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Commissioners approve deal to swap land parcels

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Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, John Lindsey and Will Tucker agreed Wednesday morning to transfer ownership of four pieces of property near River Drive to the city of Lebanon.

The parcels are small and include a park area, driveway, walkway and parking lot.

The county took over ownership of parcels last year due to back taxes totaling about $60,0000.

According to a letter to the board from Lebanon City Manager Gary Marks, the parcels were part of a housing development known as River View Park.

“It is very unfortunate, but the park area and other associated tracts of land went through foreclosure,” Marks wrote. “All of these properties were part of a multi-phased residential subdivision that came to an end following the economic downturn. The park was eventually to be deeded to the city after it was further developed during a future phase of the subdivision. As time passed, the city maintained the park with hopes the prior owner would continue.”

The largest parcel, about 8 acres, is nearly entirely within the 100- year flood plan.

The other parcels are small and make up a parking lot, a paved pathway between two homes and a drainage ditch.

The parcels are located within the city limits along the South Santiam River west of Mountain River Drive and north of River Drive.

The commissioners asked county property manager Kim Grooms to prepare the proper paperwork to complete the transaction.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Asked Public Health Director Frank Moore to develop a letter to be sent to all healthcare organizations in Linn County concerning the deadly Ebola virus that has affected people in Africa, Spain and Dallas, Texas. “I’m concerned,” board chairman Roger Nyquist said. “I don’t think our ability to shut down this virus where it started may not be what we perceived early on.” The letter will be an offer by the county to assist any of the health care organizations in developing an effective protocols and training for staff to deal with a potential local case.

Nyquist added that the county is only “one plane ride away from a problem.”

• Learned from Planning Director Robert Wheeldon that income from Building Department fees and permits is up nearly $135,000 over the last year.

• Approved a contract for telephone service for inmates at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office with Telmate Equipment, based in Fruitland, Idaho. In the past, the commissioners have been concerned that inmates were being gouged price-wise. The new contract will result in a 15-minute local phone call costing $2.50, well below what other companies charge. The sheriff’s office reduced the commission it will receive to 52 percent from a proposed 66 percent to help reduce the overall cost to inmates.

• Approved allocations from the Oregon Special Transportation Fund supported by cigarette taxes, the sale of DMV identification cards and off-road vehicle fuel tax. The funds are allocated to each county based on population. Local allocations will be: Lebanon Dial-A-Bus: $13,500 in 2014-15 and $13,500 in 2015-16; Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments: $6,500 for 2014-15 and the same for 2015-16; Volunteer Caregivers: $4,300 for equipment and $3,329 for operations in 2014-15 and $3,329 for operations in 2015-16; Linn Shuttle: $30,000 for 2014-15 and the same for 2015-16, plus $5,000 to develop a propane fueling facility to support two propane-powered buses; Sweet Home Dial-A-Bus: $9,000 for 2014-15 and the same for 2015-16.

Alex Paul is the Linn County reporter for the Democrat-Herald. He can be contacted at 541-812-6114 or


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