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Search & Rescue teamMIDDLE SISTER: Benjamin Newkirk, the 39-year-old climber from Bend, Oregon, was found deceased late this morning (11/16) after a multi-day search that was complicated by extreme weather.
Newkirk was climbing the Middle Sister with another climber when he fell off the west side of the south-east ridge of the mountain on Wednesday, November 12th, at approximately 10:00 pm.

Weather conditionsMIDDLE SISTERS: The search is continuing for Ben Newkirk, a 39 year old Bend, Oregon resident who is reported to have fallen to the west off the south-east ridge of the Middle Sister in the Three Sisters Wilderness around 10:00 pm on Wednesday, November 12th. Search and Rescue Teams from Deschutes and Lane County responded. The climbing partner of Newkirk was able to walk out to Camp Lake where their camp was established. He was assisted out and back to Bend by Deschutes Search and Rescue personnel.

 

 

 

CulvertSALEM: Officials are saying taxpayers and native fish will both benefit under a new culvert repair pilot program agreed upon by the Oregon departments of Transportation and Fish and Wildlife, and recently approved by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.
The three-year pilot program will make it easier for ODOT to make short-term repairs to culverts within its highway system. In return for including site-specific improvements in fish passage at each site, ODOT will receive a temporary reprieve from the state’s fish passage requirements that often involve more extensive repairs to provide full passage to native migratory fish.

 

 

Green IslandGREEN ISLAND: A million dollar project to recreate the way water used to flow has been underway this summer on the lower McKenzie River. The site formerly was home to gravel pits.
Crews from Wildish Construction Company moved over 110,000 cubic yards of gravel as they worked to recreate habitat for fish as part of the Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project. Until the McKenzie River Trust purchased this 56-acre parcel in 2010, the site was mined for sand and gravel. The mining left behind steep gravel pits with few places for native plants to take hold.

FINN ROCK: “I’ve been trying to emphasize the idea of public relations and relationship building,” was the way Jim Thomas explained his work as the new McKenzie Schools superintendent. Speaking at last week’s meeting of the school board, he encouraged the district to again work on developing a strategic plan. Referring to past experiences with similar exercises, Thomas said, “By the time you’re done with it the local community is involved and it becomes like a living document. I’d like to throw it out just to get your input.”
Board member Alyssa Brownlee said she’d had some experience with the strategic planning process when she worked at Clark College. “Initially there was a lot of anticipation and resistance,” she recalled. “I myself was thinking about another thing to do, more papers to fill out. After we went through the process I actually found it was kind of fun. Having clear goals that we all worked on was really helpful,” she added.
Referring to the school’s previous strategic plan, board member Kathy Keable said that it has lain dormant in part because it had occurred at a “rather tumultuous time for the district.” Keable felt the study, conducted with the Planning, Public Policy and Management  program at the University of Oregon, “Was a start but we didn’t keep it going and really look at it to make changes. It should be something that’s ours and not theirs.” (Click title to continue)

MeetingRAINBOW: People had a chance to place some priorities on places that matter to them last Wednesday night. They did it by marking up maps to show which U.S. Forest Service roads they use and what sort of special places they feel are along those routes.
“You should mark the areas that you appreciate - maybe because you work up there,” explained Matt Peterson, assistant  recreation  officer for the Willamette Forest. Using comment sheets linked to the marked up maps, people were also encouraged to list some of their thoughts on why those areas are important, what they do there and what sort of road management would be appropriate.

 

Golf courseWALTERVILLE: A plan that could have led to the redevelopment the McKenzie River Golf Course as a 27-home subdivision was rejected by Lane County last week. The decision by county planning director Matt Laird took into account current zoning, which would have allowed the 59-acre parcel to be divided up as 2-acre lots, but called into question how that could occur in an area identified as a flood zone.
 Besides conforming to the allowable lot sizes, the plan also wouldn’t have conflicted with transportation patterns in the neighborhood and the placement of utilities. The development would have conformed to the county’s riparian code for structural setbacks from Class 1 streams while also proposing the construction of bio swales, “rain gardens,” and other retention devices to collect storm water and allow it to percolate underground before flowing into the river.

Tokatee FireRAINBOW: Firefighters from two districts were on the scene of a blaze Saturday night at the Tokatee Golf Club. The Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District responded with seven firefighters, three engines and a tender. Mutual aid assistance  from McKenzie Fire & Rescue, brought another engine, a tender and eight firefighters to the scene after the fire was reported around 9:14 p.m.

 

 

 

Salmon netFocus on man’s reintroduction of fish

Hatchery populations of spring chinook salmon in the subbasins of the upper Willamette River are genetically similar to the wild populations in these basins and should continue to be used for recovery of spring chinook salmon.
That’s the conclusion of a study published in July by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife researchers. The research had been identified as high priority by the 2008 Willamette Project biological opinion. Spring chinook salmon of the upper Willamette River basin were first listed in 1999 as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, a label that had been reaffirmed in 2005 and again in 2010.

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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.