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Skookum labelBy Finn J.D. John
From time to time, bills come up in the Oregon State Legislature that seek to designate an official language for the state.
Of course, the language they specify is always English, since that’s the dominant language in Oregon today.
But if an official state language is thought of like the official state bird, or state wildflower, or state animal - as a special example of a type that is vital to the very nature of Oregon and that helps provide it with its particular character - there’s really only one legitimate candidate for state language. It’s the Chinook Jargon - more commonly spelled by those who speak it today as “Chinuk.”

ConiferBy Kym Pokorny
We buy live Christmas trees with the best of intentions, promising ourselves to plant them in the garden as soon as the holidays are over. But resolve has a way of fading like resolutions after January.
Moved outside without the care they need, the beautiful, and not inexpensive, trees meant to go in the ground in winter, languish, fade to brown and eventually die. One alternative is to buy plants meant to stay in pots, said Al Shay, a horticulture instructor at Oregon State University.
“It’s a trade-off,” he said. “You give up big trees for smaller, slower-growing plants that you can bring in year after year. But what’s small? Is four feet too small? Three feet? It’s relative.”

RAINBOW: The Christmas lights and wreath will not be placed on the Belknap Bridge this year due to additional electrical/construction requirements.  
With Belknap Bridge remodel construction scheduled for the summer of 2015, future opportunities for lighting the bridge may be possible.

Leaburg DamLEABURG: Crews from Knight Construction and Wildish Construction are nearing completion of a project that will allow workers to inspect roll gates on the Leaburg Dam without having to drain the lake.
Passers-by may have noticed concrete panels Wildish has been assembling in the parking lot. When the Knight crew lowers them into slotted beams along the face of the dam they will create sort of a “dam within a dam,” according to Eugene Water & Electric Board senior civil engineer Steve Celeste. “That will allow us to test the gate and equipment to make sure it is working properly without draining the lake,” he noted.

Cat with fireBy Kym Pokorny
Conscientious Oregonians have been storing up firewood for the inevitable cool days of winter and the experienced wood-gatherers know that dry, seasoned firewood burns most efficiently, provides the most heat and smokes the least.
In fact, unseasoned wood is not suitable for open fireplaces, according to Steve Bowers, a forester with Oregon State University Extension Service.
Ideally, wood should be purchased or gathered at least a year in advance of burning.

Governor PennoyerBy Finn J.D. John
Oregon may not be the richest, or the largest, or the most powerful state in the union. But our fair state does indisputably have one thing over every other state:
We have more Thanksgiving holidays.
It’s a tradition that was originally referred to as “Pennoyer’s Thanksgiving,” after the curmudgeon of a state governor who first proclaimed it. Actually, it’s probably better described as a dead tradition, having been more or less completely forgotten long before the turn of the last century.

Forest streamBLUE RIVER: A long term research program at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest will continue for another six years, thanks to a $6.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LETR) is focused on understanding ecological phenomena that occur over a long time span. More than two dozen sites around the country are part of the program.
The Andrews LETR project is designed to understand how climate and land use changes interact to affect forest and stream ecosystems. It will continue to build upon past work by using records from weather stations and stream gages scattered throughout the watershed to reveal how temperature and precipitation vary across the landscape, and how they have changed over time. Researchers will also study how air, water, and nutrients flow through the landscape.

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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.