What's New

Renee JacksonEUGENE: “I’ve talked to our customers and they’re willing to pay for recycling in order not to have the dumps close,” McKenzie Disposal employee Renee Jackson told the Lane County Board of Commissioners  last Wednesday. She also encouraged the board to look closer at the costs of recycling, which currently is offered as a discount.
Up for discussion was a plan that included the possible closure of eight of the county’s 16 waste transfer stations. On that list was the McKenzie Bridge site.
Currently, people who haul their own trash can get a $1 discount for recycling things like glass, cardboard or metal. Jackson felt estimates on the amount the county could gain by eliminating the discount could be off.  Although 148 people got the discount at the McKenzie Bridge site in June, she noted there are no records to show how many people went to there to simply drop off their recyclables. She told the board they needed to “generate funds because there is a cost” to the recycling process.

Blue Pool AccessMCKENZIE BRIDGE: Due to increased fire danger levels, the Willamette National Forest placed public use restrictions on campfires and chainsaws starting on Monday.
“We understand this is an inconvenience for our visitors but fire danger levels prompt us to issue these restrictions” said Sean Stafford, Fire Staff for the Willamette National Forest.
Except in campfire rings at posted, developed and designated recreation areas building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, stove or campfire are now restricted.
Smoking, too, is affected except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material.
In addition, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, stove or campfire, including a charcoal fire, in the Middle Santiam Wilderness and Menagerie  areas is not allowed.

Sheep Creek bridgeHWY. 20: A project to create five-and-a-half miles of new road, bypassing a 10-mile section of the original U.S. 20 that was built in 1917, is now underway.
Through the end of September, travelers on U.S. 20 should expect detours on the west and east sides of Interstate 5 due to construction road closures just west of Eddyville (west) and 26 miles east of Sweet Home at the Sheep Creek Bridge (east).
ODOT officials say the U.S 20 Sheep Creek Bridge closure will last through the end of September. The highway is fully closed from milepost 54 to 56.9 while the bridge is out. There is no local detour.
Eastbound travelers are now taking OR 20 from Lebanon to OR 226 to OR 22, or OR 126 from Springfield.
Westbound travelers should take OR 22 to OR 226, or OR 126 from Santiam Junction.

Image: Photo Courtesy ODOT. Until about 2010, the earth movement at the Sheep Creek Bridge was measured at approximately one inch per year.  For the past four years, however, the movement has increased to six to seven inches per year.

Dump chartClosing the dump sites is not about bucks,” Dennis Powers of McKenzie Bridge reminded the Lane County Board of Commissioners at their meeting last Tuesday. “Highway 126 is a heavily traveled beautiful area,” he noted. “A lot of dollars come into Lane County because of this.”
Powers observations were part of the messages McKenzie area residents had for the board to consider before deciding whether to approve a consultant’s report that in part recommends the closure of eight of the county’s 16 waste transfer stations. The closures were expected to help the county offset a $1.5 million annual waste management deficit.
Also opposed to the closure of the McKenzie Bridge transfer site was Marilynn Cross of Nimrod, a former consultant herself who wondered about missing data. “What are the costs of diminishing services in our rural communities?” she asked, adding that “cost” was mentioned in only two places of the 43 pages of the report she’d reviewed. Cross predicted increased costs of travel for people hauling their own garbage as well as higher rates for those contracting with local hauler, McKenzie Disposal.

EUGENE: Conflicts involving the National Flood Insurance Act and the Endangered Species Act relating to impacts subsidized flood insurance have had on development in floodplains is now being reviewed by Lane County‘s Land Management Division. In a June memo to the board of commissioners, Keir Miller, a senior planner with the Public Works Department, noted the county had been participating in the flood program since 1970.
“The Land Management Division is responsible for administering the day-to-day activities of the county’s floodplain program, which is accomplished primarily through the application of the County’s floodplain regulations,” his memo stated. “These day-to-day activities include the review and issuance of development permits for structures in the floodplain, maintaining building elevation certificates, providing floodplain information and mapping services at the request of property owners, developers and lenders, conducting education and outreach efforts about flood hazards.”

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 nearby 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:

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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.