EDITOR’S NOTE: Why seeking public records from Malheur County is important in chasing down facts

One of two diesel engines of the Oregon Eastern Railroad moves down the track in Vale. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

Let me explain why Malheur County’s latest effort to stiff arm public disclosure is troubling.

It’s about $14 million.

For more than two months, the Enterprise sought information from Malheur County officials on where they would get that sum.

That was the amount of money that County Judge Dan Joyce told the state was needed to build out county-owned industrial parks. (The county recently amended its plan, so now it needs about $12 million.)

Joyce wouldn’t answer questions about it. Neither would the other county commissioners or the county’s economic development agency.

But any one of them could have picked up the phone, granted an interview . . .