The Wallowa County Board of Commissioners authorized the expense of $107,500 in Title III funds at Monday's regularly scheduled board meeting. Title III is highly targeted federal safety net money to be spent in any of six specified natural resource categories.

The county is in the third year of the Title III program and began with $56,921 in carryover money and received another $68,986 this year.

Money is expected again in November or December.

Commission Chairman Mike Hayward said that a priority of the program is to develop a collaborative fire prevention plan for the county. "They expect us to have a fire plan before this money goes away," said Hayward. The board approved $40,500 to Wallowa Resources to develop the plan.

Another $40,000 was approved toward the construction of a Wallowa County Search & Rescue building at Salt Creek Summit. County Emergency Services Coordinator Matthew Marmor told the board that 20 percent of emergency calls in the county come between the Salt Creek Summit east to the county line. The building, which Diane Snyder of Wallowa Resources said would be of use to "an array of partners," would be put to multiple uses including storage of Search & Rescue equipment and use by the Gamblers Snowmobile Association.

The board did not hesitate to grant $24,325 to the summer of 2004 Training Employment Consortium youth crew for forested related education opportunities. Said commissioner Ben Boswell, "This is one of the best expenditures of money that we provide for. Kids qualify because they need the work and they accomplish some good projects."

Smaller amounts of money were allotted on a reimbursement basis. The amount of $1,675 was reimbursed to Search & Rescue for expenses for mileage, food for searchers and Spence Aircraft costs for searches made on federal land. Another $1,000 was reimbursed to Wallowa Resources for forest related education opportunity expenses related to an Eastern Oregon small diameter wood products fair held in early March.

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