Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) 1925-current, May 06, 1998, Image 1

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Youth boot camp proposed for Heppner
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VOL. 117
NO 18
12 Pages
Wednesday, May 6,1998
Morrow County, Heppner, Oregon
Kids participate in annual exchange
•* to *
Heppner kids show Centennial student how to tie a goat
Photo by Nova Rietmann
By Nova Rietmann
Twenty-five students from
Centennial Middle School in the
Portland area were at the Morrow
County Fairgrounds in Heppner
last Thursday, April 30, watching
students from Heppner High
School demonstrate rodeo and
trying it out for themselves.
The Centennial eighth-grade
kids were shown a variety of life
in rural Oregon during the week
of their exchange with Heppner
Junior High School eighth-
The theme of the
Centennial exchange is to do just
The program relies on human
resources and the community has
been accommodating. Students
were placed with families in the
community for their week here.
Dave Olcott was the Centennial
teacher, along with Bruce Collins
and Greg Grant of Heppner. All
three stress the importance of the
program. "The strength of this
program is based on the
"People open their homes, and
donate their time and money for
these kids."
"This is a worth while
experience, and a unique
opportunity for these kids," said
"They are able to
compare industries, and ways of
It is socially and
intellectually a good experience."
Monday the kids looked at
agriculture and dry land farming;
Tuesday they visited Kinzua;
Wednesday, a Forest Service
presentation; Thursday they
watched and watched branding;
Friday they had exposure of the
schools in North Morrow
The program this year was
based on last year's itinerary.
students Kyle Standing, Brittany
Goss, Ashley Michel, and William
Organizers say that Centennial
should be around for another 10-
18 years.
Kyle Standing, 14, Portland, is
the son of Susan and John
Standing. He has two older
"My parents told me that there
would be rolling hills, but I didn't
expect them to be actually
rolling. There is a lot of land,"
comments Standing about the
scenery. "It's hot, and there are
no trees. People here don't know
what boring is. I like my family
a lot, we hit it off. I've met a lot
of people."
Brittany Goss, 13, Portland, is
the daughter of Shari Lundeen
and Eric Goss.
She has a
younger sister, Danielle.
"I like it here. People in
Portland are so worried about
looks, and here they aren’t,” says
Goss. "It seems like I have met
Photo by Nova Rietmann
the entire town, and every body's
related it seems like. People here
are really nice. Heppner is in the
middle of nowhere. It seems so
far from everything. I just wish
that I could have met the eight
graders here, but they are all in
Ashley Michel, 13, is the
daughter of Pam and Scott
She has a younger
brother, Colby.
"I like it here," says Ashley.
"But I would go crazy. It’s too
quiet. There is a lot of gossip,
people would just tell you stuff.
I like my family, they are really
nice. I thought it would be
awkward at first, but it wasn't at
all. It was like I already knew
William Blackmore, 13, is the
son of Charles and Sheryl
Blackmore. He has a younger
brother, Matthew, an older
brother, Cheyenne, and an older
continued page two
Neither those in favor or those
against the proposed Youth
Accountability Camp in Heppner
seem to be able to agree on the
facts surrounding construction
and operation of the camp if it is
indeed put here.
Opponents of the boot camp
say city and county officials have
not been open with the public
about the cost, future expansion,
and the impact on the community
the camp will bring.
City and county officials say
there are no hidden costs, that
future expansion of the camp will
be controlled by local people,
and that the camp will bring
needed economic benefit to the
Heppner area.
A group calling itself "The
Friends of Heppner" held an
organizational meeting at the
home of Mike Armato last
Wednesday. The group which
also includes Terry and Karen
Thompson, and John and Diane
Kilkenny of Heppner,
gathered over 200
signatures against the camp and
are sponsoring an informational
meeting Thursday, May 7 at 7:30
p.m. at the St. Partrick's Parish
Hall in Heppner.They also have
advertisement in this week's
The group hopes to pressure
officials to withdraw Heppner's
application for the camp. The
state siting committee has
recommended Heppner for the
camp, however, final approval
has not been given.
Backers of the boot camp so far
have already held four public
meetings and hearings on the
camp, and are sponsoring a
advertisement in this week's
Both groups talked to the
Gazette about the camp during
the past week.
John Kilkenny said that Friends
of Heppner requested that all
documentation relating to the
application be sent to them by
the state. Letters, documents and
a video tape were sent to them.
From the documents and other
correspondence Kilkenny says
that the county has committed far
more money to the project than
has been told to the public.
Kilkenny says letters show that
the county has estimated a road
to the boot camp site will cost at
least $72,000 and maybe more,
and the Port of Morrow has been
committed to more construction
cost that has been announced.
"We are worried for the future
of this town," Kilkenny said.
"We don't want for this town to
be know as a prison town. We
have a lot to offer and we don't
need this prison here."
Kilkenny said people are
scared about locating the boot
camp here, and that his group
believes the camp will swell
from the proposed 52 to 350
inmates within 10 years.
Fiancially Kilkenny said that
the county has already said the
road to the site will cost $72,000
and that there are hidden costs
for the county, city and port
through the use of public works
"Fifty thousand. That's it.”,
Morrow County Judge Louis
Carlson said Monday about the
county's cost toward construction
of the camp.
Carlson said the $50,000 will
come not from tax money, but
from tippage fees, or money the
county receives for use of the big
landfill in the county.
Carlson said the project is
budgeted at $30,000 for property
purchase (the proposed 30-acrea
site is owned by Don and Merlyn
Robinson), and $20,000 for road
Carlson says the Port of
installation of new water and
sewer lines to the site, but does
not include purchase of the pipe.
The Oregon Youth Authority,
which runs the camp, will
purchase the pipe and the pump
to pump water up to the site
As far as economic
development Carlson said the
camp will bring 36 to 38 new
jobs to Heppner, with about 50 to
69 percent hired locally. He gave
an example of some of the jobs
that will be available including a
cook's job paying between
$1,500 and $2,225 per month; a
support service accountant and
purchasing agent that would be
paid between $1,618 and $2.100
per month; or a group life
coordinator that is paid from
$1972 to $2617 per month. All
jobs are state jobs with full
benefit packages.
Carlson also said Blue
Mountain Community College
has agreed to set up classes to
train local people who want to
enter the correction field. He also
said CAPECO has some job
training programs with federal
money for tuition available.
Oregon Youth Authority
requires apprentice training for
the higher paid jobs at the
facility. "They will take trainees
and place them in a facility
somewhere in Oregon," for their
training Carlson said.
"My number one goal is not
jobs, however," Carlson said.
He said that the there are not
enough tools available now in
juvenile court, and that there is
inadequate facilities at this time
for a certain class of kids.
"There are certain types of kids
that are taken from bad home
situations, and out of peer
pressure situations that don't
need to go to McLaren type
facilities," Carlson said. He said
McLaren sometimes only makes
borderline in trouble kids more
hardened, and that the boot camp
facility is just what they need to
"Professional people in juvenile
and children’s
services agree that this concept,
of a boot camp, appears to be one
of our better tools to bring kids
around," he said.
Kilkenny says that there could
be escapes from the camp, and
points to a recent incident where
three young people escaped
from an Idaho youth correctional
center and were arrested after a
week-long crime spree in Eastern
Oregon, including first-degree
weapons charges. The three boys
ages 14 to 17 allegedly held a
Unity man at gunpoint and stole
his pickup truck. The> also
allegedly burglarized a house and
stole two pistols , cash and a van
before being caught. Although
the Idaho facility they escaped
from was not the same as
proposed for Heppner, Kilkenny
and others says that is exactly
what could happen here if a boot
camp is built here.
"The fear that kids 14 to 18
years old will break out of the
camp is a horrible indication that
we are frightened of our own
children," Carlson points out. "So
we say not in our backyard. Let
someone else take care of our
kids. These kids are in their
formative years and they can go
either way. At this boot camp
they learn skills and decipline,
and how to respect authority."
One section of the city's
application submitted for the
youth facility has opponents
particularly upset. On the
question of expansion the city
writes: "The city of Heppner
would not only be willing, but
would also be excited to help
accommodate future expansion
of a YAC (Youth Accountability
News deadline
5p.m. Monday
Available at M CG G
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Lexington 9 8 9 -8 2 2 1
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Camp) facility.
Carlson says the way zoning
will be set up for the site, any
future expansion of the facility
would have to be approved by
the county planning commission
before it could happen. It was
also pointed out that the reason
30 acres was needed, when the
camp would occupy only about 5
acres, was the road to the facility
and a water tank that will be
needed to be built on the site.
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