JoCo updates hazards plan

After the big ticket items of the Aug. 10 weekly business session were resolved, concerning psilocybin and a seasonal sales tax, the Board of Josephine County Commissioners moved on to less combustible topics.
Under administrative actions, approval of an amended and restated lease agreement with the Oregon Health Authority for Public Health funding was the sole item of concern.
Commissioners were interrupted while discussions on this matter were undergone by disruptive actions by former county commissioner candidate Mark Seligman.
It is unclear what exactly Seligman was doing at the time, as his conduct took place off-camera, but earlier in the meeting the Selma resident drew sharp rebukes from the commissioners for displaying large banners, one of which read “No New Taxes,” in protest of the law enforcement sales tax.
Seligman yelled that the board was trying to quash his freedom of speech, but there has been a longstanding rule against signs in county meetings that Seligman had been in violation of in the past.
Commissioner Dan DeYoung eventually called security on Seligman. The meeting got back on track afterward.
County attorney Leah Harper spoke to the county’s health services agreement with OHA, and explained that it is standard practice to amend the biennial agreement several times before it comes up for renewal.
“This agreement is very similar to all of the agreements we have had in previous years, and I believe the only changes from the other agreements are perhaps a few of the service elements but generally speaking it’s the same as all the other years,” Harper explained.
Seligman, who corrected his conduct and was not forcibly ejected from the chamber, spoke during public testimony and shed light on the incident DeYoung requested security for.
He had an argument with Grants Pass City attorney Augustus Ogu regarding comments Ogu made in the Grants Pass newspaper The Daily Courier expressing support for Grants Pass property taxes being lowered as a condition to opting in to the seasonal sales tax.
“It’s really unfortunate that the city attorney of Grants Pass would not have the decency to address you guys regarding what he said in the paper,” Seligman complained. “He came to this meeting. You could have asked him some questions. He didn’t have the guts to stand here and back up what he said. And I told him that outside.”
DeYoung defended Ogu during his remarks, pointing out that Ogu serves at “the pleasure” of the Grants Pass City Council and that government body approved of the property tax reduction.
“Augustus doesn’t have the opportunity to say, I’m not going to listen to the city council or what your wishes are,” said DeYoung.
Moving on to the consent calendar, the board discussed updates to Josephine County Multi-Jurisdictional Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan.
JoCo Emergency Management Director Emily Ring chimed in over Zoom.
“Every five years we have an update to the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan,” Ring stated. “The city of Cave Junction and city of Grants Pass have an addendum like they have in years past.
“You are the final piece. Once you approve the adoption of the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan it goes back to FEMA for processing and then we can move forward.”
Ring happily relayed that nearly all the goals and actions spelled out in the plan over the last five years were completed or significantly advanced.
“That’s pretty cool,” she added. “It doesn’t often happen.”
Ring said one of the significant changes for the coming five years was a goal to seek alternative energy sources for county facilities such as solar.