By Casey Crowley

ccrowley@bakercityherald.com

Baker County commissioners cited seven concerns regarding the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revision released earlier this year.

Next week officials from Baker County and the other members of the Eastern Oregon Counties Association are slated to choose one top issue regarding the long-term management plans for the three national forests in the Blue Mountains — Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and Umatilla.

Baker County’s concerns:

• Open forest: All forest lands must be open to the public for multiple use.

• Access: Forest roads must be left open, no closing or decommissioning of roads, and there may be no net loss of roads through any action.

• No additional wilderness or other special designation areas.

The county will pay $20,000 for the monitoring.

Commissioners were originally scheduled to review an agreement with Farallon Consulting for grand administrative services and environmental review service work on the fire station project. This was postponed until the next regular commission meeting, set for Oct. 17, because District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff, who also serves as the county counsel, had recommended some clarification to the agreement.

Commissioners appointed several people to various boards:

• Commissioner Bruce Nichols, along with Sharon Bannister, Chris Knoll and Jason Hatfield, were appointed to the Board of Property Tax Appeals. Their terms continue until June 30, 2019.

• John Wilson and Sandy Sorrels were re-appointed to the Baker County Development Corporation for terms continuing until Oct. 1, 2021.

• Dan Johnson and Carrie Matthews were appointed, and Wanda Ballard re-appointed, to the Natural Resource Advisory Committee for terms continuing until March 1, 2021.

Commissioners will schedule an executive session to discuss the ongoing dispute about public access on a section of the Connor Creek Road near Lookout Mountain.

A property owner last year installed a locked gate across the road. County officials about 15 years ago determined that that road is a historic route that must remain open to the public, but the landowner, Todd Longgood, has given the county copies of maps and other records to bolster his claim that the section of road that he blocked is not part of that historic route.

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