Sherman County eNews #169

CONTENTS

  1. Sherman County Court Special Session Update, June 27

  2. What’s Coming Up at Sherman County Public/School Library

  3. Ron Wyden Town Hall in Grass Valley, July 1

  4. Presentation: Wasco County Historical Society & the Sunshine Mill, July 6

  5. The Once and Future You

  6. Give Your Family an International Flair: Host an Exchange Student!

  7. Sherman County Court News, May 15

  8. Sherman County Court Minutes Online, May 15

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


1. Notice. Sherman County Court Special Session Update, June 27

ShermanCoLogoThe Sherman County Court will hold a Special Session at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday June 27, 2019, in the County Courthouse in the Commissioners Meeting Room, 500 Court Street, Moro Oregon 97039, to hold a Supplemental Budget Hearing, approve the Transfer Resolutions, make the bid award for the Wasco to Rufus Fiber Project, Philippi Park Life Jacket Kiosk, and Veteran’s Officer Vehicle Purchase.


2. What’s Coming Up at Sherman County Public/School Library

Logo.ShermanPub.School.Library2017
The Library is open BREAK Hours
11am-7pm Tuesday and Thursday
10am-4pm Saturday.

Community Preschool Storytime – Every Tuesday at 11am
Ages 0-6.

Library After Hours
Every Wednesday this summer 6pm-8pm
Grades 7-12 (entering)
Movies, Games, Food, Crafts, Music, Hang Out.
If you need a ride, please email Abbey at aphelps@sherman.k12.or.us or call the library at 541-565-3279 and we will try and arrange it.

Dream Catcher Craft Night
June 27 at 6pm
All Ages

Book Club – June 27 at 6pm
A Town Like Alice

Crafts in Stacks – Dream Catcher – June 29 at 2pm
Ages 10 and up


3. Sen. Ron Wyden Town Hall in Grass Valley, July  

American flag2

Please join your

United States Senator

Ron Wyden

for a

Town Hall Meeting

at the

Grass Valley Pavilion

233 North Mill St, Grass Valley

Monday, July 1

At 3:30 p.m.

If you have any questions, please contact Senator Wyden’s La Grande Office: (541) 962-7691 or by email at Kathleen_Cathey@wyden.senate.gov


4. Presentation: Wasco County Historical Society & the Sunshine Mill, July 6

The Wasco County Historical Society invites the public to join them at the Sunshine Mill Saturday, July 6th, for a 1:00 p.m. presentation by owners James & Molli Martin on the well over a hundred-year history of the Mill located at 901 E. 2nd St. in The Dalles. This event is free as are all WCHS summer programs.  If interested in purchasing a noon lunch off the menu, please contact 541-478-3429 by Tuesday, July 2nd, so as to reserve your seating.


5. The Once and Future You

Can the use of visualization techniques really help you achieve your goals in life? Perhaps you know someone who uses mental rehearsal, or visualization, to help them develop the behavior they would like to be a part of them.

There is nothing at all mysterious about how visualization works. It’s not something foreign to the human experience. In fact, we’ve been doing it since we were very young. (Back then, we called it “pretend” and it was perfectly normal.) You see, human beings think in the form of words, which trigger pictures that have emotions attached to them – and our subconscious cannot tell the difference between something we imagine vividly and the real thing.

Whenever you look forward to something and create a picture in your mind of how you want something to be, you are using visualization even though you may not know it. These days, many successful people use visualization to help them improve their performance and develop their skills. In other words, it’s a current reality rehearsal of a future event.

Here is how it works: If you are nervous about making a sales presentation, for example, just relax and see yourself doing it. Picture every little detail, and see yourself speaking confidently, persuasively and smoothly. Picture your manner of dress, your posture, your smile. Hear the words you will say. Feel your body, comfortable and relaxed.

Repeat the process, over and over, as if you were making a movie starring yourself. When it is time to give the actual presentation, your subconscious will kick in to help you do it exactly as you pictured it. It is a lot like actors rehearsing for a play, only you are rehearsing for real life. ~The Pacific Institute


6. Give Your Family an International Flair: Host an Exchange Student!

world.globe.map
Bring the world together by hosting a foreign exchange student!  ASSE International Student Exchange Programs, a public benefit organization, is seeking local host families for high school students from over 30 countries: Spain, Germany, Thailand, Denmark, Portugal, South Korea, Italy, France, The former Soviet Union Countries, Norway and more!

Couples, single parents, and families with & without children in the home are all encouraged to host!  You can choose to host a student for a semester or for the school year.

Each ASSE student is fully insured, brings his/her own personal spending money and expects to contribute to his/her share of household responsibilities, as well as being included in normal family activities and lifestyles.

Imagine the world of peace and greater understanding. Imagine yourself as part of the solution! Today’s teens are tomorrow’s parents, international business people, and possibly even future political leaders!  Share your corner of America by helping a foreign exchange student experience life in your area!

If you are interested in opening your home and sharing your family life with a young person from abroad, please contact us today for more information, call (800) 733-2773, go online at www.ASSEhosts.com or email asseusawest@asse.com


7. Sherman County Court News, May 15

ShermanCoLogoBy Kayla von Borstel

2019-2020 County Assessment Function Funding Assistance (CAFFA) Grant Application and Resolution Amendment, Asphalt Oil Quotes, Downtown Improvement Funds, and Public Hearing – Mass Gathering Appeal: Denial of Conditional Use Permit by the Sherman County Planning Commission, were the main items on the agenda during the May 15th session of Sherman County Court in Moro.

Jenine McDermid, Clerk, had an amendment to the County Assessment Function Funding Assistance (CAFFA) Grant application. The State asked that she present the amendment and racial and ethnic impact statement again to the County Court. Motion by the Court to approve the 2019-2020 County Assessment Function Funding Assistance (CAFFA) Program Grant Application, Racial and Ethnic Impact Statement, and Resolution in the amount of $596,584.00, and authorize Judge Dabulskis to sign.

Mark Coles, Road Master, spoke to the Court on asphalt oil quotes. He stated he ran into the same issue he had last year; he could only obtain one of three quotes, as companies are not able to make the product and store it. Albina can make the product, they just can’t store it; BlueLine can do both. Coles, stated 894 tons would be needed, and BlueLine was the only company that works for what the County needed. The Court motioned to approve the quote from BlueLine Transportations, for CRS-2-TB oil at $455.00 per ton.

Aaron Cook, Rufus City Administrator, spoke to the Court regarding the Downtown Improvement fund. The City of Rufus would like to improve the tennis court – resurface, reseal, repaint, and convert the court to ½ tennis court, ½ pickle ball court. The Court inquired on the cost; Cook replied $6,500, and a business in Gresham gave them a discount, and had already started the work. The Court reminded Cook that the funds are used as match funds so they could receive $3,250. Commissioner McCoy mentioned the tennis court wasn’t typically what the program was used for, it was more for fixing up the buildings of businesses. Judge Dabulskis wanted to do some research with Mid-Columbia Economic Development District to make sure the County knew what the funds could be used for exactly without breaking policy. The Court motioned to approve the resurface, resealing, and repainting the tennis court, and conversion of tennis court to a partial pickle ball court, pending the approval of Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, in the amount of $3,250.

Public Hearing for Mass Gathering Appeal Opened at 10:00 a.m. Judge Dabulskis read the opening statement of a Quasi-Judicial Meeting Procedure by calling the meeting of May 15, 2019, to order, and introduced himself as the Judge of the Sherman County Court. The Courts job is to conduct Public Hearings for the purpose of making land use decisions and/or recommendations according to the ordinances and law of Sherman County, and the State of Oregon. The Court may not vary from the adopted laws and ordinances. If a law or ordinance was considered to be unfair or unworkable, there would be a process to amend the ordinances. All County land use ordinances must meet minimum standards of the enabling State statutes, and administrative rules. All application being heard at the hearing would be weighed against the law and ordinances in effect at the time the application was filed. He stated a copy of the rules of procedure, agenda, and Staff Report were available on the side table. Judge Dabulskis stated the hearing would begin with the Staff Report and any additional comments from Staff. The appellant would speak first, followed by proponents or those in favor of the proposal, followed by opponents and neutral parties; agency comments would be held last. The applicant would be given the right of rebuttal; then the hearing would close for the Court to deliberate and make a decision. Failure to provide testimony at the hearing would preclude a person from participating on an appeal to the County Court, and the State Land Use Board of Appeals after that. He introduced the qualifiers for the hearing: Commissioner Joan Bird, Commissioner Tom McCoy, and Judge Joe Dabulskis. There were no known conflicts of interest, Judge Dabulskis had Exparte contact with a Planning Commission member as he was called to let know of the Commission’s decision, and from Fred Justesen to which he informed Fred that he was not allowed to speak on the topic until the hearing.

Dan Meader, Planning Consultant- Tenneson Engineering, stated Sherman County Planner, Georgia Macnab, asked that he present the Staff Report. He stated the purpose of the hearing was for the Court to consider an appeal on the decision made by the Planning Commission to deny a Conditional Use Permit for a mass gathering festival, July 18-22, 2019, at Justesen Ranches in Grass Valley. During the Planning Commission hearing the proposed application for the festival was presented, concerns were brought up by the staff and the permit was denied. He made a few notations for the record. After public testimony closed, the Chair asked if the date could be changed, to which the applicant stated no; this was the only error in the process. Meader requested the Court to uphold the Planning Commission decision for the appeal.

Colin Geiger, Tectonic Council, would like to see the Court continue holding the festival each year as it has brought economic value to the County since 2016. The permit was denied this year even though it had been approved with similar proposals in the past with no issues. Geiger handed out materials to the Court of the applicable law for ordinance 433.763 subpart 1c, and for Sherman County mass gathering ordinance part 3-2e, stating that no mass gathering shall take place during the months of July through October unless a site has been approved and compatible with existing land uses and does not alter the stability of the overall land use pattern of the area. Geiger believed the festival did not alter any land use pattern of the area, and there was no risk of fire from the festival. Geiger also noted the area for the festival was previously in the Federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that had to be taken out to provide space for the festival with a multi-year agreement with Tectonic, and by doing so, had to pay a monetary penalty for that land. A correction was noted in the Staff Report that read campfires were allowed; campfires are not allowed, and no materials are burned, all fires are propane based. No smoking was allowed except in the designated areas as well, and the festival was surrounded by a fire border on all sides.

Josh Monafi and Talik Eichinger, Tectonic LLC, testified fire safety was Tectonics number one concern, and they provide safety communications (smoking restrictions, no idle vehicles, best roads to take, no on the ground generators etc.) to participants ahead of time starting monthly, and increasing to weekly as the event nears. Monafi discussed fire safety precautions including a team of 25 individuals who walk around the festival during the entirety of the event making sure all rules are enforced. Fire art held at the festival are required to be propane based only, so there would be no sparks or embers that could catch anything on fire. Fire art is elevated off the ground by 10-28 feet. Fire performers only perform in one 50 foot circle mowed to the lowest possible height consisting of two safety members with wet rags and fire extinguishers. Geiger inquired if there were any permanent or semi-permanent steps in place based on the idea of the festival continuing every year. Eichinger responded yes. Aly Sedlock, Grass Valley County Market, testified the Shift festival brought economic value to her business, even though the majority of the traffic was diverted to the South away from her store; she expected business during the festival to increase every year. Fred Justesen, Justesen Ranches, testified to the fire suppression/prevention vehicles available on hand during the festival, and the economic loss to his family if the festival was denied. There are generally five trucks with approximately 300 gallon tanks on each, one truck with approximately a 2,000 gallon tank, one truck with a 6,500 gallon tank, one military issue truck with a 750 gallon tank from a newly developed Fire District in Shaniko, one dozer with a blade, one skidsteer with a blade, and one tractor with a chisel plow. Fire breaks/barriers that are created are at least 75 feet wide. If the Fire Chief stated the conditions were too dangerous, they will comply; Eichinger elaborated by stating the fire effects cannot be ran if it is too windy as the wind blows them out. Glenn Fluhr, South Sherman Fire & Rescue Fire Chief, testified the festival has never caused any wildfires, he has unannounced visits every day or night, there are safety brochures at all the check points, and he reviewed Tectonic’s fire safety plan, which he felt was adequate. It was asked to have extra fire protection this year on the Friday of the festival due to the influx of traffic. Last year during the widespread County fire, he did not feel the need for evacuation due to Tectonic’s safety measures.

No proponents not associated with the applicants spoke. Opponents were next to speak. Roger Whitley, Bryan Cranston, Erik Glover, and Forest Peters, Planning Commission, testified stating Tectonic’s preventative plan seemed the best than anyone could do, and they took everything into consideration; however, last year’s wildfire was detrimental to the County and jumped the rivers easily, therefore the fire could easily jump the fire breaks in place for the festival. The devastation of last year, far outweighs the reward of the festival, and they don’t want to see anyone get hurt. An increase in 25% of attendees from last year totaling 1,000 individuals, would be a big strain on local resources if things were to really turn bad. Fire close to the festival could also propose health risks to attendants who would still breathe in the smoke. These factors led to the decision of denying the permit. The festival would not be a concern if the date was changed to a different time of the year outside of fire season. Bryce Coeslch, Community Member and Farmer, also testified fire suppression resources are spread thin during the summer months, and if another fire were to happen in the festival area it would be hard to control if there were multiple fires at once.

Neutral parties/Agencies spoke next. Shawn Payne, Emergency Services, testified she was impressed with the medical side of Tectonics’ plans, however, her concerns as Emergency Management centered on the evacuations of 1,000 people who are not familiar with the area. She is neither for, nor against, the festival. Brad Lohrey, Sheriff, testified that last year was unique, and at one point the entire County was under evacuation. He signed off on their permit for law enforcement as they met the standards for the conditional use permit. His concern lies with fire risks. If the County were to grant the permit, he has no authority to make them cease fire activity as of now; he requests the Court to consider granting the Sheriff and the Sheriff’s Staff, the authority to stop/shut down the burning during the festival in unsafe conditions, such as windy or red flag days which means no burning. Mark Coles, Road Department, testified on roads for the festival, and signed off on the permit. His only concern dealt with parking, which Tectonic seemed to handle. He doesn’t foresee a huge issue with too many people on roads, the concern would be road directions for an evacuation. Geiger mentioned there are directions in their information packets. Tom Macnab, Moro Fire Department, testified his concern with fire equipment at the festival would be who would be running each piece of equipment, and do they know how to use that specific piece of equipment.

Public Hearing Recessed: 11:55a.m.; Public Hearing Reconvened: 1:00 p.m.

Applicants were allowed time to rebuttal. Eichinger and Monafi, Tectonic LLC, informed the Court that when the wildfire occurred last year they issued a broad announcement to the attendees to not to attend the event until further notice in the event of cancellation, with the exception of staff who were already on location and were allowed to stay due to the safest place possible for them to be at that time. Once the ok was given by officials, attendees were allowed to arrive. He invited officials to attend the festival.

Commissioner Bird inquired of the County Appointed Attorney, Dan Olsen, if there would be any County liability for approving the permit; Dan replied he did not believe so, the County would be acting in its official capacity making a discretionary decision. Judge Dabulskis asked County appointed counsel if Tectonic met all the standards required to obtain the condition use permit legally per the presented ORS; Counsel replied that was correct in that it was compatible with existing land use, and did not materially alter the land use pattern.

Closing Statement was heard. Geiger, Tectonic attorney, asked the Court to allow the festival to continue this year subject to any rules the Court would like to put into place to ensure safety. Many have stated Tectonics plans are the best they could be, and he believed that it was shown that the event does not materially alter the current land use pattern in any way. Commissioner Bird inquired if there would be any possibility of the festival occurring at any other time of the year. Geiger replied it would be too late for this year; in future, it could be a possibility, however, it would still be within the June to October “Summer” months.

Public Hearing Closed: 1:21p.m.

Deliberations were held. Judge Dabulskis stated he keeps an open mind to respect everyone; he appreciated Tectonic would be willing to cut back numbers and is open to additional conditions set by the Court. His final decision for the year was to approve the appeal for the conditional use permit. Commissioner McCoy stated he was concerned from the beginning about allowing a fire-art festival during the summer and early fall.  He has been impressed by the efforts of the festival organizers to minimize fire danger during the last three festivals. However, after the catastrophic fires of last summer, he now believes the risk is too great.  His final decision was to deny the appeal of the planning commission’s decision not to grant a conditional use permit this year. Commissioner Bird stated her number one concern was Sherman’s residents. She stated fire art in the summer does not resonate as safe; however, she felt the conditional use application met the rules within the laws of the ORS regarding conditional uses, and her final decision was to approve the appeal for the conditional use permit with conditions.

County Court motioned 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.

Actions taken by the Court included:

  • approved 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.
  • approved the selection of Six Rivers Community Mediation Services as grantee to receive Oregon Office for Community Dispute Resolution funding for the 2019-2021 biennium to provide community dispute resolution services for Sherman County.
  • approved the Revenue/Expenditure Summary for the month of April 2019, as presented.
  • approved the Treasurer’s Report for the month of March 2019, as revised.

Topics of discussion were Sherman County Historical Museum to Use Sherman County Property for Fundraiser, Eastern Oregon Coordinating Care Organization (EOCCO) Letter of Support, Annual Price Adjustment for Sherman County/Waste Management Disposal Services of Oregon, Inc. Contract, Sherman County Representative Change Request for the Eastern Oregon Healthy Living Alliance (EOHLA), Building Codes, and Commissioner Reports.


8. Sherman County Court Minutes Online, May 15

Approved minutes for the May 15, 2019 Regular Session of the Sherman County Court are now available in the Archive of County Court Meeting Minutes https://www.co.sherman.or.us/county-meeting-minutes-archive/


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

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Oregon Senate Republicans’ walkout could kill hundreds of bills

Oregon Ethics Commission: No Conflict of Interest with Greg Smith

5 Signs of Oregon’s Tax Revolt

Support Grows for Oregon Senate Republicans, Ways to Help

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Connecting the Dots: Insane Trade and Climate Chaos – Resilience