Image provided by: Baker County Library District; Baker City, OR
About The Record-courier. (Haines, Baker County, Oregon) 1932-2016 | View Entire Issue (May 26, 2016)
THURSDAY, MAY 26,2016
Baker County Rushes to meet BLM Rule Deadline
Public Told No Time for Input
Submitted by Mary Jane Guyer
Last week, during the Commission’s regular
session, it was made clear that time was
dwindling for Baker County to submit its
comments on a proposal by the Bureau of Land
Management. The proposal would change exist
ing planning regulations governing the agency.
That tight deadline, according to Commission
Chairman Bill Harvey, pre-empts any public
review, comment or input before Baker.County
submits its final document to the BLM.
What is at stake?
According to BLM, the agency is currently in the
process of revising regulations that govern how
land use plans are developed. Commonly referred
to as "Planning 2.0," BLM claims the new rule will
establish public involvement earlier, increase
transparency, provide flexibility in resource
management, and improve the bureau’s response
time in a number of issues.
Commissioner Bennett sees it differently. ‘The
language has the potential to seriously weaken
our place at the table,” stated Bennett. ‘We have
had a long-standing, positive relationship with the
BLM. I am concerned the proposed rule has the
potential to lessen our relationship with the BLM.
It may leave us to carry a much greater burden in
making our case. That could be very expensive
The BLM published the proposed 62-page rule
in the Federal Register on February 25,2016. The
public, including Baker, County, was given 60 days
to submit comments. BLM extended that deadline
by 30 days, making Wednesday, May 25, the new
deadline. This allowed interested parties a total of
90 days to submit comments.
For almost a decade, Baker County Commis
sioners have relied heavily on the citizen-based
Natural Resource Advisory Committee (NRAC) to
help prepare its comments in response to
proposed rules made by federal agencies. Today,
the Committee is comprised of 19 Baker County
citizen volunteers who bring personal and profes
sional expertise in the areas of timber, mining,
ranching, and other natural resource-based areas.
Though advisory in nature, County Commission
ers have relied on their commitment of time and
experience to help draft Baker County’s
Over the years, they have advised on such
matters as the Oregon Wolf and Sage Grouse
Plans, the Little Dean and Snow Basin timber
projects, Food Safety Modernization Act, and the
Oregon Integrated Water Resources Strategy, just
to name a few.
On March 25, Chairman of the NRAC Commit
tee, Doni Bruland, forwarded (as requested by
Chairman Harvey) to NRAC Committee members,
an email that contained information from BLM
public affairs. In it, Kris Mastrofini of the BLM
briefly outlined the purpose of the rule, cited the
location in the Federal Register, and highlighted a
number of public information meetings. Mastrofini
encouraged NRAC members to contact her with
However, there is no record of a Baker County
NRAC meeting or any follow-up by NRAC regard
ing the BLM Planning 2.0. Rule. In a subsequent
email, Bruland cites the lack of a meeting space
available in the County as a reason for canceling
NRAC meetings during this comment period.
During the most recent Commission meeting
held last Wednesday, Commissioner Mark
Bennett commented at length regarding the
reputation Baker County has had and the
important role of public involvement.
Bennett stated, “In years past, the County has
had a good reputation of putting in good, clean
comments, We have faithfully gone out to get
Bennett also stated that Baker County’s public
comments have been used by the BLM as an
example for others on how to secure input.
It appears, comments from our county's Natural
Resource Committee have not been requested or
considered. Instead, Baker County has sought the
input from an outside organization, the American
Stewards for Liberty.
According to their website, the American Stew
ards of Liberty (ASL) is a non-profit organization
dedicated to protecting private property rights,
defending the use of our land, and restoring local
control. Additional information regarding the BLM ,
proposed rule can also be located on the ASL
A donation of $1,000 from private individuals to
Baker County’s General Fund has secured Baker
County’s place as a member of the American
Stewards of Liberty Coalition, and, according to
Chairman Harvey, “provides us information
regarding the 2.0 BLM revision.“
This outside help has not been without contro
versy over the past few weeks.and spilled out
during the most recent Commission session.
Numerous members of the community expressed
concerns regarding the American Stewards of
Baker County resident, Brenda Holly, opened the
discussion questioning the process and asking
how “special interests can raise and funnel money
through Baker County?”
Chairman Harvey replied, “Money was
designated to the General Fund and designated
for this purpose. Let me clarify, this is not a special
interest group. They are individuals. So they can
do anything they’d like.”
Holly went on to ask if the donations were a
matter of public record.
“No Ma'am,” said Harvey, “that ¡shot necessary.”
“Are you sure?” asked Holly.
‘Yes Ma'am,” replied Harvey.
Commissioner Bennett later released an email
stating that this information, in fact, is subject to all
laws and policies governing public disclosure.
It was clear that most in the Commission
Chambers agreed that the amount of time and
technical expertise expected of Baker County and
other , rural areas, to address growing federal
regulations is an overwhelming challenge. The
best way to approach that problem, however,
again divided the audience.
Chuck Chase, Executive Director for the Eastern
Oregon Mining Association, praised the American
Stewards of Liberty saying, "We were so
impressed with the Stewards of Liberty and what
they have accomplished.”
Chase went on to note the group’s efforts in
“stopping 15-20 endangered species from being
listed’ and their work in stopping an imminent
domain claim in the trans-Canada corridor.
“It’s tough out there,” said Chase, and he
thanked the Commissioners for their efforts
regarding the 2.0 Planning Rule.
Dave Hunsaker encouraged Commissioners to
“put our money towards organizations that have
[a] reputation, are professional, and have
expertise in every field.”
Hunsaker said, “I would much rather work with
NACO (National Association of Counties) which
has resources and expertise in every field, rather
than a group I have seen fail in every one of its
efforts made on public lands."
Commissioner Bennett confirmed to the Record
Courier that he did forward information, from.
NACO to Chairman Harvey regarding .this the 2.0
As the discussion drew to a close, Commis
sioner Kerns asked when he and Commissioner
Bennett would receive their copies of the County’s
Chairman Harvey replied, “It [the timeline] is real,
real tight. I still have to write ours in conjunction
with the information we get in two days.”
Harvey did not anticipate any information would
be available from the American Stewards of
Liberty before Monday, May 23 or Tuesday, May
24. Harvey also stated he and the County’s Natu
ral Resource Coordinator, Eric Wuntz, would be
writing the comments for the BLM no later than
Wednesday, May 25. Harvey assured his fellow
Commissioners that they would receive the
It is not clear what draft documents have already
been prepared over these past three months by
Baker County to prepare for the 2.0 Planning Rule.
Baker County citizen, Vicki Valenzuela asked
Commissioner Harvey if the public would have
time to review the final documents before they
were submitted to the BLM.
‘We will turn it [the document] out after we have
responded. We don’t have time to rewrite this
about 13 times,” stated Harvey.
‘This doesn’t do anything," Harvey added. "This
does not lock down anything. These are just
comments," Harvey concluded.
Your Tushy will feel Cushy in our New Seats!
1809 1st St., Baker City • 523-2522
Advance tickets now
available at our website
Prices: Adults $9
Tightwad Tues. $6
May 27 - June 2
APOCALYPSE pg 13
Public Concerns Heat Up
Over the past several days, concerns about the lack of
transparency regarding Baker County's response to the
BLM’s 2.0 Proposed Plan Rule, reached a pitch with some
local citizens. These concerns were shared by Commission
ers Bennett and Kerns when news of a request from the
American Stewards of Liberty to Baker County surfaced
asking that their (ASL) comments not be made public until
after the May 25 deadline. Bennett and Kerns confirmed to
the Record-Courier they were made aware of the request
from Chairman Harvey over the weekend and both
Commissioner Bennett told the Record-Courier that he
informed Harvey this was not acceptable.
“No way can we do this,” said Bennett. “We made a
commitment to the public as far back as April that we would
release the document. We have to do this.”
When asked by the Record-Courier if he knew in advance
there was going to be a request to not make the document
public, Commissioner Kerns replied, “Not in the least bit. It
must be made public immediately.”
The American Stewards of Liberty document was released
on Monday morning. Baker County’s final comments
regarding BLM 2.0 Proposed Plan Rule were made
available by the County for the first time to all NRAC
members and the public late Tuesday afternoon, May 24,
one day prior to the BLM deadline.
Fred Warner, Jr.
Named City Manager
By Gina Perkins
Fred Warner, Jr. has been officially hired
as the new City Manager for Baker City.
"It's an exciting opportunity," says Warner.
"Baker City faces some challenges, but
they've got a good staff and engaged City
Councilors," he added.
Warner believes his 12 years of
experience serving as County Commission
Chairman will make the transition Warner, Jr./ Submitted photo
Warner accepted the terms of the contract offered to him by the
City which includes an annual salary of $98,000.
Albertsons Returns with a Newly
Remodeled Store in Baker City
Albertsons, one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America,
is proud to be unveiling a newly remodeled store in Baker City, Ore., in
early Fall of 2016.
Albertsons is extremely proud of its plans for an entirely new store.
The .popular supermarketchain plans to begin hiring 50-80 people this
summer tp .wonk at the, remodeled location.
The grocery store’s upgrade will include all of the traditional customer
favorites including, but not limited to, piping hot French bread, delicious
fried chicken, and fresh cut fruit.
In addition, Albertsons is working on having a Starbucks available.
The Grand Opening celebration will include sampling, a ribbon
cutting, cake and a generous donation to the local community. More on
the ceremony, and a community invitation, will be shared as the grand
opening date draws near.
“We can’t wait to unveil what will be a beautiful and highly upgraded
Albertsons store in Baker City. The extensive enhancements we are
making will give shpppers an enjoyable experience each time they visit
the store. We look forward to serving the needs of the Baker City
community again.” said Greg McNiff, Portland Division President for
Thank you, Correspondents
My first exposure to the newspaper business was as the Haines
correspondent for the Record-Courier. I enjoyed being able to write
and share information about the community and local events.
This newspaper has been , blessed with dedicated (and sorely
underpaid) community correspondents for over 10 decades and I
wanted to give a special shout out to them all.
I also wanted to especially thank Eden Taylor, who for years, has
written'a variety of school sports articles, given special coverage of
school concerts and included articles about the drama program. Eden
and her husband Tim's youngest son, Teancum, is graduating this
year from Baker High School, but we are hoping that she might
consider continuing to write for us if her schedule allows.
Again, whether you are a past, current, or future correspondent for
the Record-Courier, please know how much you are appreciated by
your community, by this newspaper...and especially by me.
Thank you, Eden, for sharing your wonderful writing and
photography with our readers. Several subscribers have shared with
me that the sole reason they began their subscription to this paper is
because of your excellent coverage (and especially of Middle School
activities) over the years.
Readers, I invite you to send in
letters regarding your favorite
correspondents. I also inyite any
past correspondents to send us a
note. We will publish all
It's good to be back.
We will resume our weekly
publishing as of now.
Gina Perkins, publisher
Eden Taylor with son, Teancum
With the emergence of the world's
first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men
must unite to defeat his extinction
FRI & SAT
(3:30) 6:30 9:30
SUN & MON (3:30) 6:30
We Dig...Working For You!
Let us... grade your roads, dig your trenches, excavate
your landscape, prepare your job sites, level land, pour
concrete, lay rock...with the right equipment for the job.
Grader • Excavator • Backhoe • Skidsteer
Dozer • Dump Truck • Mixer
ALICE THROUGH THE
LOOKING GLASS pg
Alice returns to the whimsical world
of Wonderland and travels back in
time to save the Mad Hatter.
FRI & SAT
(4:00) 7:00 9:35
SUN & MON (4:00) 7:00
Animation, Comedy. Find out why
the birds are so angry.
FRI & SAT
- 7:10 9:40
SUN & MON (4:10) 7:10
to you is concrete HEDIM1X
( ) = Bargain Matinee
Philip Ruud BC-HIS
• Hearing Aid Sales
• Hearing Aid Service
• Hearing Aid Repair
2830 10th Street
at Michael Rushton’s
Free Hearing Evaluations
Wed., June 15