Week of May 30, 2024

Curbing severe wildfire in Oregon depends on urgency, scale of controlled burns

Alex Baumhardt, Oregon Capital Chronicle

Jesse Jackson stands proudly, flute in hand, on several hundred acres of forest near Roseburg that the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians fought to get back from the federal government in 2016 after more than 160 years of private and federal management and decades of heavy logging. Jackson, the education programs manager for the tribe, offers gratitude to the land through his music and the indigenous Takelma language once spoken widely by the tribe. He describes huckleberries,...

Harbick wins Republican House race

Republican voters in the McKenzie Valley, Oakridge, Junction City, Cottage Grove, and other parts of East Lane and Linn Counties overwhelmingly marked their ballots for newcomer Darin Harbick over current Representative Charlie Conrad. Preliminary results for the May 31st primary gave Harbick an 82% to 17% advantage in Lane and a 58% to 41% win in Linn. “When you win with that large of a margin, people assume it was an easy race,” Harbick said. “Let me assure you, we worked hard for every...

Fire camera network is largest of its kind

Laurel Hamers and Nicole Krueger, University of Oregon

Firefighters battling wildfires in the Pacific Northwest will now have the world's largest public-facing system of wildfire cameras at their disposal. Three universities - including the University of Oregon's Oregon Hazards Lab, known as OHAZ; the University of Nevada, Reno; and ALERTCalifornia at the University of California, San Diego - have integrated their wildfire monitoring networks under a single software platform, ALERTWest, allowing an unprecedented level of interoperability between...

Hatcheries

The Leaburg Hatchery and McKenzie Hatchery have been temporarily closed to comply with permit conditions from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Visitors should be aware that no fish are present in the facilities’ production raceways and show ponds. Fish have been transferred off-site but officials report there has been no change to trout stocking in Willamette Valley waterbodies nor any reductions in production of trout or salmon from the facilities as a result of this shift....

Voters approve McKenzie Fire funding

LEABURG: McKenzie Fire & Rescue received a 66% vote of confidence from voters according to preliminary results of the May election. With the approval of Measure 20-356 the district will be able to main tain its current staffing of nine full-time employees and its ability to offset impacts of declining volunteer numbers. The measure will replace the current $0.60 per $1,000 of valuation that expires in 2025. For the next five years, the new rate...

Two lose primaries without help from GOP

Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle

Two incumbent House Republicans lost their jobs in election night blowouts last Tuesday as their caucus and most colleagues stood on the sidelines. Different factors led to Reps. Charlie Conrad, R-Dexter, and James Hieb, R-Canby, losing their seats: Conrad angered Oregon Right to Life by siding with Democrats on a 2023 law to widen access to abortion and gender-affirming care, while Hieb couldn’t compete with 2022 governor nominee Christine Drazan when she decided to return to the...

Forest Service waives recreation fee for National Get Outdoors Day

The US Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region will be waiving fees at most day-use recreation sites in national forests across Washington and Oregon on Saturday, June 8th, in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day. National Get Outdoors Day aims to connect Americans with the great outdoors and inspire them to lead healthy, active lifestyles. By waiving fees on this day, the Forest Service hopes to encourage the public to take advantage of the many recreational opportunities available in...

OR workforce grows, but gaps should be addressed

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service OR

A new report analyzes the workforce dynamics in Oregon and how the state can address gaps for workers and industries. The 2024 Talent Assessment finds that Oregon’s economy is in a strong position, with significant growth in the labor market and more growth anticipated in the future. Christiana McFarland is director of the Center for Innovation Strategy and Policy with SRI, the firm that conducted the assessment. She said some factors could be barriers to achieving that future growth. “We...

  • Macho men make mortal mistakes

    Tom Conning

    Every year, USACE publishes updated statistics for water safety (or lack thereof) at its project locations throughout the country. In the eight years I’ve been working for USACE, the statistics on drownings have not significantly changed (that I can recall), regardless of the amount of focus and messaging the enterprise has published. Again, it’s no surprise that USACE data from 2023 shows that drowning victims at our locations are 88 percent male and 89 percent who weren’t wearing life jackets. This is an important topic for many of...

  • Oregon rancher Reub Long was the 'Sage of Fort Rock'

    Finn J.D. John

    The tiny town of Fort Rock, Oregon, is famous for two things: The 14,000-year-old sandals found in a cave nearby, and Reub Long. It’s been a while — nearly 50 years since Reub died at age 76, in the summer of 1974. But even today, among old Oregon wits and raconteurs and cowboy poets, Reub plays number two to nobody. Perhaps Stewart Holbrook could have given him a run for the money; but Holbrook was a journalist, so his storytelling was constrained by a sense of duty to stick mostly to the...

  • Butterfly bush is magnet for pollinators

    Vic Panichkul

    Saying that the Butterfly bush (Buddleia) is a magnet for pollinators is an understatement. It’s no wonder that The National Garden Bureau has declared 2024 the year of the Buddleia. In Oregon, Buddleia davidii was taken off the market in 2008 because of its invasive nature, but the Oregon Department of Agriculture has approved varieties for sale in Oregon that are seedless. The seedless forms have common names like Summer Lilac, Nectar Bush, Seedless Buddleia, or Seedless Butterfly Bush,...

  • McK Fire Report - May 30

    May 20: 13:17: 90000 block, Fish Hatchery Rd. Medical, Trauma. Patient Assessed, Refusal Obtained. 13:39: 45000 blk, McK. Hwy. Smoke Scare. Homeowner Extinguishing Fire On Arrival. May 21: 15:47: 40000 blk, Deerhorn Rd. Medical, Heart. Patient Assessed, 1 Transported. 19:02: 46000 blk, McK. Hwy. Medical, Heart. Patient Assessed, 1 Transported. May 22: 4:37: 9000 blk, Thurston Rd. Medical, General. Disregarded En Route. 17:42: 39000 blk, Jameson Creek Rd. Lift Assist. 19:40: 39081 Hendricks Park Rd. Medical, General. Patient Assessment,...

  • Upper McK Fire Report - May 30

    May 23: 22:30: Public Assist – 55000 block, McK. River Dr. May. 25: 06:11: Assist Police Dept. - 55000 blk, McK. River Dr. May 26:01:50: Motor Vehicle Accident, Unknown Injury – 49000 blk, McK. Hwy. Arcing or sparking observed, driver of the vehicle is out of the car and talking, Car went off of road, went through electric box. The Upper McK. Fire District’s board of directors will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 17th, at the McK. Fire Station, 56578 McK. Hwy. in McKenzie...

  • Sheriff's Report - May 30

    May 13: 5:45 p.m: Criminal Trespass - 90800 blk, Angels Flight Rd. Ongoing civil issue. May 14: 11:35 a.m: Burglary - Terwilliger Hot Springs. Self-report regarding items stolen from a hut at the springs. 8:42 p.m: Criminal Mischief - 7000 blk, Thurston Rd. Self-report regarding a neighbor who damaged a fence. 9:04 p.m: Eluding - 45200 blk, Goodpasture Rd. Deputies conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. An occupant fled the vehicle, prompting a K-9 search. The subject was not located, and the investigation is...

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