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Sheriff Tom TurnerNIMROD: “We’re trying very hard to do the best we can with what we have,” Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner told people at last week’s McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce meeting. “This levy is all people can stand for in these economic times.”
Turner was referring to a property tax levy that will come before voters on the May 21st ballot. It would allow the county to hire staff and reopen 120 beds in the jail, bringing the total space for county inmates to 255 for a five-year period. It would also add 16 beds for underage offenders in the juvenile justice center, including eight for intensive drug, alcohol and mental health treatment.
The “jails only” tax proposal marks the tenth time Lane County will be asking voters to kick in more for law enforcement since 1998. All others have failed.
“This is an absolute minimal request,” Turner said. “It generates enough money a year to open a specific number of beds.”

Releasing a salmonA bill intended to protect salmon from gold dredges could impact property owners in McKenzie Bridge, Rainbow, Blue River and Finn Rock.

SALEM: A move to regulate gold mining could impact area property owners. Oregon Senate Bill 401, recently introduced by Senator Alan Bates (D-Medford/Ashland), would bring 30 more rivers (including additional portions of the McKenzie) into the State Scenic Waterways program. Supporters say the move is in recognition of outstanding scenic vistas, value to fish and wildlife, and the streams importance as sources of drinking water.

Releasing a salmonA bill intended to protect salmon from gold dredges could impact property owners in McKenzie Bridge, Rainbow, Blue River and Finn Rock.

SALEM: A move to regulate gold mining could impact area property owners. Oregon Senate Bill 401, recently introduced by Senator Alan Bates (D-Medford/Ashland), would bring 30 more rivers (including additional portions of the McKenzie) into the State Scenic Waterways program. Supporters say the move is in recognition of outstanding scenic vistas, value to fish and wildlife, and the streams importance as sources of drinking water.

Shed hunters in OregonA growing number of people take to the woods during winter, looking for antlers shed by Oregon’s deer and elk. Deer usually shed theirs from late December through March, and elk from late February through early April.

McKenzie land ownershipLEABURG: The Eugene Water & Electric Board is sponsoring a process that could result in annual dividend payments to landowners in a stewardship zone of riparian forests and floodplains along the McKenzie River. The proposed Voluntary Incentives Program (VIP) may include private landowners, local governments, and non-profit organizations that own land within the designated boundary. Based on EWEB’s preliminary analysis, an estimated 6,500 acres along the McKenzie and major tributaries would be eligible to enroll.
The VIP process is envisioned as a way to maintain and improve water quality within the McKenzie River Watershed, Eugene’s sole source of drinking water.

 

Trapper Project mapMCKENZIE BRIDGE: The McKenzie River Ranger District is seeking public input on the Revised Trapper Project, located north of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. The Trapper Project was part of a 1997 study designed to use timber harvest and prescribed fire to emulate natural processes.
The latest plan is the result of a 2011 court directive to the Forest Service to review the project and determine impacts to the Northern Spotted Owls as well as the learning value of the project, while also complying with changing standards for environmental review. The result includes significant changes.

 

Map of Homestead CampgroundBLUE RIVER: Efforts to reintroduce Chinook salmon in about 24 miles of high quality spawning and rearing habitat at Cougar Reservoir have included the construction of a truck fish and haul facility. The structure is part of an ongoing program to capture adult fish below the dam and transport them by truck to various locations above it, where they are released.

The trap and haul operation extends from late May to mid-October. The current method for “unloading” the fish from the transport trucks can be limited by terrain and poor access to desirable pools. Officials say this results in excessive and rough handling of the fish during the release process and increases the physiological stress on them. As a result, mortality rates are elevated and spawning success is reduced.

Face of Blue River DamPhoto Courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Discussed for decades, the addition of a generator to the Blue River Dam could become a reality.

BLUE RIVER: The off-again, on-again plans to add a hydroelectric generator to the Blue River Dam have been revived by Qualified Hydro 15, LLC of Boston, Massachusetts. The Eugene Water & Electric Board analyzed the economics of the project several times since construction was halted in 1994 but was not able to come up with an economic justification for moving forward.

YCC crew moving a logPhoto Courtesy USFS
Trail crew members roll a segment of a log cut by Stacey Snyder to clear the Hell’s Half Acre trail.

The McKenzie River and Middle Fork ranger districts are looking for young people to apply for summer jobs with the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). Summer jobs are available for people born between August 9th, 1995 and June 17th, 1998.  Applications are now being accepted through February 15th.

Shadow Lake firePhoto Courtesy USFS
Motorists were warned to be cautious and expect smoke on the highways when the Shadow Lake wildfire was burning across 6,700 hundreds of the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests in September of 2011.

The Willamette and Deschutes National Forests are looking for comments from the public on a proposal to use prescribed fire in portions of the Mt. Washington and Three Sisters Wildernesses. Officials say the prescribed burns would restore more natural vegetation patterns, reduce the need for fire suppression actions that negatively affect the wilderness, reduce risk to firefighters, and restore a more natural role for fire in the Wilderness.

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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.