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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.

Jason JohannesenLEABURG: “The first work we’re doing with the Connect America program is in this area,” were welcome words heard by a packed audience last Thursday night. They came from Karen Stewart, CenturyLink’s director of local government affairs, who was talking about a federally backed program to upgrade McKenzie area broadband service that is already underway. Asked for a completion date she said, “September, unless we run into construction problems.”
Under the wing of the Federal Communications Commission, the Connect America project is designed to accelerate infrastructure construction to reach some of the 23 million people who currently can’t connect at speeds of at least 10 Mbps (megabits per second of data transfer) downloading and 1 Mbps to upload. CenturyLink accepted those funds for Oregon, committing to complete the project in the state within six years.

 

Aerial of schoolFINN ROCK: Some McKenzie Schools staffers may have re-routed their vacation plans in order to spend this week in Portland. “We let the whole staff know where we are in terms of our budget,” superintendent Jim Thomas told the school board last Wednesday. “We’re in the process of notifying people that would be directly impacted by it and chose to do that before Spring Break because Portland had their job fair coming up. It wouldn’t be fair to teachers who may have to be leaving to miss the opportunity to go to a job fair.”
Specifics on who might be affected will remain confidential until they’re discussed at a future executive board session. Thomas said staff cuts are tied to declining enrollment and state support. They would hinge on factors including seniority and certifications. At the time of the meeting, estimates were that next year’s budget will decline close to $370,000, resulting in the loss of about one and a half teaching positions. Since then another adjustment from the state raised that shortage to $459,000.

Maia HardyNIMROD: Business owners and people planning start-ups heard some interesting news this month from Maia Hardy. Speaking at a meeting of the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce, Hardy outlined loan programs targeting rural businesses that are available through Community LendingWorks (CLW).
“We are a community development financial institution,” Hardy said, adding, “We’re a non-governmental lending institution that does affordable ‘mission lending’ for folks who have had a hard time accessing loans through a traditional bank.”
Community LendingWorks was established in 2012 under the wing of the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, which, for 35 years, has worked primarily in the Eugene/Springfield metro area. It has offices both in Marion and Clackamas County as well.. NEDCO’s programs have ranged from home ownership loans to supporting business incubators.

The business model for CLW includes a revolving loan fund, according to Hardy. “A credit score is not a determining factor for getting a loan. We take a holistic look at the business and work with them if they need more of a financial education.” That additional assistance can involve one-on-one counseling or small business classes and helping them with marketing.

 

Jesus savesBLUE RIVER: Randy Boehmer says “Oregon is the 26th state these mules have pulled these wagons.” Averaging three to four miles an hour to a bale of hay, the Arizona native has been on the road for eight years. “I am out here living a slower paced life trusting God that people will see the Bible verses on the sides of the wagons, believe that Jesus is the one true living God, repent of their sins and ask Jesus into their hearts. There are no diesel trucks and horse trailers following us - it’s just the 9 of us - 5 mules, 2 dogs, Jesus, and me.”
His sheepherder’s wagon was eastbound on the McKenzie Highway this week, after an excursion covering 200 miles of the Oregon coast since the Fall.

A taxidermist for 40 years, Boehmer began to look at life differently when his parents died in 1991. Helping his siblings clean out their belongings caused him to realize all they’d worked for so hard meant little when most of their possessions were carted off to the dump.

 

 

New powderGet ready to spring forward this weekend with fresh powder and fun times at Hoodoo. The current forecast is predicting 24-42 inches of new snow Friday night through Monday. It's the perfect time to visit Hoodoo and enjoy some late winter turns on the slopes.
National Weather Service
Detailed Forecast
This Afternoon - Rain before 4pm, then rain and snow showers. High near 38. South southeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming light and variable. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Tonight - Rain and snow. Low around 30. Southwest wind 10 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
Saturday - Snow. High near 36. Southwest wind around 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

Internet worldBroadband access on the agenda next week

LEABURG: Narrowing the digital divide that separates rural areas from high speed internet connections will be the focus of a March 17th meeting at McKenzie Fire & Rescue’s Leaburg Training Center. Organizers of the meeting include several McKenzie area residents who attended a Rural Broadband Conference convened by the Oregon Rural Development Council in Bend last month. That conference offered information on an array of federal, state and local initiatives that were designed to reach unserved, and under-served rural residents.

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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.