Wallowa County chieftain. (Enterprise, Wallowa County, Or.) 1943-current, July 24, 2019, Page A5, Image 5

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Sheriff’s contract dominates Joseph meeting
Steve Tool
Wallowa County Chieftain
The city of Joseph’s
contract with the Wallowa
County Sheriff’s Offi ce
proved a sticking point at
the city’s meeting on Thurs-
day, July 11. At the meet-
ing, WCSO was supposed to
report on hours worked and
duties performed. Although
a report was sent, no one
from the offi ce attended the
meeting. WCSO contracts
with Joseph to provide extra
law enforcement protection
for nearly $114,000 per year
at approximately 240 hours
per month.
According to Mayor
Teresa Sajonia, the contract
stipulates that a WCSO rep-
resentative give the report in
person, and she asked a note
be made to that effect.
During the “Mayor’s
Items” section of the agenda
at about 1:18 into the meet-
ing, Mayor Sajonia said
that she’d felt great frus-
tration regarding ordinance
enforcement within the city.
Because the mayor cannot
give personal directives to
the city staff, Sajonia threat-
The City of Joseph sent a copy of its contract with the
Wallowa County Sheriff ’s Offi ce. According to the contract,
the sheriff is not required to send a representative, only a
report: Per No. 2 under the Requirement of County section:
“The sheriff shall also provide a written monthly summary
to the City of all law enforcement activities within the city
limits for that month.”
The section regarding ordinance enforcement appears
somewhat vague: “The parties hereby agree that violations
of State Statutes and City Ordinances shall be referred to
the Wallowa County District Attorney for review for the
fi ling of criminal or other charges in Wallowa County Circuit
Court of the State of Oregon ... County agrees that District
Attorney for Wallowa County may prosecute as required
by State Statue al (sic) violations cited by the Sheriff or his
deputies in the City of Joseph ... “
- By Steve Tool
ened to make complaints to
city hall staff as a private
“We had a hard time pass-
ing this last contract with
our sheriff’s offi ce,” she
said. “The way it got passed
was that they would do ordi-
nance enforcement.”
“That’s right,” council
member Marty Hamilton
Sajonia went on to say
that three of the votes on the
council were dependent on
the sheriff’s offi ce perform-
ing ordinance enforcement.
She pointed to frustrations
with some businesses that
obey ordinances while oth-
ers don’t because they think
ordinances lack “bite.”
She also said that as
mayor, she could tell the
department that they were
not following the contract.
The mayor also reiterated
money the city pays WCSO.
“I want everyone to know
that’s where my head is right
now,” Sajonia said. “I fi nd it
to be a lot of money for the
whole thing (contract) not
being followed.”
Hamilton asked if any
ordinance enforcement was
included in the monthly
report. “Not that I’ve seen
— no,” the mayor said.
Sajonia’s domestic part-
ner, Raider Heck, also spoke
up. He said that the city
spends $9,000 a month to
have ordinances enforced
just as the city was coming
up on the peak tourist sea-
son. He noted that WCSO
was supposed to patrol 60
hours per week.
“Sixty hours — not six
calls, not 13 calls, 60 hours,”
he said.
Sajonia said she felt an
obligation to Joseph citizens
to make sure their money
didn’t get wasted. She added
she wished the sheriff had
attended the meeting so the
issues could be brought up
in his presence.
City recorder Belinda
Buswell said that she had
while Heck suggested that
citizens go to city hall and
ask for a copy of the contract.
“So that you understand
honestly what the county is
being contracted to provide,
and being paid if it’s pro-
vided or not,” he said.
After more discussion,
Sajonia closed the subject,
saying, “I don’t want to
make it a big deal, but it is a
big deal.”
In other council news,
the city approved nine res-
olutions ranging from adop-
tion of its yearly budget to
increasing city utility fees.
The council unanimously
passed resolution 2019-09,
which stipulated a 10.12
percent increase in basic
water fees from $29.60 to
$32.60 per month. Reso-
lution 2019-10 increased
base sewer rates 10.32 per-
cent from $28.10 to $31 per
month. The council ratifi ed
an additional $4 per month
for the city’s Street Proj-
ect Fee, from $6 to $10 per
None of the proposed
fee increases met with any
pushback from citizens and
all passed unanimously.
concerns because she had
personally seen city staff
approach different addresses
regarding ordinance enforce-
ment while deputies in the
vicinity actually stayed back
and did not lead the way.
“Which puts people in
precarious situations, possi-
bly an unsafe environment,”
she said. “I feel that needs to
go in the record. That should
not be tolerated.”
Sajonia ordered Buswell’s
request in the record and
stated that she was like
a rabid dog because she
wanted ordinances enforced
because she pushed for the
contract and expected that
ordinance enforcement was
a part of the contract, and
there wouldn’t be excuses.
She said the city had a des-
ignated deputy (Violetta) but
things were back to being
the same as they were three
years previously.
City administrator, Larry
Braden, said that the $9,000
monthly check was a large
amount of money for the
Sajonia said the city
informed about the issue
Ditch-cleaning bill passes, but governor has yet to sign it
law, it doesn’t go into effect
until January 2020. Imple-
menting the new rules will
also require a memorandum
of understanding between
ODA and the Oregon
Department of State Lands,
which oversees fi ll-removal
The two agencies will
decide whether additional
rule-making is necessary to
implement the bill and there
is no timeline for when the
new regulations will become
operational, said Meliah
Masiba, legislative coordi-
nator for DSL.
The bill’s language is
comprehensive enough that
rule-making may not be nec-
essary, said Mary Anne Coo-
per, vice president of public
policy for the Oregon Farm
Bureau.Even so, it’s likely
that farmers will have to
wait until next spring to pro-
vide notices and the follow-
ing summer or autumn to
clean ditches under the pro-
gram, Cooper said.
The Farm Bureau will
be keeping an eye on the
program’s progress as it’s
implemented, she said. “Our
number one priority is ease
of use for farmers.”
Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press
A proposal to streamline
ditch-cleaning regulations
got in just under the wire to
win approval from Oregon
lawmakers, though farmers
will likely wait another year
to use the program.
allowed to remove up to
3,000 cubic yards of dirt
per mile of ditch over fi ve
years without a state fi ll-re-
moval permit under House
Bill 2437, up from 50 cubic
yards per year under exist-
ing law.
The bill’s fate was uncer-
tain as Republican senators
walked out to prevent a vote
on a controversial climate
bill toward the end of the
legislative session.
However, they returned
in time for the Senate to vote
18-9 in favor of HB 2437
on June 29, the day before
the Legislature adjourned
for the year. The bill had
already passed the House
42-17 about two weeks
The bill continues to face
opposition from some envi-
ronmental groups, which
would welcome a veto from
Gov. Kate Brown. The gov-
ernor has until Aug. 9 to
decide to sign the bill.
“From our point of view,
this bill takes things back
Mateusz Perkowski/Capital Press File
Farmer John Scharf explains the drainage of tile lines from his fi elds near Amity, Ore., into a ditch. A compromise bill passed by
the Legislature would allow farmers to clean out ditches more easily.
decades as far as wetland
protection,” said Kimberley
Priestley, senior policy ana-
lyst for the Waterwatch of
Oregon nonprofi t.
Farmers who clean
ditches under the program
would fi rst have to notify the
Oregon Department of Agri-
culture of their plans, which
would be reviewed by the
Oregon Department of Fish
and Wildlife.
Work could only take
place during the dry season
and the streamlined rules
would not apply to essential
salmonid habitat.
Opponents of the bill
worry about the unintended
consequences of removing
a much larger quantity of
sediment from ditches, as
well as the effect of deposit-
ing the material in wetlands,
said Priestley.
They’re also troubled by
the lack of public notice for
proposed ditch-cleaning, she
said. “I think there are citi-
zens across the state that are
interested in these types of
If the bill is signed into
from Minam
Paving on Highway 82 between Enterprise and
Joseph begins July 29 to upgrade road surface
ing July 29 we will be
upgrading the deteriorating
pavement along the Wal-
lowa Lake Highway, OR
82, between Enterprise and
Joseph. The work includes
a week and a half of asphalt
resurfacing followed by a
chip seal that will be applied
two weeks later. The chip
seal will take about two or
three days and help extend
the life of the road surface.
No work will be performed
during Chief Joseph Day’s
You should expect delays
of up to 20 minutes, traf-
fi c controlled by fl aggers
and pilot cars, loose rock
on the roadway, reduced
speeds, and day and night
time brooming operations.
Local residents with drive-
ways connecting to OR 82
may also experience tem-
porary impacts as the oper-
ation moves past their prop-
erty. Please slow down and
plan extra travel time along
this route. We greatly appre-
ciate your patience as crews
Introducing Orthopedic Surgeon
Dr. Adam Heisinger
• Doctor of Osteopathy,
Des Moines University, Iowa
• Internship and Residency completed
in orthopedic surgery at Affinity
Medical Center, Ohio; Fellowship in
sports medicine completed at Orthopedic
Research of Virginia, Richmond
• Served four years as flight surgeon,
Langley Air Force Base, Virginia and
Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina
The Joseph Branch has added
new tours! 2, 6 and now
4-hour round trip adventures!
repair and resurface pave-
ment, and perform other
work to help keep highways
safe and effi cient.
Open May - Oct 6th
Reservations are required
for all departures
from Minam
Come enjoy the
Wallowa River Experience
For more information
20 year 2 s 0
Serving families and children in
Wallowa County and beyond!
Thurday, August 15, 11am - 2pm
207 NE Park St., Enterprise
Dr. Heisinger will be seeing patients at Wallowa
Memorial Hospital regularly for clinic visits
and surgery. Ask your physician for a referral today.
We treat you like family
601 Medical Parkway, Enterprise, OR 97828 • 541-426-3111 • www.wchcd.org
Wallowa Memorial Hospital is an equal opportunity employer and provider.
FRE e and
Cak Games
Building Healthy Families
541-426-9411 • oregonbhf.org