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  • EWEB bracing for a 15% utility rate increase

    Jul 18, 2024

    By Bayla Orton The Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project’s increased costs, supply chain shortages, and other Eugene Water & Electric Board projects could soon translate to a 15% increase in utility bills for the utility's customers. Costs for the Carmen site were up $21 million - or 3.3% - last week, creating new issues for budgeting, board officials said. Concerns include requirements for the safe passage of Chinook salmon and bull trout along an 8-mile stretch of the McKenzie River. There are now questions surrounding the effectiveness of t...

  • Earthquakes

    Jul 18, 2024

    All volcanoes in the Cascade Range of Oregon and Washington have been at normal background activity levels. These include Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams in Washington State and Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Newberry, and Crater Lake in Oregon. Mount St. Helens continues to experience slightly heightened seismicity than typical of recent years, with 26 located earthquakes a week ago, and 451 since February 1st when the current increase...

  • County considers Blue River rezoning

    Jul 18, 2024

    Under the proposed changes Lane County would amend the Lane County Rural Comprehensive Plan and Lane Code Chapter 16 – Land Use and Development Code to implement a Complete Community Plan for the unincorporated community of Blue River. The action would involve rezoning properties within the community of Blue River to “promote compact, small-town development patterns with an active and convenient pedestrian environment along a mixed-use Blue River Drive, higher density development near Lane Transit District bus stops and the McKenzie River Com...

  • Small but Mighty

    Jul 18, 2024

    About 20 people meet for Sunday worship (10:30 am), for service projects, and to care for the church at McKenzie Valley Presbyterian Church (MVPC), just east of Walterville on Hwy 126. This small group of people makes a lot of friends near and far - friends who have become partners in supporting our valley far beyond what 20 people could do alone. In the past MVPC provided an office for WomenSpace to meet with survivors of domestic trauma as well as a meeting space for Boy Scouts and a...

  • Powering up Paradise?

    Jul 18, 2024

    MCKENZIE BRIDGE: The US Forest Service is seeking public comments on a series of upcoming improvement projects ranging from hazardous fuels reduction treatments in the Hwy 242, Camp Melakwa, and Santiam Lodge areas to adding a temporary dock to the boat launch at the Cold Water Cove Campground. Among the eleven projects slated for 2024 is a plan to install an electrical utility line to the McKenzie Bridge and Paradise Campground Host sites. The work would also add to several “premium site” sit...

  • 100 human-caused wildfires since June

    Jul 18, 2024

    Since June, there have been 100 human-caused wildfires on national forests and grasslands in Oregon and Washington. While firefighters have been largely successful in putting out these preventable fires, the extremely hot and dry conditions are significantly ramping up fire danger across the region. “We’re entering a very dangerous period in the Pacific Northwest wildfire season,” said Ed Hiatt, Pacific Northwest Assistant Fire Director for Operations. “Mother Nature turned on the oven for a wee...

  • New wildfire hazard map will be released with few changes after yearlong makeover

    Alex Baumhard, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jul 18, 2024

    A statewide “wildfire risk map” that drew the ire of many Oregonians will return in several weeks with few changes but with a new name following a yearlong makeover. The new “wildfire hazard map,” set to debut in mid-to-late July, will not differ in substance too much from the previous map published in 2022, according to lead researcher Chris Dunn, an Oregon State University forestry professor and wildfire expert. That first map was quickly taken offline in August 2022, just months after i...

  • Blue River wastewater project updated

    Jul 18, 2024

    EUGENE: On July 8th, a “Notice to Proceed” was issued to HDR Inc. to commence with the Engineering and Construction Services contract for the Blue River Community Wastewater Project. The scope of work includes final design, permitting coordination, and construction services support. Additionally, the 12-month aquifer monitoring requirement from the Department of Environmental Quality is concluding in September 2024 - which will provide data needed to determine the maximum daily wastewater flo...

  • Avoiding extinction of NW Spotted Owls

    Jul 18, 2024

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week released its final environmental impact statement analyzing proposed barred owl management alternatives to protect northern and California spotted owls in Washington, Oregon, and California from invasive barred owls. The Service’s preferred alternative is the implementation of a proposed Barred Owl Management Strategy, which would result in the annual removal of less than one-half of 1% of the current North American barred owl population. Northern s...

  • Drawn to fragrant fields

    Jul 18, 2024

    WALTERVILE: Under canopies shading vendors ranging from “Ali’s Art” to the “Vintage Makeover” booth, there was plenty to delight the eyes and soothe the senses of people walking around the fragrant grounds of the McKenzie Lavender Farm this weekend. Many left laden with bundles of U-cut lavender as well as ceramic, acrylic, wood, metal, or fabric handcrafted treasures. Someone stopping by Gini Hornbecker’s “Sister Stones” display for a keepsake could leave with a purchase no one else possesses...

  • McKenzie River Chinook angling closed for the season

    Jul 11, 2024

    Chinook salmon angling in the McKenzie River ended on Monday, July 8th, and will remain in effect through the end of the year. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) reports it took the step to protect unexpectedly small runs of both wild and hatchery Chinook salmon that have been observed at the Leaburg Dam this year. Biologists say continued angling pressure on the small return of salmon could jeopardize meeting conservation targets upstream of Leaburg Dam and broodstock needs for...

  • Choppers rescue climber

    Jul 11, 2024

    NORTH SISTER: A half dozen agencies and rescue response groups worked together early last Saturday to rescue an injured climber stranded high up the North Sister. “This rescue required a great deal of coordination and staff, including the three involved helicopters,” officials said. Authorities were alerted to the emergency by a 911 call from the victim at 4:40 a.m. on July 6th. According to a press release, the man had likely suffered “several broken bones and was on an exposed scree slide...

  • WALTERVILLE/DEERHORN POWER OUTAGE

    Jul 11, 2024

    EWEB is assessing the power outage in the Walterville/Deehorn area that occurred around 7:00 am this morning. If you are impacted by this outage, please help reduce call volume by going to eweb.org/outagemap for more details and updates. Last week, EWEB changed to wildfire protective settings on equipment in south Eugene and the McKenzie Valley. These protective measures include modifying high-voltage electric switches and relays. Just like a circuit breaker in your home, the switch senses when...

  • 636 acres addded to conservation lands

    Jul 11, 2024

    FINN ROCK: The McKenzie River Trust (MRT)announced last week that 636 acres had been added to the Finn Rock Reach conservation area. The three new parcels, adjacent to the original property acquired in 2015-16, extend approximately 7 river miles from the mouth of the South Fork McKenzie River to Eagle Rock. This five-year acquisition project was supported by a mix of funding, with more than $2 million coming from the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP), a partnership project funded by...

  • Tired of seeing Forest debris?

    Jul 11, 2024

    A non-profit group that’s made a mark removing trash in other parts of the Willamette National Forest since 2017 is now expanding its cleanup efforts to the McKenzie area. Over the last year, Friends of Fall Creek Watershed (FoFCW) has removed 28 abandoned vehicles and over 143,000 pounds of trash from public lands, mainly in the Oakridge and Fall Creek drainages. “We recently cleaned to the north end of Aufderheide Drive and just completed removing an abandoned RV,” according to FoFCW president...

  • Chinook angling on the McKenzie River will close July 8

    Jul 11, 2024

    Chinook salmon angling on the McKenzie River will close beginning Monday, July 8 through the end of the year. ODFW is taking this step to protect the unexpectedly small runs of both wild and hatchery Chinook salmon observed at Leaburg Dam on the McKenzie River in 2024. Continued angling pressure on this small return of salmon could jeopardize meeting conservation targets upstream of Leaburg Dam and broodstock needs for future hatchery production. ODFW biologists do not currently know what...

  • Northwest ecosystems changed dramatically when wolves were nearly exterminated

    Alex Baumhardt, Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jul 11, 2024

    Ecosystems in the Northwest were heavily shaped by wolves before they were nearly wiped out of the region, a new study finds. By the 1930s, gray wolves were nearly gone in Oregon and the rest of the West, leading to the multiplication of animals the wolves hunted and creating an imbalance in the environment, researchers at Oregon State University found. However, the full impact of their disappearance isn’t fully understood because ecological research from the last century largely left out the r...

  • Yard safety

    Jul 11, 2024

    Yard chores might seem mundane, but unsafe practices can lead to injury, illness, or even death. Over the past decade, 3.2 million U.S. residents have been injured while working on their lawns or in their gardens. Lawnmower accidents cost patients an average of $37,000 in medical treatment. In a survey of over 1,000 U.S. homeowners about their history, habits, and concerns related to lawn care accidents and injuries, key insights were: * 21.2% have experienced a serious injury while working on...

  • McKenzie River Chainsaw Festival canceled

    Jul 4, 2024

    FINN ROCK: An annual festival since 2013, the McKenzie River Chainsaw Arts Festival had been derailed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Holiday Farm Fire. The event, planned to return to the McKenzie Community Track and Field, this August 8th to 11th, has instead been canceled. “This decision comes after careful consideration” according to the track’s board of directors. They went on to say in a press release that, “despite our dedicated efforts, ensuring the readiness of the festiva...

  • Smiles from the sky

    Jul 4, 2024

    RAINBOW: An animated aerial golfer joined some patriotic icons - ranging from the “1776” to the American and Oregon flags - was joined by Tokatee’s own logo in brightening the night sky last Friday night. The performance in the sky utilized a fleet of LED-equipped drones controlled by a pre-programmed computer set up near the launch site. During the show, 200-foot-tall flying images delighted a crowd of spectators who also enjoyed the venue’s live music, food truck, and beer garden - as well as...

  • Local store broken in

    Jul 4, 2024

    LEABURG: Doors were pried open and smashed during a 3 a.m. break-in at the Leaburg Store on June 28th. In the process, a burglar attached a tow strap to an ATM inside the building and yarded it out the front door. Unknown to the robber, however, was the presence of motion cameras and an alarm system that recorded the activities and recorded identifiable images. After a quick response to the scene deputies from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office apprehended the suspect. Booked at the Lane County J...

  • Satellites aid EWEB's tree trimming program

    Jul 4, 2024

    EUGENE: The Eugene Water & Electric Board’s (EWEB’s) tree-trimming efforts just got smarter and more efficient. To help prevent tree-related outages, EW EB crews trim vegetation on more than 500 miles of overhead power lines each year. But it’s important to determine which sections of power lines need attention the most. EWEB is using smart technology to solve this problem. By integrating advanced analytics and up-to-date satellite imagery, EWEB can proactively address high-risk areas and reduc...

  • Aufderheide Drive - A new Scenic Bikeway?

    Jul 4, 2024

    People are invited to a public meeting on July 19th at 5:30 p.m. to learn about the possibility of designating Aufderheide Drive (US Forest Road 19) as an Oregon Scenic Bikeway. The meeting will be at the Upper McKenzie Community Center, 54745 McKenzie River Drive in Rainbow. The Oregon Scenic Bikeway program, established in 2009 by Oregon Parks and Recreation, markets and promotes cycling routes that offer cyclists a unique and enjoyable experience. Proposed routes are nominated by local...

  • Plan ahead if heading East

    Jul 4, 2024

    MCKENZIE BRIDGE: Work on Hwy. 126 planned between the Linn County line and the Old McKenzie Highway - also known as the Clear Lake Cutoff - will include both half-day and two-day closures, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The current schedule calls for half-day closures from August 1st through 8th, - Sunday through Thursday nights - from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (with Fridays and Saturdays excluded). There will also be 44-hour closures from August 20th to the 22nd. Officials say...

  • Keeping a classic

    Jul 4, 2024

    Close to 75 people turned out for a meeting at Fish Lake last week, including many of McKenzie River Ranger District employees. Besides camaraderie, there was plenty of maintenance work as well as restoration or replacement of structures to attend to. Part of the projects people took on included scraping and painting, fence replacement, and restoration of decayed log ends on the cabins. While that was underway, other work ranged from general cleaning of inside buildings, plumbing repair,...

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