The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, January 24, 2018, Page A10, Image 10

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Blue Mountain Eagle
ly payments to the Oregon
Public Employees Retirement
System and health insurance.
John Day’s 911 center
“is financially unsustainable
under current tax structure,”
Green said in his presentation.
Dispatch costs tabulated over
a 20-year period rose two
times faster than revenue, cre-
ating a $150,000 annual op-
erating deficit in a declining
According to Green’s pre-
sentation, 911 tax receipts for
John Day fell steeply from
about $325,000 in 2008 to
about $275,000 in 2009 and
then continued downward
to about $250,000 in 2015
before climbing again. This
represented seven years of
declining tax revenue. The
gap had been filled using the
city’s general fund, but the
city received $420,000 from
in place by the end of two
years,” he said.
Continued from Page A1
Grant County Judge Scott
Myers said the meeting last-
ed about 90 minutes and he
mostly listened to the pre-
sentations and discussion. He
told the Eagle that, if the city
of John Day can no longer
cover the costs of operating
Grant County’s 911 dispatch
center and for paying its
staff, then something has to
be done to resolve the situa-
“The county is ultimately
responsible for the health and
safety of its residents,” Myers
said, adding that funding from
the state legislature will keep
John Day’s dispatch center
operating through the current
“But something has to be
Green, who is heading up
an effort to resolve the 911
dispatch center issue, emailed
a 21-page PowerPoint presen-
tation with background infor-
mation to officials from both
counties on Jan. 10.
“Good news is we both run
really lean 911 centers, and
we’re doing the best we can
with what we have,” Green
said in the accompanying
The problem facing John
Day is that the chief source of
funding for 911 dispatch —
based on a 75-cent per month
fee on telephone bills — is
insufficient to handle mount-
ing personnel costs, especial-
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
the legislature for the current
The John Day City Coun-
cil on Nov. 14 voted unani-
mously to terminate its 911
dispatch center by June 30,
2019, after a countywide lo-
cal option tax ballot measure
for 911 dispatch funding was
Future options
The council’s three re-
maining options include
consolidating with Frontier
Regional 911, a company in
Condon that contracts with
four counties; establishing a
new agency in Grant County
to provide 911 dispatch ser-
vice; or creating a joint 911
dispatch center with an adja-
cent county.
In his presentation to Har-
ney County, Green addressed
a solution that is not one of
John Day’s three options:
a significant increase in the
statewide 911 tax on tele-
phone bills.
The Association of Public
Safety Communication Offi-
cials has organized a financial
task force to recommend 911
funding options, Green said.
The task force has proposed a
tax increase, but it will need
the support of the governor’s
office and a slew of organiza-
tions representing counties,
cities, sheriffs, fire chiefs and
police chiefs.
A tax-increase proposal
could soon become entangled
in other legislative issues, in-
cluding costs for upgrades to
NextGen 911 systems and ef-
forts to reform PERS. APCO
has begun compiling infor-
mation from 911 dispatch
centers “to start building
justification for the tax in-
crease,” Green said.
The current 911 telephone
tax will sunset on Dec. 31,
2021, Green said, so much of
the tax-increase planning is
for the 2021 legislative ses-
sion, and the outcome is un-
certain. In the meantime, John
Day and Grant County need
to find a solution.
According to Green’s pre-
sentation, Grant and Harney
counties share many socio-
economic, cultural, geograph-
ical and historical conditions.
Their 911 dispatch centers are
also similar, with both operat-
ing “below optimal efficiency
for 911 call volume,” he said.
“A two-county agency
would have a sustainable fi-
nancial trajectory, likely with
budget surpluses that allow
for capital investment and im-
proved service delivery at less
cost to users,” Green said.
Continued from Page A1
Mr. Elliott responded by saying,
‘Let’s just quit then.’ Officer Durr
then asks Mr. Elliott if he wants to
proceed with the interview or go
with what had been stated up to that
point. The interview then continues.”
Baughman’s motion argues that
Elliott “was in full custody or under
a compelling circumstance at the
time of the interrogation” and should
have been read a Miranda-like warn-
ing prior to questioning explaining
his Fifth Amendment right against
“All statements made by Mr. El-
liott after he stated he was not talking
anymore must be suppressed be-
cause he unequivocally invoked his
right to remain silent,” Baughman’s
motion states.
The motion also argues that El-
liott’s statements were obtained in vi-
olation of his Fifth Amendment right
to remain silent, which police must
“scrupulously honor” according to
case law in Michigan v. Mosely, the
motion states.
Courtroom security
Elliott’s bail was reduced from
$750,000 to $500,000 during a Nov.
9 hearing that included emotional
testimony from the victim’s family.
The courtroom was packed Jan.
18, and sheriff’s deputies wearing
bulletproof vests and carrying hand-
guns and Tasers were present inside
and outside the courtroom. Visitors
were segregated into Elliott and Ber-
ry groups and then funneled through
a metal detector at the top of the
courthouse stairs.
Colin Benson, an Oregon De-
partment of Justice attorney assigned
by Grant County District Attorney
Jim Carpenter to prosecute the case,
told the court that he had received a
lengthy medical report on the shoot-
ing just that morning. Benson add-
ed that the state forensic laboratory
might draft a new report containing
additional evidence. Benson also
noted that he might convene an-
other grand jury to hear additional
Cramer spent part of the 25-min-
ute hearing describing the diffi-
culties a small, rural circuit court
faces when handling complex
manslaughter cases, and he said he
wanted the process to go smoothly
and efficiently.
Noting that he serves as judge
in both Grant and Harney coun-
ties, Cramer said he was willing to
bump some cases to make room for
this one, if necessary. He ordered
all pretrial motions to be filed by
March 2, all responses to be made
by March 23 and a hearing for all
pretrial motions to be held April 6.
Cramer said he would set a trial
date at the April 6 hearing for some-
time 90 days or more later, but he
acknowledged that the attorneys
might want to hold a settlement
conference with a different judge
during that time.
The Eagle/Richard Hanners
Window walls at Humbolt Elementary School will be reinforced as part of the seismic upgrade project.
Continued from Page A1
“Humbolt Elementary fit the bill
— for age and structural deficien-
cies,” he said.
According to a 2007 report to
the legislature on public safety,
earthquakes and seismic rehabil-
itation by the Oregon Department
of Geology and Mineral Indus-
tries, both Humbolt Elementary,
built in 1956, and Grant Union
Junior-Senior High School, built
in 1934, were considered “auto-
matically qualifying schools.”
The report looked at 2,369
school buildings in Oregon, in-
cluding some at community col-
leges, to determine how many
school buildings needed retrofit-
ting to withstand a catastrophic
The Oregon Legislature pro-
vided $205 million to the Seismic
Rehabilitation Grant Program in
the current biennium, following
lobbying by former Sen. Ted Fer-
rioli on behalf of schools.
The Grant County School Dis-
trict used its facilities fund to hire
neering to provide a preliminary
engineering report to apply for
the state grant, Shelley said. The
school district can use $5,000
from the grant to cover the cost of
the engineering report.
ZCS Engineering has worked
on numerous seismic projects.
Shaun Wilson, a structural engi-
neer at ZCS Engineering, spoke to
the school board about the Hum-
bolt Elementary project Jan. 17.
The project, which will in-
volve only the lower-level build-
ing north of the gym, is expected
to take place this summer and be
completed in time for the first day
of school next fall.
“We’ve completed a lot of test-
ing — concrete, asbestos and oth-
ers — and we hope to have boots
on the ground in May,” Shelley
In addition to a new roof at
Humbolt Elementary, window
The most valuable and
respected source of local news,
advertising and information for
our communities.
walls will get new infill without
diminishing the amount of view-
ing space, numerous walls will be
faced with plywood and then dry-
wall to create shear walls and new
connections will be made between
walls and the roof and walls and
the foundation.
“School buildings built that
long ago just weren’t built to han-
dle earthquakes,” Shelley said.
Two construction companies
submitted bids for the project
based on hourly rates and an es-
timate for total hours needed.
School board trustees Haley Walk-
er and Kelly Stokes joined Shelley,
Athletic Director Jason Miller and
Business Manager Heidi Hallgarth
on a committee to evaluate and
score the companies. Walker said
the amount of experience each
company had was a major deter-
mining factor.
Kirby Nagelhout Construc-
tion Co. of Portland, Bend and
Pendleton scored highest, and the
school board unanimously ap-
proved a motion of intent to award
the contract to them. The bid will
be awarded after a routine 14-day
protest process is completed, Shel-
ley said.
With 31 years experience,
Kirby Nagelhout has about 150
employees and works on about
75 projects each year. They have
completed several seismic upgrade
projects in the past. Local projects
handled by Kirby Nagelhout in-
clude the Department of Forestry
building in John Day, the Grant
County Regional Airport and the
John Day Fire Department.
School administrators will ask
the construction company to take a
look at some work outside the seis-
mic project while they’re on site,
Shelley said. That work — espe-
cially older bathrooms at Humbolt
Elementary — must be paid for
using other funds, he said. He also
wanted to emphasize the scope of
the seismic project.
“We’re not getting a new
school,” he said. “We’re getting
some new structural infrastructure
and a new roof.”
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Born and raised in John Day, Attorney Donald Molnar is
honored to return home and serve the residents of Grant
County. Mr. Molnar is a graduate of Grant Union High School,
Lewis and Clark College, and Lewis and Clark Law School.
He has been an attorney in private practice since 2005.
The Law Office of Donald J. Molnar
118 S. Washington Street, Canyon City, OR 97820
Telephone: (541) 620-5127 •