County to bolster flagging DA funds

‘Reverse 9-1-1’ and building ordinance also fill long agenda

Repairs have been made but there’s just a trickle of trouble with the Oak Grove water, meaning the boil-water order remains in place for an unknown length of time for Oak Grove Water District patrons.

That announcement came Monday from Mike Matthews, county environmental health supervisor, at the County Board of Commissioners meeting. (See sidebar.)

In a wide-ranging meeting lasting close to five hours, the board also approved “backfill” funding for the district attorney’s victims and child abuse services budget, and decided to reconsider the proposed accessory buildings ordinance that had been placed on the agenda for action.

Oak Grove meeting

More than 80 homes and businesses have had to boil water since October 2012 after E. coli was detected in water samples in the Oak Grove District.

The Health Department’s Mike Matthews said that repairs had been made on Oak Grove’s “head box” that was the center of the contamination, but that samples still show some E. coli present.

“We are trying to isolate the spot where the dirty water is coming from,” Matthews said.

Asked by the board how long the boil-water order might be lifted, Matthews said, “no time real soon.”

A public meeting on the Oak Grove situation is planned Monday at Rockford Grange on Barrett Drive.

According to County Finance Director Sandy Borowy, the department is experiencing a $14,000 shortfall for its victim’s assistance and advocacy programs and child abuse investigation and prosecution. Commissioner Maui Meyer’s motion to take money from general fund contingency passed 4-1, with chair Ron Rivers voting no.

The board also heard a report on “Reverse 9-1-1,” from Mike McCafferty of the County Fire Chiefs Association. McCafferty is chief of the Parkdale Fire Department.

Reverse 9-1-1 is a mass notification system that would alert citizens by telephone in times of emergency, as well as for non-emergency purposes.

Reverse 9-1-1 would come into play with community health issues such as the ongoing E. coli contamination in the Oak Grove water system.

The annual cost for the system would be $6,900, divided 10 ways by the county, city, fire districts, law enforcement and other jurisdictions. The county would contract with Everbridge, a Glendale, Calif., company, for the service.

Citizens provide information to the system, as basic as name and phone number, and manage their own user profile such as multiple phone numbers or addresses, choice of community alerts, and if they have any special needs. Users can also request the language of their choice.

The system can be employed countywide or in zones specific to a particular emergency or need; be it a fire, hazardous material incident, water boil notice, power outage or crime suspect alert. It can also be used to alert emergency providers when they are needed at an incident or training, and to announce planned water shut-down or other utility interruptions.


In other business, the board approved a resolution on The History Museum of Hood River County that would create a nonprofit organization. Currently the museum is a county department, and it will continue to receive county funding for personnel and other costs, and the county will maintain ownership of the property. The museum advisory board will be dissolved.

The new nonprofit, known as Hood River Heritage Council, will be overseen by a board of directors. The change gives more flexibility for fundraising and operations, according to Mary Ellen Barrilotti of the Heritage Council.

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