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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.

Oregon's BountyStrawberries, squash, asparagus,  and salad greens — not to mention a vast array of bedding plants, flowering baskets, and fresh-cut flowers — are just a few favorites of the agricultural bounty of spring. But if people want to buy directly from the source, where do you go?  
“Everyone knows where their local farmers market is. But what about farm stands, u-pick fields, and on-farm festivals out in rural areas? That’s where Oregon’s Bounty comes in,” said the Oregon Farm Bureaus Communications Director Anne Marie Moss.  
Oregon’s Bounty website at oregonfb.org is a searchable directory of over 300 family farms and ranches that sell food and foliage directly to the public.

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.

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.

Plowing 242MCKENZIE BRIDGE: Depending on the weather, Oregon Dept. of Transportation crews plan to finish clearing snow off Hwy. 242 this week and then clean up debris like downed trees. The first snow gate at milepost 61.8 will open by the end of the day on April 21st to allow fishing at Linton Lake for the high lakes season. Officials estimate the second gate at milepost 66 will remain closed until June 20th.  Clearing is beginning on the west side as well.
In the interim, some people will be able to use the route. “ODOT reminds bicyclists and hikers who access the Pass during the seasonal closure do so at their own risk and are cautioned to be aware of the inclement conditions,” according to ODOT public information officer Angela Beers Seydel.  “Safety precautions for early users include plowing operations that may occur at any time of the week, road conditions can be icy, running water, rocks, tree debris and other hazards on the roadway, ride under control, watch for other bikers/hikers, closed gates, parked equipment, etc.”

DessertsWALTERVILLE: The McKenzie River Guides Association will host their annual Boat Safety Rodeo and Dutch Oven Cook-off this Saturday,  April 16th, at the Hendricks Bridge Wayside Park. Outdoor cooking that is part of the lore of professional guiding will be demonstrated when members of the Guides match their skills.

Krystal KruseBy Ada Weeks
One of Vida’s best-kept secrets is a sparkly young lady, Krystal Kruse, who attended her first rodeo at the tender age of six. While at the Eugene Pro Rodeo, Krystal was smitten, and knew that horses would be a big part of her life from then on. When Krystal met that event’s Rodeo Queen, who was signing photos and autographs, she treated her kindly and made her feel welcome and at home in the rodeo and horse world. Krystal knew then she would love to also, one day, be a Rodeo Queen.
Dreams really can come true. Sometimes, it requires a great deal of hard work, devotion, and determination, and that describes this year’s Cottage Grove Rodeo Queen perfectly. Krystal and her young mare, Delilah Gold (affectionately called Lila), have achieved many goals. Krystal and Lila have a life goal. A Thurston High School student who will graduate in 2018, she plans to enlist in the U.S. Air Force, and pursue a medical path while serving her country. In addition, Krystal plans to come home to Vida, and further pursue a degree in obstetrics.

Doyle HawksEUGENE: “It was a wonderful place to live,” Billie Ruth Rose had to say about the community of logger’s families that once thrived near Quartz Creek on the McKenzie River. “My folks lived there for 20 years. There were probably 100 kids in the area and the mothers mainly stayed home to raise families. It was a good place - like Mayberry without Barney and Andy.”
Rose and Doyle Hawks, also a fellow kid from “Arkyville,” as the camp was called locally, were featured last weekend at the McKenzie Memories presentation in Eugene. Hawks shared some of the history about how the settlement came to be - tracing founder “Whit” Rosborough’s migration from the pine woods of Arkansas and the contingent of workers who followed him when he reestablished his mills in Oregon.
“I grew up with a fishing rod in one hand and a rifle in the other,” Hawks recalled. But he and other boys in the neighborhood had their hands on some tools. Most started working in the woods when they were in the 9th grade, and kept at it until they graduated - planting trees for Rosboro for a dollar an hour.

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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.