Union County Eases Restrictions on County Wide Burn Ban

Union County Board of Commissioners voted in a regular county commission session today to ease the County Wide Burn Ban/Regulated Use restrictions effective immediately at the recommendation of the Union County Fire Defense Board. Fire Defense Board Chief Larry Wooldridge stated that with the cooler temperatures and the return of resources to the area, the county’s exposure to extreme fire behavior has decreased enough to return to the annual regulated use closure for the remainder of the month. Chief Wooldridge indicated that the Fire Defense Board will continue to monitor conditions.


As specified in County Ordinance 2016-01, the county will remain in regulated fire season through September 30 with a ban on open burning. The open burning ban states that during regulated fire season, no open burning will be allowed with the exception of regulated agricultural field burning. Incinerators and burn barrels are allowed between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., but must comply with requirements in the ordinance. Improved fire pits and fire appliances are allowed. Recreational guidelines must be followed including rock-lined fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock or commercial rings. All combustible materials are to be a minimum of three feet beyond the fire ring, and fires shall be attended at all times. The county ordinance may be read in its entirety on the county website at www.union-county.org.


In addition to Union County easing fire restrictions, forest officials on the Umatilla National Forest have lifted all public use restrictions pertaining to recreational chainsaw use, smoking, and off-road travel. Seasonal campfire restrictions will remain in place until October 31, 2017, however these campfire restrictions do not apply to designated wilderness areas and specified exempted developed recreation sites. The Wallowa Whitman Forest officials have reduced their restrictions to Phase A which includes seasonal campfire restrictions, but will also limit chainsaw use from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., smoking is only allowed in enclosed vehicles, buildings or cleared areas, and no off-road or off-trail travel. Please check with your local Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) office for public use restrictions on lands protected by ODF.


The public’s awareness of fire danger and cooperation is essential to minimizing wildfire in Union County. Recreationists, firewood cutters, hunters, and other forest users can all help by closely adhering to restrictions, operating safely and cautiously and keeping up-to-date on the latest orders and regulations. Additional information regarding forest restrictions can be found by visiting the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch webpage at www.bmidc.org.



Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Roundtables Begin in October

ENTERPRISE, Ore. (Oct. 2, 2017) – Rural Oregon’s nonprofit organizations are exploring how diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI) can build understanding, strengthen mission impact, and ensure public benefit. To this end, NEOEDD is organizing a series of roundtable discussions for regional nonprofit board and staff to learn, share, and discuss DEI methods and strategies. Roundtables will be held Oct. 25 and Dec. 6, 2017; Feb. 7, May 2, Aug. 1, and Nov. 7, 2018; and Feb. 6, 2019.

The first two sessions will be held in La Grande from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including lunch, and will be led by Andrea Cano, a seasoned facilitator and intercultural specialist who has worked with Oregon Humanities, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Solutions, Nonprofit Association of Oregon, Providence Center for Health Care Ethics, and the Immigration and Refugee Center for Oregon. She recently completed a six-year, governor-appointed post on the State of Oregon’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, and co-chaired the governance process for the New Portlander Policy Commission. Her sessions will cover:

  • Historical, geographic, demographic contexts of the region
  • Definitions and expressions of DEI
  • Why DEI matters in our rural region
  • Review of historical and current initiatives in the region
  • What is the vision for DEI?
  • How does DEI factor in organizational governance, programming, development, leadership, staffing, and client engagement
  • Elements to consider for transformative work, moving from resistance to response
  • Next steps for subsequent roundtables

Participants will help select the specific training subjects covered at subsequent sessions, content may include subjects such as:

  • DEI and organizational assessment, hiring practices, and board recruitment
  • How to create marketing and communications that are effective and inclusive without offending or tokenizing
  • Developing an equity lens
  • What white privilege is and why it matters
  • Common miscommunication problems among those from different backgrounds: how to understand where the conflict is coming from and how to resolve it
  • How to talk to a board and staff about DEI
  • How to develop inclusion policies that will make a difference
  • How to interrupt racial microaggressions constructively, to avoid blame, shame, and guilt
  • How to recognize and avoid exclusionary or biased institutional practices
  • How foundations analyze an organization’s journey toward equity and inclusion

Participants will be asked for input about the location of future roundtables, which could take place in Baker, Wallowa or Union counties. The cost to attend will be $25 per person per roundtable discussion; those who register in advance for the entire series of 7 roundtable discussions pay $125. Register at http://bit.ly/2k18EBu. Scholarships are available for the series; please inquire at NEOEDD, 541-426-3598.


This program is available thanks to a grant from Meyer Memorial Trust.


The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District’s mission is to provide resources and facilitate quality decision-making for the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses and communities in Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties. Learn more about its programs and business support at www.neoedd.org.


# # #


NEOEDD Provides GrantReady Training in La Grande


ENTERPRISE, Ore. (Sept. 25, 2017) – Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) offers GrantReady on Saturdays from Oct. 21 to Nov. 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in La Grande. GrantReady organizational development and grant-writing training provides tools and skills needed to help nonprofits become more competitive for grant funding, and better prepared to operate and evaluate their programs and projects.


GrantReady consists of four training sessions for volunteers and staff members of nonprofit organizations. Topics include:

  • Organizational and project budgeting
  • Components of a grant proposal
  • Funding plan
  • Evaluation methods
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
  • Board relations
  • Foundation site visits
  • Grant reporting

Lunch will be provided. The first session will be at the La Grande Public Library (2006 4th St.) and subsequent sessions at OSU Extension (10507 N McAlister Rd.). The cost for the series is $100 for the first participant from each nonprofit, with a discounted rate of $50 for each additional participant. The program will be offered in Wallowa and Baker counties next year. Register at http://bit.ly/2xuhFrA


“Participants will also meet staff from several foundations, who will provide insights into their foundations and what they are looking for in a grant proposal,” says NEOEDD Executive Director Lisa Dawson. “This is a great opportunity for them to begin to make personal contacts in the nonprofit world.”


What past participants have said about GrantReady:

  • “Learning about the different types of grants, (i.e., “Capacity Building,” etc.) was invaluable. Learning the correct budget submission for a grant proposal. Learning about “In-Kind” costs to add to the budget package.  Really, there is so much I learned from your class that I can’t praise it enough. I could not learn this same information any other way.”
  • “The resource packets are phenomenally helpful.”
  • “I benefitted from listening to other nonprofits in the class as they discussed their issues. Priceless.”
  • “The feedback on my grant proposal was invaluable. What a terrific opportunity to learn exactly what a grantor is looking for gives me confidence that I can propose a successful grant package.”
  • “All of the slides and handouts are going in my permanent files. Their content is excellent in directing my energy in the right direction. And I really appreciate the resources, such as the list of grant awarding businesses.”


The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District’s mission is to provide resources and facilitate quality decision-making for the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses and communities in Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties. Learn more about its programs and business support at www.neoedd.org.


# # #

Emergency Notification Service Available

Union County enlisted the emergency notification service, AlertSense in 2015 in order to alert the public in the event of a natural disaster, public health threats, need for evacuation, events that pose a danger to the citizens of the county as well as any other urgent issues. The notification service allows emergency personnel to simultaneously alert the public of an emergency through multiple communication channels, including geo-targeted calls to residents, Wireless Emergency Alerts to all cell phone users including unregistered visitors in the impacted area, alerts to public subscribers through preferred contact paths and posts to Union County Emergency Services social media facebook page.

Notifications can be received by cell phone, land-line phone, email and/or text message. The opt-in notification system is free to all Union County residents and will allow community members to choose how they receive timely emergency notifications.  Citizens are also able to sign up through a newly developed free mobile application called AlertSense My Alertsdisplayed with a red icon in your smart phone app store.

When registering, a selection can be made for severe weather related alerts that may be of concern such as air quality, winter storm warnings, floods and high winds. Other alerts may include Amber Alerts, hazardous materials, local area emergencies and evacuations.  These alerts help with public safety and can warn citizens to be more aware of their surroundings if needed.

Registering your contact information will ensure accurate information is delivered in the manner you choose. All information provided is kept strictly confidential and will only be utilized for emergency notification purposes.  To register, please visit the Union County website at www.union-county.org, Emergency Services department, and look for the link “Sign-up for Emergency Notifications”, or utilize the red AlertSense application in your smart phone app store.

For more information about AlertSense, contact the Union County Emergency Services Department at (541) 963-1009 or email apowers@union-county.org.

Matched Savings Program Welcomes Young Savers

ENTERPRISE, Ore. (Sept. 14, 2017) – More than 125 people in Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties have helped finance their higher education or small business using the Individual Development Account (IDA) program, offered by Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD). IDAs provide a 3-to-1 savings match—someone who saves $1,000 and completes the program will receive an additional $3,000. Up to $12,000 total! Most savers are adults, but children 12 years or older who live in households with low-to-moderate incomes are also eligible to enroll.


For example, a 15-year-old saving for college could enroll in the program, save money for three years and graduate high school with a funds for tuition and fees at any accredited education program. Youth can also save to start or improve a business.


“The IDA program is not a grant, it’s an earned incentive coupled with goal-setting, education and practical experience saving over a period of 6 to 36 months,” says NEOEDD’s executive director, Lisa Dawson. “It’s essentially a financial-responsibility program. The matched funds can put a good dent into a northeast Oregonian’s higher education bill, or pay for the equipment, signage, computer, or other investments needed to launch or improve a business.”


NEOEDD has leveraged more than a half-million dollars that have circulated into our region via the IDA program. Once accepted, program participants receive free education or business-planning and money-management classes, helping them build fiscal responsibility and saving habits that can last a lifetime.


The 2017 income limits for eligibility are as follows; households must be under the limit listed to qualify. There are also limits on net worth.


Persons in Household Yearly Income for Oregon IDA Eligibility
1 $36,200
2 $41,350
3 $46,500
4 $51,700
5 $57,560
6 $65,920
7 $74,280
8 $82,640


Anyone who is interested in learning more about this program and how to apply can visit NEOEDD’s website (http://neoedd.org/content/individual-development-accounts), or call the office at 541-426-3598.


The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District’s mission is to provide resources and facilitate quality decision-making for the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses and communities in Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties. Learn more about our programs and business support at www.neoedd.org.


# # #

Campers and hunters reminded of fire restrictions

Oregon Department of Forestry-Northeast Oregon District fire officials would like to remind people heading out to enjoy all the recreational activities the region has to offer, that there are still fire restrictions in effect for lands protected by the ODF. Fire conditions remain extreme across the district.
The fire season restrictions and Regulated Use Closure will still be in effect. The Regulated Use Closure affects private, state, county, municipal, and tribal lands in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla, and small portions of Malheur, Morrow, and Grant Counties. Effective August 24, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. the following regulations apply to lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry Northeast Oregon District:
The Regulated Use Closure includes the following fire prevention measures:

  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Designated locations within the Regulated Use Closure area includes, but is not limited to, the following Oregon State Parks: Emigrant Springs, Ukiah Dale, Catherine Creek, Hilgard Junction, Red Bridge, Wallowa Lake, Minam and Unity Lake. Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are allowed.
  • Debris burning is prohibited, including the use of burn barrels.
  • Chain saw use is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Chain saw use is permitted at all other hours, if the following firefighting equipment is present with each operating saw: one axe, one shovel, and one 8 ounce or larger fire extinguisher. In addition, a fire watch is required at least one hour following the use of each saw.
  • Smoking is prohibited while traveling, except in vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water, or at a cleared area.
  • Use of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), is prohibited except on improved roads, except in the commercial culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is prohibited, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Cutting, grinding and welding of metal is permitted at all other hours, if conducted in a cleared area and if a water supply is present, unless specifically waived by the State Forester.
  • Mowing of dried and cured grass with power driven equipment is prohibited between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Use of fireworks is prohibited.
  • Any electric fence controller in use shall be: 1) Listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or be certified
    by the Department of Consumer Business Services; and 2) Operated in compliance with manufacturer’s

Also prohibited during fire season is the use of exploding targets and tracer ammunition. Sky lanterns are illegal in Oregon.
Citizens are asked to continue to use caution and adhere to regulations. Possession of the following firefighting equipment is strongly encouraged (except on state highway, county roads and driveways): one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.
The public is also reminded that the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests, as well as the BLM are currently under public use restrictions. Current fire restrictions for forestlands in Northeast Oregon can be found at www.bmidc.org.
http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/ is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains.
Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/oregondeptofforestryNEO/
To report a fire, call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch at (541)963-7171 or dial 9-1-1.

Public Notice: NEOEDD Board Meeting

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) is holding a board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. at the Prairie Creek Center Meeting Room, 104 Litch St. in Enterprise. All NEOEDD board meetings are open to the public. Please contact the office for a meeting agenda.

The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District’s mission is to provide resources and facilitate quality decision-making for the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses and communities in Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties. Learn more about our programs and business support at www.neoedd.org.

# # #


Come to our old-fashioned rural fair with pigs, cows, chickens, goats, bunnies and horses. We encourage 4-H competition with sewing, crafting, jams & jellies and much more. Festivities include a parade, live entertainment, a carnival, animal judging, exhibit barns, quilts, home goods, art, and local produce. Bring your friends and family from toddlers to seniors. See the map for Union County Fair directions.


For more information call 541-963-1011
.. or ..


Buffalo Peak Golf Course Advisory Committee

The Buffalo Peak Golf Course Advisory Committee will meet Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in the golf course club house located at 1224 E. Fulton Street, Union. The meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. All meetings of this committee are open to the public.