McKenzie River

On May 29, 2016 at about 12:40AM, OSP Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a two vehicle head-on crash on Highway 26 near milepost 26 (near Leaburg).

Preliminary investigation revealed a 1990 Mazda pickup was traveling eastbound on Highway 126 when it crossed the centerline and struck a westbound 2004 Honda Civic head-on. Both drivers were declared deceased on scene by emergency personnel. A male passenger in the Honda was taken to Sacred Heart Riverbend for treatment of life threatening injuries.

Cafe porchVIDA: Work to repair the fire damaged Vida Cafe was expected to begin this week, after long awaited building permits have been finalized. A big part of the delay, according to cafe owner Sue Nelson, was Lane County’s concerns with prior violations dating back more than 30 years - things Nelson says she and more than one previous owners never knew existed.
Starting with removal of asbestos flooring, McKenzie Taylor Construction will be doing more than a simple rebuild. Part of the approval process called for a reconfiguration of the building. “I’m going to lose the whole back half of the cafe,” Nelson said. The new addition will extend another 8 feet by 8 feet, sitting on a portion of the driveway and extending toward her adjacent house.

DumpMCKENZIE BRIDGE: A $1.5 million shortage between operating costs and revenue generated is facing Lane County’s Waste Management Division. County dumps receive no property tax funding to operate.
The Board of County Commissioners is tentatively scheduled to receive a presentation regarding a consultant’s report in August and begin public discussion of the options. “We chose August in order to allow ample time for public feedback in July,” according to Devon Ashbridge, Lane County’s Public Information Officer. “The timeline also allows for in-depth board discussion outside of the larger budget process, which will conclude by the end of June. Commissioners will make the ultimate decision on which, if any, of the identified options to pursue.”
The report  includes the option of closing some of the smaller, rural transfer stations and has identified McKenzie Bridge as a possible site. Other possible changers could mean an end to discounts for senior citizens and for people who recycle their offcasts.

April 28: 6:24 am: Subject Down – 35000 block, Camp Creek Rd. Report of a subject covered with multi colored blanket lying down in the parking lot. Caller does not feel comfortable approaching subject, honked her horn & no movement. 06:25: Fire Dept. advised. 06:39: Subject was just sleeping & has moved on.

Charter school busFINN ROCK: A “horrendous $459,000 budget deficit” and the loss of 6.91 positions is the harsh image officials see when they look toward the future, people learned at the April meeting of the McKenzie School Board. An alternate opportunity, based on the possible creation of a public charter school, was also up for review.
A sixteen member charter school steering committee is currently exploring what impacts the changeover might bring about. Some of their talking points range from maintaining current offerings to reviving dormant programming lost during budget and enrollment declines. Some of the latter include classes in Home Economics, shop or health occupations.
Offering insights on legalities as well as tips from programs developed at other schools was Kate Pattison from the Oregon Dept. of Education. “In your case you would have a K-12 charter school that would be governed by a separate board potentially responsible for the curriculum and what programs look like,” she noted.

LifeFlightBLUE RIVER: Police and  medical teams responded to the report of a male down with blood all over his face near the Blue River Reservoir last Wednesday. According to Oregon State Police reports, Thomas Burkhard, 55, of Blue River was found unconscious on spur road about 1/4 mile up the Blue River Reservoir Road from Hwy. 126.
Personnel from the Upper McKenzie Fire District, a Life Flight helicopter and two state troopers  all responded to the scene around 2:30 p.m. Police reported that when they arrived on the scene the patient was only coherent enough to state that he had eaten mushrooms. They also observed injuries consistent with a fall that included cuts to his knees, hands and head.
A vehicle associated with Bur-hard was found nearby but police said there were no signs of it being involved in a crash.

Image: A LifeFlight helicopter landed on the saddle dam of the Blue River Reservoir to ferry a patient to the RiverBend hospital.

Seeding pondWALTERVILLE: After almost two years of extensive planting to establish native trees, shrubs and wetland plant species at the Walterville Pond five miles east of Springfield, the conversion from a man-made pond to a naturalized wetland is nearly complete.
The restoration project was started in 2014 to improve the natural habitat value while retaining the area’s recreational benefits, according to Eugene Water & Electric Board officials.
EWEB built the pond several years after completing the Walterville Canal to store water to supplement generation at its Walterville Powerhouse. Use of the pond for power generation ended several decades ago, but the utility continued to maintain levels by pumping water from the adjacent canal. The 4-mile-long canal diverts water from the McKenzie River to the power plant, located on Camp Creek Road.
In 2012, federal dam safety regulators classified the pond as a “high hazard” facility after concluding it could cause a breach or a potentially catastrophic failure of the canal embankment.

April 6: 7:32 pm: Suspicious Conditions – Deerhorn Rd. & Tiki Lane. Report of bones lying on a sleeping bag – bones only, no skin, no skull. This is possibly a shoulder, sternum & vertebrae. Complainant is will to lead deputies to location, also to take photos & email them. 20:31: Appear to be animal bones.

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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.