2. Oregon Transportation Commission Formal Meeting Agenda, June 20

See  the agenda support material for the Reload Project item and the other two projects involved that are being decided including project(s) in item G on pages 2 and 3 here:

3. Presentation: Rajneeshpuram 35 Years Later, June 27

Portland, OR –  In 1981, the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, his personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers purchased the Big Muddy Ranch near the tiny Oregon town of Antelope. The ambitious experiment soon ignited great concern among the citizens of Antelope as well as among state and federal officials. The resulting legal and cultural controversies – many of them caused or exacerbated by supporters of the Bhagwan – played out in state and national media and in state and federal courtrooms.

On Thursday, June 27, the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society (USDCOHS) and the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) are pleased to welcome leading advocates from both sides of the Rajneeshpuram episode, who will address issues that continue to reverberate today. Three speakers made prominent appearances in the highly acclaimed Netflix Original documentary series Wild Wild Country. The program begins at 7pm at the First Congregational Church in Portland. Tickets are $25 and are available via This program is the latest in USDCHS’s Famous Cases lecture series and is sponsored in part by Perkins Coie LLP.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Tom Balmer will moderate the panel discussion, featuring:

  • Philip Toelkes (a.k.a. Swami Prem Niren), attorney for the Rajneesh
  • Robert Weaver, assistant U.S. attorney at the time and lead federal prosecutor
  • William Gary, lead counsel for Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer on the matter
  • U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks, who presided over a number of the state court legal proceedings

“Thirty five years later, Oregonians continue to grapple with the Rajneeshpuram episode. It is an extraordinary story of a religious utopian experiment gone wrong,” said Douglas Pahl, board member for the USDCOHS and OHS. “The strong feelings engendered by these events remain, highlighted poignantly by proceedings in Oregon courtrooms. We’ve brought together the leading legal advocates to reflect on the most significant issues they faced during that tumultuous time.”

Interest in the Rajneesh episode skyrocketed with the premiere of Wild Wild Country in 2018. The majority of the archival footage used came from the Oregon Historical Society, primarily the KGW News Collection. To learn more about the inspiration behind this Emmy winning documentary, read the OLA Quarterly article, “Wild Wild Archive: Analog Videotape of the Rajneesh Movement at the Oregon Historical Society” written by OHS Film Archivist Matthew Cowan. For more history of the Rajneeshees, visit the Oregon Historical Society’s online Oregon Encyclopedia.

4. Commission on Historic Cemeteries Awards Project Grants

Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries (OCHC) has awarded $62,394 in grants to 12 historic cemetery projects throughout the state. The funds will help support preservation efforts, repair work and visitor education. Individual award amounts ranged $2460-$8,000.

Funded projects:

  • Restoration of the Gibbons-Maxwell memorial in the Athena Cemetery in Athena.
  • Monument repair at Blue Mountain Kees Cemetery in Weston.
  • Monument repair and cleaning at the Zion Memorial Cemetery in Canby.
  • Fence repair and storage shed at the East Drain Cemetery.
  • Road improvement and shed repair at the IOOF Cemetery in Coburg.
  • Complete a walking tour and kiosk at Logtown Cemetery in Jackson County.
  • Purchase and install block markers at Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland.
  • Install an information kiosk and digitize the records of the Moro Cemetery.
  • Rehabilitate the Veterans Memorial area at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oregon City.
  • Repair, reset and clean headstones at the St. Helens Masonic Cemetery.
  • Repair fencing and five monuments at the Ukiah Cemetery.
  • Repair monuments and remove trees in the Weston Cemetery.

Historic cemeteries are documented by OCHC and must include the burial of at least one person who died before Feb. 14, 1909. The historic cemetery grant program is offered annually by the OCHC, part of the Oregon Heritage Program at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). OCHC maintains a list of all pioneer and historic cemeteries in the state. The seven-member appointed commission helps people and organizations document, preserve and promote of designated historic cemeteries statewide. For more information about the grant program or the OCHC, visit or contact Kuri Gill at or 503-986-0685.

5. Sherman County Court Notes, May 15

By Administrative Assistant Kayla von Borstel


– This is a very brief outline ONLY of topics considered “public interest”.

– These are NOT OFFICIAL MINUTES. For official minutes and full details, please see the approved minutes posted on the Sherman County website at after the next Court session. Thank you.

The Sherman County Court met in regular session on May 15, 2019, and in conducting the business of the County,

  • SHIFT Festival Mass Gathering Appeal: Denial of Conditional Use Permit
    • Motion to vote to grant the appeal and approve the conditional use permit for Tectonic, LLC through the dates of July 18-22, with the conditions of limiting ticket sales to 800, and allowing the Sherman County Sheriff to shut down the festival along with the seven conditions as recommended by the Planning Commission as follows: Permit valid for July 18-22, 2019 only; noise levels must be kept to within 70 decibels at the property lines of neighboring residents between the hours of 11:00pm and 9:00am; the site will be left as it was found before the festival, this includes all cleanup and removal of debris, toilets, signage, and other event material within 72 hours of the last day of the festival; post signage warning of the high fire danger in Sherman County; post signage outlining the perimeters of the area for the gathering; obtain a mass gathering permit from the Sherman County Court; Submit all approved plans as listed in the Mass Gathering ordinance to the Planning Department prior to final approval by the County Court, these include the Fire Protection Plan, Pubic Safety Plan, Parking and Traffic Control Plan, First Aid/Medical Plan, Public Health Plan, and to comply with all applicable local and State agency permit and approval requirements.
  • Motion to approve the Sherman Cities Broadband Payments to GorgeNet in the amount of $37,643.15 for the City of Grass Valley, and $39,169.20 for the City of Rufus, for Fiber to the Home installation services.
  • County Court supports Sherman County Historical Museum to use County Property for a fundraiser.
  • County Court accepts the fee to increase from $23.83 to $25.65 per ton effective July 1, 2019 for the annual price adjustment for Waste Management disposal services.
  • Sherman County was waiting to hear a Building Codes proposal by Morrow County and the City of Boardman before any decisions are made for Sherman County. If no proposals were made, then a meeting could be scheduled to join with Wasco County.

6. The Language of Labels

Labels are important, as they are the words we use to put things into categories, in order to help us understand. Often, though, instead of helping us understand, labels cause us to make a mental checkmark in an imaginary box – and then stop thinking! Labels can become the ultimate in lazy thinking.

How many kids in the world have been called “slow learners” or even “learning disabled” when their only problem was teachers who lacked specialized education, or parents who didn’t recognize genius when they saw it? How many people hear the words, “You have a fatal illness,” and simply resign themselves to die?

There are a great many religious and political labels being thrown around these days, but how much individual research has actually gone into understanding these labels? How many so-called “conservatives” see others as either comfortably like themselves or as “liberals” and utterly foreign. This business of “red” states and “blue” states from U.S. media is a prime example of how labels tend to do nothing more than confuse and confound, throwing blanket labels on millions of individuals. Any talk radio station provides excellent examples of people who rely on labels rather than take the time to think for themselves.

What labels have you accepted for yourself? Where did they come from? Is there another way of looking at negative labels to turn them into positive attributes? If you think of yourself as lazy, what would happen if you changed that to “relaxed?” How about interpreting stubbornness as persistence, weirdness as charming eccentricity, and fear as concern?

You see, it is important to avoid labels that chip away at self-esteem and equally important to be highly skeptical of terms that pigeonhole others, as well as the people who use these terms. These mental shortcuts leave us all short-changed – the labeler and the labeled. Become sensitive to the words you use to describe yourself and your relationships.

Words have tremendous power, both internally and externally. If you make them as positive as possible, you will find that your experiences tend to reflect the upbeat tone of the language you are using. ~The Pacific Institute

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

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