Curtiss poses concerns to board

County commission candidate Shelley Curtiss reads a letter posing a long list of questions to the board of commissioners Monday. In the background is Dale Potter, who is also running for commissioner. Photo by Elane Dickenson

A candidate for county commissioner read a long letter to the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners at the end of its Monday meeting, inviting the commissioners to answer a series of questions concerning their "vision for the future."

Shelley Curtiss of Joseph, one of two candidates challenging board chair Mike Hayward, said when compiling her list of personal concerns and questions about county issues,

"It occurred to me that you would probably welcome this opportunity to correct any false assumptions that I may have and publicly express your opinions about my concerns."

The question topics ranged from the treatment of people giving testimony at public hearings to perceived lack of cooperation with the City of Joseph. She also questioned the proposed Wallowa Lake Dam project and what Curtiss sees as circumventing the public planning process to re-zone land at the south end of Wallowa Lake.

She structured her questions around three "building blocks" of democracy and working government - willingness of the public to participate, provisions to facilitate public deliberation and the community's vision of the future.

Specific issues she raised included "hostile conduct on the part of the planning department," failure of the county to provide Joseph with a requested water and wastewater study, lack of consideration of Joseph's recommendations in its Marr subdivision appeal and a list of public concerns surrounding the dam project.

She also expressed concerns about protection of the Wallowa Lake basin and moraine under the new Article 44 and the effects of new zoning initiated under the unincorporated community boundary at the south end of Wallowa Lake.

"Again, I must ask you directly, what is your vision of economic development for the future of our community at large," she asked.

"I thank you for your time this morning, and I respectfully request that you respond to my concerns and questions today or at your next scheduled meeting in two weeks," finished Curtiss.

"In response to your last question, If I tried to respond off the cuff, it would be inadequate," said Hayward at the end of Curtiss' presentation.

"Your comments certainly are worth response, probably at length. It will take awhile to put my thoughts together."

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