BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone will take part in a White House meeting, this week, along with Crook County's Brian Barney and Commissioners from 11 other Oregon Counties. DeBone tells KBND News, "I think there’s going to be about 20-30 Commissioners from the state of Oregon at the White House on Thursday."
DeBone expects they’ll talk about infrastructure investment at the federal level that could be used for water, sewer and road projects. "Also, forest policy. I mean, think about how well that fits into Deschutes County’s issues of living in smoky summers; and it’s the forest policy at the federal level. So, the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, BLM – Let’s figure this out, let’s make sure we’re working in a positive direction." He tells KBND News, "The agenda is to be finalized by the office of Intergovernmental Affairs, but it’s been mentioned that there could be the top cabinet members, like the Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation; the Vice President has been available and joined in on some of these meetings, also." The Administration is meeting with county leaders from across the country, this year. DeBone believes Oregon is one of around 10 states left. "It’s really connecting with the top leadership in the United States of America to hear about the local issues in the counties around the country. This is the first time I’ve seen anything like this."
The trip is organized by the Association of Oregon Counties and includes a federal policy briefing at the National Association of Counties office.
DeBone leaves Wednesday and will return Friday. He is running for re-election but says that wasn't a factor in his decision to attend. Commissioner Tammy Baney turned it down since she's at the end of her term, and Commissioner Phil Henderson had a scheduling conflict.