Monte Dammarell introduced our Deschutes County Commissioners Patti Adair, Phil Henderson, and Tony Debone. Written questions were submitted by email and the audience to conserve meeting time. Subjects covered were forest, river, safety, traffic, and development.
Patti Adair became a commissioner on Jan. 7 and is busy studying County documents. She is involved with wildfire evacuation planning with county emergency manager Nathan Garibay and has toured neighborhoods. She strongly encourages residents to sign up for Deschutes Emergency Alerts, learn evacuation routes, and know your neighbors. She helped establish the La Pine to Sunriver bus route with 12 hour service.
Phil Henderson has served as a commissioner for 2 1/2 years. He supports limiting property tax increases and government spending. He is a former home builder and supports affordable housing organizations and legislation to allow housing development on non-productive farmland. He serves on the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project and Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy committees. Deschutes County has a high bond rating and receives significant revenue from destination resorts.
Tony DeBone has served as a commissioner for 8 years. He is currently involved with budget choices, county departments, policy choices, affordable housing, non-resource land use, 911 service district, solid waste disposal alternatives, and Redmond fairgrounds expansion.
Defensible space, county owned lots, absentee landowners
La Pine is scheduled to update their CWPP. Project Wildfire published a new brochure How to Prepare for Wildfire in Upper Deschutes River Communities. DRRH6 residents collected 190 piles of fuels material for Project Wildfire chipping program.
Phil: County owned lots will be auctioned off over time. Will investigate funding for fuels treatments. Federal regulations may restrict wetland fuels treatments. Consider incentives and partnerships for fuels reduction. Housing standards and building codes for high risk areas. Participated in a Forest Service workshop with wildfire simulation, decision making, infrastructure protection, and road access.
Tony: County could defer title transfer until new owner completed fuels reduction. Some lots may be designated as open space. SB360 Defensible Space Law notification renewal is required by SB2222 but has not been funded.
Patti: Communicate with your neighbors. 109,000 residents are connected to Deschutes Emergency Alerts. Check insurance coverage, post roadside house numbers.
Jodie Barram: Working with Ed Keith and county land manager James Lewis on wetland treatment policies.
Evacuation routes through public land
Foster road needs improvement for DRRH 6 evacuation.
Tony: Nathan Garibay will meet with neighborhood homeowners to develop specific evacuation plans. Will advocate with forest service for evacuation road maintenance.
Phil: Lottery funds may be available.
Shooting along river near homes
Signs have been removed. Hunters leave blinds and debris. Consolidate shooting boundaries? A resident expressed a major concern for the safety of residents and anyone using the trails or traveling the river during hunting season. There was a brief discussion of closing the hunting areas along the river.
Patti: Participated in China Hat area cleanup project.
Tony: Will take this issue to a higher agency level. Shooting boundaries are outdated.
Forest, river flows
Tony: The Habitat Conservation Plan will manage minimum river flows for endangered species. The environmental lawsuit will expire this summer.
Phil: Cooperation between stakeholders will be important. Involved with Basin Study workgroup representing the County. Supports incentives for farm irrigation efficiency.
Tony: Minimum Winter flow is 100 CFS. Habitat Conservation Plan will increase flow to 400 CFS over time. Piping projects are expensive. State has applied for $10M matching grant.
Patti: Studying Blue Mountains Forest Plan as a model for the Deschutes Forest Plan update.
Harper Bridge parking improvements
Patti: County parking project for 50 vehicles is a first step, does not solve safety issues. Future Forest Service involvement. Sheriff will patrol the area.
Phil: Property owners provided limited access for improvements.
Tony: Parking project will be finished this year. County does not have a park district for funding.
Traffic, development, dangerous intersections
Phil: ODOT road improvement plans are waiting for funding. Caldera Springs resort revised expansion plan has been approved.
Tony: Vandevert road intersection is funded. Four lane section of Highway 97 will require future funding. County roads capital improvement plan has priorities. South County has 13,000 lots, 75% with structures, no new zoning for subdivisions. Accessory dwelling units may be approved. Development plans for city of La Pine, Palish Homes, and Vic Russell property.
Patti: Wants input from residents about road improvement priorities.
Phil: Will follow up on questions from audience.
Tony: Liked the opportunity to meet with residents.
Patti: Thanks for community participation in Project Wildfire fuels cleanup program.
Senior Low-income Defensible Space grant
Jerry Hubbard: The Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund has awarded a $150,000 grant to the UDRC for wildfire fuels reduction. The grant will provide up to $1000 for fuels reduction services for senior low-income homeowners in South Deschutes County.