Sherman County eNews #134


  1. Sherman 4-H Club News Report: Pans on Fire 4-H Club

  2. Sherman County Court Notes, May 18

  3. Sherman County Court Meeting Agenda, June 1

  4. Oregon Farm Bureau: Listen to locals in Owyhee monument debate

  5. Opinion: Unions’ corporate tax will act as a sales tax, state says

  6. Congressman Walden: Kelsey Smith Act Failed to Pass

  7. Vote Baker City for Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town in America

  8. The Dam Writers in Progress Open Mic, The Dalles Art Center, May 26

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

“It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled.” —Mercy Warren (1805)

1.Sherman 4-H Club Report: Pans on Fire 

4-H clover1The “Pans on Fire!” 4-H club met on May 23, 2016 at 3:47pm at the Extension Office.  Attending were Madalyn Berry, Talon Dark, Pyeper Walker and leader Cindy Brown.  Excused absence was Shelby Havins.  Pledge of Allegiance led by Pyeper Walker, 4-H Pledge by Madalyn Berry.  Today during our meeting we planned what we were doing and washed our hands so we could prep our kabobs.  After we had them prepped we went outside to cook them.  When they were cooked we ate them, and got our breadsticks ready by rolling dough in flour and fixed them in a long piece.   Put tin foil on the top of the stick, wrapped dough around it and lightly wrapped more tin foil around the dough, and cooked it for 30 minutes then ate.  Meeting adjourned at 5:23pm.  Signed Pyeper Walker and Madalyn Berry, News Reporters.

2. Sherman County Court Notes, May 18

~ By Administrative Assistant Lauren Hernandez

ShermanCoLogo(A brief summary of topics addressed – not official minutes. For details, please see the official approved minutes posted after the June 1st Court session on the Sherman County website at

The Sherman County Court met in regular session on May 18th, 2016, and in conducting the business of the county,

  • met with Jenine McDermid, Clerk, about forming an Executive Risk Management Team (ERMT) as recommended by CityCounty Insurance Services; the team would meet a minimum of four times per year, prepare a risk management policy, identify major exposures, and assign ‘risk owners’ to major exposures; Jenine reported Matt McGowan, PayneWest Insurance Advisor, suggested the Safety Committee work some ERMT discussion items into its monthly meetings as opposed to forming an ERMT; the Court came to the consensus to have the Safety Committee add Executive Risk Management Team agenda items to its monthly meetings and to email county personnel at least twice a year asking for input about new risks or policies to consider;
  • heard an update from Heath Gardner, Wenaha Group Project Manager, that Schematic Design is complete; narrative specifications have been added to the design to help Kirby Nagelhout Construction (KNC), Contract Manager/General Contractor, price it; Heath presented the first schematic design estimate; the first cost estimate for the new building came to a total of $6,059,694; the first existing courthouse remodel cost estimate totaled $708,926; combining the savings from existing courthouse renovations with approved Value Engineering ideas, the adjusted estimate for the total project comes to $5,877,675; Heath reviewed the Value Engineering ideas the project team agreed on to cut costs; the team approved ten first-tier priority items, which added up to $182,151 in savings; twenty five second-tier priority items were selected for further investigation and will remain available as cost control strategies; permitting for the project should be complete by the end of November; construction is projected to begin in the beginning of January 2017; the size of the Weed Department building needs to be determined; a conceptual price estimate for the possible cupola restoration is approximately $100,000; preliminary information estimates a steel structure may have to extend from the roof to the ground to anchor the cupola, which would be invasive to the building; the Court authorized Hire Electric to do a solar study and authorized Judge Thompson to sign; a courthouse facilities public open house will be held Thursday, June 2nd, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.;
  • met with Jessica Metta, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, to discuss downtown improvement plan funds and the forming of a chamber of commerce; downtown improvement fund dollars are for the entire county, not just for one city, and the idea of establishing a chamber of commerce is to get a group of countywide citizens to allocate the money; each city should have an equal chance to access the funds, but the money should be focused on cities ready to move forward with planned improvements; instead of forming a chamber of commerce, discussion was held about forming a beautification committee to distribute the funds to cities ready to go with detailed downtown improvement plans; discussion was held about matching funds;
  • reviewed the Lower Deschutes Cooperative Weed Management Area Coordinator job description; heard from Rod Asher, Weed District Director, all parties are financially on board with contributing to funding the new position; the Court approved the Lower Deschutes Cooperative Weed Management Area Coordinator job description as presented; heard a concept proposal from Rod about making a current part-time employee full time by hiring him as full-time county employee and contracting 25% of his time with the City of Moro; Rod plans to approach the City of Moro City Council with this concept;
  • heard a formal request from Sandy Macnab and Cindy Brown, OSU Extension Office, to change the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Sherman County and Oregon State University (OSU) to make Cindy a state employee and no longer a county employee; the proposal increases Cindy’s position to 1 FTE; the new MOU would outline that Sherman County would send funds to OSU to support Cindy’s position, but the cost to the county will remain approximately the same as it is currently; the Court approved contributing to Cindy Brown’s new full-time position salary up to $25,000; appointed Cindy Brown as the Sherman County representative for the Tri-County Hazardous Waste Recycling Program;
  • met with Amber DeGrange, Juvenile Director, about a draft Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for Regional Early Learning Hub Coordination between Sherman County and Columbia Gorge Education Service District (CGESD); the IGA outlines Christa’s responsibilities as; Christa clarified the IGA does not detail funds being transferred to programs because this is already identified in the agreement Sherman County signed with the State of Oregon; the IGA is only a subcontract that specifies Sherman County’s relationship with CGESD; Amber suggested the hub become a regular Court agenda item so she can act as liaison to update the Court about any action the Governance Board takes, which would allow the Court to review the process and notify Amber of issues if any arise; discussion was held about a quarterly report from the hub, and it was suggested Christa present a quarterly report to Tri-County Court;
  • authorized matching the Wolf Compensation and Financial Assistance 2016 Grant Agreement in the amount of $1,250 and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • accepted the Notice to Vacate the Wasco Annex from Sherman County Community Outreach, effective immediately;
  • approved the Intergovernmental Agreement between Mid-Columbia Economic Development District and Sherman County for the provision of Local Economic Development Services and authorized Judge Thompson to sign;
  • approved the Sherman County Emergency Action Plan revised in May 2016;
  • authorized $5,838.37 to be transferred from the General Fund to the Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Intervention Fund as recommended by the Finance Director, to be paid back when the final grant is received;
  • approved correcting the May 4th, 2016 motion reading, “Motion to…increase pollution coverage up to $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate…” to reflect the correct insurance coverage amount, now to read, “Motion to…increase pollution coverage up to $2 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate…”;
  • authorized the expenditure of $2,500 as a donation to Columbia Gorge Community College Foundation in support of Sherman County students attending CGCC;
  • approved the resolution In the Matter of the County Court Approving the Transfer Of Funds Within the County General, Community Transit, Ambulance, CR&I Reserve, Prevention, CAMI, DA-V/WAP, General Road, County Fair, Tri-County Community Corrections, Tri-County Veterans’, Early Learning Services, Senior Center, Renewable Resources, Weed Reserve and SIP Additional Fee Funds;
  • entered into Biggs Service District Board of Directors; contacted Jeff Holliday, City of Rufus City Manager, to discuss if the City of Rufus would be interested in entering into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Biggs Service District to provide administrative services to the district; approved hiring City of Rufus to administrate the Biggs Service District if the City of Rufus expressed interest in the offer;
  • discussed the Stepping Up Initiative and the Biggs Service District Administrator position;
  • approved endorsing the Stepping Up Initiative;
  • heard from Jeff Holliday, City of Rufus City Manager, residents of Rufus were under the impression Scott Canyon would not be closed and would be flagged; a noticeable decrease in traffic and business has been observed and has put hardship on the city; Jeff explained corrective action in the future would be better communication from the county; in the future, the Court will more thoroughly discuss the effects of closing roads and will better communicate road closures;
  • entered into Biggs Service District and met with Jeff Holliday, City of Rufus City Manager; a candidate was hired to fill the position of Rene’ Moore, Biggs Service District Administrator, but then gave notice that they could no longer accept the job; the district’s two options are to contract with the City of Rufus for administrative services or to go through the hiring process again; Jeff stated contracting with the City of Rufus is the easiest option; for the duration of the water project, payment for services will be increased to compensate for the extra time spent; Jeff accepted the offer to serve as Biggs Service District Administrator through the City of Rufus;
  • heard reports from Court members about regional board activities.

3. Sherman County Court Meeting Agenda, June 1

SC.Agenda June 1 2016

4. Oregon Farm Bureau: Listen to locals in Owyhee monument debate

ear.hearOne thing all parties could agree on at a May 23 hearing about the Owyhee Canyonlands is that it is spectacularly beautiful.  But who’s to thank for that?

“Today we’ve heard the words ‘iconic’ and ‘awesome’ to describe the Owyhee Canyonlands,” said Oregon Farm Bureau President Barry Bushue before the House Rural Communities Committee at the state capitol. “I say to you that this is exactly because of the people I’m here representing today, the ranchers, the farmers, the local communities, and the businesses that have worked 150 years to make this land what it is.”

Bushue testified against a potential designation by President Obama to make the Owyhee Canyonlands a national monument. This designation would affect a 2.5 million-acre area in the Owyhee Canyonlands along the Oregon-Idaho-Nevada border, an area larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It would cover about 40% of Malheur County’s total land base.

Bushue beseeched the lawmakers to listen to the people who actually live and work near the canyonlands, the families whose lives would be directly impacted by a monument designation. At a ballot in March, an incredible 90% of voters in Malheur County opposed a national monument. A designation by the president without a vote by Congress would completely disregard these rural voices.

“This is about the people on the ground, the people you represent,” Bushue told lawmakers. “Give these people the credit they so richly deserve.”

An executive action for a monument also does not require that its economic impact be determined. A monument would decimate Malheur County’s historic cattle industry, an essential economic driver and job creator for the region. It would limit grazing, open ranchers up to litigation, and likely put out of business families who have worked the land for generations.

“To reduce economic opportunity on an area in a state that is so desperately in need of jobs and dollars is blatantly irresponsible,” wrote Bushue in submitted testimony. “In addition, this comes at a time when much-needed timber payments from the federal government have been uncertain in recent years. Rural Oregon can hardly afford to have any more losses.”

At the hearing, a monument supporter noted that sellers of outdoor gear would benefit from increased sales if a designation were made. But at what cost to the deeply rooted agricultural community?

“Are we going to support [outdoor recreation] businesses at the expense of fifth-generation ranchers like Elias Eiguren? I’m incredulous that there are those who would prioritize the value of these businesses over the people who have made the region what it is today,” Bushue told the committee.

Not only is cattle ranching an integral part of the economy and local culture, it keeps the land productive and balanced. The Owyhee Canyonlands are ecologically sound today thanks to over a century of responsible use. Without the benefits of grazing and local management, the region would be subject to invasive species, noxious weeds, and risk of wildfire.

“Oregon is more than 60% publicly owned, either by the state or federal government. Much of the federal land in Oregon isn’t maintained, causing great harm to existing farmland and crops,” said Bushue.

“As farmers and ranchers, we care deeply about the land. Not only do we live on the land, we enjoy and depend on the land. We raise our families here and have cared for it responsibly for generations. Our voices are united and opposed to an unnecessary monument declaration that will harm our families, our community and our way of life,” said Bushue.

Oregon Farm Bureau is a proud member of the Owyhee Basin Stewardship Coalition. Sign and share the petition here and learn more about how the monument would harm this rural community.

See OFB President Barry Bushue’s written testimony:

The state’s largest general farm organization, Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) is a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the interests of the state’s farmers and ranchers in the public and policymaking arenas. First established in Oregon in 1919, Farm Bureau is organized in all 36 counties and has 7,000 member families that are professionally engaged in agriculture.

Oregon Farm Bureau President Barry Bushue is a third-generation farmer raising a variety of vegetables and berries at a nearly century-old farm near Boring, Oregon. He is OFB’s 15th president.


5. Opinion: Unions’ corporate tax will act as a sales tax, state says

The Oregonian Editorial Board, May 23, 2016

dollar.bills2The public employee unions seeking to boost business taxes by about $6 billion per biennium would like Oregonians to believe that Joe and Jane Taxpayer won’t be affected. Anyone who’s tempted to swallow that argument should read a state analysis of the tax hike released on Monday. It’s 20 pages long, but here’s the part voters should remember: Initiative Petition 28 “is expected to largely act as a consumption tax on the state economy. Taxes initially born by the retail trade, wholesale trade and utility sectors are expected to result in higher prices for Oregon residents.”  That’s right. Supporters claim the tax will be paid “Only (by) the largest corporations doing business in Oregon,” but it will be paid in large part by you. It’s a hidden sales tax. >>> Read the rest here:

6. Congressman Walden: Kelsey Smith Act Failed to Pass

USAbannerWASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives failed to pass H.R. 4889, the Kelsey Smith Act:

“The time was now to act. The time was now to help families find abducted children and I’m disappointed my colleagues could not support this narrowly written bill,” said Walden. “We worked diligently to make this a bill that balanced privacy concerns with the importance of saving lives. It’s modeled after the law in Oregon that passed unanimously through a Democratic legislature and was signed by a Democratic governor. The majority of the House supported this measure, so, I’m frustrated with my colleagues who voted against providing law enforcement with a critical tool to protect the public in urgent situations where every second counts. This bill respected the rights of the state and local legislatures to determine for themselves the appropriate procedures for law enforcement to protect their citizens’ privacy. I will continue to work to see this life-saving tool made available nationwide.”

The Kelsey Smith Act, authored by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), would require telecommunications carriers to share location data if law enforcement believes that someone is in danger of death or serious harm. The bill is named after an 18-year old Kansas woman who was abducted and murdered in 2007. After Kelsey Smith’s car was found in a nearby parking lot, police began an urgent search for her. They were unsuccessful for four days until her cell phone’s location information was turned over to law enforcement. Kelsey was then found in about 45 minutes.

As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Walden helped lead the effort to pass the bill. The bill is modeled after a version passed by Oregon in 2014, when it was unanimously approved by both houses of the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kitzhaber.  Although the bill won support from a majority of the House, it did not reach the required two-thirds support required under the rules under which the bill was considered today.

7. Vote Baker City for Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town in America

voteThere are just 13 days left to vote for Budget Travel’s Coolest Small town in America and Baker City is in 2nd place.  We’ve been bumped by a town in Maryland and need your help getting back to first place before the contest ends June 6th. Please take a moment to vote for Baker City at this link,25/#baker-city-or   You can vote once per day through June 6th. Then, please email this link to any of your partners or other groups , association, or organizations that you belong to who might be willing to vote for Baker City and bring the title of Coolest Small Town in America  to Eastern Oregon.

  8. The Dam Writers in Progress Open Mic, The Dalles Art Center, May 26

ear.hearThursday night, May 26th, The Dalles Art Center will host an open mic from 7 – 8pm organized by The Dam Writers In Progress (WIP), a local writing group. Alvin Smith, a member of WIP, will be reading poems from his forthcoming book ‘Rocking the Spinning Top.’ This Thursday, members of WIP invite you to listen or share with us. The mic is welcome to poetry, short story, lyrical, slam–and anything in between. Published members of WIP will be available to sign copies of their books. This is a monthly gathering to encourage and support emerging writers in all genres. Future gatherings will meet on the final Thursday of each month at The Dalles Art Center. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

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


 A Postcard from Boring, Oregon

Opinion, The Oregonian. Unions’ corporate tax will act as a sales tax, state says

“Always, the people are responsible for wicked lawmakers, oppressors, exploiters, criminals in government, tyrants in power, thieves, liars, malefactors and murderers in the capitals of the world. You, the man in the street, the man in the factory and in the shop, the man on the farm, the man in the office, you, the man everywhere, are guilty of the creatures whose crimes against you have been so monstrous, and will be again, by your own consent — if you give it…”— Taylor Caldwell,”The Devil’s Advocate”(1952)

Remaking Rutland [Vermont] with Regugees