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About The Baker County press. (Baker City, Ore.) 2014-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 6, 2017)
LOCAL: Comic workshop held at the library.
SPECIAL: Dooley Mountain and Hwy. 245:
A history by Curt Dooley. PAGE 8
Baker County Press
All local. All relevant. Every Friday.
Friday, January 6, 2017 • Volume 4, Issue 1
New year, new officials
HELD AT COUNTY
BY TODD ARRIOLA
Family and friends were
in attendance as the Oath
of Ofﬁ ce was administered
to ﬁ ve individuals at the
Baker County Courthouse,
on Friday, December
30, 2016: Baker County
District Attorney Matt
Shirtcliff, Baker County
Commissioner Bruce Nich-
ols, Baker County Sheriff
Travis Ash, Baker County
Assessor Kerry Savage,
and Baker County Sur-
veyor Tom Hanley.
Baker County Circuit
Court Judge Greg Baxter
administered the Oath to
Nichols, Ash, and Savage
together in the morning,
and later the same day to
Shirtcliff (a State Oath was
administered to Shirtcliff).
Baker County Clerk Cindy
the Oath to Hanley that
Shirtcliff, District At-
torney since January 2001,
was elected once again to
Nichols, who won a
close victory against can-
didate Kody Justus in May,
was elected in November
to serve for the ﬁ rst time
as County Commissioner,
replacing retiring Com-
missioner Tim Kerns, who
now serves on the County
Savage, in his posi-
tion since January 2009,
and Hanley, in his since
January 1997, both ran
unopposed during the May
Primary, and they weren’t
required to be placed on
the ballot in November.
Ash, ﬁ rst appointed by
Bill Harvey and Mark Ben-
nett, and former County
Commissioner Tim Kerns
to replace Mitch South-
wick as the interim Sheriff
in 2015, was elected to that
position in November.
Shirtcliff, Nichols, Ash,
Savage, and Hanley all be-
gan serving their four-year
terms on Monday, January
Want to contact your
elected officials? A list
of contact information is
available in the gray box
on Page 4 of every issue
for your convenience.
L-R: Bruce Nichols, Travis Ash, Kerry Savage.
Oregon’s new SoS sworn in
BY KERRY McQUISTEN
Last Friday evening the Baker County Sheriff’s Ofﬁ ce
received a report of a break-in and robbery at the mining
claim up Clark’s Creek in the Bridgeport area, owned by
Marvin and Phillip Wirth and family. The claim has been
featured on this season of “Gold Rush” on the Discovery
Marvin Wirth stated that marks on the chain on the gate
were visible, likely from bolt cutters. Wirth said outbuild-
ings had been gone through, and someone had attempted
to start one of the loaders that had been parked nearby on
Neighbors up the road had seen a suspicious pickup
truck on the remote road near the supposed time of the
break-in. The next day, Wirth saw the same pickup and
was able to get a plate number.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Travis Ash said that investigation
into the truck cleared the suspect, and an investigation is
pending regarding fuel believed to have been stolen dur-
ing the break-in. Ash also conﬁ rmed that a lock had been
cut to gain access to the property.
Photos courtesy of Bill Currier.
Dennis Richardson, with wife Cathy, taking his oath of ofﬁ ce in Salem on December 30.
BY KERRY McQUISTEN
Last Friday afternoon, Dennis Richardson was sworn in
as Oregon’s 26th Secretary of State. A Republican, Rich-
ardson campaigned often in Baker County, and visited
last summer for Miners Jubilee.
His election to this ofﬁ ce breaks a 30-year hold by
Democrats on the position.
While Richardson’s swearing-in was well attended by
colleagues such as Congressman Greg Walden and State
Rep. Greg Barreto, many of his young family mem-
bers also attended, and his wife, Cathy, was at his side.
Oregon Republican Party Chair Bill Currier described the
event essentially as family-friendly and full of energy.
Richardson, age 67, is a Vietnam War veteran, pilot,
and attorney with nine children and many more grand-
The Secretary of State position is ﬁ rst in line for
Governor, should that position be vacated for any reason
Richardson ran against incumbent governor John
Kitzhaber in 2014. That race ended in a narrow loss for
Richardson, with Kitzhaber resigning only weeks later
amidst scandal. Kate Brown was elected in November as
Governor after ﬁ lling in as an appointed ofﬁ cial during
Kitzhaber’s remaining term.
The Secretary of State’s ofﬁ ce oversees numerous
aspects of the voting process, business registrations and
Mostly sunny and frigid. Highs in the upper
single digits.Friday Night: Mostly cloudy and
cold, lows near -5.
Photos courtesy of Bill Currier.
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson with State
Rep. Greg Barreto of Cove.
Your weekend weather forecast for Baker County.
Our forecast made possible by this
Partly sunny with a chance for snow showers.
High 18. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy with snow show-
ers. Lows in the lower teens.
Mostly cloudy with snow. Late high near freez-
ing. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Light to
medium accumulations expected. Sunday Night:
Mostly cloudy with a wintry mix expected.
Ofﬁ cial weather provider for
The Baker County Press.
On December 28, Baker City Police responded to a re-
port of a Burglary at 2289 Orchard Street where multiple
ﬁ rearms were stolen. Ofﬁ cers tracked the suspect to 2291
Orchard Street where they contacted Michael Counts in
that residence, who was a person of interest in the case. A
search warrant was obtained for 2291 Orchard Street and
served the next day. Four of the ﬁ ve ﬁ rearms were recov-
ered at that time as well as multiple other stolen items.
On December 30 just before 9:25 p.m., Baker City
Police were searching for Michael Counts who had a
Baker County Parole and Probation detainer that had
been issued for his arrest. Baker City Police were given
information that Michael was attempting to secure a ride
out of town, possibly headed to California. Michael was
found walking alone on Broadway near 16th where he
was taking into custody.
On that day he was charged with: Local Detainer (Pa-
role Violation Baker County, Oregon), PCS Methamphet-
amine, False Info to Police Ofﬁ cer.
After a continued investigation, the ﬁ fth ﬁ rearm was
located. On January 2, Counts was also charged with:
Burglary in the First Degree, Criminal Trespass in the
First Degree, Aggravated Theft in the First Degree,
Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Felon in
Possession of a Firearm (four counts), and Criminal Mis-
chief in the First Degree.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
Sumpter ethics complaints wrap up
Local attorney honored
“So I was thinking...” by Jimmy Ingram Page
County Commissioners coverage
Special Olympics coach goes to Austria Page
“The Outdoor Column” by Todd Arriola Page