Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) 1925-current, May 31, 2017, Image 1

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    Navy, county talk Bombing
Fire control top concern
By David Sykes
Fighting and control-
ling wildfires on the Navy
Bombing Range in North
Morrow County was the top
issue of discussion during
a recent meeting between
county commissioners and
Navy representatives. Sev-
en representatives from the
Navy and the Army were
at a May 17 commissioner
meeting in Boardman to
meet with the county.
Navy Fire and Emer- Fire control on the Bombing Range was a topic of discussion
gency Services Chief Sean at a county commission meeting this month.
Merrill said with the abun- dance of moisture this year, which grows more vegeta-
tion, the Navy is bracing
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Morrow County, Heppner, Oregon
for more potential fires on
the bombing range this sea-
son. Merrill said there are
six sailors stationed at the
range trained to fight fires
at the 47,000-acre facility.
He said equipment at the
range includes six trucks,
two 1,500-gallon water
tanks, with two more being
added, and a leased tractor
and disc to cut fire lines in
the event of a blaze. Merrill
said the sailors have annual
training, and there is also a
mutual aid agreement with
the Hermiston Fire De-
partment, Oregon Military
Dept. and Yakima Army
Training center.
“We also have a good
relationship with Marc Ro-
gelstad,” he said. Rogelstad
is Chief of the Boardman
Rural Fire Department.
Commissioner Jim
Doherty said years ago
livestock would be run on
the western part of the range
to reduce vegetation and
fire risk.
“The question has
come up if cows are com-
patible with squirrels,” he
said, referencing the Wash-
ington Ground Squirrel on
the Bombing Range being
Volunteers Judy Buschke and Darlene Lovgren place flags on the graves of veterans in Heppner in preparation for the Memo- declared endangered. He
questioned whether, if cows
rial Day holiday this past weekend. -Photo by David Sykes
did not disturb the squirrels,
it would be possible for the
Navy to lease out a por-
tion of the range to cattle
grazing once again. Range
Commander Captain Geof-
frey Moore said safety is a
By David Sykes
SIP money is paid into the rently the county has other Lamb Weston.
In a move to stabilize county general fund and SIP agreements with wind
“We want certainty,” big factor with unexploded
and bring more certainty to distributed through deci- farms located in the county, Grella said about the pos- ordinance and there is ex-
its property tax payments, sions of the county budget and also with PGE covering sible switch to a SIP, which tremely restricted access,
Vadata, the Amazon.com committee. Under money its recently-completed Car- offers a 15-year property as well as the “conservation
subsidiary that builds and
tax exemption not chang- demands” placed on the
operates the internet gi-
ing throughout the life of Bombing Range ground.
Commissioner Don
ant’s data farms at the Port
the agreement. He told the
of Morrow in Boardman,
commission, “We want a Russell said up to about 12
may change the way it pays
certain tax amount we can years ago there would be
property taxes, a company
budget for. A fixed dollar reimbursement if local fire
departments assisted with
spokesman told a Morrow
County Commission meet-
Grella said the current fires on the range, and asked
ing last week.
three- to five-year CREZ if that might be reinstated.
Mike Grella, Director
agreements are “tremen- Merrill said it was Federal
of Economic Development
dously complex” to cal- Emergency Management
for Amazon Web Services,
culate, and are constantly Agency (FEMA) that did
attended the meeting along
changing as their computer the reimbursement and he
with a team of company tax,
equipment ages and “falls did not see that happening
again. He said the recip-
data and legal experts, and
off” the taxing schedule.
said the company wants to
Grella hinted that Ama- rocal agreement with the
talk to the county about a
zon may have bigger plans Hermiston Fire Department
possible Strategic Invest- Vadata, an Amazon.com subsidiary that owns data farms like for investment at the Port, is a no-cost agreement for
this at the Port, is thinking of switching from its current en-
ment Program (SIP) agree- terprize zone agreement to a Strategic Investment Program thus their need for “scal- mutual help. Boardman,
which has no agreement,
ment instead of its current (SIP) agreement, the company told county commissioners ability.”
Columbia River Enterprise last week. -Contributed photo
“If over the next five will help with fires only up
Zone (CREZ) agreements.
to seven years we think to the edge of the Bombing
Both types of agree- paid through CREZ agree- ty gas-fired electrical gen- we are going to build six Range, but will apparently
ments and payments are ments, the funds are paid erating plant. The CREZ more buildings, then end not go onto the property.
Senator Ron Wyden’s
monies paid by companies directly to the CREZ and currently has a variety of up building 15, we want
instead of regular property distributed through deci- tax reduction agreements to have a secure revenue Field Representative Kath-
taxes. The tax breaks are sions made by a six-person with several port businesses stream,” he said, which leen Cathey was also at the
used as incentives to at- appointed board, made up including Amazon, Tilla-
tract new businesses and of two representatives each mook Cheese and ConAgra
jobs to the county. The from the City of Board-
main difference from the man, Morrow County and
county perspective, is the the Port of Morrow. Cur-
VOL. 136
NO. 20
8 Pages
Flags wave in fallen soldiers’ honor on
restructures Memorial Day
admin team
row County School District
has restructured its admin-
istrative team in an attempt
to “continue to be proactive
and efficient in providing
the highest quality educa-
tion for all its students,”
according to Dirk Dirksen,
district superintendent.
Erin Stocker has been
promoted to executive di-
rector of human resources.
She will continue as prin-
cipal at Irrigon Elementary
School for the next school
year while assuming addi-
tional district-level respon-
sibilities. She has taught
for 13 years in the district
and been the principal and
director of human resources
for four. Kaira Rysdam will
be vice principal at IES.
Marie Shimer has been
hired as the director of edu-
cational services. She has
been the principal at Riv-
erside High School since
2013 and was the assistant
principal for two years
before that. Shimer has a
background in curriculum
and staff development and
has worked with several
special programs. The dis-
trict will post for the RHS
principal position.
Matt Combe will re-
main director of facilities
for the district. Currently
the principal at Heppner
Elementary and Heppner
High School, Combe has
been an administrator for 11
years in Heppner. He was
the alternative education
coordinator for eight years
and taught for three. He will
continue as the principal of
HHS. Dieter Waite will be-
come principal of Heppner
Jack Johns will become
the district’s director of
special education, a change
from his current role as
special education consul-
tant. Johns has more than
20 years of experience as
a special education direc-
tor and has been a special
education consultant for
nine years, including the
last three in MCSD.
“We are pleased with
the new structure of our dis-
trict administrative team—
all of these individuals will
continue to be important
assets in serving students
in all three of our communi-
ties,” Dirksen said.
All changes will be ef-
fective July 1, 2017.
Amazon may change tax payments
Looks at switch from CREZ to SIP
Heppner, Ione to celebrate
Baccalaureates Wednesday
This week
ing classes this
marks a major
milestone for
Ione bac-
both Ione and
calaureate will
Heppner se-
take place May
niors, as both
31 at 7 p.m. at
high schools
Ione Commu-
plan com-
nity Church.
mencement cer-
emonies for their graduat- ceremonies will take place
Friday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at
Ione High School.
In Heppner, baccalau-
reate will take place May
31 at 6 p.m. at St. Patrick’s
Catholic Church. Gradua-
tion ceremonies will be held
Saturday, June 3, at 2 p.m.
in the Heppner Jr./Sr. High
School gym.
Heppner schools reader board
up at Columbia Basin
Heppner schools now in front of Columbia Basin Basin Electric and Morrow
have an electronic informa- Electric Co-Op. Thanks to
tion reader board installed the support of Columbia
4-H and FFA
members 10% off
all feed and supplies
(now thru fair)
Morrow County Grain Growers Green Feed & Seed
242 W. Linden Way, Heppner • 676-9422 • 989-8221 (MCGG main office)