The Baker County press. (Baker City, Ore.) 2014-current, December 15, 2017, Page 8, Image 8

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There is a large amount
of sludge that needs
removed. “Quite frankly
that the largest cost of the
improvements that need to
happen out there,” Moore
said. The sludge is taking
up valuable space needed
for water that is required
to be treated for a certain
amount of time. Moore
says the best way to dredge
the ponds is to dry them
out first. He estimates the
cost to be around $3-4 mil-
lion if the ponds are wet
Dredged. Drying them out
first will save almost half
the cost. In the plans for
improvements are plans for
additional ponds to store
the water while the original
1960’s era ponds are dried
and dredged.
The final piece was the
disposal system. Moore
told council that they had
looked at three sepa-
rate options. “One is to
continue dumping into the
river, with the changing
regulations we asked, ‘Can
we continue dumping into
the river?’”
Moore said that the City
can, they do have a permit
to do that, but that water
must be cleansed to such a
high level that a brand-new
treatment plant would need
to be built, which would
incur a hefty price tag.
Moore said it was “not
cost-effective to do that.”
Citing chemical costs as
one major factor. He also
noted constantly chang-
ing rules and permits need
to be renewed every five
years. Wetland discharge
was another option
explored but regulations
pertaining to that option
could not be overcome
to make it a viable, cost
effective solution. Finally,
land application came
about as the most viable,
cost effective solution to
the problem. Moore said
that when using this option
crops, those crops, for the
first years, can be grown
for human consumption
but have proven to grow
hay and alfalfa exception-
ally well. As time passes
the crops grown can be for
Human consumption and
have proved to flourish
exceptionally well. Moore
noted that another factor
with choosing to go the
land application route was
that the City would only
have to deal with the state
regarding regulations and
the permits were good for
10 years instead of only
five. Overall, Moore and
his firm recommended
the plan be approved and
forwarded to the DEQ.
City Council Meeting
Mayor Downing con-
vened the regular City
Council meeting at 7:00.
Downing called for Citi-
zen participation.
Robert Muller stepped
forward saying, “It was
my understanding from the
last Council meeting the
work session tonight was
going to include informa-
tion regarding the Chronic
Property Ordinance. It was
not discussed.”
City Manger Fred War-
ner apologized to Muller
and told him Council had
tabled that discussion
because the Wastewater
Facility Plan needed to be
addressed right away.
Muller said that in his
opinion that made the City
look bad.
Next, Ryc Reinks spoke.
He cited an article that
was run after the Nov. 28th
Council meeting by The
Baker County Press, which
quoted City Manager Fred
Warner telling Council
that they didn’t need to be
aware of the budget, that
was his job and he would
let Council know of budget
situations as needed.
Reinks implored Council
to not sit idle and wait for
a problem before they were
aware of the City’s finan-
cials. Downing then moved
forward with the agenda.
Public Arts Commission
Mary Miller, Chairman
of the Public Arts Com-
mission addressed Council.
She began by telling Coun-
cil that the Little Big Show
held in August was a suc-
cess and that 3 of the art
pieces displayed had been
purchased and donated to
the City.
She presented Council
with those three pieces.
She also talked about the
Art on Loan project the
Commission oversees—
a piece created by Don
Herman located in Central
Park reached the end of
the one-year loan period in
Miller said a group of
citizens had approached
her about keeping the piece
as it was loved by many
in the community $1,320
to purchase the piece
from Herman and Miller,
on their behalf officially
donated the piece to the
City. She also noted that
Herman had donated the
money received back into
the community by giving
$660 to the Hands to Heart
program at the Crossroads
Art Center, that program
ensures children are given
the opportunity to expe-
rience the joy of art by
providing all materials free
of charge.
$660 was also donated
to Jim Tomlinson’s read-
ing program that helps to
improve children’s reading
ability. Miller then advised
Council that the Art on
Loan project has been very
successful thus far with a
second piece having just
been installed in Central
Park, the piece was created
by Corinne Vegter and was
titled Blazing Shadows.
A third piece by Scott
and Tori Whiting was
expected to be installed
in the Spring and they
were working with U.S.
Bank for that installation.
She also told Council that
the Commissions bud-
get was in good shape to
cover what was already
been done and what was
She did advise that the
commission had discussed
fundraising and pursuing
grants to further their ef-
forts for sharing art in our
Wastewater Facility
Public Works Director,
Michelle Owen spoke
to Council telling them
that the information they
had heard earlier in the
work session needed to
be officially approved by
Council before it could be
forwarded to the DEQ as
required by the Dec. 31,
2017 deadline.
The City, if they failed
to comply would be fined
$1,600 per day. DEQ then
has 60-90 days to review
and approve or reject the
plan. Once approved, the
plan can be set into motion
and the City can begin as-
sessing cost.
That cost will be passed
onto consumers through
a rate increase that could
potentially raise the current
rate of $20.75 to as high
as $35. Owen stressed
that there was no way
to know how much that
rate increase would be
until construction costs
were determined. Owen
also clarified that any rate
increases were not hap-
pening now, they would be
later down the road. She
also advised that unlike the
work session now would
be the time to hear public
comment if there was any.
Robert Muller stepped
forward. He told Council
that a very pretty picture
was being painted and
farmers would benefit from
this plan. He asked, “But
who is going to pay for
this?” He noted that the
uncertainty of this plan as
far as cost and whether the
City could obtain grants or
loans as cause for con-
cern. He stated that he had
spoken to a lot of Baker
City residents, many who
had been born and raised
here, that were considering
moving away due to the
financial burdens the City
was saddling its citizens
with such as the recent
Public Safety utility fee
imposed recently.
He said many citizens
were angry and quite
simply did not have the
money to pay more than
they already are. “You’re
destroying Baker City,” he
added shaking his head.
Nilsson commented
saying that he “felt a lot of
empathy” for the citizens
noting, “Things just keep
going up and up and it’s
hard to keep up but if we
want to live in a healthy
environment this is what
has to be done for the good
of the City.”
Nilsson also acknowl-
edged that a plan had to be
submitted to the DEQ by
December 31 as required
in the MAO to avoid fur-
ther fines. “This is what we
need to do,” he said, then
moved to approve the draft
plan and submit it to DEQ
as required. Abell made
a second. Council voted
unanimously in favor.
Resolution #3803 Pa-
rade Rules
The tragic death of a
seven-year-old boy who
fell from a float and was
killed during last summer’s
Miner’s Jubilee Parade
prompted the City to
consider some guidelines
concerning parades. War-
ner told Council that there
was not currently anything
that addresses parades.
With no scheduled up-
coming parades until next
year, Warner thought it the
perfect opportunity to es-
tablish a list of guidelines
before parade season came
around saying, “Parades
are a big part of our com-
munity.” Warner provided
each Councilor with a copy
of the proposed guidelines
and said, “Most of these
are common sense.” He
also acknowledged that
even though he felt most
items addressed were
common sense, it was
important to be specific in
some instances to safe-
guard against any further
Councilor Abell spoke
up saying that just recently
at the Twilight Parade, that
was held December 2 she
witnessed children running
into the street to pick up
candy that had been tossed
about. She noted what a
potentially dangerous situ-
ation that practice created
“especially when it’s a
dark parade.”
The Councilors agreed
that was dangerous, War-
ner added that he thought
that instructions had been
given to only hand put
candy not to throw it. He
stated that with approved
guidelines, these “rules”
would become enforceable.
Councilor Thomas had
issue with one of the
guidelines referring to the
discharging of firearms.
Item #14 of the guide-
lines states there are to
be no firearms discharged
without prior approval of
Baker City Police Chief
Wyn Lohner.
Thomas said, “There
should be no firing of
them. I don’t care if
they’re shooting off
blanks. In today’s world,”
he paused then added “it
just shouldn’t be done.”
Warner responded by
saying that he left that
wording in there “in case
someone wanted to do a
21-gun salute at a Veterans
Day event, for example.”
Thomas did not budge on
his stance shaking his head
in disagreement.
Andersen questioned
item # 15 addressing the
age of adults entrusted
to keep you children safe
while on the float. The pur-
posed guidelines state that
an adult of at least 18 years
of age be present. The
question had been raised
if 21 years old might be a
better requirement.
Robert Muller also came
forward again voicing
concern perhaps authority
figures should walk along
throughout any parade to
provide additional safety
support. He also ques-
tioned the age require-
ment of adults monitoring
children. He suggested,
“No child under 11 years
old” be allowed to ride on
Downing commented
that “We are not going
to be able to encompass
everything. These are just
guidelines. We can’t take
away the responsibilities
of the parents.” (To decide
whether or not their child
can participate safely.)
Nilsson added he was a
bit skeptical about need-
ing “rules” but understood
the need. He added, “If
someone made a motion
to adopt I’d second it but
I am not passionate about
Thomas said, “I am
passionate about it.” And
moved to adopt the guide-
lines with amendments to
item #14, not allowing for
any discharge of firearms
and item #15 raising the
age of adult monitors of
floats from 18 to 21. Nils-
son seconded that motion.
Council voted unanimous-
ly in favor.
City Manager/Director
Warner stated quickly
that City Hall would be
having a staff Christmas
celebration on December
He invited all Councilors
to attend. He noted City
Hall would be closed for
a time that day, so all staff
could enjoy the festivities.
Michelle Owen advised
Council that some surplus
inventory items were ready
to be disposed of and they
would be auctioned off,
she needed a consensus of
Council that it was okay to
do that before she could of-
ficially post them. Council
agreed for that to be done.
Council Comments
Councilor Thomas shared
that he had been named
Employee of the year for
the BLM Vale District.
Councilor Abell said that
she had been a part of the
Baker School District 5J’s
advisory committee and
the findings of the commit-
tee would be made public
She said she learned a
lot and did ask for a “kind
ear” when findings were
With nothing further
Mayor Downing adjourned
the meeting.
The minutes for the Tuesday, September 12, 2017 work
session, and the Tuesday, November 14, 2017 public
hearing were approved, with a motion from Van Diepen,
and a second from Jones. The election of officers, as well
as the affirmation of the Commission’s Bylaws, were
postponed until the Tuesday, January 9, 2018 meeting,
with a motion from Jones, and a second from Wright.
Holly introduced the matter of the compliance case of
Crawford, which was originally a complaint to the Baker
City Building Department, regarding non-permitted
improvements to Crawford’s residence. The case subse-
quently went before the Baker County Board of Commis-
sioners, which referred the case to the Planning Commis-
sion, for its recommendation, as to whether any action
should be taken.
Shirtcliff was present as County counsel on the mat-
ter, and he said that, while he was not there to dictate
procedure, he was open to Commissioners’ suggestions,
and he wanted to ensure there would be due process. He
recommended a process including statements, a question-
and-answer segment, deliberations, and motions.
Jones said, according to the Bylaws, Article 1, Section
4, the Planning Commission shouldn’t even be review-
ing the matter, or making a recommendation to the Board
of Commissioners, but that the Board of Commission-
ers should be handling that task itself. Shirtcliff said he
wasn’t asked about that specifically, and he understood
that Crawford wanted the Planning Commission to review
the case. Crawford said, “Absolutely.”
Van Diepen said it wasn’t the Planning Commission’s
job to review the matter, and he made a motion to remand
the matter back to the Board of Commissioners, with no
recommendation, which was seconded by Jones. Grove
said it’s “nonsense,” and that he didn’t understand why
the matter was before the Commission, and Wright said
she agreed with Van Diepen. Crawford said he wouldn’t
have an issue with remanding the matter back to the
Board of Commissioners, and Kerns said, and Trindle
agreed, that the Planning Commission should address it.
Jones called for the question on Van Diepen’s motion,
and Trindle asked for a vote. The matter was remanded
back to the Board of Commissioners, with no recommen-
dation, with Jones, Grove, Van Diepen, and Wright voting
in favor, Trindle and Kerns voting in opposition, and
Crawford abstaining. Shirtcliff added that he’ll speak to
the Board of Commissioners, and do some more research
on the matter.
Trindle opened the public hearing on the matter of
PA-17-001, and Henes introduced and provided details of
the request, by Parvaim Mining, LLC, for a zone change
from Rural Residential (RR-5) to Mineral Extraction
(ME), for a 10-acre parcel, located in the Cracker Creek
area, north of Sumpter. The property is described as Tax
Lot 500 of Township 9 South, Range 37 East, Section 29b
Willamette Meridian, Baker County, Oregon (Reference
No. 6021).
Trindle asked for testimony from the applicant, who
was represented by Jan, the permit writer, and Bliss, a
geologist. Jan provided details of the history of Tax Lot
500, as well as intended use, for mining processing, and
not extraction. She also said that at least $1 million has
been spent in the County so far by the property owner,
Swan Mining Operations, LLC, and that local labor will
be used as much as possible, including hiring people who
have received training from the Baker Technical Institute
(BTI, which operates a heavy equipment training pro-
After discussing different details which included dust
abatement, air and water quality, environmental impacts
on and conflicting uses with the surrounding areas, etc.
(there were no significant issues noted, and no testimony
provided in opposition for either Tax Lot 500 or Tax Lot
1500), the Commission deliberated. No other testimony
was provided, Trindle suggested approval of part of the
staff recommendations, and Crawford so moved, with
a second from Jones. The motion was approved unani-
After a short break and further discussion of economic,
social, environmental, and energy (ESEE) impacts (again,
no significant issues were noted, and the site was de-
termined to be significant, as far as a mining resource),
Crawford moved that the ESEE criteria were met, Jones
seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. Craw-
ford then moved to approved PA-17-001, Wright second-
ed, and the motion carried unanimously.
Trindle opened the public hearing on PA-17-002, and
Henes introduced and provided details for this request,
also from Parvaim Mining, LLC (this property would be
important to the mining operation), for a zone change
from RR-5 to ME, for a 10-acre parcel, located in the
Cracker Creek area, north of Sumpter. The property, also
owned by Swan Mining Operations, LLC, is described as
Tax Lot 1500 of Township 9 South, Range 37 East, Sec-
tion 20 West Willamette, Baker County, Oregon.
Trindle asked Jan and Bliss to come forward once again
to provide testimony, and both provided details for the
request, including specifics from Bliss for reclamation,
such as ground cover, using ponderosa pine tree needles.
Trindle said the Commission needed assurances that pro-
tections would be in place to limit any potential impacts
on the surrounding areas, and, after noting no further
testimony, began deliberations.
After further discussion on the topic of assurances and
small operations versus large operations, and further input
from Jan and Bliss with the hearing reopened, it was then
closed. Crawford moved to accept the staff recommenda-
tions, Jones, seconded, and the motion carried.
The following requirements were recommended, as part
of the overlay, regarding assurances: