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Pat Cane awardLEABURG: Words like “Fun, challenging and sometimes a lot of work,” come to mind when Pat Cane recalls her time with  McKenzie River Fire & Rescue.

Chinese druggistBy Finn J.D. John
In the decade or two following the 1849 gold rush, a sort of “bracero” program got started in the western U.S. Chinese laborers — called “coolies” after the Chinese term “ku li,” meaning “muscle strength” — poured across the ocean to the land they called “Gold Mountain,” eager to do the dirty, menial and degrading jobs that were left to be done when all the Euro-Americans were off looking for gold or staking a homestead claim.

 

South Canyon Fire, July 1994

Doug Dunbar
Do you remember a bright-eyed young man who played basketball and the saxophone for McKenzie High School, loved to ski, and cherished friends and family? The employees at McKenzie River Ranger District do. And every year they raise funds for the scholarship named in his honor – the Doug Dunbar Scholarship.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the South Canyon Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colorado and the day 22-year-old Doug was lost. On July 6, 1994, a dry cold front moved into the fire area, generating erratic winds and intense fire activity. The winds pushed the fire toward firefighters, overtaking them in seconds. While 35 fire fighters were able to escape and survive, 14 did not. Firefighters lost included members of the Prineville Inter-agency Hotshots, the Missoula Smoke Jumpers and a Helitack fire crew. Doug was working at the time for the Prineville crew, helping finance his schooling. He had started his firefighting career near his hometown, on the then Blue River Ranger District.
Following the tragedy, the McKenzie River Ranger District employees chose to honor his memory by establishing a scholarship at the McKenzie River High School. Doug had been active at his school; he was an honor student, all-star baseball player, and  award-winning  saxophonist. Every year since 1995, this scholarship has helped another active local high school student attend college.

Vortex stageBy Finn J.D. John
As the last weekend of August 1970 approached, many Oregonians were sort of holding their breath.
The American Legion was coming to town for its annual convention. The theme was “Victory in Vietnam.” President Richard Nixon would be there. And so would a group of particularly belligerent anti-war activists who had pointedly declined to renounce violence as a tool of protest.
Everyone seemed to be spoiling for a fight: the Legion, the activists, the Portland city police and even President Nixon.

Hitler saluteBy Finn J.D. John
(Editor’s note: This is one of three articles about this event.)
Around midsummer in 1970, Ed Westerdahl finally agreed to talk to the two scruffy hippies who’d been politely pestering him for the previous week.
The hippies — Robert Wehe and Glen Swift — had come to Salem from Portland in an old Opel Kadett. They wanted to talk to the governor, Tom McCall, and Westerdahl was McCall’s chief of staff. Westerdahl had initially blown them off, hoping they’d give up and go away, but they’d shown no sign of doing so. And so, no doubt with a heavy sigh, Westerdahl had them come in to talk to him.

Clear Lake wreckMCKENZIE BRIDGE: Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into the cause of Wednesday afternoon's single vehicle injury traffic crash that occurred along Highway 126 south of Santiam Pass in Linn County.

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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.