County hires new attorney


by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - Alexa Gassner

   The third county counsel to represent the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners in the past three years started work March 5.
   Attorney Alexa Gassner, 30, replaces Dave Allen, who took over as county counsel in January of 2007. Allen, who made a family decision not to move to Jefferson County as required under his contract, will continue to represent the county in ongoing land-use matters.
   Allen is also in the process of opening a local practice at the Madras Professional Center at 35 S.E. C Street, across the street from the courthouse.
   Gassner will work a little less than full time -- equivalent to seven-tenths of a full-time job. Her schedule will be Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at her new office in the courthouse annex, at 66 S.E. D St.
   Combined with Allen's continued work, the two jobs translate into a little more than one full-time job, according to Bill Bellamy, chairman of the County Commission.
   "We have more than enough work for one," Bellamy said, citing court cases and appeals currently under way.
   Since moving to Madras in 2004, Gassner initially worked for Jefferson County Title from 2004 to 2006, and then was hired as assistant county counsel for Crook County in July of 2006. She worked there through February.
   "Being able to work under a county counsel and get a feel for the job has helped immensely," she said.
   At Crook County, Gassner said she did some land-use cases, employment law, "as well as general county counsel duties such as contracts and leases."
   Looking through her in-box, Gassner noted that the first work she will be doing will be on a code amendment, tri-county agreement amendment, and a boundary line adjustment.
   Gassner grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young University in 1999, with a degree in political science. She went on to Willamette University Law School, from which she graduated in 2002, and later that year passed the bar exam.
   While at Willamette, she met her husband, Tim, who is also an attorney in Madras, with the Glenn, Sites and Reeder firm. The Gassners were married in 2003, and have one child, Cole, 11 months.
   "We really like it here; it's a great place to raise a family."