What's New

South ForkBLUE RIVER: The U.S. Forest Service is looking at 834 acres along the South Fork McKenzie River for some restoration work. The area extends from the base of Cougar Dam to the confluence with the McKenzie River (approximately 4.5 miles). Features include the mainstem channel and all the current or historic side channels along with the floodplain. Most of the project area is under Forest Service ownership, except for approximately 32 acres owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The project was designed to improve habitat, ecological function, and biological productivity for endangered species including spring Chinook salmon and bull trout, Pacific lamprey, and other native fish, western pond turtle, amphibians, beaver, and waterfowl. It is currently in the preliminary design phase with an expected final design by December, followed by and environmental analysis and documentation completed by March of 2016. Officials say comments are appreciated anytime, however, for input to be timely and considered in project design, they should be received by December 13, 2015.

Cafe porchVIDA: Other restaurants and area residents alike have responded to a destructive fire at the Vida Cafe by opening their wallets.
Last weekend, Ike’s Pizza ran a three-day fundraiser by pledging to contribute 20 percent of their sales to a rebuilding fund for the cafe. “On Monday we presented Sue (the cafe’s owner) with a check for $1,000,” said Jack Koehler of Ike’s, who noted they still have a donation jar on their counter.
Downriver, Heather Hernandez-Reja, owner of the River Stop Restaurant in Walterville plans a similar move this Friday., from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. she’ll kick in 25 percent of her sales to the fund while also pledging to match other customer donations.

Root wadThe Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) has selected the McKenzie Watershed Council to receive a Salmon License Plate grant for a project in McKenzie Bridge.  The grant money comes from the extra fee Oregonians pay when they purchase Salmon Plates for their vehicles.  
The “Deer Creek Floodplain Enhancement Project” totals $118,580 and will place large wood in Deer Creek to increase the stream’s complexity and reconnect the stream to the surrounding floodplain, improving habitat for Chinook Salmon and Bull Trout in Lane County.
Details of the project include pulling 24 live stream-adjacent Douglas fir or Western red cedar trees directly into Deer Creek with their root wads intact via a truck mounted yarder. Fifteen of the trees will be part of new large logjams that will be placed with an excavator.



Hwy. 242 closesWith approximately 6 inches of snow already accumulated on the west side of the McKenzie Pass Highway, and more snow expected through the week, the Oregon Dept. of Transportation has closed OR 242, west of the summit, for the season.
The highway was closed to through traffic at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 10th, from the junction with 126 to milepost 76.7, three-quarters of a mile west of the Dee Wright Observatory. Access to the observatory will still be available from Sisters until additional snow accumulates on the eastern roadway.

Witness reports ashes from BBQ were dumped

Vida Cafe firemanVIDA: A deputy State Fire Marshall, along with two McKenzie Fire & Rescue staff, spent several hours last week sifting through fire-damaged sections of the Vida Cafe. Unfortunately, they were unable to narrow down what caused the landmark structure to burn around 4:30 a.m. on October 24th. When the fire was reported, the caller had observed flames coming from the rear of the structure.

Vida Cafe Fire2Vida: The landmark Vida Cafe was extensively damaged in an early morning blaze today. According to McKenzie Fire & Rescue reports, the fire was reported at 4:22 a.m. on October 24th, coming from the rear of the structure.

On arrival responders found the most active fire was coming from the East end of the building, and the exterior part of the fire was extinguished quickly. In order to find all the active fire inside the building crews needed to remove a large portion of the ceiling and make several access points in the walls.

River Stop basketsBy Ada Weeks
WALTERVILLE: We know summer is over when the spectacular floral hanging baskets are taken down from their custom metal supports on light poles at the Walterville Shopping Center. These beauties have delighted both local folks and Highway 126 travelers, from May through October, with their massive display of flowers.
Greg and Tamara Clift, owners of the McKenzie River Nursery, are the dedicated providers and caretakers of the baskets. Greg recalls, “Tamara and I had been to Victoria, BC, on our honeymoon, and marveled at the bayfront hanging baskets. In 2002, I contacted the local Walterville merchants to ask if they would ‘mind’ if we put baskets up on the light poles at no cost to them or the community. Of course, they said yes, as long as we also took care of them.”


Auction overviewFINN ROCK: A once bustling McKenzie River community could come back to life depending on the plans of a potential new property owner. Set to go up for auction next month is a block parcels that include the site of the historic Finn Rock Logging Camp which, in the 1940s, contained twenty homes.
The current owner is Rosboro of Springfield, a forest products company that is the largest glulam manufacturer in North America. The sale will include over three miles of McKenzie River frontage, in three parcels, with over five million board feet of timber.


Chopper coming inOREGON CASCADES: An injured climber spent the night on the slopes of Mount Washington after an accident over the weekend. Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports 20-year-old Sarah Ford of Bend was rescued from Mt. Washington after nightly where temperatures dropped below freezing. On Sunday night October 11th, at 11:23 p.m., the Deschutes County 9-1-1 center received a cell phone call from Ford reporting that she had been hit in the head by a falling rock while rappelling down from the 7,700 foot elevation level of Mt. Washington which is located on the Linn/ Deschutes County line.
The Deschutes County 9-1-1 center was able to capture Sarah’s cell phone location accurate to within 1/2 mile. Sarah’s cell phone was at 1% battery charge when she called 9-1-1 and attempts to re-contact her by phone were unsuccessful. The rescue information was relayed to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 center just after midnight. Deputies, 14 LCSO Search and Rescue members, six members of the Corvallis Mountain Rescue Team and three LCSO Posse members responded to the area and searched throughout the night, locating Ford at 6:49 a.m.

Thomson bridgeVIDA: The Thomson “swinging bridge” came down with a splash on Monday. Originally built in the 1930’s the bridge connected south bank residents with the outside world. Crews from Stayton Construction used cable cutters, chainsaws and an excavator to remove the privately owned structure around 10:15 a.m.  in response to safety concerns.

From the November 29, 1985 issue of McKenzie River Reflections - “GOODPASTURE ROAD in 1940’s” Courtesy Vida-McKenzie Neighborhood Watch Newsletter.

When the Goodpasture Bridge was built in 1938 the road only extended 1/2 mile or so beyond the bridge. There were only a few families living on the south side of the river that crossed on swinging foot bridges. Supples were packed, pulled and pushed across the foot bridges too.


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.