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FINN ROCK: “I’ve been trying to emphasize the idea of public relations and relationship building,” was the way Jim Thomas explained his work as the new McKenzie Schools superintendent. Speaking at last week’s meeting of the school board, he encouraged the district to again work on developing a strategic plan. Referring to past experiences with similar exercises, Thomas said, “By the time you’re done with it the local community is involved and it becomes like a living document. I’d like to throw it out just to get your input.”
Board member Alyssa Brownlee said she’d had some experience with the strategic planning process when she worked at Clark College. “Initially there was a lot of anticipation and resistance,” she recalled. “I myself was thinking about another thing to do, more papers to fill out. After we went through the process I actually found it was kind of fun. Having clear goals that we all worked on was really helpful,” she added.
Referring to the school’s previous strategic plan, board member Kathy Keable said that it has lain dormant in part because it had occurred at a “rather tumultuous time for the district.” Keable felt the study, conducted with the Planning, Public Policy and Management  program at the University of Oregon, “Was a start but we didn’t keep it going and really look at it to make changes. It should be something that’s ours and not theirs.” (Click title to continue)

MeetingRAINBOW: People had a chance to place some priorities on places that matter to them last Wednesday night. They did it by marking up maps to show which U.S. Forest Service roads they use and what sort of special places they feel are along those routes.
“You should mark the areas that you appreciate - maybe because you work up there,” explained Matt Peterson, assistant  recreation  officer for the Willamette Forest. Using comment sheets linked to the marked up maps, people were also encouraged to list some of their thoughts on why those areas are important, what they do there and what sort of road management would be appropriate.

 

Golf courseWALTERVILLE: A plan that could have led to the redevelopment the McKenzie River Golf Course as a 27-home subdivision was rejected by Lane County last week. The decision by county planning director Matt Laird took into account current zoning, which would have allowed the 59-acre parcel to be divided up as 2-acre lots, but called into question how that could occur in an area identified as a flood zone.
 Besides conforming to the allowable lot sizes, the plan also wouldn’t have conflicted with transportation patterns in the neighborhood and the placement of utilities. The development would have conformed to the county’s riparian code for structural setbacks from Class 1 streams while also proposing the construction of bio swales, “rain gardens,” and other retention devices to collect storm water and allow it to percolate underground before flowing into the river.

Tokatee FireRAINBOW: Firefighters from two districts were on the scene of a blaze Saturday night at the Tokatee Golf Club. The Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District responded with seven firefighters, three engines and a tender. Mutual aid assistance  from McKenzie Fire & Rescue, brought another engine, a tender and eight firefighters to the scene after the fire was reported around 9:14 p.m.

 

 

 

Salmon netFocus on man’s reintroduction of fish

Hatchery populations of spring chinook salmon in the subbasins of the upper Willamette River are genetically similar to the wild populations in these basins and should continue to be used for recovery of spring chinook salmon.
That’s the conclusion of a study published in July by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife researchers. The research had been identified as high priority by the 2008 Willamette Project biological opinion. Spring chinook salmon of the upper Willamette River basin were first listed in 1999 as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, a label that had been reaffirmed in 2005 and again in 2010.

Dave walpLEABURG: Last Saturday’s Salmon Celebration at the McKenzie Hatchery provided a number of opportunities for people to learn about the complex ecosystem in the area. Booths at the celebration covered topics ranging from macroinvertebrate identification or water quality, to riparian ecology, as well as an opportunity to view salmon spawning.
Dave Walp had a popular display featuring the pelts of a good number of the animals that populate the McKenzie Valley and the surrounding high country.

 

 

 

 

Chuck TannenbaumLEABURG: “At present one could consider the river as essentially at the beginning of becoming a used car junk yard,” was the way Walterville resident Chuck Tannenbaum summed up his feelings. He was testifying about concerns regarding a Kia sedan that hasn’t been retrieved since it entered the water and sank after being involved in an auto accident last May.
Tannenbaum wasn’t alone in telling the Eugene Water & Electric Board commissioners how he felt about the situation when they met in Leaburg on September 9th.

SAlmon Watch studentsLEABURG: The Salmon Stewards of Lane County and the McKenzie Watershed Council will celebrate the return of salmon to northwest rivers at the inaugural Salmon Celebration on the McKenzie River from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 20th. The event will feature education, art, and entertainment for all ages.

Megan RyanBLUE RIVER: Megan Ryan, a 28-year-old woman reported missing on September 13th, was located Tuesday morning by private contractors off USFS Road 19 near Cougar Reservoir.  The contractors had been working on a spur road off Road 19, also known as Aufderheide Drive.
Searchers had been looking for her after receiving a missing person report at approximately 9 p.m. on Saturday.

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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.