The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, October 17, 2018, Page A3, Image 3

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Blue Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Sewer plant timeline moved up 911 transition
By Richard Hanners
Blue Mountain Eagle
The timeline for John Day’s new
wastewater treatment plant might move
up six months because of a decision to
seek federal Community Development
Block Grant funding to pay for engineer-
The plant is eligible for up to $2.5
million in CDBG funding, City Manager
Nick Green told the city council Oct. 9,
but he had planned to use other funding
for engineering and save the federal grant
for construction.
Submitting the complex application
with a 116-page procedures manual two
times posed a tremendous bureaucrat-
ic hurdle, Green said, but after talking
with Arthur Chaput at Business Oregon,
he learned the second application would
mostly duplicate the first.
A facility plan for the project is com-
pleted, and sufficient engineering anal-
ysis has been completed to submit an
application, Green told the council. He
estimated the total engineering cost for
the new plant at $350,000. The council
unanimously directed Green to begin
work on the grant application.
In other council news:
• According to a timeline present-
ed by Green, the John Day Planning
Commission will hold a hearing on an-
nexation and rezoning requests for four
city-owned properties on Oct. 23. The
changes would become effective Jan. 1.
This includes rezoning city park land
around the Kam Wah Chung State Her-
itage Site, including Gleason Pool, and
newly acquired land along the John Day
River near the north end
of Canton Street as park
reserve. The state plans
to purchase city land
around Kam Wah Chung
for a state park facility,
and the city plans to use
the Canton Street proper-
ty for a new city park.
The city also wants to
annex newly acquired property north of the
river along Davis Creek and rezone it park
reserve, and annex the former Oregon
Pine mill site and rezone the portion south
of the river as general commercial. Plans
call for developing the former mill site as
the Innovation Gateway.
Further in the future, the city plans to
annex Grant Union Junior-Senior High
School and six properties north of the
school and west of South Canyon Boule-
vard. While taxes will slightly increase as
the properties move from county to city
jurisdiction, water and sewer bills could
be cut in half.
Green suggested waiving city taxes
for three years for two of the larger lots,
which are owned by Old West Federal
Credit Union. Following discussion, the
council agreed to waive the taxes but not
pass on the benefit to new owners if the
properties sell.
• The council further discussed an is-
sue raised Sept. 26 by contractor Joe
Madden about the city’s new urban re-
newal housing incentive plan. Madden
said he was concerned that, because of
the lag in awarding incentives, benefits
could end up going to new owners and
not the builders who took the risk to
construct new homes or invest in expen-
sive remodeling projects.
Green said multi-party agreements
could be complex and the city shouldn’t
play the role of broker. He suggested that
all parties to a building project, including
landowners, builders and buyers, should
draft and pay for legally-binding agree-
ments that determine who should receive
the city’s incentive payment.
Councilor Paul Smith called the propos-
al a fair solution that put the responsibility
back on the builders. Green said he would
draft new bylaws and present them to the
urban renewal agency for approval.
• Matt Manitsas, the city’s agriculture
projects leader, described his recent trip
to the EuroMex facilities in Mexico. John
Day’s new commercial greenhouse will
come from EuroMex, and Manitsas was
sent to learn more about their agricultural
Manitsas spent seven days at the 110-
acre Agricola Nueva Generacion farm, the
largest in the state of Zacatecas, where 20
greenhouses produce bell peppers, cucum-
bers and tomatoes. The farm had its own
packaging plant, where children worked
alongside adults.
Hydroponic farming was new to the
farm, Manitsas said, and while some green-
houses were totally climate-controlled,
others had dirt floors and tractors driving
through them, creating an avenue for pests.
The greenhouses were much taller than the
one coming to John Day, he noted.
The farm reacted overnight to changing
prices in Texas, about eight hours away.
Workers were paid about $6 to $7 per day,
and Manitsas estimated that each worker
was responsible for about 5,000 plants.
• The council will meet again Oct. 23.
B2H line faces final rounds of approval
By Antonio Sierra
EO Media Group
The Boardman to Hem-
ingway Transmission Line
is churning its way toward
regulatory approval from
the Oregon Department of
Energy, which is kicking
off the review process with
a series of public meetings
across all four Eastern Ore-
gon counties through which
the line would run.
Idaho Power is propos-
ing a 500-kilovolt, 273-
mile transmission line from
Boardman to the Heming-
way Substation in Owyhee
County, Idaho, and just sub-
mitted a final application
for site certificate. The cost
for the transmission line is
estimated at $1 billion to
$1.2 billion.
The proposal has been
contentious, and although
the tour will not include
time for public comment,
Idaho Power spokeswom-
an Julie Stutts said compa-
ny representatives will be
available to respond to res-
idents’ questions and con-
cerns after the meetings end
in Pendleton, Boardman,
La Grande, Baker City, and
Critics like JoAnn Mar-
lette of Baker City contend
that the transmission line
would alter Eastern Ore-
gon’s scenery, create nega-
tive effects on the environ-
ment and create noise issues
for local residents.
In an interview Thurs-
day, Marlette said she has
suggested Idaho Power in-
stead bury the power lines
or invest in microgrids — a
small, local grid that has the
ability to operate indepen-
dent from the larger power
grids — but her arguments
haven’t halted the project.
“It’s all about the mon-
ey,” she said. “It doesn’t
matter if they ruin Eastern
Jeff Maffuccio, the fa-
cility siting coordinator for
Idaho Power, conceded that
Boardman to Hemingway
would likely change some
of the views in Eastern Or-
egon, but it’s taking steps
during the planning process
to make the transmission
towers less intrusive.
Maffuccio said none of
the towers would have fenc-
ing around them and the
service roads would be dirt
rather than paved streets.
Boardman to Heming-
way’s application is thou-
sands of pages long, and al-
though Maffuccio said he’s
confident that Idaho Power
has addressed any concerns
up to this point, he wants to
wait to receive more public
input before he’s assured
that the transmission will
clear the regulatory process.
While the line has alter-
native routes, the general
path of the line is the same.
From the Oregon-Ida-
ho border, the line snakes
between Vale and Harper
before charting a similar
path to Interstate 84. The
line bypasses Huntington,
Baker City and La Grande,
splitting from I-84 around
Boardman to Heming-
way crosses Highway 395
south of Pilot Rock before
taking a hard turn north to-
ward Boardman after cross-
ing Highway 207 in Mor-
row County.
Maffuccio said Idaho
Power has altered the route
based on local concerns,
like moving the transmis-
sion line south after realiz-
ing how many people lived
in McKay Creek area north
of Pilot Rock.
“We didn’t realize that
there’s a lot of houses until
we got on the ground,” he
Maffuccio said Idaho
Power is also working with
Morrow County farmers
and the Boardman Bomb-
ing Range to address any of
their concerns.
Boardman to Heming-
way won’t go unopposed
at the upcoming series of
public meetings. Marlette
said she plans to attend the
meetings in Ontario, Baker
City and La Grande.
The Pendleton meeting
will be held at the Pendle-
ton Convention Center on
Oct. 18 from 5 p.m. to 8
p.m. The SAGE Center will
host the Boardman meeting
at the same day and time.
Following the public
meetings, the department
of energy plans to submit a
draft proposed order to En-
ergy Facility Siting Council
for either approval or denial
in the first quarter of 2019.
Once the order is sub-
mitted, the department will
hold public hearings in all
five counties and begin ac-
cepting testimony and pub-
lic comment on the project.
Idaho Power projects
to have final regulatory
approval from the state in
early 2021 and complete
Boardman to Hemingway in
won’t come cheap
New workstation
console could
cost $46,000
By Richard Hanners
Blue Mountain Eagle
Progress is being made on
preparing the new 911 dis-
patch center in the John Day
Fire Hall, but it won’t be
In a May 21 draft offer to
the Intergovernmental Coun-
cil that will oversee the Grant
County Emergency Commu-
nications Agency, the city of
John Day offered to pay up
to $90,000 for building im-
provements to the fire hall
and $28,000 for furniture and
equipment replacement.
The city council on April
10 also approved financing
from Washington Federal to
complete the construction of
the fire hall, which would in-
clude rooms to be used by the
new 911 dispatch center.
The $118,000 in funding
for the dispatch center will
come from the Washington
Federal loan and the $420,000
appropriation that the city got
from the legislature to make
up the operations budget
shortfall for the biennium.
Bids approved
More details on these costs
became evident during the
John Day City Council’s Sept.
25 meeting. Two bids were
approved for equipment and
console casework that could
total $100,156.
The council approved a
$34,609 bid from Webster
Communications Services to
install the new communica-
tions equipment and a video
security system for the fire
hall, to relocate the existing
communications equipment
and to establish a backup 911
dispatch console at the John
Day City Hall.
The council also approved
a $57,947 bid from Evans to
manufacture a custom-de-
signed console center for two
911 workstations. The 18-foot
long console would include
lift columns with control
equipment, forced-air heaters
for each station and ergonom-
ic-positioning equipment for
monitors and keyboards.
City Manager Nick Green
explained that the existing
console equipment is 20 years
old and does not fit the dimen-
sions of the new dispatch cen-
ter. He also said the price was
awarded through a competitive
selection process through a
cooperative purchasing agree-
ment in Texas.
The cost of the equipment
drew a reaction from Mayor
Ron Lundbom, who asked if
the dispatch center was getting
mahogany fur-
niture. Green
noted that Dis-
patch Manager
Valerie May-
nard believed
she could ne-
gotiate the Ev-
ans bid down
to $46,000.
Council board on May 21 vot-
ed 6-0 in favor of leasing space
in the fire hall from the city for
the dispatch center. The tenta-
tive terms for a 15-year lease
were $750 per month for the
first 10 years and $1,000 per
month for the next five years.
County approval
The Grant County Court
unanimously approved an or-
dinance for the creation of
the Grant County Emergency
Communications Agency on
a second reading at their Sept.
26 meeting.
Grant County Judge Scott
Myers noted that the court
had about 90 days to get the
ordinance into effect.
A number of questions
had been raised at the first
reading on Sept. 12. Commis-
sioner Rob Raschio had said
he recognized the need for a
911 system but had concerns
about the structure of the In-
John Day and Prairie City
each would have two votes
— one for the city and one for
the rural fire department —
while the county would have
only one vote, he said.
Commissioner Jim Ham-
sher said, according to the
current budget, combining the
sheriff’s office’s user share
with the county’s share based
on assessed property value
came to 58 percent of the total
cost share for the 911 system,
or about $117,513.
Maynard told the court the
county would not start paying
for the new dispatch system
until July 2019, when the
new fiscal year starts. If the
Oregon Legislature raises
the 911 telephone tax next
year, local agencies would
not see the benefit until the
additional revenue was col-
lected, which would be after
the start of the next fiscal
year, she said.
Kenny Delano, Intergov-
ernmental Council chairman,
told the court he had heard no
opposition to creating the new
agency from the eight partici-
pating cities.
Hamsher noted that Prairie
City, where he serves as may-
or, will pay about $6,000 to the
agency but had budgeted about
$20,000. He called the system
fair for Prairie City.
Raschio noted that the
county could withdraw from
the agency if the court finds it
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