The Baker County Board of Commissioners will discuss a mountain road blocked recently by a locked gate when they meet Wednesday morning, Sept. 30.
A property owner installed the gate across the Pine Creek Road about 2 miles west of Pocahontas Road. The road passes through private property for more than 2 miles and is an access route to public land, as well as to Pine Creek Reservoir.
Commission Chairman Bill Harvey and Commissioner Mark Bennett said earlier this week that Pine Creek Road is a county road that must stay open to the public. Both said the county had asked its attorney to look into the matter.
Commissioners will meet in an executive session, closed to the public, Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Courthouse, 1995 Third St. After that executive session commissioners will convene in an open session that the public can attend. Residents are encouraged to attend remotely, via a link available at www.bakercounty.org/webexmeetings.html.
Citizens can also join the meeting by phone by calling 1-877-820-7831 and using the passcode 8204693.
Oregon’s public meetings law allows elected officials to discuss certain topics during executive sessions. The one county officials are citing for Wednesday’s meeting is “to consult with legal counsel regarding current litigation or litigation likely to be filed.”
Heidi Martin, the commission’s executive assistant, said the subject of the executive session is the Pine Creek Road situation.
The road, which is extremely rough for its final 4 miles or so, is used mainly by four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles.
A resident sent a photograph this week to the Baker City Herald showing a gate across the road, closed by a padlocked length of chain, and with a sign reading: “For Access Contact David McCarty” and a phone number.
McCarty declined to comment on the gate Monday morning.
McCarty recently bought 1,560 acres in the Pine Creek area, including the land through which the road passes, from B&S Logging of Prineville, according to the Baker County Assessor’s Office.
Cindy Birko, who lives near Pine Creek and often hikes on the road, said she has talked with McCarty about the gate. Birko said McCarty told her that he doesn’t object to people hiking on the road as it runs through his property.
Birko said McCarty told her he installed and locked the gate to block motor vehicles. She said McCarty told her that during the first 3 weeks he owned the property, he or an employee who patrols the area found eight campfires set illegally on his land.