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Dump chartClosing the dump sites is not about bucks,” Dennis Powers of McKenzie Bridge reminded the Lane County Board of Commissioners at their meeting last Tuesday. “Highway 126 is a heavily traveled beautiful area,” he noted. “A lot of dollars come into Lane County because of this.”
Powers observations were part of the messages McKenzie area residents had for the board to consider before deciding whether to approve a consultant’s report that in part recommends the closure of eight of the county’s 16 waste transfer stations. The closures were expected to help the county offset a $1.5 million annual waste management deficit.
Also opposed to the closure of the McKenzie Bridge transfer site was Marilynn Cross of Nimrod, a former consultant herself who wondered about missing data. “What are the costs of diminishing services in our rural communities?” she asked, adding that “cost” was mentioned in only two places of the 43 pages of the report she’d reviewed. Cross predicted increased costs of travel for people hauling their own garbage as well as higher rates for those contracting with local hauler, McKenzie Disposal.

EUGENE: Conflicts involving the National Flood Insurance Act and the Endangered Species Act relating to impacts subsidized flood insurance have had on development in floodplains is now being reviewed by Lane County‘s Land Management Division. In a June memo to the board of commissioners, Keir Miller, a senior planner with the Public Works Department, noted the county had been participating in the flood program since 1970.
“The Land Management Division is responsible for administering the day-to-day activities of the county’s floodplain program, which is accomplished primarily through the application of the County’s floodplain regulations,” his memo stated. “These day-to-day activities include the review and issuance of development permits for structures in the floodplain, maintaining building elevation certificates, providing floodplain information and mapping services at the request of property owners, developers and lenders, conducting education and outreach efforts about flood hazards.”

Painting Belknap BridgeRAINBOW: The Belknap covered Bridge will be closed from August 15th to November 17th for rehabilitation work. The project includes replacing some of the structural elements of the truss as well as replacing the floor decking. The exterior will receive a new coat of paint as well.
In addition, the $830,475 project also involves adding lights down the middle of the bridge (inside) to increase safety, especially for pedestrians. Workers from  Oregon Woods, Inc. will be adding “post tensioning” along the bottom, which helps strengthen the structure.
During the project motorists can take a detour route from McKenzie River Drive to Highway 126, to Cougar Dam Road and then to West King Road. The project is funded in part by two federal programs: the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Project and the Highway Bridge Fund.

Image: Prior rehabilitation included repainting the bridge in 2003.

Blue Pool Fire MapBlue Pool will remain closed through weekend of July 29 & 30

Tamolitch PoolBlue Pool and portion of McKenzie River Trail temporarily closed as firefighters respond to wildfire

MCKENZIE BRIDGE:  Fire crews are responding to the 2-acre Blue Top Fire near Blue Pool and Tamolitch Falls along of the popular McKenzie River Trail (Trail #3507). To protect both the visiting pubic and to allow firefighters to safely manage the fire, the McKenzie River Trail is temporarily closed between the trailhead at Trail Bridge Campground off Forest Road 2600-355 and the trailhead at Carmen Reservoir.

“We realize this is a very popular destination for bikers and hikers.” said Fire Management Officer Randy Harbick. “This closure is in place to protect firefighter and public safety. We will open the McKenzie River Trail and Blue Pool as soon as possible.”

No public access will be permitted to the Blue Bool area. The McKenzie River Trail is still accessible to the west of Trail Bridge Campground and to the east of Carmen Reservoir. Hikers and bikers eager to escape hot valley temperatures and enjoy their national forest are encouraged to explore other beautiful destinations nearby such as Cougar Reservoir or Blue River Reservoir.

Water hazardsMCKENZIE RIVER: Crews from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team, with the assistance of Eugene/Springfield Fire, responded to multiple water emergencies over the holiday weekend, including two on the McKenzie River, and four on the Willamette River    The rescues on the McKenzie River occurred approximately ½ mile downstream from Harvest Landing in Springfield where fallen trees and other environmental factors can become a hazard.  There are large rocks just under the surface of the water at the river left bank that boaters should be aware of.  A log has already been removed from the water, and the Sheriff’s Office is evaluating the area for other potential hazards.
“While the rivers in Lane County provide a great place to recreate, they can be unpredictable and dangerous.  ,” according to LCSO Sergeant Carrie Carver. She recommended a few safety tips to help keep people and their loved ones safe while out on the water:

19 DetoursBLUE RIVER: Improvements will be underway this summer to the Aufderheide Scenic Byway (Forest Service Road 19) that connects the communities of Blue River and Westfir. Work will include placing new culverts, laying new asphalt and cleaning ditches. The work is expected to cause delays of up to 30 minutes in two locations.
All the roadwork will be south of Box Canyon (the halfway point between the two towns). Travelers using the northern section of byway will not be delayed.
Officials are advising travelers there will be a detour that may add 30 minutes to travel times.  From the Blue River side, could follow Forest Service Road 1928 to Oakridge. It is graveled, but in good shape for a passenger car. Motorcyclists, trucks with trailers and RVs may have difficulties.

Cafe rebuildVIDA: Rebuilding of the fire damaged Vida Cafe is now underway. For owner Sue Nelson, though, that doesn’t mean the doors will be opening for customers soon. “I just heard from the contractor,” she said on Tuesday. “He said the work should be complete towards the end of August and we should open around September first.”
Part of the challenges are fire-related, she noted. Each time damage is discovered and repaired it has to be inspected before workers can cover it up. An 8 foot by 8 foot new addition now sits on a portion of the cafe’s driveway to the east. It replaces the back portion of the building that had to be removed.

McKenzie SchoolsFINN ROCK: Discussions on the “Oregon Rising” survey supported by state educators generated some local talk last week. At the June 15th McKenzie School Board meeting superintendent Jim Thomas suggested people approach the questionnaire as if it was a clean slate.
“Think about what our schools should look like,” Thomas suggested. “What should they look like if we had all the resources available to us to provide the best education for all our kids?”
One item on his own wish list would be to find a way to create a high quality technical career education program. “We offer two periods of shop for our kids,” Thomas said. “That’s it (excluding the business courses we offer). That’s almost criminal.”

Hwy 242 debrisMCKENZIE BRIDGE: At 8 a.m. on June 20th, highway crews opened the snowgate for motorized traffic to cross the Old McKenzie Pass.  

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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.