Make the McKenzie Connection!


From 28 years ago......

Feb. 17, 1995

Police Find Hendricks Bridge Jumper

Man Wanted In High-Speed Chase Swam Away In Icy River

Walterville: A Friday morning police pursuit through Springfield and the lower McKenzie Valley ended when the suspect jumped off Hendricks Bridge and escaped. According to Lane County Sheriff's Office reports, the incident began close to 1 a.m. on February 10, with a traffic stop initiated by a Springfield Police Dept. officer. The patrolman had pulled a 1983 Mazda RX7 over in the 4500 block of Daisy Street because of a faulty license plate light. In the vehicle were an unlicensed male driver and a woman identified as Lona Renia Martel, 30, of Springfield. While a computer check was being done on the driver he sped away from the scene, heading east along Thurston Road and Highway 126. Following a 10 to 15-minute chase at speeds up to 110 mph, the vehicle spun out on the bridge. Police report the suspect then got out of the Mazda and jumped over the bridge railing. According to reports, he appeared injured after landing on rocks below the structure. He was last seen crawling toward the river's edge. Police, divers, and water rescue personnel from the McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District were all involved in a search of the area that lasted until late afternoon. No sign of the man was found. Almost 24 hours after the incident began, police received a phone call from another Springfield resident who advised them he'd given an injured man a ride to a friend's house. SPD officer John Patterson went to the Del Monte Street address where he found 39-year-old Daniel Wayne Thompson lying in bed. Patterson identified him as the man who'd been driving the Mazda and cited him for driving while suspended. Thompson told police that when he emerged from the water, he found a shack to rest in before going for help. As a result of his fall, the man suffered a broken sternum and injuries to his left leg.

March 3, 1995

UO To Develop Strategic Plan

University's Community

Workshop Hired By Chamber

Area groups and organizations have been hosting guest speakers recently as researchers from the University of Oregon's Community Planning Workshop (CPW) begin a nine-month study of the local economy. The study, funded by a $25,000 federal grant to the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce, focuses on ways to provide for economic development while at the same time preserving natural beauty and water& quality. During the initial phase of the project emphasis will be placed on background research and economic trends affecting the area, compiling an inventory of existing tourism attractions in the county, and reviewing regulations that could either aid or hinder community development. Aside from visiting organizational meetings, researchers also plan to send out 1,000 detailed surveys in a random mailing to residents throughout the McKenzie Valley. In the Spring, representatives from the CPW and area communities will get together to define major strategic issues facing the valley. The result of those discussions is expected to be a proposal including both short-term and long-term projects.

April 14, 1995

McKenzie School District Accepts Factfinder's Report

Teachers Union Can Reject Proposed Three-Year Pact

FINN ROCK: Following a special executive session meeting Monday night, the McKenzie School Board voted to accept a report from an outside arbitrator calling for a salary increase for school teachers. In his report, factfinder Dr. Kent J. Collings recommended a first-year increase in salary of 21%, retroactive to July.McKenzie School District teachers have been working without a contract since July. Last month, teachers picketed the district administration office as the board entered their meeting room. Points of contention leading up to the picketing included the district's plan to freeze salaries countered by the teacher's request for a 4% raise. Collings sided with neither party, recommending a pay increase tied to the consumer price index and a new contract that would run through June of 1997. Teachers had asked for a two-year contract. The school district sought a four-year contract. Although the school board accepted the factfinder's report, the teachers union can reject it if it is turned down by the McKenzie Education Association, final decisions on wages may not be firmed up until the results of an unfair labor practices complaint filed by the teachers are known.

July 21, 1995

Three Escape Unhurt from Waterfalls

One Claims A Pet Dog, Sahalie Nearly Grabs A Boat

CLEAR LAKE: An Arizona couple escaped tragedy last weekend as their 12-foot wooden boat became trapped in the rapids at the headwaters of the McKenzie River. According to Linn County Sheriff's Office reports, Richard Tillack, 67, and his wife Darlene, 62, had been staying with friends in the Eugene area. On Saturday the couple traveled to Clear Lake where they rented a boat. The Tillacks told police they accidentally floated out of the lake. Shortly after, the craft was caught in the extremely hazardous white water rapids along a narrow chute leading to 100-foot-tall Sahalie Falls. By sheer luck, the boat was caught in rocks about 200 yards downstream from the lake. A passer-by heard their calls for help and notified Linn County Deputy John Lubbock, who was on patrol at the Coldwater Cove Campground. Personnel from the Linn County Sheriff's Office, Sweethome Fire Dept., US Forest Service, and Black Butte Fire Dept. all responded to the scene. Rescuers had to use extreme caution to assure the boat didn't capsize and throw the victims into the dangerous, icy waters. Using ropes from both sides of the river, rescuers were finally able to manipulate the Tillack's boat to the bank in safety. Approximately 12 agency personnel and citizens participated in the rescue, according to a police spokeswoman. Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright reports that the following day, a second rescue was underway only a short distance downstream from the boating mishap. Burright said a call for help went out when a 29-year-old Portland woman was trapped on a rock at the edge of 70-foot-tall Koosah Falls. The victim, Laurie Hillenbrand, and her husband, James, had been hiking on a trail about 1/4 mile above the falls at about 2:30 pm. Their cocker spaniel jumped in the river and was swept away by the swift current Police say Mrs. Hiilenbrand ran ahead of the dog and climbed out on a fallen log over the river just above Koosah Falls. She intended to grab the animal as it passed but its weight dragged her into the rapids. Hillenbrand was able to gain a hold on some brush, pull herself out of the water, and climb onto a flat rock perched right at the edge of the precipice. About 40 personnel from close to a dozen agencies responded to assist in the water rescue. Included were: the Linn County Sheriff's Office Dive & Rescue team, Jefferson County Rescue Team, Sisters/Camp Sherman RFD, EASE, McKenzie RFD Water Rescue Team, Sweet Home Fire Dept., Albany FD, US Forest Service, and the Corvallis Mountain Rescue Team. Burright said Mrs. Hillenbrand was ultimately rescued at approximately 6:15 pm when the teams used ropes and other climbing equipment to span the river and bring her to safety."The Jefferson County Rescue Team provided the experience for the technical aspects of this very difficult rescue," Burright said. Mrs. Hillenbrand suffered only minor scrapes and abrasions during her ordeal. The dog was swept over the falls and not found.


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