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Tamolitch PoolBlue Pool and portion of McKenzie River Trail temporarily closed as firefighters respond to wildfire

MCKENZIE BRIDGE:  Fire crews are responding to the 2-acre Blue Top Fire near Blue Pool and Tamolitch Falls along of the popular McKenzie River Trail (Trail #3507). To protect both the visiting pubic and to allow firefighters to safely manage the fire, the McKenzie River Trail is temporarily closed between the trailhead at Trail Bridge Campground off Forest Road 2600-355 and the trailhead at Carmen Reservoir.

“We realize this is a very popular destination for bikers and hikers.” said Fire Management Officer Randy Harbick. “This closure is in place to protect firefighter and public safety. We will open the McKenzie River Trail and Blue Pool as soon as possible.”

No public access will be permitted to the Blue Bool area. The McKenzie River Trail is still accessible to the west of Trail Bridge Campground and to the east of Carmen Reservoir. Hikers and bikers eager to escape hot valley temperatures and enjoy their national forest are encouraged to explore other beautiful destinations near-by such as Cougar Reservoir or Blue River Reservoir.

BR mapBLUE RIVER: Over a hundred years ago Samuel Sparks dreamed about creating a city. After moving upriver from Cedar Flat in 1895 he acquired a quarter section of land. Fueled by the boom associated with the discovery of gold nearby, he built a cabin and a two-story log house, plus a sawmill, store, hotel and livery stable. By 1911, he and his sons, Dexter and Felix, had surveyed and mapped out a new town tentatively to be called “Sparks City.” But on July 7th of that year, Sparks died, along with his dream.
Today each of the McKenzie River’s nine unincorporated communities have a development density that can’t exceed two-acres. A recently completed study, the “Blue River Downtown Redevelopment & Wastewater Roadmap” could point to ways that limit might change. The study lays out steps for the creation of a community waste-water system and the development of a “downtown district” in Blue River.

Dancer bridgePlaces to eat, sleep, recreate and even read about the local area  will all be part of a special “Best of the McKenzie River Valley” segment on Rick Dancer TV this week. The weekly show highlights different aspects of life in Lane County.
Dancer, a downriver resident,  worked in the television news industry as a main anchor/reporter for commercial television stations in Western Oregon for more than 20 years. His company, Rick Dancer Media Services, produces videos promoting individual businesses as well as natural attractions.
This week's show takes a behind the scenes look at eight different local businesses - from Vida through McKenzie Bridge. Among them are realtor Nadine Scott, the McKenzie Station Pub and Crescent Moon Cafe at the McKenzie River Inn, the McKenzie General Store, the Wayfarer and McKenzie River Mountain resorts, the High Country Expeditions river rafting company and this newspaper.

This Sunday night’s special will be broadcast on KEVU TV at 4:30 p.m. or can be accessed any time on the web at rickdancer.tv.

CleanupWALTERVILLE: A local event on the 2016 Oregon Lavender Festival schedule will open this Friday for a three-day run in Walterville. From July 8th to  10th, McKenzie River Lavender will be open for u-cut lavender, farm tours and the farm’s popular Lavender Labyrinth from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Visitors and residents alike can look forward to sipping lavender lemonade, sampling other lavender goodies and shopping for fresh products like handcrafted soaps and lotions, essential oil and pillows.
The family-run farm is located on Highway 126 at 40882, between milepost 15 & 16.
The McKenzie River Guides Association, McKenzie Watershed Council, and McKenzie Flyfishers have planned a fun filled annual family event that involves food, prizes and more. All that will be the reward for volunteers taking part in the annual McKenzie River Cleanup.
Crews will be out in boats as well as scouring the streambanks after 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. sign-into pick up supplies at the Hendricks Bridge Park.  The clean up work runs until 2 p.m. and extends from the Ollalie Campground to Armitage Park.
Following their day’s work, volunteers will be rewarded with a BBQ and festivities at Hendricks Bridge Park, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Water hazardsMCKENZIE RIVER: Crews from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team, with the assistance of Eugene/Springfield Fire, responded to multiple water emergencies over the holiday weekend, including two on the McKenzie River, and four on the Willamette River    The rescues on the McKenzie River occurred approximately ½ mile downstream from Harvest Landing in Springfield where fallen trees and other environmental factors can become a hazard.  There are large rocks just under the surface of the water at the river left bank that boaters should be aware of.  A log has already been removed from the water, and the Sheriff’s Office is evaluating the area for other potential hazards.
“While the rivers in Lane County provide a great place to recreate, they can be unpredictable and dangerous.  ,” according to LCSO Sergeant Carrie Carver. She recommended a few safety tips to help keep people and their loved ones safe while out on the water:

19 DetoursBLUE RIVER: Improvements will be underway this summer to the Aufderheide Scenic Byway (Forest Service Road 19) that connects the communities of Blue River and Westfir. Work will include placing new culverts, laying new asphalt and cleaning ditches. The work is expected to cause delays of up to 30 minutes in two locations.
All the roadwork will be south of Box Canyon (the halfway point between the two towns). Travelers using the northern section of byway will not be delayed.
Officials are advising travelers there will be a detour that may add 30 minutes to travel times.  From the Blue River side, could follow Forest Service Road 1928 to Oakridge. It is graveled, but in good shape for a passenger car. Motorcyclists, trucks with trailers and RVs may have difficulties.

Cafe rebuildVIDA: Rebuilding of the fire damaged Vida Cafe is now underway. For owner Sue Nelson, though, that doesn’t mean the doors will be opening for customers soon. “I just heard from the contractor,” she said on Tuesday. “He said the work should be complete towards the end of August and we should open around September first.”
Part of the challenges are fire-related, she noted. Each time damage is discovered and repaired it has to be inspected before workers can cover it up. An 8 foot by 8 foot new addition now sits on a portion of the cafe’s driveway to the east. It replaces the back portion of the building that had to be removed.

McKenzie SchoolsFINN ROCK: Discussions on the “Oregon Rising” survey supported by state educators generated some local talk last week. At the June 15th McKenzie School Board meeting superintendent Jim Thomas suggested people approach the questionnaire as if it was a clean slate.
“Think about what our schools should look like,” Thomas suggested. “What should they look like if we had all the resources available to us to provide the best education for all our kids?”
One item on his own wish list would be to find a way to create a high quality technical career education program. “We offer two periods of shop for our kids,” Thomas said. “That’s it (excluding the business courses we offer). That’s almost criminal.”

Hwy 242 debrisMCKENZIE BRIDGE: At 8 a.m. on June 20th, highway crews opened the snowgate for motorized traffic to cross the Old McKenzie Pass.  

EWEB drinking waterEUGENE: EWEB commissioners took another look at ways to implement and maintain a comprehensive drinking water source protection program last week. At the June 7th meeting of the Eugene Water & Electric Board, staffers Karl Morgenstern & Steve Newcomb gave a presentation covering the McKenzie watershed plans and budget, including an expansion to the Coast & South Forks of the Willamette to cover  Alternative Water Supply drainage areas.
Currently, the utility draws its drinking water from a single source - the McKenzie River. Under study are plans to, “Measure the balance between watershed health and human use over time and to implement actions that maintain a healthy balance for production of exceptional water quality,” according to the report. EWEB is also exploring options that would include a water intake from the North Fork of the Willamette River.
A primary goal of the program will focus on measuring “The balance between watershed health and human use over time and to implement actions that maintain a healthy balance for production of exceptional water quality.”

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.