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Scuba diver's boat in Leaburg LakeScuba divers from Northwest Underwater Contractors did an underwater survey of the Leaburg Dam’s fish ladder last April that revealed erosion has undermined the structure’s concrete foundation.

LEABURG: Scuba divers inspecting Leaburg Dam’s left bank fish ladder had bad news after an underwater inspection of the structure last summer. They reported that some seventy feet of the concrete foundation had been undermined.

The fish ladder, constructed in the 1960’s, was poured directly on the river bottom, which is comprised of cobbles, sand, and gravel. Riprap was placed adjacent to the fish ladder in an effort to prevent erosion. Divers found the undermining ranged from four feet to more than fifteen horizontal feet, measured from the riverside foundation to the face of the fish ladder.

Powerline tree trimming

 

 

Crews from Jensen’s Tree Service have been busy in recent weeks trimming trees and vegetation along power line corridors in the eastern portion of the McKenzie River Valley. The work, under contract to the Lane Electric Cooperative, is expected to be completed within three to four months.

 

 

 

 

Cougar dam colling tower constructionThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is performing a "deep drawdown" of Cougar Reservoir to test a possible method of improving downstream fish passage past Cougar Dam.
The Corps is lowering the reservoir’s surface to 1,500 feet above sea level, about 32 feet below the usual minimum flood control elevation and 16 feet below the minimum water level required to operate the dam’s powerhouse.

 

Cement pumping at Camp White BranchMCKENZIE BRIDGE: A Depression era development brought some 400 young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps to Camp Belknap in the spring of 1934. Many of the transplants - mainly from the Chicago and St. Louis areas - had never seen mountains before. But on January 1st of the following year the work they did resulted in an opening day celebration of the White Branch Lodge that drew a crowd of 1,200 celebrants.
Over the years the site has been operated as an organizational camp serving church groups, Boy Scouts, and other family organizations. The camp - which currently has a capacity of approximately 156 campers, counselors, and staff - was purchased by the Association of the Churches of God in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 1957. The association oversees 17.4 acres under a 20-year US Forest Service lease and special use permit.

 

Snow on backcountry roadOfficials are reminding visitors to the Willamette National Forest that they will encounter a wide range of driving conditions from now through spring. Many roads, especially those in higher elevations, have already become impassable due to snow.

Forest Service roads are not maintained for winter travel. This includes popular and scenic double-lane, paved roads such as Forest Highway 19 (North Fork Road/Aufderheide Drive), Forest Highway 46 (Breitenbush Road), and Forest Highway 21 (Middle Fork Road).

Skiers at Hoodoo BowlSANTIAM PASS: If the early plans of investors had panned out skiers could be making runs down Three Fingered Jack. When funding for a new road didn’t materialize, Bend businessman Ed Thurston constructed the Hoodoo Ski Bowl near the summit of the Santiam Pass in 1938. Before that he’d pioneered winter outings by operating a rope tow at White Branch in McKenzie Bridge.

McKenzie River electrofishing counts in 2010

Volunteers were busy along a five-mile stretch of the McKenzie River in 2010, using an electrofishing boat to count fish from Hendricks Bridge to Bellinger Landing.

SPRINGFIELD: The Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife stocks more hatchery rainbow trout into the McKenzie River than into any other stream in Oregon (amounting to more than 131,000 trout in 2010).

Office at Spring Creek Holly Farm

Marilyn Janz has been a familiar face for people shopping at the Spring Creek Holly Farm’s office in Leaburg.

LEABURG: The third season of the Give Back To Schools program will begin the day after Thanksgiving at the Spring Creek Holly Farm.

 

Snow on Augusta Creek

Cooler temperatures last weekend brought a white coating to the foothills of the Cascades, like this scene on Augusta Creek above Cougar Reservoir.

One of the annual indications that winter is beginning was reached last Thursday when the Oregon Dept. of Transportation closed the Old McKenzie Pass for the winter. Another, the opening of the Hoodoo Recreation Area for their 75th anniversary of operations may not make it for the Thanksgiving holiday. On Tuesday morning the snow base level was around 7.5 inches, which isn’t enough to open the slopes.

 

Leaburg invitation dinner

LEABURG: A new “restaurant” opened Sunday, featuring the culinary talents of Chef Carl Olson (formerly of the Holiday Farm Resort). A roomful of people enjoyed a salmon dinner, flavored throughout, from salad to dessert, with products from Walterville’s McKenzie River Lavender Farm.This eatery appeared in the 1910 historic house just west of the Ken Scott River Run Gallery in Leaburg. Scott is the owner of several buildings fronting a portion of the McKenzie Highway, as well as the back gardens, and has suggested the complex be recreated as the “McKenzie Cultural Center.”

 

 

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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.