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County to continue transportation program for local veterans

Linn County will continue a highly successful medical transportation program for veterans, even after a grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs runs out next spring, Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker agreed Tuesday, July 5.

“After all, these veterans gave us all of the freedoms we had today,” Nyquist said.

Veterans Services Officer Dee Baley-Hyder told commissioners the grant is for $11,000, and in her department has expended more than $5,300 the first two quarters of this year. About $6,331 remains, which she hopes will last until June 2023.

But, she admitted, the funding will likely not stretch that far, since the program is growing in popularity. It provides transportation anywhere in the state for local veterans who can no longer drive themselves to medical appointments.

Nyquist moved that the county use up to $20,000 in contingency funds to backfill the program. Sprenger and Tucker concurred.

Baley-Hyder said Veterans Services assists more than 9,000 of Linn County’s estimated 11,047 veterans. In the past year, Veterans Services has helped them with more than $2.5 million in claims.

Claims include service connection compensation, non-service connected pension aid, survivor pension and more.

Baley-Hyder said she and her staff have been participating in area events such as the Lebanon Strawberry Festival parade and they will be at the Linn County Fair July 14-16.

Linn County Veterans Services can be contacted at (541) 967-3882.

In other business, the commissioners:

♦ Approved an intergovernmental agreement to provide Benton County with up to 10 beds at the Linn County Jail, if they are available, at a rate of $98.50 per day per bed.

♦ Approved an intergovernmental agreement for the Assessor’s Office to participate in the ORMAP program. Its goal is to provide a satellite image of every tax lot in the state accessible to the general public.

♦ Approved the purchase of a new 12 to 15 yard concave dump body from Pioneer Truckweld for $104,389.

♦ Completed the sale of a piece of tax foreclosed property for $5,000 to Mohammad Mursalin Hakimi.

♦ Approved a one-year contract for phone service with 10D Tech. The contract includes up to three additional contract extensions.

♦ Approved First Time Youth Wage Grants with the Lebanon Aquatic District, Cascade Timber Consulting and The Point Restaurant.

After lengthy discussion, commissioners agreed to approve a certificate renewal for the Recycling Depot in Lebanon, but only if the owners William and Diana Banks provided the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles with a compliance plan accepted by the state. The business has had paperwork issues — primarily not having titles to derelict vehicles — leading to a recommendation that their certificate not be renewed.

— Noted there will be a Management Staff meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, at the Linn County Expo Center.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer