Two small eastern Oregon towns are exploring the possibility of combining to become one city.
The Burns-Hines Task Force met for the first time last week to begin the study of a joint effort; residents of Harney County were also included in discussions.
The Burns Times-Herald reports the idea to consolidate is a financial one - studies of cities that are the same size of a combined Burns-Hines would spend considerably less than the individual cities.
Burns has a population of about 2800 people and Hines has about 1550 residents, and both cities are shrinking in population.
Governor Kitzhaber's Office is behind consolidation of services in the state and there are bills already proposed and money in the budget to help cities and counties coordinate services.
The Burns-Hines Task Force is currently looking for public input about a possible consolidation.