Commissioners OK expansion

Written by Kelly Ducote, The Observer November 15, 2013 10:06 am

County approves rezone, allocates museum funding

In a busy Wednesday morning meeting, the Union County Board of Commissioners approved La Grande’s Urban Growth Boundary expansion and rezone.

Commissioners had stalled on a decision for La Grande contingent on discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration. Commissioners were concerned because the Union County Airport Master Plan prohibits water impoundments within a 5,000 foot radius. La Grande’s expansion would fall into that overlay zone.

The FAA, commissioners said Wednesday, said they did not have any immediate concerns about the UGB expansion and rezone, and that it could be possible to employ mitigation measures to avoid problems near the airport. 

In a 2-1 vote, commissioners passed the ordinances necessary to complete the city’s seven-year-long process.

County commissioners also OK’d discretionary funding for the Union County Museum to repair its roof, which was damaged by an Aug. 10 hailstorm and cloudburst a few weeks later. A membrane was replaced on the roof so it is secure for the winter.

The museum had requested just under $10,000 for the repairs, but Davidson recommended the commissioners approve $11,000 in funding so the museum could avoid any debt associated with the problem.

“I can see [the museum] is a real asset and we need to protect it,” he said. The motion passed unanimously.

In other matters, the Board of Commissioners approved a contract for the City of Elgin to receive services for animal control. Commissioners said initially, for the first three months, the contract calls for 10 hours of service a week. After that it is decreased to five hours a week.

Commissioners noted how well the agreement with the Union County Sheriff’s Office has gone in Elgin and that it is only right that they have access to these additional services if they want. The contract expires June 30, 2015. Commissioners said the sheriff’s office is working now to determine a start date for the service.

Commissioners also got the ball rolling for a new court facility by passing a resolution authorizing credit and refunding obligations. The resolution secures $750,000 in financing for the new facility.

“This is the big step,” said Shelley Burgess, the county’s administrative officer.

That funding will be matched by $2 million from the state, in what Commissioner Steve McClure called a “landmark agreement” led by Commissioner Bill Rosholt.

“Bill did a great job representing us,” McClure said.

The resolution passed also authorizes refinancing several loans. Commissioners said they will be able to negotiate more favorable rates on the loans.

Contact Kelly Ducote at 541-786-4230 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Kelly on Twitter @lgoDucote.