Linn to join timber counties coalition

Linn County will participate in a new Oregon Timber Counties Coalition, commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker agreed Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The coalition will include western Oregon counties with national forest lands. Douglas and Klamath counties will contribute $15,000 per year to fund lobbying efforts for the group, and Linn, Coos, Marion, Polk and Tillamook counties will contribute $7,500 each per year. Klamath County will collect the funds, which will be used to hire the Jamison & Sullivan consulting firm to promote the productivity and health of the state’s national forests.
Commissioner Tucker said last week in introducing the proposal that counties have relied on lobbying by an Associated Oregon Counties committee, which hasn’t been active for more than a year. He noted that the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Bureau of Land Management have already made progress cleaning up their properties after last September’s Santiam Canyon wildfires, but the U.S. Forest Service has lagged far behind.
The new coalition will provide counties with “a voice in Washington, D.C.” he said.
Its first meeting will be held in December.
In other business, the commissioners:
♦ Approved a pass-through between Special Transportation Services and the Senior Citizens of Sweet Home, dba Linn Shuttle, for the purchase of a new bus valued at about $340,000. State funds will pay for about 80% of the cost and Sweet Home Senior Citizens will pay a 20% match.
♦ Approved an intergovernmental agreement between the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State University to provide law enforcement services as needed at sporting events.
♦ Approved a cooperative agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Road Department to assist each other in emergencies.
♦ Approved an agreement between the Linn County Health Department and Southern New Hampshire University to provide practicum experience for master’s degree-level social work; updated the rates United Healthcare pays Linn County for medical, mental health and alcohol and drug services to its members; approved an agreement with Greater Albany Public Schools for Linn County to provide mental health treatment for students with parental consent at $5,000 per month; approved data sharing through the Oregon Health Authority’s Tracking Home Visiting Effectiveness in Oregon (THEO) system; approved a refund of $1,380 to Trillium Community Health Plan due to an overpayment by insurance.
– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer