Baker City herald. (Baker City, Or.) 1990-current, October 18, 2019, Image 1

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Serving Baker County since 1870 •
October 18, 2019
Local • Health & Fitness • Outdoors • TV
Residents Balk At Proposal To Build 70-Foot Cell Tower Near Fairgrounds
Cell Controversy
Christmas tree
The Baker City Com-
munity Development
Department and Baker City
Downtown are in search
of this year’s 2019 Com-
munity Christmas Tree.
Candidates must meet the
following criteria:
• Within 3 miles of Court
Plaza (downtown Baker
City on Court Avenue
between Main and Resort
• Maximum height of
40 feet
If you would like to sub-
mit your tree for consider-
ation contact Robin Nudd
at 541-524-2036 or rnudd@ by Nov. 1.
Good Day Wish
To A Subscriber
A special good day to
Herald subscriber Jim Tom-
linson of Baker City.
53 / 34
Rain showers
S. John Collins / Baker City Herald
Looking south across the proposed site for a 70-foot cell tower. The property is just north of D Street near its
intersection with East Street north of the Baker County Fairgrounds.
50 / 33
Rain showers
The space below will be
blank on issues delivered
or sold from boxes. The
space is for a postage
label for issues that are
up for
By Chris Collins
nance, Verizon could build a cell tower
up to 50 feet high on the property
and Jayson Jacoby
without a conditional-use permit. The
company would still have to submit
Several people told the Baker City an application, but the decision would
Planning Commission Wednesday
be made by the planning director
evening that they oppose an applica- rather than the planning commission-
tion from Verizon Wireless to build
ers, who are appointed by the Baker
a 70-foot-tall cell tower north of the
City Council.
Residents, some of whom submitted
The Commission did not make a
written comments, cited multiple rea-
decision at the conclusion of the public sons for opposing the tower, including
hearing at City Hall, which attracted that it would block their views and
an audience of about 30.
reduce their property values.
Commissioners will have another
Some people also planned to testify
public hearing on Verizon’s applica-
about what they believe are harmful
tion for a conditional-use permit on
health effects caused by electronic
Nov. 13 at 6 p.m., also at City Hall,
emissions from cell towers.
1655 First St.
But Commission Chairman Alan
The proposed site is a 2.12-acre
Blair told the audience that commis-
property, owned by Carney and
sioners are not allowed, under federal
Deborah Lansford, that’s just north
law, to consider electronic emissions
of D Street near its intersection with from cell towers in deciding whether to
East Street. The property, which is
approve the application.
zoned general-industrial, is north of
Drew Martin, the city’s attorney,
Leo Adler Field and currently houses attended the meeting on behalf of the
storage units.
city and encouraged the commission to
According to the city’s zoning ordi- “simply stick to the conditions that are
By Samantha O’Conner
51 / 30
Rain showers
ready for
in the code.”
Martin said the federal government
“has decided that it ... will make all de-
cisions pertaining to the health effects
of cell towers.”
This is the second time a proposed
cell tower in that neighborhood has
raised the ire of residents.
In September 2015 Verizon applied
for a conditional use permit to build
a 100-foot-tall tower on industrial
property immediately west of the
Lansfords’ parcel.
After a public hearing during which
several residents objected to Verizon’s
plan, the Planning Commission in
October 2015 voted unanimously to
deny the application.
Commissioners cited the “negative
impacts on adjacent properties and on
the public” that could not be mitigated
by imposing conditions on Verizon.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Ann
Mehaffy told commissioners she had
also testifi ed in opposition to Verizon’s
2015 application.
Advocates for resuming Amtrak
service to meet Oct. 26 in La Grande
LA GRANDE — A group
of advocates for returning
passenger train service to
Eastern Oregon will meet
Oct. 26 in La Grande for
what they bill as the East-
ern Oregon Passenger Rail
“This is an effort that
won’t happen overnight,
and it’s going to depend on
support from communities
along the route,” said Jon
Nuxoll of Eugene, presi-
dent of the Association of
Oregon Rail and Transit
Advocates (AORTA).
Bob Mack / Florida Times-Union fi le photo
The organization wants
A group is trying to resurrect Amtrak’s Pioneer passenger train route through
to resurrect Amtrak’s
Eastern Oregon. Amtrak canceled the route in 1997.
Pioneer route, which ran
from Seattle to Salt Lake
City and Chicago, passing through and
Nuxoll, who is organizing the Oct.
Pioneer route in 1997.
stopping in La Grande, Baker City
26 meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“There’s now just one daily bus on
and Ontario.
at the Cook Memorial Library, 2006
I-84,” Nuxoll said. “The only other op-
Amtrak ended the route in 1997 due Fourth St., hopes to change that.
tion to driving is fl ying out of Pend-
to budget cuts.
“People in Washington’s Yakima Val- leton. And I-84 isn’t any safer or less
There have been several efforts in
ley are organizing to bring trains back crowded.”
the ensuing 22 years to resurrect the
to Eastern Washington,” Nuxoll said.
Nuxoll said local offi cials are slated
Pioneer route, some of which have
“We’re hoping to bring together similar to speak at the Oct. 26 meeting, along
gained support from members of
local support in the Blue Mountains
with organizers of the Yakima Valley
Congress including Oregon Sen. Ron
and Treasure Valley.”
Wyden and Rep. Greg Walden.
Nuxoll contends the need for pas-
More information about AORTA is
But none of these campaigns was
senger rail service is greater now than available on its Facebook page and at
it was when Amtrak canceled the
Issue 69, 14 pages
Calendar ....................2A
Classified ............. 2B-6B
Comics ....................... 7B
Community News ....3A
Crossword ........4B & 5B
Dear Abby ................. 8B
See Ambulance/Page 3A
Pilot pulls
By Jayson Jacoby
See Cell Tower/Page 3A
A review of three bids
submitted to the Baker
County Commission for a
contract to provide ambu-
lance services in Baker City
and about half of the rest
of the county will be the
subject of public hearings in
the coming months.
In the meantime, the
president of the Baker City
Professional Firefi ghters
Local 922 has posted a letter
on Facebook aimed at detail-
ing the issue for people who
would receive the service
once the contract is awarded.
Horoscope ................. 4B
Jayson Jacoby ..........4A
News of Record ........2A
Obituaries ..................2A
Opinion ......................4A
Outdoors ..........1B & 2B
Pilot Flying J Travel
Centers has withdrawn its
application for a project in
Baker City that the prop-
erty owner said was dead
more than three weeks ago.
The Baker City-County
Planning Department
received an email Monday
from the company request-
ing the withdrawal of its
site design review applica-
tion, according to senior
planner Eva Henes.
The company, based
in Knoxville, Tennessee,
fi led an application in late
August proposing to replace
the Baker Truck Corral
with a new truck stop.
But Kurt Miller, who
owns the Truck Corral, said
“the deal was already dead”
when the Herald published
a story Sept. 25 about Pilot’s
The planning department
had earlier sent notices to
property owners in the area
about the application, and
was working to process the
application pending a deci-
sion by planning director
Holly Kerns about whether
to approve it.
In an email response to
a request for a comment,
Stephanie Myers, supervi-
sor of external communica-
tion for Pilot Flying J, wrote
that “as a private company,
Pilot Flying J does not
disclose details of its new
business developments.”
Senior Menus ...........2A
Sports ........................6A
Weather ..................... 8B