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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
August 4, 2010     Hells Canyon Journal
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August 4, 2010

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Page 4 Hells Canyon Journal August 4, 2010 J Letters New Bridge Swimming Hole Unsafe and Eagle Creek Bedrock Ruined from Ill-Fated Diversion Project The favorite swimming hole on Eagle Creek up at the New Bridge bridge is no longer safe for kids and fami- lies. For 40years the old dam for the Kay- Young Irrigation ditch diversion created a beautiful swimming hole in mid to late summer. For 20 years Wil and Beverly Howe who own the property that accesses the creek never ob- jected to locals coming and swimming and playing in the creek there. But, the destruc- t/on to the creek at the bridge area due to the creek's bed- rock being devastated by the recent work in 2008and 2009 by the NRCS's project to change the Kay Young Irriga- t/on diversion, now with this spring's high water the creek has been left unstable and unsafe for foot traffic. The Howe's wish to express their warnings as there are now sharp concrete forms with protruding steel shanks in the river-bed along with loose river rock and boulders and sheer drop, fragile sloughing banks. The cause was not "Mother Nature" here. The devastation was caused by an ill-fated project that was con- fronted with objections from the inception of the idea to change the original dam di- version. Two years ago the Kay Young ditch company was desperate to get some help to fund a project to up-grade the existing 40 year and as we have since learned, quite effi- cient, push- up dam. Mostly needed, was just a permit and the funding to hire a big enough piece of equipment to enter the creek to rearrange the existing rocks and put a ordinator .. . "corn-swoggled" all of us into believing that their plan would work much to the dismay of every irriga- tor and person associated with Eagle creek. They used the Malhuer River as their model which is a meandering river that flows gently through desert and farm country and nothing in comparison to the raging torrent of Eagle Creek with its close proximity to the mountains, unique elevation drop, massive snow packs, resulting in the capability moving of huge sediment loads up with boulders up to the size of a Volkswagen and ability to create horrendous ice jams in the winter. With all that said, these unique flows have easily passed by the New Bridge bridge and dam for decades. Well, build it they did, tear- ing the bedrock floor of the creek and disturbing the bed- rock to the point of complete and irreversible inhalation that was proved this spring with our semi -annual high water flood. Now what was supposed to alleviate the lo- cal ditch company from hav- ing to spend time and money and let alone the environmen- tal disturbance of the creek annually has now resulted in the major repair 4 times in 2 years by the original contrac- tor and the Kay Young crew has had to enter the creek and root up the creek bed with heavy equipment for repairs now over 3 times this year alone. The sediment problem in Eagle Valley is enormous, the mountains continue to roll rock down the creek every high water. When the Brownlee Reservoir was put in 50years ago it changed the nature of the energy flow of Eagle Creek resulting in an overflow of bed load rock, sediment and debris. In 1940 Eagle Creek dented".., do you realize it is that same thinking that is running the country//? This just points out how this project has turned out to be another bureaucratic fiasco and no one is willing to stand up and say anything about it for the com- munity. They dredge the Co- lumbia, the Mississippi, they build dikes, levees, dams and diversions but will they help a small community that has a practical solution for their dilemma.., no, that is too easy. We are all for taking care of the natural habitat of Eagle Creek, I guess that is why this is so irritating, much of the damage in the lower valley this year could have been pre- vented with the channeling of Eagle Creek, and the gravel claimed .... ? How about put- ting it to good use and using it for our county roads and lo- cal projects and needs. But that get's more into local money and politics, we won't go there. You get the drift though. In the end, from the lack of forethought and listening to the wisdom of locals, on the Engineer's and Fish and Wildlife's part, the Kay- Young diversion will need to be rebuilt every year. It will fill every year with sediment, logs and debris. Ice jams will tear it up and yearly high water will disrupt and de- stroy the structure, meanwhile hundreds of thousands of our taxpayers dollars are being washed down creek yearly as they enter Eagle Creek with their huge machinery for maintenance. By the way, the Howe's property is so devastated the diversion structure redirected the water flow and the bed- rock disturbance the Project caused earlier, their once tran- quil gradual creek access is now a crumbling dangerous 6-foot drop-off. Now unable Thank You My daughters, Maey and Brittney, and I would like to thank our family friends and our "community" of good neighbors who helped so much with my Dad's Memo- rial Service. First, Rod Morse of Boise, who conducted the service and sang the "Star Spangled Banner"; Marilyn White, also of Boise, who did the opening prayer; Ron and Billy Neal, Veryl and Tam/Waldron, for the colorful musical selec- tions; to Chuck Peterson for the wonderful re-ride stories about Dad, his humorous nicknames that he had coined for the landmark businesses and the special people that he loved so much in his life- long home of Pine Valley; to the members of the Honor Guard, who traveled so far for their presentation; to the local VFW members and the Ladies of the Auxiliary who furnished such delicious food; to family, friends and neigh- bors, who also helped with food, flowers, and cleanup chores; to Jenny Gulick and Tam/ Waldron for helping Veryl in the kitchen; to Mar- garet Durner and Penny Sabin for the professional flo- rist arrangements; to Will- iam Jackson for the emer- gency photo technology help; to Briana Kossler and J.T. Southerland for all the hard work for their service on the programs and the CD slide presentation. A special thank you to our dear "family of friends" who helped us through our very darkest hours; Chuck and Marilyn Peterson, Tim and Molly Smith, Bill and Veryl Waldron, Junie Miller, Mar- garet Durner, Josi Dillman Mack, Brian Simpson, and Kate Grace. To Ralph Smead and the Lions Club for the use of the Hall, to this news- paper for always being so helpful to this community during these kinds of personal events. Last, but not least, to all the people who have sent us cards, and contributed to Dad's Educational Fund at the US Bank, for his great- grandchildren. We would have liked to have seen you all in person to tell you how much we appreciate your friendship but it is impos- sible to do. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Jerri Kay and Girls (The family of Bub Whiteley) A Big Thank You from the Pine Eagle Education Foundation The Pine Eagle Education Foundation wishes to thank the following people and or- ganizations for their enthu- siastic support of our Chair- ity event on Sunday, July 25. The evening was a great suc- cess, highlighted by delicious ribs, music performed by lo- cal musicians and students from the Foundation's music lesson program, and, of course, the Live Auction of beautifully decorated chairs, stools and benches. We are thankful that thunderstorms, forecast for the evening, held off, too. First, we would like to ac- knowledge and thank Denise Cairns for her enthusiastic organization of the entire event. It was her months of planning and coordinating that made it all possible. Thank you, also, to Melanie Allardale, who was respon- sible for finding chairs and artists to decorate them.., she had seen such an event else- where and it was her idea to do it in Halfway. Thank you Fleming for his carved wooden ducks, and Betty Warmath for the three-legged chair. A special thanks to Hells Canyon Adventures, Mimi's, Cornucopia Lodge, and Halfway Motel for their auction donations. And a spe- cial thanks to Michael Allstead for his beautiful painting. Thanks also to Albertsons in Baker City for their food donations, the US Bank in Halfway for displaying our chairs, Old Pine Market for many things, Jacob's Dream, Pine Eagle School District, Crossroads in Baker City, who helped to advertise, and to Joe Denig and the FFA Students for their work in the kitchen, for cleaning up, and doing the set-up and tak- ing down of tables and chairs. Thanks to the Pine Eagle Youth Fund for supporting the FFA team. Bill and Vicki Johnson, Jenny Gulick, Dona Schmitt, Tom and Linda Collier, Patti Walker and Kay and Jim Young were a great Seed, Eagle Telephone, Half- way Mercantile, Halfway Market, and Shorthorn Caf& Your support is greatly ap- preciated! And finally, thanks to these donors, Bill and Vicki Johnson, Tom and Linda Collier, Sharol and Jim Chan- dler, Deanne Johnson, Wil and Beverly Howe, Dale and Nancy Denson, Eric and Mimi Kauffman, Duane and Janet Miles, Bill Barsky, Penny Sabin, Karen Kettlety, Dave and Karen Andruss, Brook and Lois Moore, Dave and Tori Crawford, Andrea Bryan, Rick and Lauri Bryan, and Tom and Betty Warmath. And finally, a big thank you again to the teachers who were so devoted to opening the doors of musical training to our young people: Wayne Lowe, Curt Terrall, Mark Christianson, Eric Kauffman, Tom Warmath, Ruai Gregory, Millie Shold, Dona Schmitt, and Jan Bonn. You are greatly appreciated. This community in the Panhandle has again sup- ported the Education Foun- dation in ways we did not even imagine were possible. new log in, but at the same time, along with other ditch cdhies an pr'vate land*:: .... owners on the creek needing help as well, the Eagle Creek Restoration Project was implemented with the help the Eagle Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, going through the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Department of State Lands, the US Department of the Interior along with the Oregon Partners for Fish and Wildlife Department's in- volvement. A simple "fix it" job has turned into major bureaucratic nightmare for those affiliated with the ditch company and the land own- ers adjacent. Once Oregon Fish and Wildlife got involved and headed the project, they had complete jurisdiction and "say so "overriding the com- mon sense and the practical experience warranted sugges- tions the locals of Eagle Val- ley tried to convey.., but just like most bureaucratic projects it was forced upon the people ''for the good of the people" and now you should see the mess here. The new diversion they de- signed was to be "engineered" by the best water h ydrologists available, so two, 'Just out of college" young engineers from Boise and the our faithful, (with sarcasm implied), Fish and Wildlife Department co- was channeled out, by big to access the creek by horse -: to yotr both! To auctioneer help. Thanks to musicians Fromeverycornerofthecom- Caterpillars. sco.uring the bctk (a criteria the Howe; MibDailey, yourhumorand WayneLowe, EricKauffman, munity, helpwasenthusias- creek bed out from the upper nsSted on prmr to allowing  .expertise maple our autumn CurtTerraltarlChrmtmn- hcally given. As members of valley clear to the head of the Marina, giving a place for the water to go, unobstructed. It was that same year the rock dam in New Bridge was built. Twenty years later the River was channeled again in 1960, and then was slated to be done in the 1980's but ..... the envi- ronmental movement how had their fingers in the mix, all this going on unbeknown to most of us. So the required permits were postponed and were re -filed in the 1990"s to no avail, stopped by laws pro- h/biting the entering of Or- egon Rivers & Creeks with equipment, disturbing or al- tering the "natural" creek beds. So here we sit now with 20 years of bed load in Eagle Creek creating wash-outs and unnecessary flooding and property damage over the years just waiting for a good flood like this year to really raise havoc jeopardizing the livelihood of every rancher and farmer on the Eagle Creek corridor. The absurdity not allow a clean out of the creek threatens the entire Valley, but.., we are a "just a small irrelevant- little place of no re al economic importance and there is no need to upset the "natural occurrence of nature "and let her just take her course as Mother Nature in- Hells Canyon Journal 145 North Main St. P.O. Box 646 Halfway, OR 97834 Phone: (541) 742-7900 Fax: (541) 742-7933 email: hcj Editor and Publisher- Steve Backstrom Staff: Rose Clark, Linda Collier, Sue Forrester, Julie McCullough, Cindy Omann, Anna Richardson, Hayley Sanders and Patti Walker Correspondents: Linda Bergeron, John Garrigus, Sherrie Kvamme, Deb Lowe and Sybyl Smith The Hells Canyon Journal is published weekly for $30.00 (Baker County) or $40.00 (other areas) by Hells Canyon Publishing, Inc. Periodical postage paid at Halfway, OR 97834. USPS Number: 002- 953. Postmaster: Send address changes to Hells Canyon Journal, P.O. Box 646, Halfway, OR 97834. Member of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association access for their original project), training their horses on their property is their live- lihood and this has been also severely affected by the work done on the creek. Inciden- tally, the Baker County Road Master has called for an in- spection of the New Bridge bridge as well, due to the bed- rock disruption at the base of the footings and fact that they now eroded this year expos- ing the footings and caused major under cutting and loss of the "rip rap" under the bridge. In addition the recent work done by the Kay Young ditch company as they entered the creek with a cat and ripped up more if the bridge footings by cutting a channel under the bridge on the east side of the creek to trap more water. When will it end. To say nothing of the abuse of the Creek itself and its fish as they muddy up the creek every time the equipment en- ters it... the very habitat that Fish and Wildlife argued on. That also, "the fish needed to pass and have access up the river at all times", well they did anyway 8 months of the year/With the old dam, and when the water came up .... up the fish would go, but now the fish have "year round ac- cess ", like an entitlement pro- gram .... "gotta have every- thing available to everyone at all times, need someone suffer for a little while" We are talking fish and humans/ the same insane debate that has plagued this country and brought us all to brink o four knees ... as we have civilized ourselves into idiocy. Those of you in Pine Valley probably have similar con- cerns for Pine Creek and your community of affected land owners, we must do something and see if we can't let our .voice be heard.., where it counts. Or else, just go ahead and dredge it ourselves/And fight 'em in court asking for "forgiveness rather than per- mission" Beverly Howe Richland, Oregon such a success, thank you! Jayme Shouse, thank you so much for your tireless work on the silent auction! To the Moore family and Pine Val- ley Ranch, thank you for the donation ofhalfa beef, and to the Marlow family, thank you for cutting and wrapping it for our Beef for PEEF raffle. We so appreciate Deb Lowe, Karen Andruss, and Patti Walker for their hard work setting up the wine and beer garden, and Denny Curtis for his organization of both the music and the set-up and clean-up of the hall and grounds. To the Halfway Li- ons Club and Ralph Smead, thank you for providing such a beautiful venue- and espe- cially the roasters! A special thanks to Janet Miles, who coordinated the kitchen staff and whose expertise was in- valuable. Thanks, too, to Denise Christianson and In- land Caf for help with order- ing, and instructions on how to cook the ribs!. A big thank you to Steve Backstrom for designing and donating the beautiful posters. Then, we want to acknowl- edge with great appreciation the many artists, craftsper- sons and others who donated and painted the chairs- with- out your long hours of dili- gence, the event could not have happened. They pre- sented a beautiful display during the weeks before the event and served to excite the imagination of our com- munity. First, Sharol Chan- dler, who posted pictures on the internet of'her chair as the painting progressed, and enthusiastically promoted the Clair-ity event. Thank you Sharol!! The following people also contributed of their talents: Antonia Carri- ere for two chairs, Audrene Simpson, who painted three chairs, Bill Shields, Jennifer Godwin, Merlin and Kathy Gath, Ivy Wreden, Minden Wreden, Judy Miller, Coco Forte, Deanne Johnson, Jeanne Dennis, Donna H/g- gins, Deb Lowe, Jenipher Brown, Kathy Katich, Jim son, Tom Warmath, Denny Curtis, Ron Hunter, Kyle Ransom, and Brian Simpson for their musical talents. Curt, thanks for accompany- ing the students so beaut/- fully, Awesome... Thanks to all those in the Presbyterian and Baptist churches who brought desserts and salads. They were wonderful!! We would like to thank the following donors of other auc- t/on items: Karen Endersby, the Gotzman family's Pearls for Him, Quail Ridge Golf Course, Annie's Caf, JD's Mercantile, The Hitching Post, Michelle Butner Pho- tography, Richland Feed and the board of PEEF, may we just say we feel humbled and bolstered by your support. We will continue to do everything we can to dream big and fur- ther the goals of the founda- t/on for the sake of our kids. Thank you so much. Jennifer Godwin, Chairman of the Pine Eagle Education Foundation. SUBSCRIBE to the Hells Canyon Journal $30 / yr. in Baker County $40 /yr. elsewhere in U.S. Come Check Out This Great Buy! This home has a bright kitchen, two baths, possible three bedrooms, newer metal roof and covered front porch. 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