Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) 1925-current, September 28, 2016, Image 1

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VOL. 135
NO. 38 8 Pages
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
County may hire architect to
study new building
North end services say they need
updated, bigger facilities
By David Sykes
Morrow County may
hire an architectural firm
to study the cost and type
of new offices that could be
built in Irrigon, it was de-
cided at the Sept. 14 county
court meeting.
The court has been dis-
cussing for some time the
need to either build new
offices, upgrade current
buildings, or possibly pur-
chase a building in Board-
man and move some or all
of the services there. Cur-
rently county services in
Irrigon include the justice
court, parole and probation
department and the county
After much discussion
with Justice of the Peace
Ann Spicer, Morrow Coun-
Morrow County, Heppner, Oregon
CREZ approves
OHV park receives state
boundary expansion recognition
Will accommodate new hotel
in Boardman
By David Sykes
The Columbia River
Enterprise Zone (CREZ)
has gained approval for a
boundary expansion that
will add property within
the city limits of Boardman
where a new hotel plans
on locating. The expan-
sion will allow the hotel
property tax exemption for
three years.
To approve the expan-
sion, there was a combined
meeting of the Board-
man City Council, Port of
Morrow and the Morrow
County Court on Sept. 14.
Through an intergovern-
mental agreement, there
are two members from of
each of these bodies that
make up the CREZ board.
The CREZ board normally
meets once per month and
is responsible for negotiat-
ing deals with new busi-
nesses locating in the zone,
and also deciding how the
money collected by the
CREZ in lieu of property
taxes is distributed. A full
meeting of all three govern-
ment entities was required,
however, to make the nec-
essary boundary expansion
to accommodate the new
Rjiv Malhan and Nakul
Butta of RNB Hospitality
from Richland said in an
earlier letter to the CREZ
board that they are planning
on building a Choice Hotel
(Comfort Inn & Suites)
on Front St. in Boardman.
They asked that the bound-
ary of the enterprise zone
be expanded to include the
new hotel so they may take
advantage of the three-year
property tax exemption that
would be offered inside the
CREZ boundary.
“This facility will
have approximately 66-72
rooms. This hotel will pro-
vide a much needed state
of the art Lodging Facil-
ity for Boardman and its
surrounding area. We will
be creating 20-25 new em-
ployment opportunities and
a steady flow of customers
for the existing restaurants
in the area,” their letter to
the CREZ stated.
Although a public hear-
ing on the boundary expan-
sion was not required, the
CREZ did accept public
testimony on the proposal.
Only one negative com-
ment was received, and
that was withdrawn before
the meeting began. All of
the three entities voted
separately on the proposed
expansion, and all voted
in favor. Only one no vote
was cast by a member of
the Boardman City Council.
Under state rules the
CREZ is allowed a total
of 15 acres. Prior to the
expansion it had used only
11 of those acres. New
state guidelines now also
allow CREZ to remove
unusable property such as
rights of way and railroad
property from the existing
zone, which should free
up more available land to
the CREZ for expansion. A
new total acreage of CREZ
land was not announced at
the meeting; however, Mor-
row County Commissioner
Leann Rea did comment
that some expansion capa-
bility should be available
in case another business
opportunity does becomes
available, even in another
part of the county.
“Say something were
to happen at the mill site in
Heppner. I would not want
something to go away if it
were to fall out of the sky,
and we would not be able
to have the development,”
she said.
Contractor sought
for new building at
Cutsforth Park
Includes visitor center,
restroom and showers
Morrow County is now
taking building proposals
from contractors wanting
to construct a new visi-
tor center and restroom
and shower building at
Cutsforth Park.
According to a county
announcement, the new
facility will be about 32
feet long by 22 wide. It
will have five rooms with
two standard restrooms and
shower, one office and a
visitor center area.
Proposals must be
turned into the county by
Oct. 13, and the contract
will be awarded on Oct. 26.
In celebration of 30 years for the Oregon ATV program, the Morrow-Grant County OHV Park
received a special Destination ATV Park award last month. Pictured L-R: Morrow County
Judge Terry Tallman, Oregon ATV Program Director Ron Price, Morrow County Public
Works Director Burke O’Brien and Morrow County Human Resources Director Karen Wolff
attended the plaque presentation at the OHV park Aug. 25. Not pictured is All Terrain Vehicle
Advisory Committee Member Tim Custer. -Contributed photo
Last month, the Mor-
row-Grant County OHV
(Off Highway Vehicle) Park
received a special Destina-
tion ATV Park award from
the state, honoring its role
as a pioneer in Oregon’s
off-road program.
Oregon Parks and Rec-
reation Department ATV
Program Director Ron Price
was on hand to present the
award at a ceremony at the
park Aug. 25. The award
was one of only three hand-
ed out by the state. The oth-
er two awards went to Riley
Ranch in Coos County and
Mt. Emily Recreation Area
in Union County.
“This year marks 30
years of the ATV program
in OR and we wanted to
recognize that,” Price told
the Gazette. He added that
the award had several cri-
teria the parks had to meet,
one of which was a land
acquisition involved in the
park’s creation.
“Morrow County had
a major land acquisition—
two land acquisitions, ac-
tually. It (the park) had
a lot of support from the
county. It was an economic
development project, which
was one of our goals,” he
said. “Just the way they’ve
developed it and turned it
into what it is now is great,
really great, so we wanted
to recognize that,” Price
According to Morrow
County Public Works, plan-
ning for park began in 2000.
The ground was purchased
in February of 2003, and
the Morrow-Grant County
OHV Park officially opened
May 17, 2003.
Health district announces
financial increase for 2016
By April Sykes
The Morrow County
Health District saw an in-
crease of $427,187 for the
year 2016, compared to last
year, according to financial
statements presented by
Eric Volk, CPA, Partner of
WIPFLI, CPAs and Consul-
tants, at the district’s Mon-
day night meeting at the
SAGE Center in Boardman.
Data showed that the
district’s net increased
from $4,060,047 in 2015 to
$4,487,234 in 2016; gross
patient revenue increased
by $428,517 in 2016 and
$954,864 in 2015; net pa-
tient accounts receivable in-
creased from $1,436,949 in
2015 to $2,003,920 in 2016;
overall operating expenses
increased by $524,204 in
2016 and $565,277 in 2015;
non-patient revenue, in-
cluding property taxes,
increased by $100,541 in
2016 and by $192,833 in
District voters had
approved a five-year tax
levy that began in fiscal
year 2010, generating over
$1,749,104 in tax revenue.
Voters approved a new
five-year operating levy in
May 2014 that generated
$465,408 in 2014-15, the
first year, and $579,073
in 2015-16. The estimated
five-year total amounts to
$2,455,000 in tax revenue.
During the September 2016 state meeting for the Partnership
for Patients in Portland, OR, Pioneer Memorial Hospital was
awarded a recognition plaque honoring its participation, as
well as completion of the Partnership for Patients: Patient-
Centered Initiative. As part of the recognition, Pioneer Me-
morial was also awarded additional funds from the Oregon
Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. Representing
Pioneer Memorial Hospital and presenting at the state meeting
was PMH Quality Coordinator Luz Martell, MSN-RN. She
is seen here presenting the award and check to Bob Houser,
CEO of Morrow County Health District. -Contributed photo
The profit and loss state- loss for August. The dis-
ment for the month, how-
ever, showed an $11,825
ty Planner Karla McLane,
and Irrigon City Manager
Aaron Palmquist, the court
decided to start the decision
process moving forward,
and hire an architect to
look at various options. The
county owns a large tract
of land in Irrigon where
the present office buildings
are located, and on which
new buildings could be
located. The county has
also discussed purchasing
an existing Blue Moun-
tain Community College
building in Boardman and
moving some or all of the
county facilities there.
“I think we need to en-
gage an architect and see if
everything fits on the prop-
erty (in Irrigon) and then
find out how we are going
to pay for it,” commissioner
Don Russell said.
In making a case for
the justice court to stay in
Irrigon, Spicer said there
is public transportation
available and the major-
ity of the clientele in the
parole and probation office
is from Irrigon. She said
new construction is needed
because her current offices
are “seriously inadequate,”
and a study showed that
modifications to enhance
the needed security and
confidentiality would cost
more than $10,000 in ma-
terials alone, not including
She said current space
was not adequate, and that
some of her staff had been
threatened and the current
building security set-up
could not protect them.
Spicer also said the fa-
cilities should remain in
Irrigon and not moved to
Boardman because public
transportation comes into
Irrigon, and that a lot of her
clientele come from Herm-
iston, Umatilla and the
Tri-Cities and they do not
have driver’s licenses. She
said the Boardman BMCC
building being considered
“would not be adequate.”
Irrigon City Manager
Aaron Palmquist also asked
the county court to leave
all the current facilities
in Irrigon. Palmquist said
that Irrigon has a stigma as
being an area for less-than-
desirable people. Many of
the people who are on pro-
bation and parole typically
locate near their parole and
probation office or judge,
and he said it would be a
disservice to Irrigon to relo-
cate the other county offices
and leave only justice court
and parole and probation in
“The county has cre-
ated this in Irrigon—not
Heppner, not Boardman.
We have the stigma that this
is where the majority of un-
desirables live. To pull the
other stuff (county offices)
out and leave parole and
probation is a slap in the
face (to Irrigon),” he told
the court.
At a previous meeting
the court had received a pe-
tition signed by 60 Irrigon
residents urging that all the
county offices and services
currently located in Irrigon
be left there. Palmquist
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Morrow County Grain Growers Green Feed & Seed
242 W. Linden Way, Heppner • 676-9422 • 989-8221 (MCGG main office)