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Motorists may gain access to Scenic Route in mid-June

OR 242 MP 72

OLD MCKENZIE PASS: With over 30 feet of snow still to get through at the top of the Old McKenzie Pass (Hwy 242), Oregon Dept. of Transportation crews have a lot of work ahead of them.  
The most recent report from Oregon Department of Transportation says plow operators have been clearing a travel lane but caution motorists to be patient and remember that workers are up there daily to make the highway travel safe. They made more progress this week, but one driver said this is the hardest snow he’s seen in years, as there’s lots of ice mixed in. Though rising temperatures will likely help, it’s entirely possible the scenic route won’t be open for motor vehicles until June 19th, or later, this year. The earliest opening date for motorized travel is set for the third Monday of June, which has been the average opening date over the last 25 years.

Photo Courtesy ODOT. An rotary plow was near milepost 72 last Thursday, where about seven feet of snow lay ahead. It had taken three days to clear about two miles.

Missing couple

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance locating Donald and Barbara Williams of Springfield.  The couple reportedly ran out of gas in the Vida area on 5/25/17 around 9:30 am and a family member came to assist them.  The family member stepped away for a moment and when they returned, Donald and Barbara and their truck were gone.  Family became concerned when they didn’t hear from the couple that evening and reported them missing.  Deputies searched the area and spoke with local businesses that may have seen the couple but were unable to locate them.

Donald and Barbara were last seen driving a 2001 white Ford F-150 with license plate 073 CGH.  It is unknown which direction they went when they left the Vida area.  They did not communicate that they had plans to leave for the weekend and generally do not travel far from their Springfield home. The couple does not have a cell phone and may not have a way to contact family away from home.

Brownlee  and Hayes on 2017 poster

Smokey & Eagles

MCKENZIE BRIDGE: Smokey and the Eagles have teamed up again this year to spread a fire prevention message. New posters feature Smokey Bear and two local high school students to promote a joint effort between the McKenzie River Ranger District employees and staff at McKenzie High School. The 2017 posters are part of the McKenzie River Ranger District’s “Smokey and the Eagles” program that rewards outstanding student athletes and highlights the importance of fire prevention practices. Each year, two students who demonstrate a high level of community and athletic involvement, as well as hold a high grade point average, are selected to appear in the posters.
The selection process started with a contest among fourth grade students to come up with the key phrase for the poster. The winner of the contest receives their own copy of the “Smokey and the Eagles” poster. This year the fourth grader Noah Thorndyke came up with the slogan “Take care of the forest by leaving it green and clean.”
This year the two McKenzie high students selected were Matt Brownlee and Miyanna Hayes.
Matt kept stats for the football team, played four years of basketball, and two years of baseball. He was also a captain for basketball. In the classroom, Matt holds a GPA of 4.02. He has been attending classes at Lane Community College for the past couple years.

Eight will compete in Saturday pageant

Mr. Walterville

WALTERVILLE: What promises to be a great show and hopefully a new town tradition will take place this Saturday. That’s when eight men, most of them are fathers of students at Walterville School, will compete to raise funds earmarked for the PTO to spend on for classroom technology improvements.
Participants in the Mr. Walterville Pageant will be judged in a number of different categories, ranging from overall creativity  to individual expression, as well as their talent and outfit they appear in, Audience interaction and each individual’s stage presence/charisma will play into choosing the winner, along with the total dollars raised, Best representation of Walterville.
The event is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 20th in the gym.

Master Plan up for review in Leaburg Thursday night

LEABURG: The Parks Division is asking the public’s opinions on how to manage 70 different properties scattered throughout Lane County. A number of public workshops on the 20-year kicked off this week, including one  at McKenzie Fire & Rescue’s  Leaburg Training Center on Thursday night.
Public input submitted so far included comments about a number of McKenzie River area sites, like the Hendricks Bridge Park in Walterville. One note from Lynn Moore cited concerns of neighbors who worry that adding an RV slots there would increase and traffic impact safety. “We will have more accidents, crime, and we do not want this park to become a campground,” she wrote.  

The McKenzie River Ranger District, Willamette National Forest has prepared a draft Decision Memos for the Tamolitch Pools Bike Bypass Trail Project.  The proposed action will create a bike specific trail that segregates hiking and biking traffic along the busiest section of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail (Tr. No. 3507), from the Blue Pool Trailhead to the Blue Pool (Tamolitch falls).  The proposed project is located on the McKenzie River Ranger District, Willamette National Forest at the following Township/Range’s:   T14S, R7E Sec.

170-foot setback will impact all Lane streambank properties

Flood

Flood insurance or fish? Officials of counties, cities and other municipalities around Oregon had that question put on their platters in April. That’s when a lawsuit by environmental groups generated recommendations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlining ways the Federal Emergency Management Agency should modify the National Flood Insurance Program. Throughout the state, 15 salmon and steelhead species are listed under an Environmental Impact Statement. Each, according to NOAA Fisheries, depends on a healthy, functioning floodplain habitat.

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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.