>Baker City Herald | Baker County Oregon's News Leader

Baker news NE Oregon Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Follow BakerCityHerald.com

Baker City Herald print edition

view all Baker City Herald print publications »

The Baker City Herald is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

View Paper

If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access.


Recent article comments

Powered by Disqus

Home arrow Opinion arrow Editorials arrow Come clean on the Courthouse


Come clean on the Courthouse

Somebody needs to come clean about the dirty air in the basement of the Baker County Courthouse.

In particular, somebody needs to tell us — the public who own the building, and the employees and contractors who work there — in specific, plain English what was found in air samples taken in the basement on Dec. 20, and what, if any, are the potential health hazards.

It was those two samples which prompted the county to close the basement when test results came in Dec. 23.

The basement remains off-limits, which is appropriate.

But what’s not clear is whether anyone who spent time there between Thanksgiving weekend, when two water pipe valves froze and burst, and Dec. 23 might have been exposed to unhealthy air.

Fred Warner Jr., chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners, told us this morning that he first saw test results on Monday.

One sample taken in the basement hallway was “moderate” and one taken in the vault area had a “high likelihood of mold growth,” Warner said.

(All other samples taken elsewhere in the Courthouse, and one taken outside the building, were clean, he said.)

But Warner said the reports he read don’t explain what type of mold was present, or whether it is a kind known to be a potential health hazard.

Dave Johnson, the Athena contractor who collected the air samples and, presumably, could assess any possible health risks, said he would discuss test results if given permission by Busy Bee Cleaning, the company hired to dry the Courthouse.

Spencer said the county’s insurance company, City/County Insurance Services of Salem, owns the test results.

Meanwhile, David Ford, who works for City/County Insurance, says “there is no concern” based on air quality. Ford also said, in apparent contradiction to the county’s Dec. 23 decision to close the basement, that employees could work there for prolonged periods if necessary.

Fortunately that’s not necessary, because employees who worked in the basement have moved to North Baker School.

Also fortunately, no employees had worked full-time in the basement between Thanksgiving weekend and Dec. 23.

Yet both employees and contractors did occasionally go into the basement between the holiday and Dec. 23.

They deserve to know what was in the air they breathed, or what might have been.

If, as Ford said, there’s no reason for concern, then there’s also no reason for the insurance firm not to give county officials, and the public, a full airing of the situation in the basement.


blog comments powered by Disqus
Local / Sports / Business / State / National / Obituaries / Submit News
Editorials / Letters / Columns / Submit a letter
Outdoors / Go Magazine / Milestones / Living Well
Baker Herald
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Privacy Policy / Commenting Policy / Site Map
Also Online
Photo Reprints / Videos / Local Business Links / Community Links / Weather and Road Cams / RSS Feed

Follow Baker City Herald headlines on Follow Baker City Herald headlines on Twitter

© Copyright 2001 - 2016 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use