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Teacup Lake
Gliding through a winter wonderland at Teacup Lake posted on 01/02/2018

Steve Gutmann grew up skiing on Mount Hood, with a family cabin in Government Camp serving as their base of operations since the late 1970s. But when Gutmann came back to the northwest in the 1990s after going to college, the cash-strapped graduate discovered that downhill skiing wasn’t an affordable hobby.

That’s when Gutmann took to Nordic skiing and heading to Teacup Lake Nordic ski area on Mount Hood one mile north of the Mt. Hood Meadows turnoff on Hwy. 35.

“Teacup is definitely our go to,” Gutmann said. “It’s just a fantastic place. I think of it as a family friendly place; it’s just a very warm and welcoming place for everybody.”

The area is operated by the Teacup Lake Nordic Club through a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service. The volunteer organization utilizes membership fees, trail fees and donations to maintain 20 kilometers of trails, along with a day use cabin and sheltered restrooms.

Paul Blackburn, President of the Teacup Nordic Volunteer Board, noted that the beginning of the area is “shrouded in the mists of time,” but that it dates back about 40 years ago. The area is home to three annual events: hosting a high school race (on Saturday, Jan. 6 this year), a Tea Party featuring free lessons on Sunday, Jan. 7 and the Teacup Classic, offering three levels of racing (15k, 5k and a 2k kids course) and open to all skill levels, on Sunday, Jan. 21.

Blackburn also touted the expanded parking lot (which does require a SnoPark permit), but added that even when the parking lot looks full, there’s more than enough room on the trails.

“Even in this modern era, when it’s just so crowded on the lifts, there might be a lot of people in the parking lot at Teacup, once you get five minutes in you’ve got the forest to yourself,” he said. “There’s a lot of room for everybody, that’s the best thing about it.”

The group also runs youth programs, including a junior development team that has sent skiers to the national championships, and winter sessions for grade schoolers that include playing soccer and frisbee on skis.

Gutmann noted his daughter is part of the Nordic ski team, adding that he decided not to tell his kids about downhill skiing when they were young.

He added that the atmosphere is extremely friendly, where you can ask other skiers about tips and ways to improve and they’re happy to help.

“It’s just that kind of a place,” Gutman said. “It feels like something out of a different time. I think it’s wonderful.”

Dogs and snowshoes are not allowed at Teacup Lake Nordic Ski area. Trail grooming occurs every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The warming hut is typically open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on grooming days

Skiers can pay by the day ($10) or buy a membership ($75 per year for individuals, $40 per year for high school and full-time college students).

By Garth Guibord/MT

CPO’s logo contest next phase in ‘Rhody Rising’ effort posted on 01/02/2018

There are a number of iconic aspects of the community of Rhododendron, including the swinging bridge (rededicated last September), Steiner Cabins, the Daughters of the American Revolution garden, the tollgate and so much more that can be found while enjoying the woods or exploring the rich history of the area. The Rhododendron Community Planning Organization (CPO) wants to capture the spirit of the community in a new logo, offering area artists the chance to submit their designs as part of a contest.

“There’s a lot of artistic people on the mountain; let’s turn this over to some people who have artistic talent and let them go at it,” said Steve Graeper, CPO President. “We want to make this a community effort and involve as many community people as we can.”

The logo will ultimately appear on t-shirts, hoodies, hats and other merchandise as part of the fundraising for the CPO’s Rhody Rising effort, a plan to revitalize the community of Rhododendron. Graeper added that there is also a possibility that the logo could also be used on a community gateway sign, welcoming visitors to Rhododendron.

The first settlers arrived at the community by way of the Barlow Trail, due to a wide spot in the road right after tollgate number five, Graeper noted. Settlers would then decide to take the north or south route to Brightwood, but would even stay for up to a week. In the 20th century, the community was home to an opulent hotel built by Henry Rowe, where people from Portland would come to visit.

Graeper stressed that the contest is open to logos of any variety and there are no parameters for what the design should be.

“We don’t want to plant any seeds in anybody’s mind,” he said. “There might be some ideas out there that we haven’t thought of. What does Rhododendron mean to you and what image can capture that.”

Graeper added that the merchandise generated with the new logo will help the CPO try to reach a goal of raising $10,000 to help with the Rhody Rising effort. The CPO is currently approximately $4,000 away.

“We’re showing potential grant funders that the community is behind this Rhody Rising effort,” he said, adding that they are looking into using local businesses for producing the merchandise and that the merchandise could potentially hit the shelves at local stores as early as next summer.

All design entries will be presented for public view at the March 18, 2018 CPO meeting, and the CPO selection committee will seek community input on all the entries before selecting the top three for submission to the CPO membership for a vote.

The winning entry will win a prize package that will include: golf and cart for two at The Resort at The Mountain, two lift tickets at SkiBowl, a gift certificate to Skyway Bar & Grill and Cross Country Ski Rental from Otto’s Ski Shop in Sandy.

The contest is open to all. Please submit design ideas to Rhododendron CPO, P.O. Box 33, Rhododendron, OR 97049. All entries must be received by March 15, 2018.

For more information on the Rhody Rising effort, search for “Rhody Rising” on Facebook.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Hwy. 26 land purchase opens opportunities for Mtn. community posted on 01/02/2018

A local general contractor has purchased four lots on Hwy. 26, and the land acquisition affords many possibilities for the future.

Kip O’Connor, owner of Big Mountain Company – excavation and timber frame business – has obtained four lots that run from the electric vehicle station to the Lions Club parking lot, from the south side of the highway to the north side of the access road to Welches School.

The property is 300 feet wide and is made up of 75-foot wide and 110-foot deep lots with shared access to Hwy. 26.

“It is currently going through the permit processes with ODOT and preliminary applications with the county” O’Connor told The Mountain Times. “It is zoned rural tourist commercial, and can have multiple buildings and businesses on the same property.”

The county is currently considering allowing 8,000 square feet for primary use and less for accessory uses. The Oregon Trail School District has verbally agreed to limited access at the Welches School side of the property.

O’Connor plans to move his contracting business to the site and that portion of the property will feature timber frame homes or cabins from locally harvested salvaged or blown-down trees to make timbers, wide plank flooring, siding and firewood. An equipment rental business is also under consideration.

But that will only encompass two of the four lots.

“I would like to sell, build to suit, or lease the other lots,” O’Connor said. “Ultimately, I have always looked at those lots as a great opportunity for the Mountain community. Rural tourist commercial property availability is very rare.

As the property is open ground, the options are many.

“It is located near the school and the county took away the option of the Dorman Center years ago,” he said. “Some type of children’s day care facility would be great.”

O’Connor added that with the close proximity to the Hoodland Fire Station, and the Life Flight landing location being virtually on-site, the viability of an urgent care facility is another possibility.

“While I really was inspired to expand my contracting business by getting more exposure on the highway, truly, I would like to see something happen on the other lots that benefits our community in a healthy and sustainable way,” he said.

A pharmacy and community center are other considerations being mulled by the contractor.

By Larry Berteau/MT

George Wilson.
New cycling business adds to the industry of pedal power posted on 01/02/2018

Two back surgeries can get your attention, and can also lead to a dramatic change in lifestyle.

And two wheels and a pair of pedals can inspire a new business adventure in the Mountain community.

George Wilson’s Mt. Hood Bicycle shop opens its doors, softly, this month (mid-January) in the Hoodland Plaza with a scheduled grand opening set for March.

“I have been a passionate cyclist for over twenty years,” Wilson told The Mountain Times. (And after the back surgeries) “I found cycling to be a great form of aerobic exercise to keep the weight off, but it was also very therapeutic mentally. I gradually learned more about riding technique and form to improve performance, and after realizing positive results I was hooked.”

He began doing his own mechanical maintenance, enrolled in formal classes at the United Bicycle Institute in Portland, and that led to his new business adventure.

“I felt the timing was right to provide a full-service bicycle shop for local and visiting riders,” he said. “Mt. Hood Bicycle will be the only full-service bicycle shop between Sandy and Hood River.”

As in any business, location was key. Wilson chose the end-space at Hoodland Plaza primarily because the shopping center attracts 50,000 visitors per month. Plus, the new shop is located across Welches Road from the Mt. Hood Express stop where riders load their bikes onto bike trailers for transportation to Timberline and Skibowl to access the single-track mountain bike runs back to Rhododendron and Welches.

“Our new location is approximately eight miles from the Sandy Ridge Bike Park in Brightwood, which has become an international destination for mountain bikers,” Wilson said. “The Mt. Hood National Forest is the nearest place for a full-on mountain biking experience anywhere in the area. We are conveniently located to service the needs of local cyclists, as well as our cycling visitors no matter which cycling discipline they are into.”

Wilson has secured distributorship rights from Trek Bicycles, Fox Suspension, Shimano and Sram components. The shop will focus on service and repair, as well as retail sales of bikes, components and accessories.

And as the calendar inches toward spring, the shop will provide a bike wash station for cyclists.

The conversion of the space was extensive and Wilson gave a nod to the work of Justin Shenkel (owner of Charlies Paint and Design in Vancouver) and Kyle Sullivan (Igloo Printing and Design) for the logos and stenciling.

“Finally, I can’t express my appreciation for my friend and Mt Hood Bicycle certified mechanic Kevin ‘K-Mack’ McCarthy, for his contribution and carpentry skills,” Wilson said. “These are all local residents capable of providing professional services to our local community.”

And Mt. Hood Bicycle now rolls out its own professional services for Mountain residents and beyond.

For more information, visit www.mthoodbicycle.com.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Jeff Helfrich named to Mark Johnson’s vacated seat posted on 01/02/2018

With a choice of three nominated candidates, the commissioners of Clackamas, Hood River and Multnomah counties selected Jeff Helfrich of Hood River to fill the vacated Oregon House of Representatives slot of Mark Johnson.

The pick was confirmed at a Nov. 29 meeting of the commissioners.

Helfrich was confirmed by unanimous vote over candidates Stan Pulliam of Sandy and Erick Haynie of Hood River.

Finalists were selected by the State Republican Party in early November.

Johnson (R-Hood River) announced his retirement Nov. 6 from the state legislature after being selected as president and CEO of Oregon Business & Industries, a lobbying firm of Oregon Business Association and Associated Oregon Industries.

“Moving on from serving House District 52 and taking the position at OBI is an easier transition for me knowing that someone like Jeff will fill the remainder of my term,” wrote Johnson in an email to the Mountain Times. “He is highly qualified and I'm confident he can do a wonderful job serving the diverse communities of the district. I'll do all I can to help him be successful completing this term and to be successful when he runs for re-election.”

Helfrich spent more than 25 years in law enforcement and continues as a patrol deputy in Multnomah County. He also was a member of the Cascade Locks Planning Commission and the Cascade Locks City Council. He served in the Air Force during the Gulf War.

Helfrich was sworn in Dec. 6 in Salem.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Paula Walker opens Welches law office posted on 01/02/2018

Paula Walker had a slogan through her years as a project management process consultant: she didn’t want to make a better living, she wanted to make living better. Now, Walker will bring that attitude to her new venture, the Confluence Law Center in Welches offering estate planning, wills and trusts as its primary focus.

“I was really drawn to do something for people, for society, for nature, all of that,” Walker said. “Law seemed like a way that I could have a more immediate effect.”

Walker, who came to the mountain in her teens and has lived here since, noted that her past work should serve her well in her newest endeavor, including experience in contracts, staffing and vendors, plus working with everything from governments and nonprofits to corporations both large and small. She added that her skill set helps bridge the gap between things that are highly technical, like the law, and something more amorphous, such as broader goals for estate planning.

“I bring a long history of work in the business world in numerous capacities,” she said. “This is a position that a lot of people don’t have the knowledge of and need help with, especially with estate planning.”

Walker also noted that the process of estate planning is a partnership, where the trusts and wills she helps craft will put into effect the particular goals and objectives of each client, including their businesses, any organizations they want to support and conferring healthcare and financial decisions.

Walker added that she has a keen interest in the environment and appreciates the natural beauty of the Mount Hood area.

“The Welches area is just so gorgeous,” she said.

The Confluence Law Center will celebrate with an open house from 3-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, at 62441 E. Welches Road (in the Salmon River Professional Center). Regular business hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with appointments scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Complimentary consultations are available.

For more information, visit confluencelawcenter.com or call 503-616-3113.

By Garth Guibord/MT

"Rose Colored Glass"
Sandy production reveals parallels between today and WWII posted on 01/02/2018

Sandy resident Megan Grassl noted that while she has lived in Sandy her whole life, she had never been to the Sandy Actors Theatre (SAT) until after college. And that happened thanks to her mother, who submitted her name at the theater’s booth at the Sandy Mountain Festival, leading to her taking on the job of stage manager in the 2015 production of “Artichoke.”

This month, SAT will open “Rose Colored Glass,” by Sue Bigelow and Janice Goldberg, serving as Grassl’s directorial debut.

The play is set in 1938 in a Chicago alley shared by a bar and a delicatessen, as told in a series of flashbacks by a young girl at the time. The distrustful widows who run the businesses eventually become friends as they try to bring one’s nephew into the country and away from the horrors of Nazi Germany at the time.

Grassl sees parallels between the apathy in America to join the war efforts at the time to life today, particularly with attitudes towards people of different religions and cultures.

“I hope they walk away thinking about what they see in terms of what is going on now,” said Grassl, a graduate of Sandy High School and Oregon State University. “Too often, people tend to forget about what happened in the past, and the past is so important to learn.”

She added that while the show is not a “feel good piece,” it’s also not one full of crying or anger over the world.

“It’s more like everyday life,” Grassl said, adding that at that point in time, reports about the war were far and few between, with the prevailing notion in America being to remain out of it. “And yet, Hitler was shaking up the world.”

SAT presents “Rose Colored Glass” from Friday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, Feb. 18, at 39181 Proctor Blvd. (behind Ace Hardware). Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 for students and seniors (reservations are recommended). For more information, or to make reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org.


Comedy continues at Wolfpack

Howard Bickle, founder of Sandy’s Wolf Pack Theater, wanted to put a smile on the faces of his audience members for the holiday season. By all accounts, his production of A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” has hit the mark.

“It just means the world to me to do that,” he said.

The comedy offers the story of a couple, Greg and Kate, who move to Manhattan and ends up taking in a dog Greg finds in the park. Unfortunately, the dog, named Sylvia, threatens to come between the two, but also offers the chance for the two to learn about what it takes to compromise.

In this play, Sylvia is portrayed by a human actor, and was played by Sarah Jessica Parker in the Off-Broadway debut in 1995. For the Wolf Pack Theater, Melissa Jean Swenson takes on the canine character.

“Every actor has their own unique skill set, and hers is a wonderfully truthful performance, even playing a dog,” Bickle said. “It’s just such a cute show.”

He added that he has enjoyed the early productions of his fledgling theater, with a focus on doing smaller shows of around four or five actors.

“It’s really highlighting the ensemble aspect of the theater,” Bickle said.

Bickle added that they are dedicating the show to Gurney, who passed away last June.

The Wolf Pack Theater presents “Sylvia” through Sunday, Jan. 7, at 39570 Pioneer Blvd. in Sandy. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $18 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. Free admission is offered for law enforcement, firefighters and veterans. For more information, visit www.wolfpacktheater.com or call 541-722-2667.

By Garth Guibord/MT

The Woodlands Reservoir.
Rhody water lands $650,000 loan posted on 12/01/2017

Construction is underway on a Capital Improvement program featuring three major projects in Rhododendron.

The Rhododendron Water Association (RWA) was awarded a $650,000 low interest loan – a rate of 1.72 percent over 30 years – due to the pursuit by the RWA board of directors of sustainable infrastructure programs and the desire to reliably deliver water to its customers, according to Steve Graeper, president of RWA.

The project funding was secured through the State Drinking Water Program revolving loan fund managed by Oregon Business Development Department and the Federal Infrastructure Finance Authority.

“Our contractors are staying in local lodging, patronizing local eateries, shopping at local stores,” Graeper said through a press release. “We are using local rock products and haulers for more than 100 yards of rock and material. We are using local material suppliers and local labor and paying prevailing wage, which is more than the standard wage.”

Also, RWA has been granted a 30 percent principal forgiveness rate as a result of meeting certain qualifications for household income and demographics.

“That debt forgiveness is effectively reducing the debt owed to just under $455,000,” Graeper said.

Also, the infrastructure improvements will not add a substantial rate increase for customers beyond the normal 1.5 percent annual rate increase that is imposed on rate payers every other year, Graeper added.

The projects include:

Installing a new $175,000 “Slow Sand” filtration system at the RWA Headworks, which will substantially lower overhead costs by reducing the need to routinely replace the very costly ($18,000/year) cartridge filters currently used to filter out Giardia and Cryptosporidia.  Slow Sand filtration is a tested and proven method of water filtration and is currently used by many municipalities throughout the world and in Oregon including the Cities of Corbett and Salem.

Installing a second and 30 percent larger water storage reservoir to help supply water to our 361+ RWA water connections. RWA currently only has a 100,000-gallon Redwood water storage tank at the headworks. That Redwood reservoir is nearing the end of its useful life and does not have the capacity to supply water to the system for any longer than 24 hours in cases where the filtration plant goes off line due to power failure or other unforeseen circumstances. The new concrete 130,000-gallon water storage reservoir, at a cost of nearly $400,000, will be located in the Woodlands area and will have the capability of supplying water to the entire RWA system should a catastrophic failure occur at the treatment plant, like what happened in 2009 when a tree fall completely destroyed the treatment plant. In addition, the new reservoir will be equipped with a hydro-turbine electric generator that will generate enough power to make the pumps at the new reservoir “Carbon Neutral.” In other words, the hydro-turbine will produce electric energy, which will be sold back to PGE at a rate equal to the power consumed by the pumps, to pump enough water uphill to supply all RWA customers.

The third project is a $75,000 project to complete the metering of all customers served by RWA. One requirement for loan qualification by the DWP is that the system needs to be 100 percent metered. RWA has been in a 10-year program to meter all users to help pinpoint leaks throughout the system. With some service lines being over 75 years old, staying on top of leaks is of paramount concern. By monitoring water consumption via meters since 2009, RWA has effectively reduced its finished water loss from over 85 GPM (gallons per minute) to under 30GPM. By installing the last 40+ meters on the system, RWA hopes to get the leak rate to below 10GPM.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Mountain steps up for community Christmas baskets posted on 12/01/2017

The push is on to make sure this holiday season is a happy one for all mountain families, as a slew of local groups gather non-perishable food and new, unwrapped toys for the community Christmas basket program. Carol Norgard, who is coordinating the Mt. Hood Lions Club’s Christmas Toy and Food Drive Dinner, noted that the baskets help approximately 100 families, totaling approximately 400 people, each year.

“Everything we get goes back to the community,” Norgard said, noting that other groups involved with the program include the Welches Schools and the Hoodland Fire District (HFD). “We have a really good community group up here, in general.”

Norgard noted that the program also started including food for dogs and cats about three years ago, and that there are no questions asked to those who apply for a box.

“It definitely makes me feel good that we’re helping a group of people that need help over a season where at least they know they have food for Christmas time and when school is out,” she said, adding that the gifts that are included make a big difference for many people who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise. “That’s a killer for them, when it comes to their children.”

The Lion’s Club dinner will offer beef, ham and all the trimmings, with tickets priced at $15 at the door and $12 pre-sale at the Barlow Trail Roadhouse, Welches Building Supply and the Welches branch of Clackamas County Bank. The event starts with a social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Lions Club, 24730 E. Woodsey Way.

Norgard added that donations will still be accepted after the dinner and for anyone interested in doing so to call the HFD main station at 503-622-3256 and ask for Carol or Kelli.

Welches Schools Principal Kendra Payne noted that the school both benefits from and contributes to the program, with applications for baskets going out to all families.

The school’s ambassadors hold a food drive that features a friendly competition between each classroom and grade level for who can bring in the most food. The school’s food drive starts the week after Thanksgiving break and goes until the winter break, with all donations picked up by the HFD and go directly to the food baskets.

Sign up sheets for Hoodland Community Christmas Basket program are available at the Welches School, Clackamas County Bank’s Hoodland branch, Welches Mountain Building Supply, the Welches Library and the Hoodland Fire District’s main station. Giving trees, offering area residents to get a present for a child, are also available at those locations, as well as McKenzie Dental.

Robert Kelly of McKenzie Dental noted that the business has been participating in the program for three years.

“Everyone at McKenzie Dental participates to do our part to help out in the community,” he wrote in an email to the Mountain Times. “We focus on children in our area and have the help of Alison Bradley, Carol Norgard, and Hoodland fire department.”

Pick up for the baskets will be from 4-6 p.m. Friday, Dec 22 or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, at the Mt. Hood Lions Club.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Local man charged with sexual abuse posted on 12/01/2017

Mountain resident John David Bowe, 48, was arrested Oct. 25 by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Child Abuse Team, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Pomona, Calif.

According to authorities, Bowe has been a registered sex offender in California since March 2002.

Bowe is now being held in the San Bernardino County Jail on two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree; two counts of      sodomy in the first degree; one count of luring a minor; and one count of online sexual corruption of a child. He is awaiting extradition to Oregon.

Bowe was arrested as part of an investigation that alleged he had sexually assaulted a 13-year-old female in Sandy, in the early morning hours of Oct. 16.

Detectives were alerted to Bowe after they were notified he had frequented locations where children gather. He is believed to have had contact with multiple families with minor children, according to the sheriff’s office.

Bowe was known in the Mountain community having partnered in a sandwich shop on Hwy. 26 a short distance east of Alder Creek, and more recently he operated a barbecue stand in the parking area in front of Thriftway in the Hoodland Shopping Center in Welches.

County Sheriff’s Office detectives are searching for additional victims and ask anyone who had contact with Bowe while children were present to let investigators know. The Sheriff’s Office Tip Line is 503-723-4949, or online email address is https://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp. Please reference CCSO Case No. 17-27368.

By Larry Berteau/MT

The Business End: More kidding around at Wippersnappers posted on 12/01/2017

Two years ago, on the day after Thanksgiving, Wippersnappers opened its doors as the new kids play place in Sandy. And as they celebrated their anniversary last month, the business welcomed an expansion that added approximately 2,200 square feet of fun for young ones, bringing the total to approximately 6,600 square feet.

“The response from the community has been awesome,” said Wippersnappers owner, Hans Wipper, about the first two years of the business, while noting that the clientele stretches from Government Camp to Oregon City. “They’re coming from everywhere and we’ve had a real positive feedback.”

The expansion became a possibility when the space next to Wippersnappers became available, and Wipper noted that they had to either jump on the opportunity or lose it.

“We need it, there have been several times we’ve had a waiting list to get in,” he said. “The extra space will be well received, I think.”

Included in the new space will be a second party room, another bathroom, two obstacle courses/bounce houses and a new location for the wiggle carts. The spot where the carts used to be will feature six more tables and 24 more chairs.

“We’ll have a lot more additional seating for those big days,” Wipper said.

He added that the new space will be geared toward the upper age range for kids who go there, with a minimum height of 40 inches for the inflatable obstacle courses.

Wipper noted the new space will be closed from Monday to Wednesday, to allow younger kids to visit “without temptation,” but that it will be open during the Christmas break.

Wippersnappers is located at 16542 SE 362nd Drive in Sandy. For more information, call 503-668-7221, visit www.wippersnappers.com or find them on Facebook.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Mirror Lake Trailhead project wraps for winter posted on 12/01/2017

Work wrapped up during the early part of November on the Mirror Lake Trailhead relocation project, which will create a new parking area and a trail connection for the popular recreation spot on the mountain.

The venture is a partnership between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Zigzag Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service.

Knud Martin, Project Engineer for the FHWA, noted the project was delayed earlier in the year due to hazardous fire conditions, but work is still expected to be complete by the end of October 2018. He added that when the project starts up again a lot of “ground disturbing activities” will be forthcoming.

Work is tentatively expected to resume on April 14, 2018, but Martin noted that will depend heavily on this winter’s snowpack and how much snow remains next April.

“Some years that’s no problem, other years it’s a problem,” he said.

The project will move the parking lot for the trailhead from the sharp curve on Hwy. 26 west of Government Camp to the parking lot at Skibowl.

“This project is focused on getting congestion out and a safe place to enter the trail system, a place to park and use bathroom,” Martin said. “This is an enormous safety improvement.”

He added that it is also important for people to be patient and safe when utilizing the trail during construction, such as finding a safe place to park rather than entering the construction zone.

For more information and updated trail status, visit https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/or/mirror-lake/.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Opportunities abound with Hoodland Fire District posted on 12/01/2017

Hoodland Fire District (HFD) Lieutenant/Paramedic Andy Figini sees a lot more opportunity now for the district’s volunteers than in the past, thanks to having paid staff on duty 24 hours a day. Now, since paid staff is always around and respond to calls, volunteers have that chance to go with them.

“We’re here, so if you’re here with us, you’re going to go,” Figini said.

That’s good news for anyone who wants to sign on, as the district is now accepting applications for the 2018 training company. Applications are due to the district’s main station, 69634 E. Hwy. 26 in Welches, on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Figini also noted more opportunities for volunteers to select a specific track, or focus, they’d like to pursue, such as focusing on being a firefighter (including medical and fire combat), a driver track or other options.

“We want anybody who can participate to participate,” Figini said. “You can go down any track you want to go down.”

The academy will meet up to three times per week and on some weekends, and applicants must be at least 18 years old with a valid Oregon Drivers License, have no criminal background, be able to pass the drug test, pass the physical agility test and pass the background search.

Figini notes that the district seeks people who are established in their careers and would like to serve as community responders and those who are looking at a possible career as a firefighter and want to get experience, training and certification for a future job. He added that it’s helpful to have some people from both groups, while adding that a number of volunteers have been hired by other fire districts after serving in the HFD.

Figini added that volunteers will also get the opportunity to work a shift with the paid staff, performing daily tasks such as rig checks while eating and working out as part of the crew.

“You come in, you are part of the shift,” he said. “It allows us to get more done in a day. Shifts are great, I like doing shifts.”

Figini also noted that there are other ways to get involved in the district besides volunteering, including the district’s support group, which provides meals for firefighters when there is a fire, and the HEART team, which offers training for community disasters.

“We have different levels of participation, we’ll find a place for almost anybody,” he said.

Applications for the HFD volunteer academy may be picked up at the main station.

By Garth Guibord/MT

"Come On, Jeeves."
The Scene on Stage: P.G. Wodehouse arrives in Boring posted on 12/01/2017

Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company’s Artistic Director Kelly Lazenby first encountered the play “Come On, Jeeves” in college. But she concedes that perhaps she did not fully appreciate the humor in it.

Now, after years of honing her theatrical craft, she will direct a production of the play by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton.

“I have become a little bit more sophisticated,” Lazenby said, noting that in college she didn’t know that Monty Python and Blackadder were funny. “It’s a very particular type of comedy. It’s very droll.”

“Come On, Jeeves” offers the character that Wodehouse made famous: Jeeves, a “gentleman’s gentleman” and a resourceful and intelligent valet who gets his young and foppish employer out of jams with women, the law and more. In the play, Jeeves is on loan from his traditional employer, Wooster, to an earl who is in trouble with gambling debts, including possibly having to sell off his house, but doesn’t want his fiancé or family to find out.

Enter Jeeves, who has a plan to make it all better.

Lazenby noted that while Wodehouse productions are often done in England, they are not as frequent in America, but that anyone who is a fan of “Downton Abbey” or “Doc Martin” would enjoy the show.

She described it as a “frothy, take your brain out, enjoy the holiday season, not have to worry about anything” show that is appropriate for everyone.

“It’s slapstick - not quite seltzer in the face - but almost,” she said.

NNB presents “Come On, Jeeves,” by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, from Dec. 1-17 at the Boring Grange, 27861 Grange Street in Boring. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays (note: there is no matinee on Sunday, Dec. 3, but there will be one at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2). For more information, or to make reservations, call 503-593-1295 or visit nnbtheater.com.

Children’s theater with a holiday twist

Clackamas Repertory Theatre will offer its interactive show for kids, “Wing It Holiday Magic,” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City.

The “Wing It” series is for children between the ages of two and 10, and invites audience members to join the forest friends as they solve another of life’s mysteries, and have some fun along the way.

Each performance will also include a visit by a very special guest from the North Pole. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. For more information, call 503-594-6047 or visit ClackamsRep.org.

SAT production continues

The Sandy Actors Theatre (SAT) production of “Heroes,” by Gerald Sibleyras and translated by Tom Stoppard, continues through Sunday, Dec. 3. The comedy, set in August, 1959, centers on three men in a home for retired military men located somewhere in France, and a plot they devise to make an escape. SAT is located at 39181 Proctor Blvd. (behind Ace Hardware).

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $18 general admission, $15 for students and seniors and $13 for children under 12 (reservations are recommended). For more information, or to make reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org.

December auditions

SAT will hold auditions for the January production of “Rose Colored Glass,” by Susan Bigelow and Janice Goldberg and directed by Megan Grassl, at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at 39181 Proctor Blvd. (behind Ace Hardware). Rehearsals will begin on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The auditions will consist of cold readings from the script and no experience is necessary. SAT is also recruiting for crew positions. The play offers the story of two mistrustful widows and a 13-year-old granddaughter who is deteremined to make them friends. For more information, visit sandyactorstheatre.org. or email lexy@sandyactorstheatre.org.

NNB will hold auditions for the March production of “Everybody Loves Opal,” by John Patrick, from 7-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3 and from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, at the Boring Grange, 27861 Grange Street in Boring. Resumes and headshots are welcome, but not necessary. The auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. The comedy offers the story of Opal Kronkie, a middle-aged recluse, who lives in a tumbledown mansion at the edge of the municipal dump, and includes a cast of four men and two women. For more information, visit nnbtheater.com or call 503-593-1295.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Art and more will be on sale.
An artful start to the holidays posted on 11/01/2017

Approximately five years ago, the last Wine and Arts Fair took place at The Resort at The Mountain. But this November, The Resort brings back a re-envisioned version, called the Holiday Artisan Fair, on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Sales Manager Christine Magnuson noted the focus for the event will be on artists and holiday shopping, with a large range of mountain artists and some mountain-based businesses having booths.

There will also be food and drinks available for purchase.

“The new owners want to bring back some old community events they had long ago, and this is the start of that,” Magnuson said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The family friendly event will have free admission, and the list of area artists participating include watercolorist Steve Ludeman, screen prints by Sue Allen, photography by Gary Randall, jewelry by Becky Semler, bath and body products by S. A. Plunkett Naturals and a variety of different pieces by the artists from Mt. Hood Art Online.

“In years past, this event was an anticipated tradition; celebrating fall with friends and neighbors, enjoying fine wine and art, and getting a start on holiday shopping,” wrote Caryn Tilton, artist and owner of Mt. Hood Art Online, in an email. “Speaking for all of the Mt. Hood Art Online artists, we are grateful to Christine and the resort for bringing this opportunity back to the mountain.”

Magnuson noted that one focus of the event is keeping things local.

“I really love that nearly all of the vendors are from The Mt. Hood Community and Gresham, this event will be a great way to directly support our neighbors,” Magnuson noted. “It really is just a great way to start off the holiday season for us.”

Allen said that she participated in a number of the old Wine and Art Fairs, enjoying the small format where artists could get to know each other. She sees the new incarnation as a way of sharing local talent with the community and visitors, and offering a chance for people to get unique gifts for the holidays.

“Giving a gift of locally created art gives support to a local, and also gives a more personal meaning to the gift itself,” Allen wrote in an email.

The Holiday Artisan Fair will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, in the Cascade Ballroom at The Resort at The Mountain, 68010 E. Fairway Ave. in Welches. Admission is free. For more information, call 503-622-3101.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Johnson leaves post at HD 52 posted on 11/01/2017

Often times, with dedication comes opportunity.

State Representative Mark Johnson, after seven years serving as House District 52 congressman, is heading in a new direction.

Johnson’s resignation from the Oregon House will take place this month, after which he will become the CEO of the Oregon Business and Industry Association.

“It’s not a position that I sought after but one that came my way because of my successes in Salem and reputation for being an effective legislator,” Johnson told The Mountain Times. “It will be a huge challenge but is an opportunity that I am excited to take on.”

Resigning his seat as state representative for HD 52 is not something Johnson takes lightly.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in this role and will miss the wonderful people and communities that I have gotten to know,” he said. “It’s meant a great deal to me to have an opportunity to regularly communicate with the folks on the Mountain through my monthly piece in the Times. I think it’s been a win-win for all.”

A replacement process will ensue in November for the balance of the term.

Mark Johnson’s departing column appears in the "Columnists" link in the web edition of The Mountain Times.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Target shooting ban still possible for Miller Quarry posted on 11/01/2017

A ban on target shooting at Miller Quarry is still a possibility, according to John Huston, Cascades Field Manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Northwest Oregon District.

The effort has been complicated, however, by Secretarial Order 3356, signed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in September, which in part seeks to increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting and fishing on land run by the BLM and other agencies.

A community effort, spearheaded by Mt. Hood RV Village resident Warren Bates, began last fall when issues with target shooters at the quarry, including noise, safety risks and pollution, were raised at a series of meetings. At a Dec. 21, 2016 meeting, BLM Cascades Outdoor Recreation Planner Zach Jarrett noted the agency finished a new Resource Management Plan in August 2016, which included designating the quarry as a recreation management area and opening the door to closing it for target shooting within the year.

Huston noted the Oregon State Office of the BLM is now preparing a briefing paper to be presented to congress, but they want to be careful and do it right.

“It’s still moving forward, it’s just at a higher level,” Huston said, adding there is no timeline for the paper.

Bates noted that he is “hopeful,” but is also not getting ahead of himself.

“I’m not going to hold my breath,” he said. “When you get into this government bureaucracy stuff, it’s a whole new world, in my opinion.”

Bates added that in the meantime, gun noise has “slowed down immensely” at the quarry.

“Why, I don’t know,” he said. “But it’s not near as bad as it was at the height of it. I think we quelled some of it just by letting people know that we will close it.”

Other project updates

The BLM has also completed an economic analysis and a draft Recreation Area Management Plan for potential development of the Wildwood Recreation Site, according to Jennifer Velez, Public Affairs Officer for BLM’s Eugene and Salem Districts. Velez added that the hope is to release the plan by “late winter,” followed by an official comment period.

The plan will include at least two development alternatives for the site, including a “no action” option. Development options include possibly adding campsites, yurts, cabins and RV sites. That could help the site increase the number of visitors utilizing the area each year, currently at approximately 50,000, a fraction of the 375,000 it was built to accommodate.

Meanwhile, the trailhead at the Sandy Ridge Trail System has reopened, although approximately half of the parking lot remains inaccessible due to contractors continued work at the site. Work is expected to continue through the winter.

“We’re really looking forward to when the main recreation season kicks off next spring for mountain bikers to really enjoy the improvements they’ll find out there,” Velez said.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Hans Wipper.
Skibowl’s Hans Wipper exits post after 28 years posted on 11/01/2017

September 29 was the last day at Skibowl for Hans Wipper.  The resort’s marketing director said leaving the post after 28 years was one of the hardest decisions he has ever made.

“I am sad to be leaving an incredible group of people and working on the mountain I love,” Wipper told The Mountain Times. “I can’t thank Skibowl enough for all the opportunities, knowledge and friendship that it has provided over the years, and I will miss working with some wonderful people. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, especially my daughter, and getting to enjoy the holidays for the first time in a long time.”

As Wipper looks back over the nearly three decades on the job, it is difficult to pick out a single moment that stands out. However, he was able to cull the events of a few winters ago when a group would hit the Upper Bowl every Sunday night and end the evening in the Warming Hut to music and beers – followed by a final run to the bottom.

“That, and many memories like it were what made it such a special place to work and play,” he said. “Oh, and any powder day that I got to sneak on first chair.”

He will miss working with people that have become family over the years, pointing out that the ski industry is a relatively small group of people, leading to many friends.

“I hope to continue to keep in touch with them and stay involved in the industry in some capacity,” he said. “I will miss being on the mountain every day … Sunrises on a cold, crisp January morning with a few white clouds against a deep blue sky and the trees buried in snow, is one of the most special, serene and spectacular moments you can experience. I encourage everyone to try it once.”

Wipper’s retirement from Skibowl will be short-lived, as he now turns his attention to a bunch of Wippersnappers.

Two years ago, he and his wife Tiffany started Wippersnappers Kids Play Place in Sandy, and its success has caused the family to focus more on it.

“The wonderful people of our Mountain community have been very supportive to us and we are very thankful for this opportunity to give all the kids a fun, dry, family place to play,” he said. “Oh, and we have great pizza, espresso, beer and wine as well.”

Wipper added that recently, they were able to rent the space next to them and are working on expanding, adding another party room, bathroom and more seating.

Meanwhile, at Skibowl, Sam White takes over as the new marketing director. He can be contacted by email at sam@go.skibowl.com.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Sandy to take over Cedar Ridge campus posted on 11/01/2017

Students from Cedar Ridge Middle School in Sandy are expected to move to their new campus at the Pioneer Building following the Thanksgiving break this month. That will allow the City of Sandy to take full possession of the CRMS building in early December or January and proceed in earnest with the goal of creating a recreation hub.

Sandy City Manager Kim Yamashita noted that the city will begin some stakeholder meetings toward the end of November, while Opsis Architecture will perform a detailed analysis of the facilities to determine what can be kept or repurposed.

“We want to spend the time and money doing this evaluation to ensure we are using money wisely and having the lowest impact on the environment as possible,” Yamashita noted.

Opsis, who is under contract with the city to devise a master plan for the facility for March 2018, will also help to determine how to do the project in phases and what aspects, such as the pool or a community center, to prioritize first.

“We have limited funds initially, and I want to get the most bang out of the buck,” Yamashita said, noting that the community is intent on keeping the pool operational as much as possible. “At some point, we may look at temporary closure to do work, remodel or reconstruction. Right now we just don’t know what it’s going to take, so we need these experts to come in and go over it.”

Initial stakeholder meetings are expected to take place with various groups, including the Friends of the Sandy Pool, senior programs and Maverick Aquatics, while public open houses or forums are expected at a later date.

“It’s very exciting,” Yamashita said. “It’s also, with the amount of staff we have; it’s going to be a challenge.”

“We want to make sure that when all of this stuff is happening, we maintain current service and minimize negative impacts as much as we can,” she added.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Vocal rehearsal.
November features theatrical fun posted on 11/01/2017

Sandy High School’s (SHS) new drama teacher and director, Colin Murray, spent about six weeks last school year getting acquainted with the students and the department. This year, for the school’s first production and the first show under his direction, Murray wanted something happy and family friendly. Enter Gilbert and Sullivan’s, “The Pirates of Penzance.”

“It’s such an upbeat, fun fantastical story,” Murray said. “The students have been doing a fantastic job tackling complex music.”

Murray, who graduated from Sandy High School in the 1990s, worked on the show once before as a designer for the Gresham High School production in 2004. But thanks to the capabilities of SHS’s theater and the different student population he’s casting from, Murray noted this production is very different.

“It’s been fun and interesting to design it again and tackle it again,” he said, noting that in this production he cast the police force entirely as women. “We have a lot of great, comical actresses here.”

Seniors Dagan Godfrey and Charlie Andrade, both 17, play the romantic leads, Frederic and Mabel, respectively. The two veterans of the SHS stage noted that the story is all over the place, with the main story concerning Frederic being an apprentice on a pirate ship, which he can’t leave until he turns 21. Unfortunately, he was born on a leap year day.

“It’s really stupid goofy and I love it,” Godfrey said.

Andrade, who will attend Willamette University next fall and intends to study choir and performance, noted that she was impressed at the talented students that came out to audition for the production, both as actors and musicians.

“We have a lot of talent, I was surprised at how many people came from beyond (the acting program),” she said. “I’m really excited to see how it pulls together on stage.

Murray noted that he’s been impressed with the school’s facilities, which are an upgrade over the theater space at the former high school, the Pioneer Building, but that he also had a level of familiarity with the new space thanks to student teaching with former drama teacher Chris Harris during the new high school’s first year being open.

“It’s so fantastic to have this space that is so multi functional and big,” said Murray, who received his BA from Willamette University and his MFA in Directing from the University of Portland. “It gives room to grow.”

“It’s been a really fantastic experience so far,” Murray added. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life. Teaching all day, then doing rehearsal, work parties on Saturdays.”

Sandy High School Drama presents “The Pirates of Penzance,” book and lyrics by William Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan, at 7 p.m. Nov. 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18, at 37400 SE Bell Street in Sandy.

Festival seating will be available, no reservations, and tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 503-668-8011, ext. 7313.

Sandy offers gentle comedy

Tobias Andersen, director of the Sandy Actors Theatre’s November production of “Heroes,” notes that while the play’s author, Gerald Sibleyras, may not be a household name, the person who translated it may possibly be the “greatest living playwright.” That would be Tom Stoppard, whose writings include the movie “Shakespeare in Love” and plays such as “Arcadia” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”

“It’s his translation that I think has given it a sly humor,” Andersen said.

Set in August, 1959, the comedy centers on three men in a home for retired military men located somewhere in France, and a plot they devise to make an escape. Andersen noted the show is not a slapstick-type comedy with slamming doors, but something more subtle.

“It’s a very gentle comedy, and very human; you really understand these guys when it’s over,” he said. “The humor comes out in that they’re just not capable of doing it (escaping), but they’re totally oblivious to the situation.”

Andersen previously performed in another production of the show at the Coho Theater in Portland, but noted that every actor brings different experiences to each role and that a benefit of watching live theater is seeing the different interpretations.

“It’s already markedly different (from the production he acted in), which is one of the joys of theater,” Andersen said.

SAT presents “Heroes,” by Gerald Sibleyras and translated by Tom Stoppard, from Friday, Nov. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 3, at 39181 Proctor Blvd. (behind Ace Hardware). Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $18 general admission, $15 for students and seniors and $13 for children under 12 (reservations are recommended).

For more information, or to make reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org

By Garth Guibord/MT

Welches Schools run drills to prepare for possible intruder posted on 11/01/2017

For Welches Schools Principal Kendra Payne and her staff, the security improvements on the school’s campus, including a single point of entry, camera system, key swipe access and locked vestibule, makes a difference every single day when it comes to feeling safe. The features, added thanks to the bond that built the new high school, allow the staff to grant access in and out of the building and be able to monitor who is coming in.

Even with the strong security, the school and the Oregon Trail School District are not taking safety lightly, highlighted by the annual “Run, Hide, Fight” training held last month, instructing students on how to react to an event that threatens their safety at the school.

Payne noted that the training has been in response to the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

“That really caused a lot of districts all over the county to rethink their approach to school safety,” Payne said.

In the years before Sandy Hook, Payne noted, the traditional school lockdown would call for teachers to lock doors and close the blinds, with everyone in the classroom hiding in a corner.

“It was very much hide until you’re either safe or until you’re told to come out,” she said. “There was a lack of empowerment that comes with that message.”

Payne, staff members and district administrators have worked together on the new philosophy, which includes a partnership with the Sandy Police Department, and includes elements from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The philosophy’s message is: run when it is safe to run; hide where it is safe to hide and fight if you have no other options.

All teachers at the school have participated in training, including figuring out how things would work in their classroom, such as positioning furniture to block pathways and how fighting might look at different grade levels.

Payne noted that previously, the school and Sandy PD staged a drill including an officer playing the role of an intruder in order to work on techniques for safely taking a person down.

But the primary goal is to keep students safe, prioritizing their reactions in order, as long as it is safe: run, hide and fight.

Payne added that a lot of the training is discussion based, with keeping things appropriate for the age and grade of the student, ranging from something that is not overwhelming or scary for those in kindergarten to a more nuanced and deeper discussion with eighth graders.

Last month’s drill included a simulation of a lockdown, including an alert message, and informing parents of the drill to share training videos and share ways to talk with children about school safety and security.

For more information, visit http://oregontrailschools.com/parents/student-safety/

By Garth Guibord/MT

Photo by Peggy Wallace
Dorman Down - Community icon yields to the shovel posted on 10/02/2017

The old Dorman Center has stood on shaky ground for a long time.

But it finally fell to the county’s wrecking ball in September.

Deemed no longer safe more than five years ago, the Hoodland Women’s Club (HWC) rallied to the Dorman cause and began the difficult task of fundraising in order to replace it with a community center, starting a journey that ended up in an economic and political cul-de-sac.

Barbara Saldivar presented the idea at an HWC meeting, and along with Kay Baker took up the task of grant writing to secure funds to hire a project manager.

The club tapped Diane Lokting, who spearheaded the eventually fruitless fundraising effort and told The Mountain Times, at that time, what it had meant to her.

“I was proud to be the project manager for the Hoodland Women’s Club,” Lokting said. “Through this work I came into contact with many amazing people – first and foremost the women whose vision to bring a community center to Hoodland was a dream of over a decade.

“The demise of the project is very sad.”

Despite attracting many foundations, the fundraising effort came up short.

But the HWC wasn’t ready to give up.

The club joined forces with the Villages at Mt. Hood with a new idea for the four-acre plot propped up by a community garden: this time, a community park.

HWC member Regina Lythgoe launched the project with an appeal during a Villages board meeting.

“We don’t have places to push our grandchildren on swings,” she said, and the idea took wings.

The Villages solicited the creativity of the Mountain’s Ben Bliesner, Josh Frazier and Jason Johnson and the trio created a mesmerizing CAD of what the new park could look like. It included a skate park, public shelter, five picnic shelters, a BMX track, playground, an improved community garden and a park-and-ride area.

With Clackamas County Director of Business and Community Services Gary Barth on board, the next step, once again, was fundraising. Barth said the county was willing to lease the property for $1 a year – the county owns the property – but it was up to the village to figure out the funding mechanism.

But the second bell tolled. The Villages at Mt. Hood was disbanded by the county for reasons that strained credulity.

The question now, is there a third time? The Dorman Center is gone. But the lot remains, yawning, waiting.

One thing is certain. Never take the HWC lightly. As has been reported in previous stories in The Mountain Times, they don’t sit around knitting and drinking tea.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Kayakers prepare to enter the Sandy River.
Sandy River Basin Watershed Council celebrates 20 years of work posted on 10/02/2017

For the past 20 years, the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (SRBWC) has worked to improve fish habitat, water quality and more in the Sandy River basin, with projects including reconnecting historical floodplains and side channels back to the river system, distributing fish carcasses to bring more nutrients to the ecosystem and playing a role in the removal of the Marmot and Little Sandy Dams in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The group will celebrate the two decades of stream improvements, plus the 10th anniversary of the removal of the Marmot Dam, from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Riverview Restaurant, 29311 SE Stark Street in Troutdale.

Steve Wise, SRBCW’s Executive Director, noted that the group’s aim is for the Sandy River basin to be an anchor habitat for the lower Columbia River, and that the early indications are that their work is paying off.

“We’re going to be a salmon stronghold for the Columbia,” Wise said. “If people stay with us, we can do it.”

Wise will deliver “The State of the Sandy” at the event, including statistics on how the basin has changed in particular over the past decade, or what amounts to 2.5 generations of salmon. He noted that there are increases in wild fish, particularly with spring Chinook and wild steelhead, with numbers in the past decade substantially higher than in the previous one.

“From that, we take great encouragement,” Wise said. “It’s too early to declare victory, but we can definitely declare progress.”

The numbers for Coho and fall Chinook are not quite as positive, partly due to the accuracy of the numbers due to the water conditions at that time of year. But Wise also stressed that removing the two dams were only part of the puzzle to help raise the numbers of salmon in the basin.

“Dam removal was a great leap forward for the river, but that alone wouldn’t be enough to restore wild fish,” he said, citing the other types of projects the group has been a part of since then, such as planting native vegetation and removing invasive species. “The trick is that rivers are complicated and fish biology is complicated.”

Wise noted that one big factor in improving the basin has been the willingness of the community to help, including landowners who own property next to a river. He cited an example of a floodplain restoration project upstream of Brightwood, where the community members of Timberline Rim stepped up to provide $20,000 to the effort.

“They contributed cash to planning and building of side channel restoration because they felt responsible and saw it was worth the community getting together,” Wise said. “The willingness of the community is a huge asset and a critical piece of the future of the Sandy.”

Wise added that when decision was made to remove the two dams, it was a “radical notion,” but since then, thousands of other dams have been removed throughout the country, including a number of larger ones.

“We’ve proven that not only can you do it, but it’s a productive and essential step for watersheds,” he said.

Wise noted that in the coming years, the council plans on performing more restoration efforts, including additional areas in the upper Sandy River and areas that have been shown to be more productive habitat for fish than originally thought, including Beaver Creek and Kelly Creek in the lower Sandy.

He also added that keeping people aware of the importance of salmon habitat will play a key role moving forward, particularly with the numbers of recreational visitors increasing to enjoy biking, skiing, paddling and more.

“That’s going to be important in the long run; people will keep coming,” Wise said. “The Sandy is a regionally significant natural resource.”

“We’ve got a really strong running start on the restoration side of things; having a free flowing river is a tremendous advantage,” he added. “It will take more than one decade to recover from the impacts of a century.”

The SRBWC celebration and The State of the Sandy will include appetizers and desserts, including coffee, tea, juices and a cash bar. There will also be a silent auction, including art and tickets to the Portland Thorns. The event is sponsored by Portland General Electric’s Habitat Fund, Metro and the Port of Portland. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $15 for students, and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sandyversary-tickets-36497845037.

For more information, visit http://sandyriver.org/.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Welches Schools assessment scores rebound last year posted on 10/02/2017

The Oregon Department of Education released the 2016-17 state assessment results in September, with the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) above state averages of percentage of students meeting state academic standards in English Language Arts (ELA), math and science in all grade levels.

After lower scores in ELA and math in the 2015-16 school year, the Welches Schools rebounded to post similar scores in both areas to the 2014-15 school year.

Welches Elementary School saw a small increase in its science score, from 77.1 to 79.2, while the middle school experienced a small decrease, from 82.4 to 78.9.

Welches Schools Principal Kendra Payne wrote in an email that the differences in scores each year is normal, while drawing conclusions from those changes is not necessarily an effective practice.

“Test results for each year are a snapshot of what individual groups of students know and can do during the testing timeframe, so some fluctuation can be expected,” she noted. “Comparing results from year to year is essentially comparing the abilities of different groups of kids, and can be misleading.”

Welches Elementary came in above the state average for ELA for 2016-17, while the middle school came in below the state average. Both schools were slightly above the state average in math, with the elementary school slightly above in science and the middle school above the state average in science by nearly 14 percentage points.

The district utilizes other methods to assess student achievement, including interim assessments (including written, verbal, observation and web-based) by teachers. These assessments offer teachers immediate feedback on any gaps in learning and allow them the opportunity to adjust teaching strategies to improve student outcomes.

Payne noted that the state results align with the district results.

“We are seeing increased use of problem solving and critical thinking strategies by students in the classroom, which are reflected in state assessment results,” she wrote.

Payne added that the Oregon Trail School District has received a grant for its elementary schools to be trained in RTI, a proven method of identifying students in need of academic support and developing effective supports for them, as a way to improve student achievement.

“The work we started last year in using iReady, an interim assessment system, has also assisted us in identifying students who need more support and customizing the type of support they need,” she wrote.

“We are actively engaging students in their learning, making sure they develop the skills and habits to be lifelong learners while building a foundation of basic content knowledge and skills,” Superintendent Aaron Bayer added in a press release. “We are proud of our team of teachers, counselors, and support staff for their unwavering commitment to every student who walks through our doors.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Vets get a lift up at county Stand Down posted on 10/02/2017

(MT) – Hundreds of homeless veterans will be provided with a broad range of necessities at the East County Veterans Stand Down.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21 at The Chapel, 27132 Stark Street in Troutdale.

Registration starts at 9 a.m. and a free lunch will be provided from noon to 2 p.m.

The Stand Down will provide access for vets to food, clothing, medical, legal and mental health assistance, job counseling and referral, and companionship.

Vets are encouraged to bring along their four-legged friends for wellness exams, vaccines, toenail trims and ear cleaning by Banfield Pet Hospital.

For homeless veterans on the Mountain, bus passes are available at the Hoodland Library. Those needing a ride are encouraged to contact Eileen at 503-753-2179.

Last year’s Stand Down served 189 veterans, 11 received haircuts, six received dental care, 45 got legal advice, and 34 pets – mainly dogs – received veterinary care.

Thirty-five service providers were on hand and 225 volunteers gave their time to the extraordinary event.

The first Stand Down was held in San Diego in 1988, and the popularity of the event grew steadily to 190 events being held each year throughout the country.

Volunteers can sign up for the Stand Down by email to: stand_down@thechapelonline.org.

Photo by Pat McAbery
Hoodland Fire helps fight Eagle Creek Fire posted on 10/02/2017

Two crews from the Hoodland Fire District (HFD), each featuring a brush unit with two firefighters, helped fight the Eagle Creek Fire last month, as part of a Clackamas County task force. HFD was one of a number of districts mobilized statewide to help battle the blaze, and HFD Chief John Ingrao noted the two crews worked nights and were assigned to various areas during their assignments, including performing structural protection and suppressing the fire from moving quickly.

Ingrao noted the fire offered some challenges, including its size, the steepness of terrain, heavy smoke and falling debris.

“We’re trained to fight wild land fires, and it was just a different location with the urban interface being the critical priority,” Ingrao said.

Ingrao added that the HFD’s proximity to the fire meant that he was briefed every morning and evening on the fire.

“We were very well in tune to the dynamics that were going on,” he said.

Mountain resident Pat McAbery, a firefighter with the Gresham Fire Department, also spent a week on the Eagle Creek fire after spending a week at the Chetco Bar Fire near Brookings. As part of his duties in providing structural protection, McAbery spent time near the Eagle Creek fish hatchery, including working on sprinkler systems used to protect a bridge and later protected a house in Warrendale next to one that had been lost.

McAbery added that the fire was much different than some of the other wildfires he’s battled, such as ones near The Dalles and Warm Springs, which are typically grass fires that run fast and then go out, calling the Eagle Creek Fire an “eye opener” for firefighters who are used to quick events.

He noted that while the fire was extremely destructive, not all was lost in the blaze and the landscape is not completely charred.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s burned up, but there’s an amazing amount that’s not,” he said, noting that about half of the big trees remain. The gorge will be forever different, but it’s not destroyed. There are places that are totally gone and places that are totally not gone. It will recover.”

Ingrao said that the HFD is fortunate to enjoy fairly moist conditions in general, but that if different conditions lined up, especially with a suspicious ignition source, an event like the Eagle Creek Fire could happen anywhere.

“I firmly believe we are just lucky and fortunate, because it could have happened here,” he said.

The district did not see an increase of medical calls for respiratory problems during the Eagle Creek Fire, but did get a number of calls from people who smelled smoke and thought there was a fire nearby. Ingrao noted that the district responded to all of them, and found it was smoke drifting over from the Columbia Gorge.

The district did see an uptick of old campfires reigniting in dispersed camping areas toward the end of August, likely ones that were put out but not drowned out.

Ingrao added that some fires may have been smoldering for months and that it takes a lot to fully extinguish a campfire.

“You really have to pour water on it, smother it, stir it, because it doesn’t get into the essence of the embers,” he said. “They can be very deep seated.”

Ingrao encouraged people to visit the website www.firewise.org to learn more about steps to help protect their homes from fire, including everything from various types of construction materials to different vegetation that can suppress flames.

District to hold open house

The HFD will hold its annual Open House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at the main fire station, 69634 Hwy. 26 in Welches.

The event will feature demonstrations, including auto extrication, and partner organizations such as the Red Cross.

For more information, visit the HFD’s Facebook page.

By Garth Guibord/MT

ODOT sign project impacted by dry conditions, may be delayed posted on 10/02/2017

Construction on the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)’s RealTime sign project on Mount Hood was suspended for part of September due to fire danger on the Mount Hood National Forest, potentially delaying completion of the project until next spring.

The signs will offer up to the minute traffic information and advisories, including road conditions and travel times between destinations.

“That put us behind schedule, we don't know how much at this point,” said Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs.

The fire restrictions were lifted in late September, but not before losing approximately four weeks of work time. The project had originally been slated to be complete in November, and if crews will have to finish the job in the spring, they will have to wait for the snow and ice to melt before resuming work.

Dinwiddie noted that with work resuming, travelers can expect to see paving the highway’s shoulders, installing guard rails and sign installation in the early part of October. The work is expected to necessitate single lane closures, with delays up to ten minutes, at times.

Once the project is complete, the signs are expected to be operational sooner than initially thought. According to Dinwiddie, ODOT will utilize software from the RealTime signs on Hwy. 217, with some fine tuning, to reduce the lag time before they start working.

For more information on the RealTime sign project, visit TripCheck.com/realtime.

Eagle Creek Fire impact

Dinwiddie added that Hwy. 26 experienced “noticeable congestion” in September during the period of time that Interstate 84 was closed due to the Eagle Creek Fire, although no firm numbers were available at press time. SR 14 in Washington was closed to semi-trucks at that time, with the remaining options for getting around the closures as Hwy. 26 or routes to the south.

Dinwiddie said that landslides are expected to impact Interstate 84 this winter and that any future closures of the interstate could impact traffic on Hwy. 26 in the coming months.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Comedy show gets laughs at the Lodge posted on 10/02/2017

Slap your knees. Toss your head back. Wipe away the tears of hilarity. Let go.

The time has come to laugh away an entire weekend.

Timberline Comedy Weekend is back, and the historic lodge has lined up six comedians to tickle your fancy and funny bone. The weekend of Oct. 13 and 14 is the date, and tickets are now available.

The shows run from 8 to 10 p.m. both nights, but space will be limited so grabbing tickets online is the only guarantee of getting a seat. They may not be available at the door.

The Timberline stage will feature Andrew Norelli, Josh Sneed and Kristin Key on Friday night, the 13th; and Dwight Slade, Lachlan Patterson and Ahmed Bharoocha on Saturday, the 14th. Alex Falcone will be master of ceremonies.

Andrew Norelli is a veteran of late night shows having appeared on Letterman, Ferguson, Kimmel, plus Comedy Central and Comics Unleashed.

In 2008, Josh Sneed finished second out of 100 of Comedy Central’s top comedians in the annual Stand-up Showdown competition, and released an album called “Unacceptable,” which iTunes selected as one of the top 10 comedy albums released.

Kristin Key is best known for being a season favorite on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” season 4. Dwight Slade’s career took him through the famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles to Portland in the 1980s. “Why should I live in LA when I can be just as miserable and unknown in Portland,” he said.

Lachlan Patterson recently finished runner-up on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.

Ahmed Bharoocha currently performs regularly at LA’s top clubs including The Comedy Store, The Improv and the Laugh Factory.

Alex Falcone will be the MC, and is a comedian and writer from Portland.

To make a reservation call 503-272-3251 or book online at timberlinelodge.com/comedy.

By Larry Berteau/MT

The updated bridge.
Swinging Bridge to strut its new look posted on 09/07/2017

It cost more than expected, but that’s often the case when history is on the line.

The Rhododendron Swinging Bridge, sorely in need of repair after more than half a century of service, got the repairs it required, and will be honored by a rededication ceremony to be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, on the site of the old swinger.

According to Doug McLain, project manager from Clackamas County, the repairs were originally estimated to be about $150,000. But after work was completed in April, the cost ranged closer to $200,000.

Most of the material is new, as only the metal superstructures at the north and south and the wire rope used for suspension remain from the original construction.

“Everything else is new material,” Steve Graeper, president of the Rhododendron CPO, wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “The metal was repainted and all the metal suspension rods were replaced. The wood decking and support structures were all replaced and the hand railing (and) sidewalls were lowered to allow for better viewing of the river while keeping with safety standards.”

The bridge enjoys iconic status in Rhododendron and serves to unite the community as it sways above the Zigzag River. It was built by the county to provide a crossing for pedestrians following the flood of 1964 isolated many residents from Rhododendron.

“I hope that the community recognizes its importance and elects to make the north end of the bridge an area that is a welcoming entrance to Rhododendron,” Graeper wrote.

The rededication ceremony will include all five Clackamas County commissioners including Chair Jim Bernard, Paul Savas, Martha Schrader, Ken Humberston and Sonya Fischer. The bridge’s history will be shared by Richard Dopp, the original designer of the bridge.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Mountain traffic falls short of fears for Great American Eclipse posted on 09/07/2017

The potential traffic gridlock and delays on Mount Hood surrounding the days of the Great American Eclipse never came to pass last month, although traffic in other areas of the state did see dramatic increases, according to Kimberly Dinwiddie, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Community Affairs. She noted that eastbound traffic on the mountain was up by 30 percent on Sunday, Aug. 20 (the day before the eclipse) compared to the same day in 2016, while eastbound traffic on the Friday and Saturday before actually decreased compared to the prior year.

“Things went much better than expected,” Dinwiddie said.

She added that traffic around Timothy Lake saw the most delays in the hours after the eclipse, particularly as traffic tried to merge from Skyline Road to Hwy. 26 and the vehicles returning from the Madras area.

“Once people got further down the mountain, traffic really thinned out,” Dinwiddie said. “We credit the travelers who made decisions to arrive early, stay put and leave late.”

Dinwiddie added that elsewhere in the state, travelers did not fare as well. On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Prineville experienced a 15-mile backup, while on the Monday of the eclipse, travel between Hwy. 217 and the Wilsonville area took approximately 30 minutes when it normally would have taken approximately nine minutes. She noted that there were also reports of travel from Salem to Portland taking three hours (three times the normal travel time), and that some travelers needed six hours to get out of Madras after the eclipse.

“We’re very fortunate that we didn’t see that on Mount Hood,” Dinwiddie said, adding that the coast saw “normal summer congestion” around the eclipse.

The Oregon National Guard was brought in on Saturday, Aug. 19 to assist the Hoodland Fire District (HFD), including providing logistical support,  routing traffic and distribution of handouts. The HFD also implemented the use of two BMW adventure sport motorcycles staffed with a Paramedic and EMT to respond to emergency incidents, to provide advanced medical care and scene management ahead of larger fire engines.

Dinwiddie added that work on the RealTime sign project on Hwy. 26 will include minor shoulder closures in September, but the project is still expected to be complete by the end of the year.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Lions Club Chili Cook-off returns to help Learning Center posted on 09/07/2017

In the last two years, there have been some fun and different entries into the Mount Hood Lions Club’s annual Chili Cook-off, with ingredients ranging from the traditional to not-so-traditional, such as rabbit and mole. Last year, Hoodland Fire District’s Scott Kline took home both the judge’s and people’s choice awards with his chili that featured flank steak smoked for eight hours.

“It’s really interesting, I love tasting them all,” David Buoy, Lions Club member and third Vice President, said.

This year will be the third for the event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Lions Club, 24730 E. Woodsey Way in Welches, but it also offers so much more than delicious chili. Event goers will also have the opportunity to buy plants donated by area nurseries and peruse classic cars, all while raising money to support theMount Hood Learning Center. In the past two years, the event has raised approximately $3,000 for scholarships for local children to attend the preschool.

“We are beyond thankful to the Lions Club to be able to offer something like this to help out our program and the community,” Alicia Sperr, president of the MHLC, said, noting the center helps prepare more than 30 children each year for school. “We’ve been very fortunate to receive some great benefits to give back to the kids in the community.”

Buoy noted that he hopes this year’s event is successful enough to provide three scholarships.

This year’s event features a new voting method, with the people’s choice award (voted by event goers) going to the best submission from a non-profit/organization and the judge’s choice (voted by three judges unaffiliated with the Lions Club) going to the best submission from an area restaurant. Buoy also noted that some classic cars will be on hand this year, including a Model A, two Packards and a Jaguar.

Chili tasting begins at 11 a.m., and tickets cost $5 for presale or $6 at the door. Tickets will be available at Clackamas County Bank, Welches Mountain Hardware or by calling 503 422-1117.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Courtney Minnehan (left) and Collin McDonald.
Charlie’s get its Mountain back posted on 09/07/2017

It seems like an improbable journey. Artistic, for sure. But possible, not likely.

Courtney Minnehan is an art teacher in New Hampshire. She owns her own art company, Island Roots Designs, that she started in high school on Martha’s Vineyard.

Collin McDonald just graduated high school in Boise, Idaho. He is headed to Boise State University this fall to pursue his education in the arts – focusing on comic design and concept art.

Then there’s Perrin Stronach, a bartender at Charlie’s Mountain View in Government Camp, and Andrew Loaiza, the camp director for High Cascade Snowboard Camp.

If you’re thinking that in some way they all collided in Government Camp, you’d be right, and also, possibly, prescient.

It all started with the Charlie’s bartender.

“Perrin saw the opportunity for a mural when High Cascade Snowboard Camp (HCSC) built their annual skate park in the parking lot across from Charlie’s, exposing a giant blank wall,” Minnehan wrote in an email to The Mountain Times.

“When I arrived in town, Perrin explained to me how incredible it would be if I could paint Mount Hood on that empty space across the street.”

Charlie’s view of Mount Hood was taken away with the building of the Government Camp General Store in 2006.

Minnehan was taken with the idea. She talked to Loaiza of HCSC to get approval, and having secured the OK, she talked McDonald into joining her on the project.

“It took Collin and I three days to paint it, about fourteen hours in total,” Minnehan wrote. “In those three days, we had so many people stop and compliment us on our work. We even had a crowd of people, including Charlie Jr., watching us paint all day from the bar inside of Charlie’s.”

Minnehan knew when she asked to paint the mural that it was only going to be up for a month or so until the camp was done.

After seeing how much the community enjoyed looking at it, that month didn’t seen long enough to Minnehan.

She asked Charlie Jr. if he’d like to hold onto the mural so they could keep the view.

“With the approval of Charlie and the help of Perrin and a few HCSC employees, the mural will be moved to Charlie’s backyard,” Minnehan wrote. “So, when you are playing a round of horseshoes, you can enjoy the beautiful view of Mount Hood.”

Minnehan will return to the East Coast to her teaching position and continue to supply art to six shops in the area, but she has plans to expand to stores in Oregon in the near future.

And McDonald will pursue his dreams of comic design stardom and concept art.

But in the meantime, their artistic endeavor in Government Camp precedes them.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Local artists on display at Fall Art Show posted on 09/07/2017

The Rendezvous Grill and Mt. Hood Art Online have already teamed up to showcase artwork by local artists on the restaurant’s walls. On Sunday, Sept. 24, more art and the artists behind them will be on hand as part of the Fall Art Show and Wine Tasting, also featuring free wine tastings and hors d'oeuvres.

“It’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” said Caryn Tilton, who started Mt. Hood Art Online, a website where mountain artists can gain greater exposure and connecting artists, patrons and collectors, two years ago. “We’re hoping for nice weather so we can put things out on the patio.”

Tilton noted that the show will include a range of works, including oil paintings, water colors and mixed media, with artwork also available for purchase. A number of artists are also expected to be on hand to discuss their art.

“For the artists, it’s an opportunity to share their art and perhaps sell something,” Tilton said.

Tilton added that if the event is well attended, she hopes to bring it back, perhaps on an annual or biannual basis.

The Fall Art Show and Wine Tasting will be held from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 at the Rendezvous Grill, 67149 Hwy. 26 in Welches. For more information, visit www.MtHoodArtOnline.com.

An artful season

The Wy’East Artisans Guild will present its latest art show, “Off Balance,” featuring works inspired by the Sandy Actors Theatre’s (SAT) production of, “How the Other Half Lives,” from Friday, Sept. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 1, at SAT, 39181 Pioneer Blvd. in Sandy.

The featured artist for this show is JoAnne Rohweder, who draws her inspiration from her surroundings. For this show, she painted an unintentional protest, contrasting our modern city and nature. She will also be displaying her art all September at the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, 38979 Pioneer Blvd. in Sandy.

The public is also invited to an artists’ reception at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, at SAT, for a viewing of the art with artists’ comments followed by a dress-rehearsal performance of the SAT production. Seating at the reception is on a first-come basis and donations will be accepted to benefit the Guild’s non-profit public programs.

The Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO) will hold the 2017 Fall Show, with an artists reception from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Visual Arts Gallery, Building 19, on the campus of Mount Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark Street in Gresham. The show, featuring the theme “Columbia River Colors,” runs from Saturday, Oct. 7 through Thursday, Oct. 26. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on weekends and holidays, and parking is free.

Approximately 300 paintings were submitted for the show, with only 80 selected by the show’s juror, Paul Jackson, a contemporary watercolorist. All of the participating artists are from Oregon and all original paintings in the show will be for sale.

For more information, visit www.watercolorsocietyoforegon.com

By Garth Guibord/MT

Jolynne Milone at Koya Kitchen.
A feast from the world found on the Mountain posted on 09/07/2017

Jolynne Milone has traveled the world, often in unexpected ways. She noted her first time abroad, she planned to be gone for a month, but ended up being gone for 18 months, journeying to India, then Kashmir, Pakistan, Bhutan, Thailand and more.

“The world’s a big place with very delicious food,” Milone said.

And those fantastic flavors she has discovered during her travel experiences are now available on the mountain, at Milone’s Koya Kitchen, offering dishes such as fried rice, ramen, udon, sushi and a rotating curry. The restaurant, located at 67886 Hwy. 26 in Welches, opened in March and has already built a solid fan base.

Milone’s culinary adventures belie her upbringing, when she was not exposed to a wide range of dishes.

“My parents weren’t very experimental with food, we always ate a lot of casserole,” she said.

Milone tries to keep things as original and classic as possible for her recipes, cooking things from scratch, including broths, while the noodles are made from raw dough from Japan.

She noted that for her curries, the different parts of India lended itself to different flavors of curry.

“You understand how the food and people change with topography,” Milone said.

Milone ended up on the mountain a little more than five years ago, when she was looking for a place to land after being in Japan for the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. A friend offered her a place to stay, so she got on a plane and came to Mount Hood.

“I just love the mountain, so I stayed,” she said. “You’ve kind of got to make yourself a job up here if you want to stay.”

Milone has worked in several capacities in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, including bartending, serving, managing and the front of house. But she added she’s learned a little bit about the efforts that go on in the kitchen since she’s opened her restaurant.

“I have a whole new appreciation for the people who cook in the kitchens up here, its hard work,” Milone said. “I take really good care of my cooks.”

She has created a relaxed atmosphere inside, with old movies and mountaineering videos playing in the background, and she hopes to bring that atmosphere outside by working in the garden and building a pagoda with a fire pit.

“I want to make a good space for people to come and just retreat,” Milone said, adding that she would like to add hammocks outside for outdoor movies at some point. “People come in all day long and they tell me the space feels good and they’re relaxed and the food tastes good.”

For more information, including the menu, search for “Koya Kitchen” on Facebook or call (503) 564-9345.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Wheeler's latest book cover.
Local author’s book climbs to Amazon No. 3 in less than a week posted on 09/07/2017

There are zombies among us, and Brightwood author Harlan Wheeler has creeped forward to help us out.

His new book “A Zombie Guide to Self-Help” has been released by Beachwood Publishing Company and streaked to No. 3 on Amazon.com is less than a week.

Wheeler, a three-time bestselling author, gets to the heart of finding a way through the maze and haze of modern society with his new book.

“Even when you think you have a deep sense of clarity, the chaotic world around us can be smoggy, suffocating and confusing, and this book is a great reminder that we need to pay attention in ways we’ve never really had to in the past,” Wheeler said. “It all comes down to this: don’t let the ghouls steal your dreams.”

 “We are living in a world of zombies and we forget what it means to live an authentic, happy and amazing life,” said writer, editor and coach Dawn Zigzag Montefusco. “This book inspires people to get rid of their bad habits … and instantaneously experience a better life. And, the book is fun and funny, while also being poignant. It really cuts to the chase as to things one needs to change in life.”

Wheeler has written five books of non-fiction and is a self-proclaimed inspirational troublemaker and poet. He has a large following on Facebook (the warrior of inspiration). You can find him on Amazon and at his website www.harlanwheeler.com.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Photo courtesy of NASA
A Date with Totality: traffic delays expected around eclipse posted on 07/31/2017

When the moon blocks out the sun during the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, a narrow band of Oregon will lie in the area of totality where viewers can experience a complete eclipse. And with Oregon as the first state to experience totality, an influx of visitors – perhaps as many as one million – are expected to flock to the Beaver state and travel to a location within that totality.

Madras and other areas in eastern Oregon will offer prime locations for eclipse viewers, and traffic on Hwy. 26 around the event is expected to dramatically increase. Kimberly Dinwiddie, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Community Affairs, likened it to traffic usually reserved for winter break, when it can take up to three hours to travel between Government Camp and Sandy.

“In the days surrounding the eclipse, we can expect the same type of congestion and that’s what we’re preparing for,” Dinwiddie said, adding that ODOT is expecting much higher traffic in four areas within the path of totality: the Oregon coast, Salem, Madras and other areas in eastern Oregon.

Dinwiddie’s message to the mountain community, echoed by a multitude of other government agencies, is clear: be prepared. Don’t travel if you don’t have to (consider biking or walking as alternatives), stock up on essentials (groceries, prescriptions, gas, etc.), let visitors know ahead of time what to expect and make sure that emergency services can get through. And if you do travel, take food and water, plan for bathroom breaks and leave ample time to arrive at your destination.

“Bottom line: arrive early, stay put and leave late,” Dinwiddie said, adding that ODOT will make sure there are no lane closures on Hwy. 26 for its RealTime sign project around the eclipse. “We want everybody to have a good time.”

Hoodland Fire District (HFD) Chief John Ingrao noted that the district will be “heavily staffed” around the time of the eclipse, adding that the timing of the event provides increased danger during fire season. He noted that the district is working with other agencies, including the Clackamas County Emergency Management, to prepare for responding to emergencies.

“The planets are aligned for this to be a very bad thing,” Ingrao said, adding that the annual Hood to Coast marathon will occur only days after the eclipse. “The philosophy is to hit things with as many pieces of equipment as possible to keep it small.”

Ingrao added that mountain residents can lessen their risk by reducing their exposure, including making sure vehicles are in good working order before finding yourself in gridlock, which could start as early as Thursday, Aug. 17 and stretch into Wednesday, Aug. 23.

“The common wisdom is to be prepared and take care of yourself,” he said, noting that the Mount Hood area could experience increased traffic on forest roads as viewers seek out alternative locations at higher elevations to get good views of the eclipse. “There could be a significant amount of people causing delays.”

Jim Todd, Director of Space Science Education at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), noted that some part of the world experiences the totality of an eclipse once every year or two, it’s just a matter of being at the right place at the right time.

The last totality that occurred in Oregon was in February, 1979, and before that was in 1918.

Todd stressed that weather will make a huge difference for viewers, and if people are lucky, they will be able to see a myriad of heavenly bodies, including bright stars, bright planets and even a shooting star as part of the Perseid Meteor Shower.

“You’re looking at the moon’s shadow over you,” Todd said. “Everybody will remember for the rest of their lives. It’s a very exciting event, it’s an incredible event.

Todd added that the state will not experience another totality for 154 years (while there will be approximately 25 partial eclipses able to be seen in Oregon in the next 50 years and an annular eclipse, when the moon appears smaller as it blocks out the sun, in 2023).

“It’s rare in terms of location, as far as Oregon goes,” Todd said. “It’s really been a fever pitch. Everywhere we go, we talk about it every day. It’s in our backyard.”

“It’s beyond anybody’s imagination the large volume of people coming,” he added.

The next total eclipse will occur on July 2, 2019, with the area of totality passing through Argentina.

Todd stressed that everyone viewing the eclipse should wear proper eyewear to protect their eyes, such as ISO certified solar viewing glasses. Sunglasses, he warned, will not work and eye damage to the optic nerves in the back of the eye can occur in as few as ten seconds, even if no pain is felt

“You cannot fix it, it’s permanent,” Todd said.

Todd also suggested keeping pets inside, adding that viewers, “don’t want to waste your two minutes chasing your pet down.” And he noted that from what he’s heard, anybody seeking out a spot in the area of totality can “expect company.”

“Without question, every corner of land seems to be taken,” he said.

For more information on the eclipse, visit https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

By Garth Guibord/MT

Eclipse 2017: Legend says a giant frog is heading toward the sun posted on 07/31/2017

Be thankful you live in modern times. The solar eclipse carried ominous overtones in ancient cultures – omens of death and destruction.

Chinese legend has it that failing to predict a solar eclipse put the emperor in danger. Thus, in 2134 BC, astrologers Hsi and Ho were put to death for such oversight.

In Vietnam, it was once true that a solar eclipse was due to a giant frog devouring the sun.

The Norse accused wolves of eating the sun.

In China, a dragon dined on the sun.

Hindu mythology has it that Rahu was beheaded by the gods for drinking the gods’ nectar. His head flew off and eclipsed the sun.

Koreans believed dogs stole the sun.

The Pomo Indians of the Pacific Northwest believed a bear got in a fight with the sun and took a bite out of it. The Pomo name for a solar eclipse is “Sun got bit by a bear.”

In some parts of the world, eclipses are still seen as evil omens. Some cultures have pregnant women and young children to stay indoors, believing them to be in danger during a solar eclipse. In India, today, some people fast during an eclipse as they believe food cooked at that time will be poisonous.

But then the Italians come to the solar eclipse rescue. They believe that flowers planted during an eclipse grow brighter and more colorful than those planted at any other time.

Fortunately for those who lived in fear during ancient times, most calendar years have but two solar eclipses. The most that can occur in the same year is five. According to NASA, only about 25 years in the past 5,000 have had five solar eclipses. The last time was in 1935. The next time will be in 2206.

Babylonians and Chinese were able to predict solar eclipses as early as 2500 BC. Thus, the very fact that we know one is on the way to the Mountain community is no great feat.

And just to be completely safe, if you live anywhere near water, keep an eye on the frogs.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Carl Solomon
A music festival with ‘peak’ interest posted on 07/31/2017

Jon Tullis, Director of Public Affairs for Timberline Lodge, described the annual Mountain Music Festival as a time when, “Timberline lets its hair down a little bit.” This year’s event brings in folk, bluegrass and Celtic musicians from near and far, starting at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4 at the iconic lodge’s amphitheatre, with music going until sunset.

“There’s some real high energy bluegrass to good country, folk and great vocals,” Tullis said. “It’s going to be a great show.”

The lineup features local musician Carl Solomon, a Portland singer-songwriter who performs in the storyteller tradition, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, The Way Down Wanderers, The Railsplitters and We Banjo 3, a “Celtgrass” band featuring banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin.

Tullis noted this year’s lineup offer some youthful energy, with bands that are playing at festivals all over the country, including two (We Banjo 3 and Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys) who will head to the Sisters Folk Festival after their gig near the top of Mount Hood.

“I think it’s a good complimentary lineup,” Tullis said, adding that the routes bands take during their summer tours often plays a role into who is available to play at Timberline.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will also feature the “Pickin’ Patio,” where festival goers can bring their own instruments, and the chance for different organizations to do some outreach, including the Friends of Timberline, the Pacific Crest Trail Association and Filson, a clothing maker who more than 100 years ago had the first contract with the U.S. Forest Service to make their uniforms.

Tullis noted he likes to feature a local musician at the festival, such as Solomon, who was selected to be a performer at the Portland International Airport and who also organized the Portland chapter of Soldiers Songs and Voices, a nonprofit that provides veterans and their families with free instruments and songwriting workshops as a form of post-conflict care.

Solomon is familiar with Timberline Lodge, even playing at the Ram’s Head Bar last December, and is looking forward to returning to the landmark for the festival.

“It’s an amazing piece of art,” he said. “The first time I saw it we went up to do some skiing, and it just took my breath away. It’s just an honor to have a chance to play there and have that kind of view.”

Solomon noted he plans on playing both new material and at least one song from his first CD, plus one that tells the story of his first job out of college as a carnival barker.

“It taught me to rhyme on my feet,” Solomon said of the job. “Basically you’re just supposed to continue to talk and have a cadence and a rhyme and a sense to your voice. That actually has proven to be a very helpful background.”

Tullis framed the event as a party for the mountain, and festival goers should be ready to enjoy themselves and have a good time.

“I like to tell people to bring their dancing shoes, I think people will be on their feet,” he said.

Music will take place rain or shine, but no dogs or picnic lunches. For more information, call 503-272-3134.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Tansy Ragwort
Keep an eye out for that Ragwort villain posted on 07/31/2017

There’s a killer loose on the Mountain. His name is Ragwort. That’s Tansy Ragwort to you, pal.

The invasive weed tansy ragwort has a long and deadly history in the Pacific Northwest. It is believed to have been brought here in the early 20th Century through ballast water from ships.

This noxious plant is dangerous to humans and livestock due to a poisonous alkaloid in its tissue which causes liver damage when ingested, according to Lisa Kilders, education and outreach program manager for the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District.

“Horses and cows are especially susceptible to this poisonous weed with death occurring after consuming 3 to 8 percent of body weight,” Kilders wrote in a press release to The Mountain Times. “Humans can also be harmed from tansy ragwort by consuming the plant, consuming livestock suffering from liver damage … by consuming animal products such as milk (made from liver damaged cows), and honey (made with tansy ragwort nectar).”

Ragwort is an especially familiar sight in rural communities. It prefers a cool, wet climate, well-drained soils and full to partial sun.

“You can see patches of tansy in pastures, fields, grasslands, vacant land, waste places, horse trails, roadsides, rangeland, riparian areas, and clear cuts,” Kilders wrote.

Tansy ragwort is a biennial, taking two years to complete its lifecycle. In its first year, it appears as a ground-hugging rosette, transitioning in its second year up to six feet in height. It blooms in late spring and early summer with yellow flowers. The stems are green, sometimes with a reddish tinge, and the leaves are dark green and ruffled.

Control methods

Rosettes should be dug up, removing the root. Because it is toxic, wear gloves and protective clothing. Pulled plants should be bagged and placed in the municipal waste.

Mowing is not a good control method. While it may prevent the plant from immediately producing seeds, it also stimulates additional growth.

Insects have been introduced – most notably the Cinnabar moth – to help control the invader. The caterpillars of the moth feed on the flowering ragwort during the summer.

For information on how to control the tansy ragwort with chemical controls, contact the WeedWise program at 503-210-6000.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Gourmet meat company opens location in Sandy posted on 07/31/2017

(MT) - General Manager Dale Rasmussen, a life-long Sandy resident, has swung open the doors of his local meat shop.

Timberline Meat, located at 38525 Proctor Blvd, in Sandy, is a family owned business that promises the finest in high quality meats.

“Timberline Meat was created to fulfill the growing desire of people in the area for wholesome, high quality meat from local ranchers who use humane and responsible livestock practices,” Rasmussen said. “Supported by our local USDA inspected processing facility, we are experts at providing skilled, crafted cuts of meat using the best possible industry standards.”

Timberline Meat products include locally produced beef, pork and poultry. In addition, the Sandy shop will offer an assortment of locally produced sauces, condiments, rubs and spices.

Timberline Meat’s history goes back to 1977 with P&C Meat, prior to being purchased by Sandy businessman Bob Nippert in the mid-90s. The firm has since been operated under the name U.S. Meat and Restaurant Supply providing custom meat under daily USDA inspection to restaurants and hotels in the Portland metro area.

For more information about Timberline Meat email to dale.rasmussen@timberlinemeat.com.

Hoodland Lutheran starts Tuesday services with new format posted on 07/31/2017

Pastor Don Voeks started leading the congregation at the Hoodland Lutheran Church more than three years ago and through the years has heard from people in the community who can’t make the Sunday morning service, but would like to be able to. Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 1, Voeks and the church will offer a new service, featuring different music and a new format designed to draw in some of the younger mountain population who are busy during weekends with work.

“I really do like the idea of doing new and different things,” Voeks said. “It challenges me to find new ways to present the gospel and hopefully it challenges the people who are part to think in new ways also. This is really a service designed for those people who work on Sunday, but would like to come to a worship service.”

For the new service, at 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday at the church (59151 Hwy. 26 in Brightwood), Voeks noted the pews will be arranged differently from the traditional straight lines focused at the altar. Instead, they will be set in a circle with Voeks offering a short introduction to a sermon and opening it up to a larger discussion among church goers, rather than a standard lecture.

“Hopefully that will encourage some interaction between people,” Voeks said, describing the service as “more casual” than most church services. “I would hope to get some discussion about what other people think about it.”

The music will have a different vibe, too, with Tim Carlisle offering some older styles of church music with a jazz clip.

“He is much more improvisational, so we’re looking forward to him having more free reign,” Voeks said. “We’re hoping we’ll be able to experiment more and do some different things.”

Voeks added that attendees will also have the opportunity to help shape the new service, including moving it to a different time slot, if needed. And he hopes that the new service will offer attendees a chance to enlighten and enrich each other, rather than just Voeks taking the lead.

“None of us has the truth,” Voeks said, noting he hopes to think deeper about his own spirituality as a result of the added service. “We need to be open and able to listen to each other and hear how each other responds to Jesus and the gospel.

“That’s my real point and what I really hope to have happen.”

Hoodland Lutheran Church holds a regular service at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Photo by Travis Nodurft
The Scene on Stage: August is a month of music and more posted on 07/31/2017

The audience at Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s (CRT) August production of “The Melody Lingers On” is sure to recognize some of the featured music written by Irving Berlin, even if they didn’t realize he’s behind the tune. Berlin wrote more than 1,500 songs in his life, with some of the more popular including “White Christmas,” “God Bless America,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and songs for the musical “Annie Get Your Gun,” including “No Business Like Show Business.”

 “It’s one of those shows that I think people are going to be dancing out of the theater,” said the director, David Smith-English, noting the show includes 46 of Berlin’s songs.

The production also offers some stories of the man behind all the music, with some pithy dialogue between songs about Berlin and the significant moments of his life. Smith-English added he wasn’t too familiar with Berlin until he saw a one man show at Portland Center Stage last year, which featured some of the same stories presented in “The Melody Lingers On.”

“The show kind of works through Irving Berlin’s life and gives you insights into where these songs came from, why he was writing them and what was happening in his life that was so personal,” Smith-English said.

Berlin arrived in America when he was five years old after his family fled Eastern Europe and the persecution of Jews at the time. He grew up in Brooklyn, but never had any formal training despite his success in the music industry. He served as an entertainer for troops during both World War I and World War II and displayed a strong sense of patriotism that Smith-English appreciates.

“In my sense of thinking, it’s the finest kind of patriotism, because he loved what the country gave him, the opportunity it gave him,” he said. “He loved the people; he wanted to bring people together. He wasn’t beating people up, but bringing together.”

Smith-English noted that Berlin was concerned about religious persecution and racism, adding that Berlin brought the first black woman to a Broadway stage with Ethel Waters singing in “Suppertime” about a wife who had just learned her husband had been lynched.

“It’s a pretty moving piece,” Smith-English said. “These are some of the things that are revealed in the show as you go along. He is remarkable.”

The show features five men and five women who are some renowned singers, including Mont Chris Hubbard, Susannah Mars, Merideth Kaye Clark, LaRhonda Steele and Don Kenneth Mason, choreography by Wesley “Angel” Hanson and a six-piece band directed by Lars Campbell.

“I think it’s a show that people are really going to enjoy,” Smith-English said.

CRT presents “Irving Berlin’s The Melody Lingers On,” directed by David Smith-English, from Thursday, Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 27, at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices are from $20-$36. For more information, visit clackamasrep.org or call 503-594-6047.

Sandy Summer Sounds and Starlight Cinema continues a summer of free entertainment with a final performance for the Sunday Sounds at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at the Theater in the Woods in Sandy’s Meinig Park, 17670 Meinig Avenue, featuring the Talbott Brothers, an alternative folk-rock duo.

Meanwhile, Wednesday Sounds kick off with the Sandy Hops & Blues Festival from 5:30-9:30 Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the Dale Nichols Main Stage in Meinig Park. The event features Hillstomp, an American punk blues duo, and Too Slim and the Taildraggers, a “whiskey” blues band, and the audience can bring a picnic or purchase food from Busy Bee Catering and Red Shed.

Wednesday Sounds will continue each week in August, with concerts from 6:30-8:30 p.m. featuring country/folk music from Kory Quinn & The Quinntessentials on Aug. 9, funk/soul/rock guitar player Scott Pemberton on Aug. 16, choral pop by Uplifting on Aug. 23 and Latin band Pura Vida Orquestra on Aug. 30.

The Starlight Cinema will offer family friendly movies at the Dale Nichols Main Stage every Saturday in August, starting at dusk. Audience members can bring a blanket or some lawn chairs. Movies include “Moana” on Aug. 5, “Lego Batman” on Aug. 12, “Pete’s Dragon” on Aug. 19 and “A Dog’s Purpose” on Aug. 26.

In case of rain, concerts will move to the Sandy Community Center, 38348 Pioneer Blvd., while festivals and movies will go on as planned (bring a raincoat or an umbrella).

For more information on Sandy Summer Sounds and Starlight Cinema, visit http://www.ci.sandy.or.us/Sandy-Summer-Sounds-Starlight-Cinema/

By Garth Guibord/MT

Tony DeMicoli
The Mountain’s Music Man posted on 06/30/2017

Tony DeMicoli’s foray into the music industry started by picking up a hitchhiker, but the seed for his career and how he went about his business was planted much earlier.

DeMicoli grew up in Brooklyn and spent many years as a young man kicking around New York, including having a friend who lived above Dangerfield’s, Rodney Dangerfield’s club. DeMicoli would pop in and noticed that Dangerfield, who had not found his fame yet, always remembered people and greeted them.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this was a way to run a club,’” DeMicoli said, adding that in those days he got to see Jefferson Airplane and other 60s bands at the Fillmore East. “I like the club scene. I like seeing people enjoying life.”

DeMicoli ended up in Jewel, where he made stained glass, and on one trip to Cannon Beach he picked up a hitchhiker, Richard Vidan, who had an idea for a club in Portland. That chance encounter landed DeMicoli the job of manager at the Long Goodbye in 1978; the start of two decades in helping foster the musical scene in Portland including his clubs Luis La Bamba and Club Key Largo.

This month, DeMicoli will be honored at a one-night celebration, called “Rockin’ for Tony,” featuring three of the bands he helped bring to the music scene, Quarterflash, Nu Shooz and Jon Koonce & The Lost Cause, on Sunday, July 16, at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland.

Marc Baker, one of the event’s organizers, met DeMicoli at the Long Goodbye and started to make a connection while he was running the college radio station at Oregon State University and getting invited to Luis La Bamba’s to see the bands DeMicoli booked there, including The Ramones, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bow Wow Wow and more.

“That was the place, that was Mecca back in the day,” Baker said. “He was kind of the top of the pyramid. There were other places, but there was only one La Bamba Club and that’s where all the cool bands were playing.”

Baker later managed the band The Crazy Eights, which frequently played at Club Key Largo, and he noted that DeMicoli was known for being an upstanding club manager.

“What Tony offered was the space and the freedom,” Baker said. “When you worked with Tony, a handshake was good and his word was good. He always supported artists and you knew you weren’t going to get worked. The list of people running clubs that you could say that about was a pretty short list.”

Baker added that the music scene in Portland in the 80s was much different than today, with hangouts such as record stores and music clubs that were prevalent then, now are almost gone. Back then, original local bands found a foothold in clubs like DeMicoli’s, along with bringing other established musicians to the area, including Cheryl Crow’s first Portland gig and John Lee Hooker.

“I just feel so lucky as a native Portlander to have been a part of that, on the outside and then on the inside,” Baker said.

Baker and Terry Currier, owner and operator of Portland’s Music Millennium record store, figured it was time to honor some of the people who made contributions to the music scene and landed on a tribute concert for DeMicoli, bringing back three of the bands from his time at Club Key Largo.

“Those are really three great examples of people Tony supported,” Baker said. “Three 80s acts that scored major record contracts that played on Tony’s stage.”

Currier, who started in record retail in 1972, met DeMicoli during his time at the Luis La Bamba Club. He noted that DeMicoli brought in a wide range of musical acts to perform, from older blues legends like Buddy Guy to the American soul band The Neville Brothers, while also offering regular gigs, such as a weekend every month.

“It was a different time and space,” Currier said. “Back then, club owners welcomed back artists to play on a regular basis on the local side. Today, there’s not very many clubs that have recurring acts playing in the same month.”

And when it came time to figure out the bands that would play at the tribute, it wasn’t a challenge.

“They just said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Currier said. “Tony had been very instrumental in giving them a platform for getting their music out to the public in this town when they most needed it.”

DeMicoli, who moved to the mountain for 17 years after he sold Club Key Largo, noted he’s grateful for the event, as too often these types of things occur after losing an influential person.

“So many great people have passed on and then they do a tribute for them,” DeMicoli said. “It’s kind of nice to feel that when you’re still alive and when you can really enjoy it.”

And DeMicoli continues to be involved in the music industry today with Blues Cruises at the Portland Blues Festival, the McMenamin’s Edgefield concert series, the Bite of Oregon, the Rose Festival and now booking bands at The Resort at The Mountain’s Mallards Restaurant on Saturday nights, proving that his passion for music has not faded.

“I loved seeing and promoting new bands,” DeMicoli said.

Baker warned, however, that for those who want to experience the music of DeMicoli’s clubs better mark Sunday, July 16 on their calendar.

““It’s just going to be a big love fest of great memories and good times and amazing stories,” Baker said. “Chop chop lollipop, you snooze you lose.”

Doors open at 6 p.m., with a 7 p.m. show, for “Rockin’ for Tony” on Sunday, July 16, at the Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside Street in Portland. The event is for ages 21 and older and tickets are available for $20.

For more information or tickets, visit www.crystalballroompdx.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Chef Jason Hornor
The secret of Skyway’s ‘molten noodledom’ posted on 06/30/2017

How Jason Hornor ever got out of Hooker’s Hamburgers must be one of those stories from which legends are made.

The Skyway Bar & Grill chef, having migrated to Oregon from Texas in 2000, grew up cooking, and Hooker’s was just one stop along the way.

“I was a latch key kid,” Hornor told The Mountain Times in an email. “I learned to experiment with food at an early age. We would always whip up some kind of creation after school. And cooking meat is in my blood.”

Seems Hornor’s grandfather had a “slew of barbecue joints” in Texas until the day he died. What followed was Hornor’s working in all kinds of restaurants – a pizza place, a Mexican place, an IHOP – including cavorting as manager of Hooker’s Hamburgers.

“I knew this was what I was going to do after I quit cooking for a while to have a VW restoration business,” he said. “That didn’t work out so perfect. I really missed cooking. I could not afford to cook expensive food for me and my friends so I accepted my fate and dove back in.”

That dive was the Mountain community’s gain. Hornor has plied his trade at The Skyway for what is now his 10th anniversary year. And despite his love of cooking meat, he is arguably most famous for his mac and cheese.

“Mac and cheese is a classic roadhouse/BBQ/southern side dish,” he said. “And every time I’ve ordered it at a BBQ place it looked so good until they spoon it up – all mushy noodles and grease.”

But Hornor’s Skyway mac and cheese is unique. “My secrets are: cool the noodles al dente, don’t over, or under, thicken the sauce, fill the bowl with noodles and space enough for the sauce, don’t put too much bread crumb, and cook it until it is perfectly bubbly and brown.”

Sounds easy.

But there’s more to it than that.

To wit, recently Hornor’s mac and cheese was recognized by Portland Monthly magazine and received the following laudatory comments from its culinary writer:

“Let’s be honest,” he wrote. “Restaurant mac rarely lives up to the dish lodged in our memory banks. It’s too soggy, too bland, and lacks that processed-salt shock hardwired into our brains since grade school. That is, unless you’re hunkered over a dish of molten noodledom at Skyway Bar and Grill … This is the mac you’ve been looking for. Chef Jason Hornor’s deceptively humble casserole tastes more fundamentally mac-y than other macs, plump pasta shellacked in sticky sauce, deeply cheesy and laced with chili fire, crowned with toasty shards and a corona of frizzles. It’s awesome.”

There will be a pause in the story to allow your trip to The Skyway.

OK, we’re back.

Hornor didn’t stop with mac and cheese. Next came barbecue.

“That was Tom’s (owner Tom Baker) idea,” Hornor said. “He asked how I felt about it, and if we could make a smoker out of the junk on the property, and that was it. I told him my grandfather was a barbecue genius and that set the ball in motion. I think barbecue is the perfect thing to have roadside on the way to the Mountain.”

Then came the grits. (This writer’s personal favorite)

“Grits are inspired by the classic cheese grits from the south,” he said. “Everybody has had polenta cakes grilled or seared but I wanted that crunch. So we experimented for a while with the method. At first they just exploded, but we finally figured it out.”

Hornor cited his staff as the real secret of his and The Skyway’s success.

“It really is a team effort around here,” he said. “From my beautiful wife to Joe King my kitchen manager, to every one of our staff members – everyone has got a hand in making us a success.”

So what’s next? Be on the lookout for wood fire cooking, Hornor added.

But after all of this, we still have to wonder what it must have been like at Hooker’s Hamburger joint.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Hwy. 26 sign project to impact weekday traffic posted on 06/30/2017

Legacy Contracting, the contractor for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) RealTime sign project on Hwy. 26, is expected to continue work through July, including drilling, installing electric conduit and pouring cement pads for the sign supports.

The electronic signs will offer up to the minute traffic information and advisories, including road conditions and travel times between destinations.

Lane and shoulder closures are expected to take place for the work, and while the contractor is allowed to work Monday through Saturday each week, Legacy has kept to a Monday through Thursday schedule.

Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted the custom-made signs could be installed sometime in August, but the signs will not be fully functional until a later date as ODOT will need to test the software.

“Compared to the project that we had over the past three summers, this one is much more minimal as far as impacting travelers,” Dinwiddie said. “I think everybody up there deserves a break from all the construction. We really appreciate the patience and understanding of all the community members up there.”

For more information, visit http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/Pages/MtHoodSigns.aspx

By Garth Guibord/MT 

‘A Line of Sight’ wheels through Welches posted on 06/30/2017

(MT) – Chris Mairs, 60, flashed through Welches June 20, putting the pedal down on one leg of his 3,653-mile cross-country trek.

Mairs, a tech entrepreneur from England, has set a goal of raising $144,000 for sight-restoring eye surgeries worldwide. He is legitimately inspired. He lost his sight at the age of 18 to a rare degenerative eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

Mairs rides behind his co-rider who steers and pedals.

The ride began June 18 in Astoria and the plan is to raise funds for 60 eye surgeries each day, over the span of 60 days, and averaging 60 miles per day. The $144,000 will restore sight to 3,600 men, women and children suffering from impaired vision. The ride will wind up August 7 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The campaign is dubbed “A Line of Sight” and is sponsored by SEE International, a nonprofit, humanitarian organization that provides medical, surgical, and educational services by volunteer ophthalmic surgeons with the primary objective of restoring sight to disadvantaged blind individuals.

For more information on the venture, or to donate, visit www.alineofsight.org.uk.

Sandy Summer Sounds returns in July posted on 06/30/2017

Katie Murphy, coordinator for the Sandy Summer Sounds, booked the band 3 Leg Torso for the event a few years ago and there was a buzz around town afterwards. Word had it that the band, an eclectic synthesis of chamber music, tango, klezmer, Latin, and Roma (Gypsy) music, was the best of that summer and there were many people who missed out.

For those that did miss it, the band is back for this year’s event, headlining the festivities on Sunday, July 30 as one of the Sunday Sounds.

“Hopefully they’ll make it out this time,” Murphy said of the people who missed Three Leg Torso last time. “It’s an experience you have to be there to get.”

The evening is one of a series for the Sandy Summer Sounds, offering Sunday acoustic concerts at the Theater in the Woods and Wednesday concerts at the Dale Nichols Main Stage, both in Sandy’s Meinig Park, 17670 Meinig Avenue. The events are free, with bench seating available for the Sunday performances (chairs are also welcome) and food and beverages available at the Wednesday concerts (concert goers can also bring their own picnic).

The events kick off on Sunday, July 16 with Wine in the Woods, from 4:30-8:30 p.m., featuring Blue Orchid at 5 p.m. and the Junebugs at 7 p.m. Jackalope Saints take to the stage at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 23, followed by the 6:30 p.m. performance by 3 Leg Torso on July 30.

Murphy noted that Blue Orchid features Gideon Freudmann, a cellist who has played the event before.

“He’s just so top notch, it’ll be a lot of fun,” she said.

The Starlight Cinema will also begin this month, with concerts and movies continuing into August. The first movie will be “Sing” on Saturday, July 29 at dusk in Meinig Park. Moviegoers can bring a blanket or some lawn chairs and enjoy the movie outdoors.

For a full list of concerts and movies, see the Mountain Guide on page 24 of this issue.

For more information on Sandy Summer Sounds and Starlight Cinema, visit http://www.ci.sandy.or.us/Sandy-Summer-Sounds-Starlight-Cinema/

In case of rain:

All concerts will move to the Sandy Community Center, located at 38348 Pioneer Blvd.

Festivals, and movies will go on, so bring a rain coat or an umbrella!

By Garth Guibord/MT

Fire district to welcome four new volunteers to its ranks posted on 06/30/2017

Near the end of July, four more dedicated individuals are expected to graduate from the Hoodland Fire District’s volunteer academy and join the ranks of the nearly 40 volunteer firefighters serving the district.

Andy Figini, who became the district’s Training Coordinator this year, notes that this year’s academy was brought up a notch with an adjusted schedule that allowed for more training. The new program included online classes that candidates would complete away from the station, allowing them to focus on drills and hands.

“We’re giving people more opportunity to train and to be proficient in their skills,” said Figini, a firefighter/paramedic for the district who spent 10 years as a volunteer with the Gladstone Fire District, adding that the goal was to spend less time in a classroom watching PowerPoint presentations. “That’s really how we learn our skills, by going out there and actually using the tools.”

In past years, the district would hold drills every Wednesday, but this year added a drill every shift, increasing the drill opportunities for members of the academy fivefold. This year’s academy was also a joint effort with the Molalla Fire District, featuring the majority of classes at Molalla.

Figini sees the newest additions to the volunteer ranks as solid firefighters who have made them known to the rest of the district.

“I think that they’re all pretty active, hoping they continue to be active throughout their career,” he said.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Policeman’s helmet weed Smackdown this month posted on 06/30/2017

(MT) – The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (SRBWC) and Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) are back, partnering for a fifth consecutive year to reduce the spread of a deceptively enticing garden escapee: policeman’s helmet – and local residents can help.

This streamside invader grows up to ten feet tall, producing white to purple flowers atop reddish stems throughout the summer. Exploding pods disperse the thousands of seeds per plant up to 15 feet, aiding its spread and sending seeds downstream.

Where it takes hold, policeman’s helmet can dominate other native forest plants, degrading critical river habitat.

As an annual, it leaves the banks bare in winter and vulnerable to erosion, impairing water quality for endangered salmon and other stream residents.

Consequently, policeman’s helmet is designated as a class B noxious weed and as a particularly high priority for removal in the upper Sandy and Salmon River Basins, where controlling it is still possible.

Thanks to lottery dollars channeled through the Oregon State Weed Board and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board grants, SRBWC is replanting native vegetation in some of the areas previously treated for policeman’s helmet. Following weed removal with native planting helps to secure areas from becoming re-infested.

SRBWC and CSWCD are focused on the Salmon River and upper Sandy as the upstream source of the weed’s spread, with help from youth and volunteers. Mt. Hood Community College’s Project Youth Employability and Support Services (YESS), University of Utah alternative spring break and Sandy High School (SHS) planted three sites: a section of the golf course at the Resort at the Mountain, the Salmon-Sandy River confluence and a site along the side channel at Wildwood. Contrary to their own common sense, 14 Sandy High School volunteers came out in the torrential rain on a March Saturday morning, to plant native vegetation and restore habitat.

“It was very impressive that these high school students not only showed up, but to see how motivated they were as the rain fell ever harder, plowing knee deep into mud to get these plants in the ground,” said Sara Ennis, SRBWC Stewardship Coordinator,.

SHS biology teacher, Jeremy McGee, said of his students: “These students have been studying environmental science all year and are super motivated to put their knowledge into action to benefit their local community."

To further prove their dedication, SHS students joined SRBWC to kick off the treatment season with a spontaneous policeman’s helmet weed-pull at Wildwood in early May.

Policeman’s helmet is very easy and even fun to pull. Just ask the students who declined visiting Wildwood’s beaver lodge in favor of pulling.

“I get it, pulling policeman’s helmet is fun and can be addictive,” Ennis said.

 Interested parties may try their hand at the SRBWC Policeman’s Helmet Weed Pull event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Wildwood Recreation Site, 65670 Hwy. 26 in Welches. The parking fee will be waived and participants should head straight down the drive toward the salmon river shelter and look for a volunteer registration table at the beginning of the circular parking lot

 For more information, visit sandyriver.org, email sara@sandyriver.org or call 971-325-4224.

Working with local residents is also key to Weed Smackdown victory. Property owners within 20 meters of the Salmon River or an infected area are encouraged to contact Sarah Hamilton with the CCSWCD at 503-210-6015 or shamilton@conservationdistrict.org to participate in the Weedwise program. Participation is free and completely voluntary. 

Learn how to fish at Trillium Lake.
Get kids hooked on fishing posted on 06/02/2017

If parents are casting about for summer activities for their children, the Zigzag Ranger District is tipping the scale in the direction of Trillium Lake.

The district will host its annual Free Youth Fishing Clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 24 at Trillium Lake, located off Hwy. 26 three miles east of Government Camp.

“This is a great event for the whole family, and an opportunity for kids to not only have fun fishing but to also learn about the aquatic environment and to be in the outdoors,” Darcy Saiget, fish biologist for the Mount Hood National Forest, wrote in a press release.

The clinic is free and intended for kids 12 and younger, but young adults and parents are also welcome. The children will have the opportunity to fish with an expert angler, learn catch and release techniques, and to learn how to cast.

Children should bring lunch, warm clothing, a rod and reel if possible, and a cooler to bring home their catch of the day. Limited quantities of rods and reels along with bait will be provided. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult, and licenses are required for anyone 13 years and older. Licenses are not available at the event.

Two area clinics were held in May and were deemed a success.

“Forest Service staff are thrilled with how many returning participants we had from past years and impressed by the participants positive attitudes and fishing skills,” forest service fisheries technician Cate Dillion wrote in an email to The Mountain Times.

Local clinic sponsors include Skyway Bar and Grill, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Welches Mountain Supply and Rhododendron Dairy Queen.

The event is held in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

By Larry Berteau/MT

May election returns four to school board posted on 06/02/2017

Randy Carmony and Kurt McKnight defeated their opponents to retain their positions on the Oregon Trail School District’s (OTSD) board of directors in the May election, while three others won uncontested races.

Vote totals through Thursday, May 25 showed McKnight defeating Travis Brewster for the Zone 3 (Welches) position by a vote of 2,507 (70 percent) to 1,097 (30 percent), while Carmony won his race for the Zone 7 (At Large) position with 1,657 (46 percent) votes, compared to 1,297 for Scott Stuart (36 percent) and 621 for Paul Elmore (17 percent).

“It is an honor to be reelected to serve another term on the OTSD board,” Carmony wrote in an email to the Mountain Times. “I take pride in ensuring the district provides the best learning opportunities for all of the students in the district and preparing today's youth for their future following school.”

McKnight noted that he will work to support the district’s theme, “Children Thrive Here,” while adding that there is work to be done to continue improving student outcomes.

“I look forward to continuing the efforts to reposition our career and technical education offerings to better serve the students and business in our community,” McKnight wrote in an email to the Mountain Times. “Being part of a fiscally sound district is something I am very proud of and will continue to help be the best stewards of our tax dollars. At a time when most districts are making cuts and growing class sizes we at OTSD are growing our offerings and staffing from K-12.”

Robert Lee won the Zone 5 (Cottrell/Bull Run), held by retiring board chair Terry Lenchitsky, with 2,517 votes; Marie Teune won the Zone 2 (Boring) with 2,650 votes and Marjan Salveter won the Zone 1 (North Sandy) with 2,646 votes. The Zone 2 position is a two-year term, while all others are four-year terms.

The Oregon School Boards Association noted that according to a survey they conducted, 1,018 individuals ran for school board positions throughout the state, the highest number since 2009. The number of candidates is up from the 817 that ran for school board positions in May, 2015, but this year’s election also saw 68.5 percent of races with just one candidate and another six percent with no candidates.

In other local election news, three positions on the Hoodland Fire District’s board were determined: Ron Partlow was elected to Position 3, Darcy Lais was elected to Position 4 and Cliff Fortune was elected to Position 5. All three races were uncontested and all three positions are four-year terms.

Measure 26-190, a general obligation bond for Mt. Hood Community College, was defeated in Clackamas County by a vote of 3,757 against and 2,740 for the measure, and defeated by an overall vote of 21,108 against to 17,084 for the measure.

Countywide, 55,355 of 271,779 (20.37 percent) registered voters voted in last month’s election.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Howard Bickle, Jr.
New theater hopes to ‘Pack’ the house posted on 06/02/2017

Howard Bickle, Jr.’s theatrical journey started in Sandy. His earliest endeavors came at Sandy High School, where his interest was fueled when Chris Harris became the drama teacher.

“I can’t say enough about how important these high school teachers are; (Chris Harris) inspired his students to play and create,” said Bickle, who now lives in Welches. “The last time I felt like throwing up before audition was in high school.”

After graduating in 1986, Bickle launched into his career, studying at the United States International University in San Diego (which Bickle described as the “college version of Fame”) and the University of Minnesota before working in theaters as an actor and director, including the Guthrie in Minneapolis and the La Jolla Playhouse.

And now his journey brings him back to where it all started, with Bickle returning to his roots and his family, including 15 nieces and nephews. This month, his latest theatrical endeavor, the Wolf Pack Theater in Sandy, will offer its inaugural production, “Chapter Two,” by Neil Simon.

Bickle sees potential for the new theater in the area, as he reflected on the number of years he spent in Ashland and witnessed firsthand the effect seven theater venues can have on a community. He also noted that he doesn’t see the new theater as competing with established theaters in the area, including Sandy Actors Theatre and Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company in Boring, but that more theaters can help support each other, particularly by fostering the artistic community of actors, directors, designers and more.

“More theater is actually better for the existing theaters,” he said.

Bickle plans on utilizing the people he’s met through the years, including graduates of SHS who have gone on to successful theatrical careers, Broadway professionals and other actors based around Portland who have appeared on television shows such as “Grimm” and “Leverage.”

The theater, located at 39570 Pioneer Blvd. on the east end of Sandy’s business district, is the smallest house Bickle has worked in, with a capacity of 49 seats. He noted that the intimate space is more like a film or TV studio, and the actors will have to take that into account for their performances.

“Here, honesty in the performances is so important,” Bickle said. “There is no hiding anywhere.”

He chose “Chapter Two” because of the parallels to his own life, as the show deals with the loss of a loved one. In the play, George Schneider, a recent widower, starts dating but ends up with bad matches until he finds the Jennie Malone.

“I immediately identify with it,” Bickle said. “If we’re focusing on honesty, the best art needs vulnerability and personal connections.”

Bickle, who is directing and playing the role of George, noted the play has the expected comedy and precision timing that Neil Simon is known for, but it also has some sensitive and dramatic moments along with “very relatable characters.”

“He’s much deeper than I had anticipated,” he said. “I think that’s what people will recognize with this show.”

Bickle is also utilizing his large family as a resource for the show, including his brother, Jason, serving as the master carpenter, his dad as the house manager and his mom as a seamstress.

And while Bickle is still honing the upcoming season for his fledgling theater, he hopes to include “Sylvia,” by A.R. Gurney and “The Weir,” by Conor McPherson.

And with all the support he’s received so far, Bickle has a good feeling about the latest chapter in his theatrical, and life’s, journey.

“We’ve got the right energy, so to speak, to make it work,” he said.

The Wolf Pack Theater presents “Chapter Two,” by Neil Simon, from Thursday, June 1 through Sunday, July 2, at 39570 Pioneer Blvd. in Sandy. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $18 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. For more information, visit www.wolfpacktheater.com or call 541-722-2667.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Whey better, barNONE posted on 06/02/2017

Corrine Konell was told a couple years ago following extensive food allergy testing that she likely could end up with an auto-immune disease later in life.

She was allergic to gluten and highly intolerant to cow dairy products.

Changes were necessary.

“Being a very on-the-go person while trying to stay fit and eat right is difficult as it is, but even more so when you can’t have just the normal stuff,” Konell wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “So, fueled by a frustration to ‘break out of the typical herd’ I got to work on creating a protein bar unlike any other.”

Turned out, it was a goat herd. It seems that goat whey has considerably less lactose than cow dairy, and less allergenic.

Konell went to work (the process has taken two years) on creating a protein bar unlike any other because “I was simply unable to find any clean/nutrient-dense snack or quick food product that was actually sustainable, and that I could have.”

After rigorous kitchen trial and error, clearing the difficult hurdles required by the FDA, and obtaining a trademark, Konell came up with a new marketable protein bar she dubbed, appropriately: barNONE.

At the moment, there are no goat farms in Oregon large enough to fill the new business needs, or are certified for what the FDA requires. Presently, the goat whey comes from a large farm in Wisconsin and is certified 100 percent grass-fed. But this source will change.

“I plan to get goats of my own next year, when our farm is set up,” she wrote.

Konell’s talents go beyond creating a new protein bar. She’s become a quick study in the marketing business as well.

“My scheme this early on has been on social media outlets and farmers’ markets … including the Nike Campus markets,” she wrote. “Our main focus right now is getting out there in the local communities so we can gain exposure, build relationships, and help customers become familiar with our brand.”

The barNONE protein bar is currently in small cafes, local gyms, nutritional shops, markets “and starting next month will be in New Seasons Markets throughout the Portland area,” she noted.

In the near future, marketing of the bar will include sporting events, ad campaigns, newsletters, expos and blogs.

And a kickstarter campaign looms to garner financial backing on a global basis.

The barNONE protein bar has come at a cost, however.

Konell will be leaving her longtime post at McKenzie Dental in Welches this month.

She admitted to being “very sad to leave the dental office, but on to new adventures.”

“All of the good, NONE of the bad” Konell’s website trumpets, and the site can be found at: www.barNONEprotein.com.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Skyway holds fundraiser in honor of lost friend, Josh Wuerth posted on 06/02/2017

Just one year ago, the Skyway Bar and Grill lost a good friend in Josh Wuerth, a local musician who often played there in his numerous bands.

After his death, the staff was left trying to figure out how to make sense of it, and their resulting tribute will be a fundraiser this month to benefit the Welches School music program.

“He was a really humble guy, so he might be a little embarrassed by it,” said Jason Hornor, the chef and general manager at Skyway, adding that Josh would be “really proud at the same time. We just want to celebrate his life and his impact on us.”

The event, “Music: It’s Wuerth It,” will be at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at the restaurant, 71545 Hwy. 26 in Zigzag, featuring auctions, raffles and music by Keegan Smith & The Fam, Acoustic Minds and the Steelhead Stalkers, Fingers & Chilly. Admission is $10 and includes two raffle tickets.

Hornor noted that Josh played with each of the bands on the bill for the fundraiser, while also working in the music industry doing sound and lights, and of course, always playing music.

“He played music all day every day,” said Hornor, who knew Josh for 10 years. “He played a mean guitar.”

Tracie Anderson, owner of the Skyway with her husband, Tom Baker, noted that Wuerth had numerous talents, including gardening, golfing, skiing, glass blowing and also helped build the pergola and mountainscape fence at the restaurant.

“Anything he did, he was really good at it; he was so cool,” said Anderson, adding that he was the “best food critic” and whenever he told them something about their food, they took it to heart.

Hornor added that it is fitting that the event benefits the music program, as Josh taught kids how to play the guitar, some of whom have gone on to play the open mic night at Skyway.

“Josh was always really excited about sharing his talent with younger kids,” Hornor said.

For more information, email Tracie at SkywayZigzag@gmail.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Mountain resident’s design selected autism walk posted on 06/02/2017

When participants of the Autism Society of Oregon’s annual walk hit the pavement on Sunday, April 30 at Oaks Park in Portland, they were clad in a t-shirt to commemorate the event; one that was designed by Brightwood resident Haley Montana.

Montana’s designs have graced the event t-shirt twice now, part of a contest held each year for the event. This year was the first year that Montana, who raised her autistic grandson, attended the walk.

“It was pretty amazing, they do a great job,” she said, adding that they had a number of different spaces to provide what different kids need. “They covered it all.”

Montana, who has lived on the mountain for two years, noted it was fun to see her design being worn by thousands of people, adding that she’d like to see some designs by younger people get selected.

For her design, she started by making an anagram from the phrase, “autism spectrum,” turning it into “capture’s summit,” and then making the ‘a’ into a mountain.

The design was selected from a number of submissions by a vote of all the volunteers involved with the event.

“The design really spoke to many of volunteers for its beautiful imagery as well as the notion that autism is a mountain for many people to climb: difficult but not insurmountable,” wrote Tobi Rates, Executive Director for the Autism Society of Oregon in an email to the Mountain Times.

Montana noted that her grandson, Vince, is now 22 and living on his own for nearly two years in a group setting where his medication can be monitored and he is ensured a hot meal each day.

She and her partner had to split their days while raising him to make sure that one was always around for him, including staying at school while he was there.

“It’s like God prepares you for this special kid,” Montana said. “He’s been a blessing to us, more than anything.”

“I love that he thinks way beyond the outside of the box,” she added. “I can embrace that, that he can think differently about things.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Constance Murray, 11, ponders a LEGO sculpture.
Night at the Museum (of Science and Industry) posted on 06/02/2017

In Ben Stiller’s 2006 movie, “Night at the Museum,” a curse makes the exhibits come to life, making for one mischievous evening.

Fortunately, for 49 students from Welches School, the night of Wednesday, May 17 wasn’t quite so dramatic when they trekked into Portland to spend a night at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

That’s not to say that there weren’t some disruptions.

“It was rough, it was very rough, a lot of people were snoring,” said Malakai Roches, 11, a fifth grader, who then added, “I actually feel well rested.”

The school used to go on the field trip on a yearly basis, noted fourth/fifth grade teacher Sharon Nobel, but stopped in 2011. But at the urging of fifth grade teacher Kalee Adams, fourth and fifth graders, along with Nobel, Adams and parent chaperones, broke out their sleeping bags and set up camp among OMSI’s exhibits in the science hall.

“I wanted to sleep at OMSI, who doesn’t want to experience that?” Adams said.

Students enjoyed an evening of dinner, a planetarium showing, a trip through the LEGO exhibit, “The Art of the Brick,” and lessons on a variety of subjects, including black bears, erosion, pollution, earthquakes and tsunamis. Four total schools and approximately 250 students took part in the event, which OMSI offers throughout the winter and spring.

“They do a good job of keeping the kids engaged,” Nobel said. “It’s fun to see the kids in a different light, out of the classroom. They get to see us differently, bed head and all.”

Fifth grader Chloe Sperr, 10, noted her favorite activity was learning about the black bears, during which they had to collect poker chips to secure food, water and a safe place to hibernate.

“That was kind of fun,” she said.

Fifth grader Elliott Chesla, 11, said that while the group got access to everything, she most enjoyed the tour of the submarine and the planetarium show. And a (mostly) good night of rest.

“I slept pretty good, but we didn’t fall asleep until like one o’clock in the morning,” said Chesla, adding that they got up at 6:50 a.m. “And I’m not tired one bit.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

A Paradise on Pedals posted on 05/02/2017

The Mt. Hood Bicycle/Pedestrian Coalition (MHBPC) is rolling down the road in its collaboration with the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind to develop a tandem cycling program to introduce blind and low vision participants to the art and skill of cycling.

The goal is to launch a full-scale training program at Oral Hull Park in Sandy by the summer of 2018.

The vision is limitless for the farsighted program.

“We are looking for cyclists who may be interested in becoming a tandem captain,” said George Wilson, director of the MHBPC. “Plans are to develop a beginner and intermediate cycling program to include fully supported single-day and multi-day rides.”Wilson also noted that riders wishing to pedal beyond these programmed rides, that the coalition and the foundation are working with the Oregon Bike Racing Association to sanction a racing series for participants at the Portland International Raceway next year.

But the program tour doesn’t end there. Work is already underway with the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) which already has an established tandem cycling program.

On April 18, the WSSB launched its first pedaling bonanza, according to lead captain Steve Rosvold. He was joined by local Mountain resident and captain Terre Tomey, who buzzed through the nine-mile course for the first time.

It should be noted that Wilson was unable to participate due to having “tweaked my back.” He promises to make a comeback.

Regarding the WSSB ride, “Fifteen seasoned stokers and eight (mostly rookie) WSSB captains, safely pedaled to Winter Park in Vancouver,” Rosvold said. “We got to know one another and climbed through the historic reserve on our return trip.”

Rosvold pointed out that almost all of the stokers were stricken with “half ride syndrome” – an affliction that occurs when there aren’t enough captains to pilot the full stockade of stokers.

While the WSSB is focusing on shorter distance excursions, the local coalition-Hull group is looking forward to next year’s goal of developing a program to introduce blind and low vision stokers to the art and skills of advanced cycling techniques.

“Participants of our program will be introduced to longer single-day rides, as well as multi-day rides that include overnight camping and lodging,” Wilson said. “Participants will be introduced to basic and advanced riding techniques, basic bicycle maintenance, and endurance racing.”

As a cycling bonus, Wilson noted that the coalition-Hull program is connecting with the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) to offer riders to test their advanced skills in sanctioned tandem racing series during the OBRA weekly racing series at Portland International Raceway.

“We hope to encourage participants from across the United States, as well as riders from abroad,” Wilson said.

Currently there are more male and female stokers than tandem captains, both with the WSSB program and the Oral Hull program. Experienced cyclists should contact George Wilson through the Mt. Hood Bicycle/Pedestrian Coalition at mthoodbicycle.com, or phone at 503-622-0672.

New members may have the opportunity to watch Wilson return to action following his rehab session.

By Larry Berteau/MT

The first haircut.
The Business End: Summit 26 and Sandlandia posted on 05/02/2017

The mountain welcomes new hair salon

Rae O’Grady, who opened her new salon, Summit 26 Hair Design, on Tuesday, April 25, will always remember who her first client was; her five-year-old granddaughter, Allison.

“I am super excited,” O’Grady said. “My family has been very supportive in my decision to open a shop.”

O’Grady, who moved to Rhododendron last May, is no stranger to working magic on hair. She attended cosmetology school in 2000, and spent 17 years cutting, coloring and caring for do’s, including having a shop years ago.

She noted that she loves the relationships she builds with her clients, which included one of her first clients ever that became her best friend. For approximately six years, the friend would travel to Oregon from Idaho (or sometimes bring O’Grady to Idaho) just to have O’Grady do her hair.

Her salon will offer everything from cuts and colors to men’s, women’s and children’s haircuts, and hair products for sale, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday (and evenings by appointment). O’Grady noted that her philosophy includes that people shouldn’t be afraid of trying a new color, because she knows how to make it work no matter what.

“I love all the challenges and the creativity involved with hair color,” she said. “I think the most important thing of hair color is there’s nothing you can’t fix.”

O’Grady noted that work on the shop started about a month before opening, with work going down to the sheetrock to build the salon up from scratch with everything new.

She added that she’s excited for all the foot traffic at the location and that her niece came up with the name as homage to being so close to Mount Hood.

“It just clicked and I love it,” O’Grady said. “I think it’s a great little place. I am so excited; it’s been a long haul.”

A grand opening celebration will be held from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, with snacks, juice, coffee and a drawing to win a free haircut. She will also offer a May special of $10 off a haircut and color.

Summit 26 Hair Design is located at 68216 Hwy. 26 in the Thriftway shopping center. For more information, visit www.Summit26hairdesign.com or find it on Facebook by searching for Summit 26 Hair Design.


‘Sandlandia’ food cart court ready to serve

Brightwood’s Jerry Carlson has been around business most of his life, starting off as a freshman in high school and working for the family car business in Sandy, working up from cleaning the floors and toilets to serving as the new car manager and putting together advertising.

But Carlson noted that the hours required to work at the dealership meant he missed out on a lot, which lead him to get involved with commercial property.

His latest endeavor is “Sandlandia,” a food cart court in Sandy that will have space for 10 food carts, plus a few parking spaces, picnic tables and facilities.

“I want to make it nice, I want it to be fun,” Carlson said, adding that the name was a spinoff of the television show “Portlandia.”

Carlson noted that the property where the court is located has been in his family for years, with a number of restaurants utilizing the small building that was previously there. He put it up for sale, but started thinking of alternatives to selling it and that’s when his idea struck.

“I kind of want to be on the (food cart) wave,” Carlson said.

Now two years into his project, Carlson expected to have carts open in late April, with carts open for breakfast and as late as they can stay open until, including offerings such as fresh seafood, sliders, gyros, macaroni and cheese, crepes and fish and chips.

He plans on making sure that the main dishes offered by the carts do not overlap and that customers can enjoy a range of different foods.

Carlson added that he never went to a food cart court prior to embarking on this endeavor, but he did visit one in Happy Valley, where he picked up some good pointers on how to run Sandlandia.

“Those guys are paying huge money for spaces,” he said. “That many carts, they’re competing to make money. It’s not what I wanted.”

Carlson noted that he went “above and beyond” to keep expenses down so that carts could succeed at the location, which he sees as a perfect spot for local residents and motorists travelling through to ski, hike and more on Mount Hood.

“Now you can stop on your way, grab something to eat, everybody’s got their spot they can run to,” he said. “I think it’s just going to be awesome for everybody driving by. There’s food here that’ll be good for them.”

Sandlandia is located at 38440 Pioneer Blvd. For more information, visit www.Sandlandia.net.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Students work on the mural.
Visiting artist leads students in Hood mural posted on 05/02/2017

Christian Barrios, an artist who works in various mediums including marquetry (wood), murals, recycled materials and more, grew up in Mexico City, where he was first introduced to art by painting ceramics his grandfather made. Today he helps bring art into classrooms all around Portland through the Right Brain Initiative, an arts integration to help students link learning from one area to others, and he still appreciates how the young artists approach things and visualize their work.

“That’s why I like to work with kids, they have their own idea of work,” Barrios said.

Barrios came to the Welches Schools to lead students in creating a mural of Mount Hood, utilizing a variety of techniques and recycled materials for the final product. At first, Barrios introduced students to his favorite arts and lead them in a one-line drawing, like those of Pablo Picasso. From there, each student created a painting of their own with simple lines, which Barrios took parts of and created a larger picture of Mount Hood.

That image was then projected on wood, with students transferring the image over with chalk. From there, Barrios planned on lightening it up, gluing on a variety of painted bottle caps and finishing it with a layer of epoxy. The mural is expected to be hung in the school’s gym.

Barrios noted that the project allows for a discussion on ecosystems and nature, particularly how to take care of it and the importance of recycling.

Second grader Olin Taylor offered another valuable lesson he learned during the project regarding the number of artists involved.

“That you might need to make a team effort to make it good,” said Taylor, 8. “I think it’s a very interesting piece, I’m curious to see how it works out.”

Taylor’s classmate, Addy Kolibaba, already thought the mural was coming along, despite that there were still work left to be done.

“I just like all of the colors and everything,” said Kolibaba, 8.

Their teacher, Dan Winans, noted that the project comes at a good time during the school year, helping to break up the routine and offering something fresh.

He also noted that Barrios has lead the students in other activities that help them get thinking in other ways, including having groups of students get up and perform a sentence and creating tableaus.

“It’s invigorating,” said Winans, who has been teaching at Welches for 19 years.

Barrios noted that one of the biggest lessons with the project is when students get to realize that they can create art, whether it’s the one-line drawing or a mural of Mount Hood that will be on the gym wall for years to come. And for second grader Autumn Haney, that message has already gotten through.

“Don’t give up on yourself, especially when you’re not good at it, so you get more out of life,” said Haney, 8.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Rhody CPO boundary burgeons posted on 05/02/2017

(MT) – The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners (BCC) cast a unanimous vote to accept a staff report approving the expansion of the Rhododendron CPO boundaries that the CPO had requested.

The approval, which came at a March 18 meeting, marked the culmination of an effort to expand the boundaries that was initiated in 2007.

“This is a red-letter day for the Rhododendron CPO Board who has worked tirelessly with Clackamas County to get the boundary to be more representative of the community they serve,” Rhody CPO President Steven Graeper said. “My congratulations extend to the entire RCPO Board and my sincerest thanks to county staff and the BCC.”

The result of the effort expands the Rhody CPO boundaries east to Road 39 – also known as Kiwanis Camp Road – and west to Lolo Pass Road to include the north and south compounds of the Zigzag Ranger Station.

The new boundary will: address inclusion and greater representation of the residents; resolve issues caused by the physical gap between the Government Camp CPO and the Forest Service cabins; formalize the historical perspective that Rhododendron is the center for planning and development for the Rhododendron community and all those impacted should be included; and consolidate all properties served by Lady Creek Water System and Rhododendron Water Association into one boundary area.

Combining the two water systems will qualify the CPO for low-income funding, according to Graeper.

ODOT expected to start sign work in May posted on 05/02/2017

Kimberly Dinwiddie, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Community Affairs, noted that work is expected to begin by mid May on the RealTime signs project, with work wrapping on the infrastructure by December. The project will add 13 variable message signs, including ten major sign structures, six cameras and more than 20 sensors on Hwy. 26 and Hwy. 35 that will offer up to the minute traffic information and advisories, including road conditions and travel times between destinations.

The process for locating the signs and sensors including utility companies and the U.S. Forest Service, with priorities including access to power, locations that allowed drivers to make informed decisions and making sure no protected scenic views were impacted.

The total cost for the project is approximately $4.5 million.

The signs are not expected to be activated immediately after work is complete, as testing will be needed to make sure sensors are working properly.

Dinwiddie added that ODOT performed survey work in April, needing to move and melt snow to make sure everything would go in the correct location.

ODOT activated a similar system around the interchange between OR 217 and Hwy. 26 in July 2014 and found that after a year the number of crashes decreased by 20.8 percent while average delay times decreased by ten percent.

For more information, and simulations, visit https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/Pages/MtHoodSigns.aspx.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Jake introduces himself.
Stop, drop, roll... and sit posted on 04/01/2017

Joe Schwab, a Senior Firefighter/Paramedic at the Hoodland Fire District (HFD), notes that most people in the community probably don’t know the names of the district’s firefighters. However, there is one member of the district that is instantly recognizable and easy to remember: the four-year-old purebred Dalmatian, Jake the Firedog.

“There’s a face on the fire district even if it’s spotted and wants to lick you,” said Schwab, Jake’s handler and caretaker.

Jake arrived at the district four years ago when he was just nine weeks old, sometime after the district responded to a house fire where responders had to use an oxygen mask designed for a human to save a dog’s life. Schwab, who has been with the district for 10 years, and Jake now help raise money to provide oxygen masks designed for animals to smaller fire districts in the state.

HFD has such masks on all of its response vehicles, and thanks to Jake and Schwab, more than 230 sets of masks have been given to other districts.

“I never thought it would get this big,” said Schwab, who noted they have raised more than $23,000 so far. “He’s exceeded every expectation.”

The pair raises money through the Emma Zen Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and Schwab notes that while the HFD has not had to use an animal oxygen mask yet, other districts that have received their donations have, including the Pendleton Fire Department using one to save a lizard.

Jake’s role in the district goes well beyond the oxygen masks, too, as he serves as a way to get conversations started, break down the barriers and spread fire prevention lessons.

“It’s amazing how many conversations that dog has gotten me into,” Schwab said.

Jake also assists with station tours, demonstrates how to wear the pet oxygen masks, performs other demonstrations (although Schwab said Jake needs to get more consistency on the “stop, drop and roll” drill) and also serving as a calming influence on the staff, as Schwab noted that Jake will seek out anyone who’s stressed and “hole up with them for a while.” Jake has also been a boon for interacting with people living with disabilities, as Schwab noted, including children at the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp.

“He doesn’t care about wheelchairs or disabilities,” Schwab said. “He’s just a dog and they’re a kid. That’s been a real cool thing.”

Schwab also hopes to bring Jake to the Welches School to help kids with reading, noting that dogs don’t try and correct kids when they make a mistake in pronunciation.

“Dogs don’t do that to you,” he said. “You can sit and read at your own pace.”

Schwab noted that he’s always wanted a Dalmatian, which have historically been associated with the fire service, including protecting horses and equipment in the early years. He added that while Dalmatians in general aren’t ideal for this kind of work, fire dogs like Jake have been specially bred to have a good disposition.

“It’s hard to find a dog that’s willing to socialize with 100 people,” Schwab said. “Jake is ideal for that, his disposition is perfect.”

For more information, visit www.emmazen.com.

Donations for Jake’s team should be noted as for “Team 02 Oregon.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

The old ‘swinger’ gets a facelift posted on 04/01/2017

It was the year when Dr. Martin Luther King led the march from Selma to Montgomery; the year of the Watts riots; the year when the first mini skirt fluttered down a street in London; and the year the Gateway Arch was completed in St. Louis.

Fittingly, at least in a St. Louis sense, 1965 was also the year the Swinging Bridge arched across the Zigzag River as a temporary crossing to allow access to Rhododendron in the wake of the 1964 flood.

Over the years, the iconic crossing suffered the advance of years, when wood decay presented a hazard to the community.

In 2015, Clackamas County Roads and Bridges scraped up $150,000 to rebuild the old swinger.

According to Doug McLain, of county bridge maintenance, the rebuilding of the Swinging Bridge will take place the entire month of April, with work commencing April 3. During that time the bridge will be closed to the public.

“We are replacing everything other than the towers, the main cables, and the anchor system,” McLain wrote in an email. “All of those components will be cleaned and have a new protective coating applied to them.”

New construction includes:


  • The wood will be replaced using Douglas fir, and will look like the natural wood due to the use of a wood preservative;
  • The handrail system will be green, vinyl coated wire mesh;
  • The top of the handrail system will be lowered to 43 inches;
  • And new wind bracing rods, brackets and hangers will be installed below the deck.


“What we need from the community at this time … is a secure area to park equipment and materials during the work period,” McLain wrote.

McLain can be reached at 503-780-3194 or dougmcl@co.clackamas.or.us.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Tony Starlight.
Chamber’s Bite of Mount Hood offers more than a mouthful posted on 04/01/2017

Allen Bixby, owner and operator of The Shack restaurant in Welches, noted two reasons for participating in the annual culinary mountain celebration, the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce’s The Bite of Mt. Hood.

The first is to just see everyone in the community come out and have fun, while the second is to share some of their best creations for a low price.

“The event is a ton of fun,” Bixby said. “It’s fun seeing the community relax and enjoy themselves for a good reason.”

Bixby noted The Shack, one of ten local eateries that will participate and present small plates of food, will offer up its Shack slider, made from half bacon and half ground beef, along with another slider variety and cookies.

“Who doesn’t like bacon?” Bixby asked.

The Bite, held at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at The Resort at The Mountain, 68010 E. Fairway Ave. in Welches, will also include entertainment by Tony Starlight, a silent auction and a live auction. Admission is $5, and auction items are expected to include gift certificates, nursery stock, artwork and more. Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners Chair Jim Bernard will be the Master of Ceremony.

Mathias Engblom, Executive Chef at the Rendezvous Grill, will be cooking up creations for The Bite for the third year, and plans on offering creamy tomato basil soup and a beet tartare (which looks like the beef version), and possibly adding beer to tiramisu to make a “beer-amisu.”

“I always enjoy it,” Engblom said.  “I like to try new things and test them out on the public.”

Chamber President Coni Scott described the gathering, now in its eighth year, as a “family reunion,” where the mountain community can get together for a good time. She noted that this year’s event will offer some new twists, including screens for information on area businesses and a non-profit booth selling bottled water and coffee, with proceeds going to the Welches School’s Outdoor School.

Lidia Vento, vice president of the Welches Parent Teacher Community Organization, noted that the funds will help the school’s sixth graders spend three days and two nights, transportation and meals for the Outdoor School program. The total cost for all the students is $9,200, or $256 per student, while the booth at The Bite will be run by sixth grade students and their parents.

“We are thankful that Mt Hood Chamber is allowing us to participate in this year’s event,” Vento wrote in an email.

As in past years, The Bite will also auction off cases of food to benefit the food pantry for Neighborhood Missions of the Hoodland Lutheran Church. And Scott added that after the event, the Chamber will donate the 17 table centerpieces, created by florist Chelle Mansella, to senior citizens in the area.

Each year, a local artist is also honored at The Bite, with this year’s artist being Patty Henninger, who creates papier-mâché pieces including sculptures and Christmas items. Henniger, a mountain resident for 45 years, previously sold her works in a Chicago gallery but now offers them online through Facebook (look for “Paper Patty”).

Henninger, who also works in watercolors and painted birdhouses that were auctioned off last year, noted she’s enjoyed The Bite in the past as a participant.

“I thought it was fun thing for people to do,” she said.

Scott added that the Chamber uses the proceeds from the event to advertise the mountain to other communities, such as last year when the organization used $15,000 to air ads in markets including the Oregon coast, Eugene, Medford, Sisters and Bend. Scott noted that the campaign made more than one million impressions over a three month period.

“That’s what it’s all about, bringing people to our mountain,” she said.

But Scott also added that the success of the event can be credited to everyone who works on The Bite, including approximately 60 volunteers, and the people who come out to support it.

“The community is so responsive to it,” Scott said. “The success belongs to the community and the volunteers.”

For more information, visit www.thebiteofmthood.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

New Commissioners show at CPO meeting posted on 04/01/2017

“The makeup of commissioners is probably the best I’ve seen in years.”

That was the takeaway from Rhododendron CPO President Steve Graeper at the CPO meeting held March 18 at The Resort in Welches.

The CPO session attracted an official crowd of 47 – those who signed in – but it was considered to be a larger group than that.

Besides the discussing of CPO business, newly elected Clackamas County Commissioner Ken Humberston, and newly appointed interim Commissioner Sonya Fischer took their initial bows on the Mountain, doubtlessly prompting Graeper’s praise for the makeup and shakeup of the Board of Commissioners (BCC).

Humberston was impressed by the turnout of local residents and saw it as a sign of solidarity within the community.

“When a community is well-organized and efficiently led, and comes united before the commissioners, things will get done,” Humberston said.

He also noted that he plans to be a more visual presence on the Mountain and invited anyone to contact him with their concerns. He said he had toured some of the Mountain’s problem areas and is looking forward to doing what he can to help the community resolve them.

Fischer acknowledged her understanding of the workings of the BCC was limited and that there was much to learn, but said she is excited by the challenge.

Fischer noted that she “has a heart for giving a voice” to those who feel they are not being heard, and that is something she will address as a commissioner.

In other business, the CPO:

Discussed the proposed boundary changes and it was pointed out that it will bring two water associations into one boundary and will aid the CPO in qualifying for low-income funding;

The next step in the boundary issue is the staff recommendations to the BCC along with public testimony at a date yet to be determined;

The Rhody Rising project continues as a work in progress and is still in the conceptual stages, but there is a strong feeling of optimism that Rhododendron can once again be a vibrant community; and

The steering committee for Rhody Rising was announced.

By Peggy Wallace and Larry Berteau/MT

Students at rehearsal.
Student helms Sandy High’s theater production posted on 04/01/2017

Sandy High School Drama’s spring production of the American classic, “Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder, has a unique director at the helm. Senior Riley McCord, 18, will be the first student to direct a full production in recent memory, while also taking on the role of the Stage Manager in the show.

For his classmates and contemporaries, it’s a bit of a shift from having a teacher leading the way, but they are fully behind McCord and the production, offering the story of two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs, and life and death in the small, fictional village of Grover’s Corners.

“It’s a lot of creative freedom and I feel open telling Riley my ideas,” said Charlie Andrade, 16, a junior who plays Mrs. Gibbs. “This show is more of a group production more than a director production. What I like is the unity.”

“It’s a different relationship,” added Bruce Dhone, 18, a senior who plays George, adding that they can build off each other and it’s more constructive.

McCord, who had his choice of plays and noted that he didn’t like “Our Town” at first before warming up to it, is taking the responsibility in stride.

“It feels both like an honor and a huge pressure,” he said. “I really want to make a good show and show my peers at school what a student can do.”

Most of the students were not familiar with the play, which won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for drama, but that they have come to enjoy it and its message of appreciating life in the moment.

“I think it’s really important that people see the menial values in life as well as the greater ones,” Andrade said. “Even the littlest moments count.”

“I can see why it’s called a classic,” Dhone added. “You can fit it to anything; you can just draw out so many emotions with it.”

The students have also found it to be a good change from some of the lighter fare that they have worked on in the past.

“Were just so used to the comedy shows,” said junior Dagan Godfrey, 17, who plays Mr. Webb. “You really have to put yourself to it when you’re trying to act serious. You have to have a good time while acting serious; it’s something new.”

McCord, who plans on studying theater in college and pursuing it as a career, noted he’s learned a lot during the rehearsal process so far, from technical elements such as lighting and the set, to growing as an actor and a director.

He also wants the audience to walk away and enjoy the life around them.

“I hope they’re thinking about the small things in life,” McCord said. “The big take away on this show is go home and appreciate family, appreciate the stars, if we get any here in Sandy.”

Sandy High School Drama presents “Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder, at 7 p.m. April 27, 28 and 29, at 37400 SE Bell Street in Sandy. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens.

For more information, call 503-668-8011, ext. 7313.

By Garth Guibord/MT

The remains of the picnic shelter.
Reward offered for help finding arsonists posted on 04/01/2017

Trackers Earth, a Sandy and Portland based organization that runs outdoor programming, has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of the vandals who burned down a picnic shelter at the Roslyn Lake Campground on Nov. 11, 2016. Tony Deis, founder of the organization, noted that there are no current leads with the case, which is being lead by the Oregon State Police.

Deis noted that the organization has been utilizing the site for more than three years, first renting it and then buying it as part of 90 acres, including a campground and the former Bull Run Elementary School building. He noted the picnic shelter was well utilized by the organization and by numerous families for many years before.

“It was an awesome gathering space,” Deis said. “Also just the historical part of it, you could feel its history when you’re in there.”

Deis noted that the property’s neighbors have been supportive and trying to keep an eye out, while the organization plans on trying to rebuild the structure at some point.

“With good planning and the community behind us, we can make it happen,” he said.

The organization also hopes to renovate the school to use for classes and community events and is expected to utilize part of its 90 acres to start a local Community Supported Agriculture program.

For more information, visit trackerspdx.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

David Jacobs named Water Operator of the Year posted on 04/01/2017

Often times his work can be taken for granted. Each turn of a faucet, every welcome spray from a shower head, the necessity of a toilet flush, all these can be directly linked to the diligence of David Jacobs.

But he no longer operates in the background. He has been unmasked.

Jacob was named the Water Operator of the Year by the Oregon Association of Water Utilities at the annual conference in March at Sunriver for his work for 12 water operations in the Mountain community.

“I wasn’t really surprised,” Jacob wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “I had a few clues.”

Rhododendron Water Association President Steve Graeper had asked Jacob to sit at his table at the conference. This table was normally reserved for officials of the organization.

“I happened to glance at the table holding the awards and from a distance I could see the shape of name,” Jacob wrote. “I looked at Steve and he tried to look innocent.”

Not only does Jacob conduct water operations for multiple systems, he also owns his own water system – Brightwood Water Works.

“David Jacob, in any single capacity of the many jobs he is responsible for, would be deserving of System Operator of the Year,” Graeper wrote in an email. “The fact that he serves so many systems, and serves them well, speaks volumes as the (his) qualifications.”

Jacob’s work has proved to be a major contributor to making sure the Mountain community is recognized as having the best tasting water in Oregon.

Jacob was nominated for the award by the Rhododendron Water Association, and he stayed with the flow while accepting his honors.

“I guess it was a feather in my cap and in the waters systems I operate,” he wrote.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Timmy Robison assembles a tire swing.
Architecture project brings professional into classroom posted on 03/01/2017

David Hernandez, a fifth grader at Welches Elementary School, and his group took to the internet to come up with ideas for their architecture project, which entailed designing playground equipment and creating a model of it. The group decided on a boat, featuring slides, a tunnel, bouncy chairs, a climbing wall, barrels, a steering wheel and more.

“I’ve just seen boats with slides and rock climbing walls on the side, but some stuff we have now I’ve never seen,” said Hernandez, 10.

The project is part of the Architecture Foundation of Oregon’s Architects in Schools program, pairing architects and design professionals with classroom teachers. For the project at Welches, students in fifth and third grade classes were put together in small groups, also offering the opportunity for different age groups to interact.

Third grader Adam Pintado, 9, was in the same group with Hernandez, and noted it was a benefit to work with a more advanced student.

“The older kids are smarter, so they’ll know what to do,” Pintado said.

Hernandez also found benefits in working with some younger students.

“Their imagination has other things and other ideas,” he said. “They come up with good ideas.”

The group including fifth grader Jeb Payne and third grader Bradley Nelson came up with some ideas that would be welcome in most living rooms, not just on the playground. Their tree house includes a flat screen TV, soundproofing, a kitchen, a couch and candy, in addition to more traditional features such as a rock climbing wall, a slide and “a bouncy thing.”

“We all had different ideas,” said Payne, 10. “We all wanted something different so it was hard to figure out what we could do.”

After students came up with their designs, approval was needed from Mechanical Engineer Roger Arnold, Jr. from the Portland engineering firm Glumac, including an official stamp, before construction of the model could begin.

“It’s actually kind of good because we get this awesome stamp,” said Nelson, 8.

Fifth grader Olivia Daniels noted her group researched playground ideas in books, and landed on including a tire swing in order to have it last longer in the mountain weather. She added that the group did end up coming to the same conclusion, despite the potential for disagreement.

“Sometimes, if someone else has an idea, things can get squiggly, like messed up, where someone doesn’t like something,” said Daniels, 10. “The funny thing is, when we were doing it, we all wanted to do a tire swing and a bench swing.”

Ellie Garmon, a third grader who worked with Daniels, added that the tire swing would be a good change from the others at the school’s playground.

“We already have a ton of swings,” said Garmon, 8.

Fifth grade teacher Kalee Adams noted that the hands-on project offers an introduction to a career that uses a variety of skills, including math, art and science. She added that students from both grades were excited to work on the project and that the lessons they learned were evident elsewhere in their studies.

“I've noticed students use vocabulary learned from Roger, or this program, while independently reading, or researching for their expository essays,” Adams wrote in an email. “The connections across our curriculum have started to present itself. It's truly exciting to witness as a teacher.”

Arnold said that when he first presented to the students, he connected his career in engineering to playing with Lego blocks as a child. He’s completed a myriad of projects, including an airport in Las Vegas, Nev. and a movie theater outside Washington, D.C., and connected his work now to what inspired him in his youth.

“The concept being, if you can build it in Legos, you can build it in real life,” Arnold said. “Legos are great because you can make your imagination wander and build whatever you want out of it.”

This is Arnold’s first endeavor with the Architects in Schools program, which he sees as a good way to introduce kids to the field at an early age, particularly those groups that are currently underrepresented.

“There’s not enough women or minorities in engineering,” he said. “This is the opportunity to affect that change, when kids are young and passionate about something new, that there are role models out there that can get them to an engineering career.”

March 17 update: a special reception presenting the design projects will be held from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at the Hoodland Library, 24525 Welches Road, and is open to the general public. The projects will be on display at the library from Wednesday, March 22 through Monday, April 3.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Rhody water reservoir on tap posted on 03/01/2017

For many Mountain residents, the issue of an available water supply is assured.

And if you’re looking for a source of this assurance, look no further than the Rhododendron Water Association (RWA).

Currently, the association’s only water storage reservoir is a 100,000-gallon redwood tank along Henry Creek built in the 1980s. And it was only a few years ago when a giant Douglas fir toppled onto the tank sending the RWA members scrambling for water.

To guard against such natural disasters in the future, the RWA is in the permitting process of building a second reservoir. It will be a 130,000-gallon concrete structure on property off Hofeldt Road in the Woodlands area.

“We acquired the property in August 2016,” Steve Graeper, president of the RWA, wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “The second reservoir will greatly enhance our ability to provide water to our customers during high turbidity events, natural disasters, or during times when we take the current reservoir off-line for cleaning.”

Graeper added that “the new reservoir will be equipped with a power generating turbine to significantly reduce our carbon footprint. We should be able to generate enough power to offset any power needed to run the booster pumps that will occasionally be needed to send water uphill into our distribution system.”

Most of the time the system is gravity fed from the reservoir at the treatment plant. But, when water is needed to supply the system from the lower Woodlands reservoir, the pumps will be needed.

The power turbine will generate most of the electricity needed to operate the pumps. When the pumps are not being used, the generator will send power back into the PGE power grid, resulting in an offset to RWA’s electric bill.

Graeper noted that at the same time RWA is installing the Woodlands reservoir, the association will also be installing a slow-sand filtration system at the treatment plant.

“Currently, we are using very expensive cartridge filters to filter our surface water source of any contaminants, (like) giardia and cryptosporidia,” Graeper wrote. By implementing the slow-sand filtration, RWA could save $10,000 to $12,000 per year in cartridge replacement costs.”

The capital improvement budget for both projects is $650,000. RWA has been granted a low interest loan at 1.72 percent from the State Drinking Water Revolving Loan fund and Federal Infrastructure Finance Authority, according to Graeper.

If the Rhododendron CPO’s boundary expansion (see January story: http://tinyurl.com/hesltag) is successful, Rhododendron could qualify for a partial principal loan forgiveness and or grants that could significantly reduce the loan principal for the expansion by 10 to 50 percent.

“However, regardless if the boundary expansion is approved or not, RWA is moving forward with the capital improvement projects,” Graeper added.

By Larry Berteau/MT

ODOT making further improvements to Hwy. 26 this spring posted on 03/01/2017

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project” officially ended last October, but further cleanup will be needed in April after paving work did not pass the final inspection. Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted the contractor who performed the work, Oregon Mainline Paving, has been directed to grind out and repave two stretches of Hwy. 26: one 300-foot stretch in the eastbound left lane near the truck ramp and a few locations in the westbound travel lanes between the ramp and Government Camp.

“We apologize that we have to come out and redo this work, however it’s important to the people who paid for this work … that we have the contractor do this work right,” Dinwiddie said, adding that the work (which will be weather dependant) will likely be performed during the day with lane closures and flaggers, but not require delays like in the past summers. “This time of year, we see spring snow, so we’re going to be planning around weather in this case.”

ODOT also selected the contractor for the RealTime signs project, Legacy Contracting from Stayton, Ore., which will install electronic signs that offer up to the minute traffic information and advisories, including road conditions and travel times between destinations. Some preliminary work on the signs was included in the safety project, but work this year is not expected to start until May or June.

Installation of the signs will likely include shoulder closures and intermittent lane closures.

“It’s going to be pretty low key,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie added that ODOT has plans to place more signage and reflective poles around the center barrier that was installed as part of the safety project to warn drivers. Signage is expected to be installed this spring, and it will include a flashing light to be visible at night and during snowy conditions.

Dinwiddie also noted that ODOT is also trying to figure out a heating system for the new signage.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Al Christie on Mount Hood
Choose your own adventure – website offers outdoor stories posted on 03/01/2017

Al Christie has some stories.

There’s the one about when he backpacked around Crater Lake on skis. And the time he was nine years old when the family rented a cabin late at night and ended up buying the place next door.

And the one about hitting the road for 45 days, spending every night but one camping in National Parks (the one night was in a motel, where he could get a shower). And another about when he got to ski on some bike trails by the Deschutes River with four fresh inches of snow, thanks to getting his work done quickly.

“I was lucky,” Christie said. “That was a really nice day.”

Christie grew up in New York State and frequented the Adirondack Mountains before moving to Oregon in 1964, where he raised his children and worked servicing restaurant equipment until he retired in 2000. Two years ago, his brother died, and while Christie was going through four albums of family photos, including some that went back to the early 1900s, he realized some of the people in them were likely relatives, but he wasn’t sure.

The realization led Christie to decide that he didn’t want his stories to be lost, and he landed on starting a website, OutdoorTracks.com to share them and as a platform for others to share their own.

“That was an experience that I think had something to do with this idea,” Christie said. “The idea of, at first, having a lifetime of outdoor stories and wanting to write them up for my grandkids.

“So it wouldn’t happen to them what happened to me when I’m gone,” he added. “There will be some stories behind the pictures.”

Christie has already written approximately 18 of his own stories, with photographs, for the site, which also features 10 stories by other contributors. He noted that he does review submissions before posting, but has found that people have responded positively to the site, while approaching it with a variety of motivations.

“They all think it’s a great idea,” said Christie, who has been doing some work hauling things for people since retiring. “Some, like me, are thinking of their kids and grandkids. Others are young people just wanting to share experiences.”

Christie noted that for anyone who is interested in sharing their stories, he encourages them to try submitting to the site while not worrying about small things like typos. The act of sharing the stories is the important part.

“I don’t want them to get bogged down on that sort of thing, I want them to write it like they’re telling it around a campfire,” he said. “There are people that have a lot of outdoor experiences that make good stories, but they think they can’t write. Just put that on paper and we’ll take it from there.”

The endeavor has also already lead to two discoveries. The first was the Altai Hok Ski, skis that feature a climbing skin on the bottom and are a ski and snowshoe hybrid.

“It’s the greatest ski experience that I’ve ever had,” said Christie, who now offers the skis for sale through his site. “I like to get off the trail. Now even cross country skiing is getting crowded.”

The second is that not only will sharing his stories on the site be a lifetime project, but he’s also finding out that despite his time in the Northwest, there are corners he hasn’t been – and stories yet to be told.

“I’m discovering and exploring some trails that I’ve never even been on before,” Christie said.

To read Christie’s stories and others, visit OutdoorTracks.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Sandy High School thespians head to state posted on 03/01/2017

Riley McCord, an 18-year-old senior at Sandy High School (SHS), noted that the group he performed a scene from “Dames at Sea” with at the Feb. 4 Oregon Thespians Regional Acting Competition had some anxiety before taking the stage in front of the judges. But they didn’t let that stand in their way.

“We all went on stage with a lot of charisma, and I think that won the crowd,” McCord said. “It showed in our faces and our actions.”

It showed in their scores, too, propelling them to the state festival, to be held April 6-8 at the Salem Conference Center and Elsinore Theatre in Salem. The six students, part of 25 SHS sent to the regional competition, have already got a start on polishing up their performances in anticipation of the next round.

“We know it’ll go by pretty fast,” said McCord, who has gone to the state competition three times before.

Sophomore Seriah Vulgas, 15, added the group’s success at the regional competition stemmed from some all-day rehearsals, but that she’s also already feeling the nerves for the Salem performance.

“I’ve never done something like this before,” she said. “I think we’re just going to continue to work on perfecting it.”

Most of the cast is also preparing for the high school’s spring production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” directed by McCord and set to open later in April, but sophomore Gina Hillstrom noted that because the competition group already put in so much work, working on their scene shouldn’t cause a conflict.

“I think it’ll be pretty easy to handle,” said Hillstrom, 15. “It’ll definitely take some balancing and time management, but it’ll happen.”

McCord and Began Godfrey, a 17-year-old junior, will also head to the state competition for their duo dramatic scene from “Only Kidding,” by Jim Geoghan.

“We’ve got a lot going on,” McCord said. “Hopefully we’ll be competitive at state.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Tyler Myers
Hoodland Fire District welcomes familiar face to its paid ranks posted on 03/01/2017

The newest member of the Hoodland Fire District’s (HFD) career staff, Firefighter/Paramedic Tyler Myers, is also an old hand at the station and in the community. Myers, 21, grew up on the mountain.

As Myers described, when he was in high school he needed to find some direction. His father was a HFD volunteer, so Myers joined the district’s Explorers program, designed to give youth an opportunity to see what the fire service is all about.

“I came in and just instantly fell in love with it,” said Myers, a 2013 graduate of Sandy High School, adding that he then knew he wanted to pursue it as a career.

On Jan. 16 of this year, that became a reality as he officially joined the paid staff in the district.

“It’s kind of surreal – two years ago I was volunteering, working alongside paid guys,” Myers said. “Now I’m one of them.”

In addition to his time spent as a volunteer with the HFD, he also participated in a program at the Estacada Rural Fire District for about two years. When his paramedic classes began to make his schedule more complex, Myers stopped with Estacada, but maintained his volunteer status with the HFD.

He said that he appreciates the work because it’s not the typical “nine to five” job and that the coworkers become a family away from home. Myers also added he’s very familiar with the district, including challenges such as snowy weather and incidents on the mountain that are not seen with fire districts located in higher population areas.

HFD Chief John Ingrao noted Myers was one of 19 people who applied for the position, adding that Myers is a “real professional.”

“He has always been an outstanding mature person (way beyond his years),” Ingrao wrote in an email. “He is one of those individuals that brings enjoyment to all those he interacts with.”

Myers added that he has a couple friends who have just started similar student programs that he began right out of high school.

“Straight out of high school I hit the ground running, I took as many classes as I could,” he said. “It feels great to be at the light at the end of the tunnel. It just feels great to look up in the middle of the day and realize I’m getting paid to do what I love.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Fischer tapped for BCC open seat posted on 03/01/2017

Surviving a cavalry charge of 78 candidates, Sonya Fischer has emerged as the unanimous choice to be Clackamas County Commissioner, Position 5.

The appointed position became available when Jim Bernard – the former Position 5 commissioner – was elected Chair in the November 8 election and took his new position in January.

The field of 78 hopefuls who applied for the vacancy was trimmed to eight and all received interviews before the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) January 8.

The first of February the BCC announced three finalists from which Fischer was chosen on Feb. 7. She lives in Lake Oswego.

Fischer is an attorney with the law firm of Fischer Family Law.

She is a former legislative director for the Oregon Department of Human Services. She holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Warner Pacific College.

Fischer will complete the remaining term of Position 5 which runs through December 2018.

The final three candidates included Jody Carson and Jenni Tan.

Carson is a director with Healthinsight Oregon. She formerly served as a member of the West Linn City Council and has an extensive record of government and community service.

Tan is an officer with Children First For Oregon, a non-profit organization that advocates for children’s well-being. She formerly served on the West Linn City Council.

By Larry Berteau/MT

'Rhody Rising' possibilities.
Rhody getting wings to rise posted on 02/01/2017

If you want to keep the present look of Rhododendron in mind, it would be a good idea to take some mental snapshots soon.

The effort has been dubbed “Rhody Rising,” and the plan was hatched at a Rhododendron Community Planning Organization (CPO) meeting in October last year. In the New Year, it has fled the nest.

“The idea is to make the Mountain community of Rhododendron a safer, more economically vibrant, and a more appealing community to stop, shop and stay,” CPO President Steve Graeper wrote in an email. “I think Rhododendron can once again return to the vibrant community it once was. As a matter of fact, I believe we can be even better.”

The ambitious goals of the project include: a sign to identify Rhododendron and welcome visitors; sidewalks on both sides of Hwy. 26; pedestrian safety islands; street lighting; bike paths; and parks and paths leading to the Zigzag River and on the north side of the “Swinging Bridge.”

At a subsequent CPO meeting in November, Mark Seder, of Seder Architecture and Urban Design, made a presentation that included artist renderings of the type of redesign that was possible. (See graphic this page)

“Our work in 57 Oregon cities has ranged from some of our most rural, and even isolated, to downtown Portland,” Seder said. “Rhododendron is a tremendous opportunity to realize positive, community supported improvements and further establishment as a thriving town center.”

In the October meeting a vote was taken by the membership unanimously supporting the effort to revitalize Rhododendron. The wing flap drew the attention of some members of the business community.

“As a business owner, I’m really interested in the beautification of our area,” said Brigette Romeo, owner of the Still Creek Inn in Rhody. “It needs some love to get it blooming again. It is going to take all property owners, business owners, and local residents to come together and create a new vision.”

Rick Applegate, proprietor of Mt. Hood Roasters in Rhody, noted that there has been more investment in Rhododendron in the last couple years than in the previous couple of decades.

“With Mercury Development, Ski Bowl, Mountainology, Al Forno Ferruza and Mt. Hood Rec recently purchasing properties and developing businesses, I see Rhododendron on the verge of an economic renaissance,” Applegate said. “Mt. Hood Roasters invested in Rhododendron 10 years ago. It has been a struggle because Rhody is so undervalued by some business leaders. This will not be the case in five years thanks to the hard work of our local CPO, and investors that have recognized Rhododendron’s potential.

“I see a much more cohesive business community in Rhododendron that will be focused on ensuring this community has the resources it needs.”

Investment is key, as the CPO has reached out to the community for financial support as well as brought aboard a grant writer.

“In order for us to be eligible for any grant funding, which will help finance this effort, we need to show potential grant funders that we, as a community, are supportive of this effort,” Graeper said.

Early indications are positive. Seder’s initial invoice was for $2,596.63, but the architect made an in-kind donation of $1,300 making the CPO responsible for the other $1,300. As of Jan. 22, the CPO had already raised $3,880.

Others who wish to donate can mail checks to Rhododendron CPO, PO Box 33, Rhododendron 97049, and indicate the funds are for “Rhody Rising.” Donations are tax deductible as the CPO is a 501(c)3 and the ID number is 93-1286631.

At the January CPO meeting, the motion to continue with the Rhody Rising dream passed unanimously.

With the support of the majority of the community, Rhody has wings.

By Larry Berteau/MT

School district changes calendar following snow days posted on 02/01/2017

By the middle of January, the Welches Schools, and schools throughout the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD), had been closed for 13 days due to winter weather and icy conditions, plus two days with late starts. And while snow days are often a welcome respite for students from a typical school day, the sheer number of them has some kids longing to go back and their parents wondering about the impact on their education.

“The problem is, they’ve set the standard,” said Nicole Stenson, mother of a kindergartener and a third grader, about closing schools due to even a threat of bad road conditions. “Which seems to me like a really flawed strategy. It seems to me like when everybody’s going to work, something’s amiss.”

In response to the lost days of school, the OTSD board of directors approved changes to the school calendar at a Thursday, Jan. 26 board meeting. The changes include extending the end of school to Friday, June 9 for Sandy High School (SHS) seniors and to Friday, June 16 for students in grades kindergarten through 11 (a change of two days); the elimination of early release days beginning Wednesday, March 1 (providing 13 more hours of instructional time); and adding 21 minutes per day to the beginning of school at Sandy High School, starting Tuesday, Jan. 31 (the start time will now be 7:24 a.m.).

Julia Monteith, OTSD Communications Director, noted the changes came down to the number of instructional hours mandated by the state.

“We always go above and beyond those hours and we had a little bit of a cushion,” she said.

Graduation for SHS will not be affected by the calendar changes. Morning bus schedules for the high school on the mountain will be approximately 10 minutes earlier for routes 1, 2, 4 and 5. The changes are expected to be updated on the district’s website, oregontrailschools.com.

Alicia Schnadig, a mother of three (a fourth grader, second grader and preschooler), expressed her concern that the inconsistent school schedule could have an impact on the state testing later this year.

“I feel like they’re missing out on a lot of their education right now,” she said. “I’m worried about them, because they’re still going to have to do all the state testing that’s required of them.”

Schnadig noted that her family has good tires and four-wheel drive, allowing them to get out during snow days, including going sledding, cross country skiing and snowboarding.

“We’ve done all kinds of stuff,” she said. “But they’re definitely bored and want to go back. You can only go sledding so many times.”

Schnadig also noted that while she stays at home with her children, the snow days offer challenges for parents who need to work, adding that she knows people who have had to pay for childcare because their kids didn’t go to school.

Stenson, who also stays home with her children, would like to see better snow routes for buses, while adding that she believes parents could figure out a way to carpool when the weather turns bad to get students in.

“We’re a small community here,” she said. “We will pull together and get our kids to school.”

Stenson added that her family filled the snow days with skiing, sledding and some indoor activities, such as Minecraft. But she also noticed that her youngest child is suffering from the lack of school.

“His reading has definitely regressed,” Stenson said. “That was kind of disappointing.”

Patty Chesla, a mother of a fifth grader, works for the Gresham-Barlow School District, and noted she had resources to help her daughter continue her studies. Unfortunately, her daughter had a broken arm, eliminating sledding and skiing as snow day activities.

Chesla added that while she understands that some parents wouldn’t want the school year extended and summer vacation diminished, she would prefer to have the days missed tacked on to the end of the calendar.

“People have plane tickets, I totally get both sides,” she said. “I just don’t want my child cheated on her education.”

Principal Kendra Payne shares these concerns, as she has two children at the school, a fifth grader and a third grader. She noted that while they’ve been busy playing outside, playing games inside, watching movies and tending to firewood (along with some reading and math), she knew the snow days that helped extend the winter break will mean students and staff will have to start over with the routines and structures of the school day.

“We’re going to have to hit the ground running when we come back,” Payne said, adding that she also knows that some students might have even lacked access to full meals during snow days. “Rebuilding back the schedules can take time.”

But she also expressed her confidence in the school staff to make up for the lost instruction time, even if they have to do things a bit differently.

“We have a great staff, they’re hard working and ready to get back,” Payne said. “(They always) come up with good solutions during times like this.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Vacant BCC slot expected to be filled this month posted on 02/01/2017

The empty seat on the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) attracted 78 candidates for the open position – a spot made available following the Nov. 8, 2016 election when then-Chair John Ludlow was defeated.

Recruitment closed Jan. 3, and the four members of the BCC went to work immediately to narrow the field to eight candidates, announced Jan. 18.

“The quality of the candidate pool was very impressive, and we truly thank all those who showed an interest in this important position,” newly elected BCC Chair Jim Bernard said. “I, like my fellow commissioners, look forward to these interviews and making a selection in the best interest of our residents as soon as possible.”

The interviews took place Jan. 25, with each candidate being provided two questions in advance – one related to the most significant challenge facing the county, and another concerning how candidates would represent county residents outside of their immediate communities.

That last question will be important to the Mountain community. Presently, there are no board members residing in any rural community, and that includes the eight candidates vying for the open seat.

The final decision will be made Feb. 1, according to Tim Heider, County Public Affairs Manager.

Those nominated candidates are:

Eleanore Hunter, Oak Grove, manager with Hunter Financial, Inc. and co-manager of USA Financial, and currently serves on the Oak Grove Community Council.

Scott Bruun, West Linn, Chief Operating Officer of Hubbell Communication and a former member of the Oregon House of Representatives.

Jody Carson, West Linn, manager with HealthInsight Oregon, and former member of the West Linn City Council.

Sonya Fischer, Lake Oswego, attorney with Fischer Family Law, and former Legislative Director for the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Charles Gallia, Oregon City, senior policy advisor with the Oregon Health Authority.

Jon Gustafson, Lake Oswego, co-owner of Beals Design Build, a real estate broker, and former member of the Lake Oswego City Council.

Carol Pauli, Oregon City, owner/operator of Midway Historic Public House, and a former member of the Oregon City City Council.

Jenni Tan, West Linn, officer with Children First For Oregon, and former member of the West Linn City Council.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Melinda Revere (front) holds her award.
Hoodland Fire District caps off 2016 with awards banquet posted on 02/01/2017

Mountain resident and Hoodland Fire District Firefighter Melinda Revere has a lot to keep track of every day. Besides her duties with the district (including training and responding to calls), she’s a mother of four and works in Portland.

On Saturday, Jan. 28, the HFD honored Revere for her dedication as the Firefighter of the Year at the district’s 2016 awards banquet.

“It feels really good, I wasn’t expecting it though,” Revere said. “(There are) a lot of great people and I’ve learned a ton. I just try and go to as much as I can.”

Fire Chief John Ingrao noted that Revere “exemplifies what we do and what we are,” adding that the number of responses she participated in was one of the top number in the district, while also ranking near the top in participating in training. Ingrao said that she “stood out to everybody” who voted for the award, scoring almost a unanimous decision by the voters, who included the career paid staff, volunteer officers and volunteer senior firefighters.

“At night she’s coming in, and sometimes staying up all night on calls and then going to work,” said Ingrao, who noted she’s also attending school to become an Emergency Medical Technician. “(She’s) very dedicated.”

Revere, who has been with the district for three years, added she enjoys serving the community.

“It feels good, it’s good to know that you’re able to be there for somebody when they’re having a bad time,” she said.

Dana Waldron took home the Rookie of the Year award and Susan Mikolasy, who often is the sole responder covering Government Camp, received the EMS of the Year.

The district also honored two retirees, former Fire Chief Mic Eby, who served the district for a total of 38 years, and Shirley Dueber, who was on the board of directors for 28 years between 1983 and 2015. Current board member Cliff Fortune, who served with Dueber for 20 years, noted that she was a big part of what the district has accomplished over that time, including the financial reserves it enjoys today.

Eby and his wife, Linda, who helped start the district’s support group, received a quilt from the support group and a custom made sign from the district.

“We all are so grateful for everything you have done,” Amanda Schmitt said before presenting them with the sign.

Years of  Service award winners were: Kevin Frank, Taylor Kopecky, Tom Nelson, Pat Tritico and Brandon Guerrero for three years; Kaarin Powell and Tony Hadeed for five years; Richard Powell for 10 years; Nick Miller for 15 years; James Lucas for 20 years; and Jim Jarvis for 30 years.

By Garth Guibord/MT

AntFarm's Sandy cafe.
Local nonprofit celebrates with a Day of Giving posted on 02/01/2017

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, AntFarm, the nonprofit with Brightwood roots and now based in Sandy, will celebrate four years of giving and helping through its Sandy cafe and bakery with more giving by offering up their victuals for whatever patrons can afford.

Travis Roundy, a Brightwood resident who has served in a variety of roles with AntFarm since 2012, said that he’s enjoyed seeing the organization evolve through the years, including the cafe ranking as one of the top rated restaurants in Sandy, while also serving as a meeting space for a wide range of groups.

“It’s really cool to see where we’ve gotten to now,” said Roundy, AntFarm’s manager. “It’s creating all this new awareness.”

He added that 2017 should see even more growth for the entire organization, including adding classes, workshops and events at the cafe, including “Lunch and Learn” lectures led by community members, completion of more beds and development of workshops at the organization’s Learning Garden, and continued growth of YouthCore, which provides paid employment and skill-building opportunities for youth with a focus on conservation, and CommunityConnect, which offers assistance to local senior citizens with home management tasks such as splitting and stacking wood, raking yards, cleaning gutters and gardening.

Roundy noted that many homeowners who have enlisted the AntFarm for projects have noted how reliable the young workers are.

“We’re going to show up on time every time and we’re going to have all the tools,” he added.

The group has also seen success with two trailers (one  at the Hoodland Thriftway shopping center and one in Sandy) that serve as receptacles for people to donate cans and bottles. Roundy noted that proceeds from those have covered a portion of the organization’s insurance, and he hopes that the level of participation continues when the deposit on cans and bottles rises to 10 cents later this year.

“If people continue to do it in the way that they have been, it’s going to be a total game changer,” he said. “It will be a huge thing for us.”

The AntFarm Cafe and Bakery is located at 39140 Proctor Blvd. in Sandy. For more information, visit antfarmyouthservices.com.

More AntFarm events in February:

Friday, Feb. 3 – AntFarm will celebrate First Friday with the City of Sandy and host its Soup Night from 5-8 p.m. at AntFarm Indoors (39140 Proctor Blvd). February Featured Artist opening display in the Cultural Arts Center.

Thursday, Feb. 9 – Featured Artist presentation for the community.

Sunday, Feb. 12 – Starting this date, AntFarm will be open seven days a week.

Friday, Feb. 17 – AntFarm Third Friday: Tribella (A local belly dancing troupe) will perform with a local band in the evening. The Café will be open for drinks and pastries. Time TBA.

Saturday, Feb. 18 – Paint Night: From 5-10 p.m. come join members of the community for chocolate, dessert, coffee, tea and a fun night of painting. Please contact AntFarm at 503-668-9955 to sign up.

Sunday, Feb. 19 – Wy'east Live Costume Drawing 5-10 p.m. Please contact AntFarm to sign up.

Monday, Feb. 20 – AntFarm Outdoor Adventure will be going out on a Snowshoe/Sledding trip to White River Canyon. Stop by AntFarm Indoors or call in to the office to sign up. Limited number of snowshoes and sleds are available.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Merit Properties welcomes broker number nine posted on 02/01/2017

After 20 years of management and operations, plus nearly four decades in the seat of a big rig, Brian Vieira made a tight right career turn.

Vieira has joined Merit Properties Inc. as a new broker, bringing the Merit staff to nine.

Last year Vieira found himself “available for new opportunities” and turned his attention to obtaining a broker’s license – a feat that culminated in passing both exams in December.

Vieira met with Merit owner David Lythgoe in late summer last year to discuss possibly joining his firm.

“I liked him immediately,” Vieira said. “I’m thankful to Dave for taking me under his wing as it were, and getting me started. My father owned a real estate company when I was growing up, so I suppose it’s always been in the blood. Helping others has always made me happy so this too was a motivator to get my license.”

Lythgoe noted that all Merit brokers live, work, and play on the Mountain when commenting on bringing Vieira aboard. “Brian will be working with buyers and sellers here, as well as Sandy, Gresham, Portland and suburbs east of Portland.”

Phyllis Vieira, Brian’s wife of 35 years, also works on the Mountain.

“Now we both have that great commute,” Vieira said. “I look forward to helping my neighbors as well as those that would like to join our little community finding that just-right home or property.”

Vieira can be reached at 925-464-3930 or email at brian@mountainmanproperties.com.

Merit Properties office is located at Hoodland Park Plaza next to Thriftway. For more information, principal broker David Lythgoe can be reached at 503-622-3141.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Rhododendron dispensary focused on the local scene posted on 02/01/2017

After more than three years of working to open, the Mt. Hood Rec Center, a marijuana dispensary in Rhododendron, opened its doors on Sept. 9 last year.

Sara Pool, the dispensary manager, noted that the first months were buoyed by local support before the ski resorts opened and tourists came to the mountain.

“They have been such a resounding positive influence, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Pool, who has experience managing four other dispensaries in the past five years. “We’re just trying to keep them coming back for more. Business is building, hoping to maintain that growth.”

But as Pool noted, the business is focused on building the local ties as its philosophy, including creating an environment that encourages repeat customers, responding to feedback and suggestions on what people would like to see, keeping prices low and utilizing local grow operations and vendors for marijuana and accessories. And beyond that, Pool added that the hope is that the business can help spur growth in the Rhododendron community.

“We want this town to be a stopping point, not a passing point,” she said, adding that she’s been involved with the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization. “We’re just really trying to tap into our local community and what they have to offer.”

The shop offers a wide range of products, including marijuana flowers, cartridges, tinctures, pipes and “grab-n-go” items geared toward outdoor enthusiasts, including collapsible bongs. And as new products are introduced (such as beverages); Pool notes the dispensary will get them in stock.

But the store will also emphasize education, including how marijuana impacts the body, how to best prepare for using it (such as hydrating and taking care with edibles) and helping people who use the drug for medicinal purposes.

“We get incredibly scientific, as much as we can, so people are aware as possible,” Pool said. “The more you know about just regular biology and physiology, it just ties in.

“What we focus on is anything that’s going to help anybody from cancer to fibromyalgia,” she added.

Pool noted that the idea for the dispensary started about four years ago, with the owners, including developer Randy Rapaport, purchasing the property approximately three and a half years ago. She added that Clackamas County put a hold on their building permits as part of a moratorium on medicinal marijuana licenses, delaying work on the business, but they were able to work with the county to get things rolling again.

The Mt. Hood Rec Center is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is located at 73410 Hwy. 26 in Rhododendron. For more information, call 503-622-4272, email info@mthoodrec.com or visit www.mthoodrec.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

SkiBowl's tubing hill
Mount Hood is ‘snowpen’ for business! posted on 12/30/2016

Hans Wipper has seen a lot of snow fall on Mount Hood through the years through his work at SkiBowl since 1988. And last month’s bonanza of snow ranks pretty high and allowed SkiBowl to open on Dec. 7 and open its outback terrain shortly after, the earliest Wipper can remember since 1994.

“It’s like the best opening conditions in 15 years, it’s amazing,” said Wipper, SkiBowl’s spokesman. “It’s a great start to the year.”

As of Monday, Dec. 26, SkiBowl had enjoyed 113 inches of snow so far this season, with snow depth of up to 54 inches. Wipper added that everything at the resort is open, including tubing (now featuring a second conveyor lift), while the newly installed snowmaking pipes at the SkiBowl west area have not been the most necessary addition this winter.

“Luckily this year we didn’t need it,” he said, adding that the Oregon Department of Transportation has done a “great job” clearing the roads and allowing eager skiers and snowboarders to get to the mountain.

Closer to the peak of Mount Hood, John Burton, Timberline Lodge’s Director of Marketing, noted that while the snowfall numbers are good, they are in line with the numbers of the past 60 years.

“This is what it’s supposed to do,” Burton said. “We’re very grateful for the current snow event, it’s making for some unbelievable conditions. The snow quality is outstanding.”

As of Monday, Dec. 26, Timberline had enjoyed a total snowfall of 235 inches (calculated since Sept. 1) and a base depth at the lodge of 96 inches. Burton sees the ski industry across the country as enjoying a good winter, while he noted the conditions and the type of snow on the mountain as a driving force behind the early success of the season.

“It’s because the product is so good right now,” he said. “There’s lots of snow and the quality of snow is great.”

Burton noted the resort’s Y’Bar was remodeled and now features a new kitchen and new layout, including a glass garage door facing south that can be opened when the weather cooperates.

“The goal was to create a premiere après bar type pub environment on the mountain (with) great food and served in a timely manner,” Burton said. “I think we pulled that off.”

Burton added that the resort is also offering “cat” skiing on the Palmer Snowfield during the weekends, when skiers and snowboarders can catch a ride to the top of the snowfield in a Snowcat, included in the price of a lift ticket.

Down at the base of the mountain, Tom Butler of Mountain Sports reported that business is “super busy,” and even joked how it was nice to get a rainy and windy day to do a little catch-up work.

“This great early snow got everybody fired up,” Butler said. “It’s been all we can do to keep up with the action.”

Butler added that the early snows have everybody in a good mood, and even when customers have to wait in line, they are happy. He also noted that mountain residents get to enjoy the snow at lower levels, going to their secret sledding or snowshoe locations where the masses don’t go.

He also added three words of hope as winter rolls on: “Keep it coming.”

The Skyway’s Tracie Anderson said that business has been busy, while adding that the only slow times are when the road conditions make for difficult travel.

“The general vibe or feeling is that people are real excited,” Anderson said, noting that skiers and snowboarders returning from a day of recreation are enjoying the restaurant’s fireplace. “It’s the best early snowfall in many years. People are just in a really good mood.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Miller Quarry
BLM sets sights on closing Miller Quarry to target shooting posted on 12/30/2016

Mountain residents concerned with the safety and noise issues from target shooters at Miller Quarry may have a long term solution in the near future, according to Zach Jarrett, Cascades Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Oregon Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Jarrett was one of several BLM representatives on hand at a follow up meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at the Mt. Hood RV Village, and noted that the BLM finished a new Resource Management Plan (RMP) last August, which included designating the quarry as a recreation management area and opening the door to closing it for target shooting within the year.

“It’s a pretty powerful planning tool,” Jarrett said, noting the plan helps decide what visitor activities are provided, how they are managed and how they are protected. “Literally the ink is just drying on that plan.”

The BLM had been operating under an RMP that was completed in 1995, but the process for the new plan began three years ago. Jarrett noted the plan gives a land use allocation to every acre the BLM manages, which in turn identifies the activities that are allowed.

Approximately 2.5 million acres in western Oregon were defined, with approximately one-half million acres designated as a recreation management area. Jarrett added that the BLM received thousands of comments during the three-year process.

“The good news is that we went through a very very public outreach process,” he said, noting the most time consuming part of the process is complete.

The RMP will now be reviewed in Washington, D.C., and while there is no defined timeline for it to be approved, Jarrett said he’s seen it happen as quickly as two months and as long as eight months.

“There’s a lot of competing uses on that area,” Jarrett said, adding that the quarry is not closed to target shooting yet. “Some of those that are happening here are not compatible.”

The December meeting was on the heels of another held on Oct. 26, which was organized by Warren Bates, a resident at the Mt. Hood RV Village, due to mounting concerns over safety and noise concerns with the target shooting.

In response to that meeting, Belle Verbics, BLM Natural Resources Staff Administrator, noted that law enforcement patrols were increased (with participating agencies including the BLM, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Forest Service) to three or four times per week.

Verbics noted that the officers observed hikers, anglers and target shooters, but did not notice anything illegal.

The quarry’s ownership is split between the BLM and a private landowner, with target shooters using banks in both areas as backstops, with spent casings, trash and bullet riddled electronics and other refuse used as targets strewn about. Chris Papen, BLM’s Acting Field Manager for the Cascades Field Office, noted the different owners, including other entities who own other adjacent lots, makes management complicated.

“It’s a jigsaw puzzle ownership; that’s the way a lot of land in this basin is,” he said.

Verbics added that the BLM is expected to continue with the presence of its law enforcement at the site, but that due to the season, it may not be as intensive moving forward.

After the meeting, Bates expressed his gratitude to the BLM for their response and the potential closure of the site to target shooters.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Rhody CPO seeks bigger space posted on 12/30/2016

Years in the making, the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization (CPO) has moved forward to the final process of a boundary expansion effort.

A public meeting is set for 1 p.m., Jan. 21, at the Hoodland Fire Station, 69634 Hwy. 26, where public testimony will be heard regarding the boundary expansion after which the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will take up the issue and make a final determination.

The expansion is not modest in nature.

The current CPO boundary is a 1-square-mile section, which extends at the west end of Rhododendron, from approximately the Zigzag River bridge on Hwy. 26 east to about Belle Lake Road, according the Rhody CPO President Steve Graeper. The north-south boundary extends about ½ mile on either side of Hwy. 26.

“The current boundary excludes most of the Forest Service cabins to the east, and along Road 19, and excludes the Woodlands and Faubion neighborhoods,” Graeper added.

The new boundary would extend from the eastern edge of Lolo Pass Road up to Kiwanis Camp Road (FS 29) with the northern border being approximately the summit of Zigzag Mountain and the southern border the summit of Hunchback Mountain.

“The purpose of the boundary expansion is to unify the represented area and allow for greater participation in the CPO process,” Graeper said.

The CPO, which formed in the 1970s as the Rhododendron Neighborhood Association, has offered input on land use issues within its boundaries to county officials. Since 2006, when the organization revamped its bylaws and changed its name to the current moniker, the CPO has also served as a communication outlet between the county and residents and been involved with a variety of community-sponsored programs (for an in-depth look at the history of the CPO and its presence in the community, please read Graeper’s commentary on page 7 of this month’s paper).

The expansion comes at a time when the BCC has dissolved the Villages at Mt. Hood – and refusing to recognize its elected directors – and the Mt. Hood Corridor CPO has been idle since 2011 when its directors were hit with a SLAPP suit.

By Larry Berteau/MT

John Ingrao
Hoodland Fire District promotes John Ingrao as the new chief posted on 12/30/2016

The Hoodland Fire District’s board of directors hired John Ingrao as the new chief last month, following the retirement of Chief Mic Eby. Ingrao has been with the district since December 2011, when he was hired as the deputy chief.

“It’s quite the zenith of my career,” said Ingrao, who has lived in the community for 28 years. “I think I’m now well versed at (how the district works), I think I can help the community continue what we have.”

One of Ingrao’s first initiatives is to start 24-hour coverage with paid staff, which he expects to happen at the start of the New Year after the hiring of a Firefighter Paramedic. To help facilitate that, Ingrao will not fill the deputy chief position for approximately 18 months, as he will continue to perform the duties of that role.

“It’s going to be difficult for me,” said Ingrao, who worked for the Clackamas Fire District for 21 years before coming to Hoodland. “Even a small department has a lot of administrative stuff.”

Ingrao stressed that his first priority as the chief is public safety, and he created a Leader’s Intent, an internal document laying out his vision, in his first days on the job to reflect that.

“Safety is always number one; I drive that in everything I do,” he said. “That’s kind of how I envision my position as the chief.”

Ingrao noted that the district’s board also finished strategic goals for future planning last month, with the remodeling of the Government Camp fire station and upgrading the main station in Welches joining 24-hour coverage as three points of emphasis. He added that volunteer retention will also be a priority, with job sharing volunteers with other agencies as a possibility in the future.

Ingrao added that the district is currently getting material costs for the Government Camp station, but that he believes the permit process and planning with Clackamas County could begin in the New Year. The project, he noted, is not very complicated and the work could begin as early as spring and wrap up this coming summer.

“That is a very well-built structure,” Ingrao said. “(We could be) inhibited by weather, but most work is internal. We’re very optimistic.”

Ingrao, who was the first on the scene at the Golden Poles fire in 2015, noted that the district offers some unique challenges, with mutual aid from other fire districts often very far away. But he noted he has learned a lot since he joined the district and also crediting learning under Eby.

“The biggest thing was, I had this wealth of information that I gleaned from the chief,” Ingrao said.

He also added that the staff and volunteers make the district an efficient organization, with everyone working hard on various tasks and projects when not on calls.

“My employees are my greatest resource and my greatest asset, and that includes all volunteers that take time off from home,” Ingrao said. “The people are what drives an agency and we are very lucky here to have great people.”

Volunteer firefighter applications due Jan. 6 for Hoodland Fire Department

Applications for the Hoodland Fire District’s volunteer firefighter training academy are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, at the main station, 69634 E. Hwy. 26 in Welches.

Applicants must live or work in the district, be 18 years of age or older, have a valid Oregon Driver’s license, be able to pass a background check, pass the physical agility test and pass an interview.

Fire Chief John Ingrao noted the district had received 10 applications as of mid-December, with another seven applications outstanding.

The training academy will begin in January and last for five months.

Applications are available at the main station between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

For more information, call 503-622-3256.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Rebel & Rye staff
‘Rebels’ bring rye attitude – and whiskey – to Welches posted on 12/30/2016

The tasty offerings at Rebel & Rye Public House arose out of a mutual distaste for corporate America.

Nate Wiesner, Danny Casteel and Kelly Jones are the owners of the new restaurant across from the Hoodland Shopping Center. And, according to Jones, they share a group vision in their new venture.

“The ‘Rebel’ in the name comes from our combined employment history in corporate America and our strong distaste for it,” Jones said. “We were always told to look a certain way, act a certain way, basically never allowed to be ourselves. The primary drive for opening our own place was to create an environment where we could be who we wanted to be and allow our team the same.”

The rest of the name came from a far less pointed bureaucratic slant.

“The ‘Rye’ represents our love for rye whiskey,” Jones said, before adding: “Plus, it sounds cool.”

Jones, of Brightwood, brings 12 years of experience in property and financial management, and will oversee financials, payroll and human resources. Wiesner, of Happy Valley, has more than 10 years of experience in the hospitality, food and beverage industry and will serve as the executive chef. Casteel, of Brightwood, also brings 10 years-plus of experience in the industry and will be the front-of-house manager.

Dakota Mingus will add to the kitchen expertise in the role of assistant head chef.

The menu is dotted with the influence of international dishes that Jones describes as “gastropub.” Rebel & Rye has a full bar specializing in local craft beers and ciders, and true to its name, features more than 25 different whiskeys.

The menu is a gastronomic gallery of global delights. Dinners include such items as: 12-ounce ribeye with blackened shallots; pork cheek tacos; Hawaiian teriyaki chicken; Cubano sandwich on a grilled baguette; crab mac and cheese; and the list goes on.

Breakfast does not take a back of the restaurant seat to the dinner menu. The morning fare includes: chicken fried steak and waffles with chorizo gravy; Cajun creole stack with blackened shrimp on hash browns; Dutch baby euro-style pancakes; and a bad breakfast burrito.

“We pride ourselves in the diversity of our menu,” Jones said. “You can come one night, have a burger, and in the same week have some pad Thai, or jambalaya, or a quinoa bowl.”

The House has plans for live music events – already Tony Smiley will appear Jan. 6, and the John Bunzow Trio with Bobby Cole and Ted Swenson will sit in Jan. 13 – trivia nights, karaoke, movie showings and comedy nights.

The Rebel & Rye Public House is located at 24371 Welches Road, and operating hours are 7 a.m. to midnight Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, and 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Winter weather leads to multiple days off at Welches Schools posted on 12/30/2016

Kendra Payne, Principal of the Welches Schools, noted that when winter weather hits the Oregon Trail School District, things get going pretty early to determine if school will be cancelled, delayed or kept open for the day. It starts when the district’s director of transportation, who Payne added lives in the Welches area, starts to gauge the conditions of the roads as early as 3 a.m.

“There’s a lot of layers to the process, but it also really boils down to a simple thing: are the roads safe enough to drive on and will the students be safe getting to school,” Payne said.

That process was frequently used in December, with the Welches Schools racking up one late start and five days cancelled (giving students an early start to their winter break).

Payne noted that a number of roads on the mountain are closely watched, including Lolo Pass, Barlow Trail Road and Welches Road, while other problematic roads in the district also get more attention, including Hwy. 211, McCabe Road and Tickle Creek Road.

“Hwy. 26 is usually in really good shape,” Payne added. “The Oregon Department of Transportation takes really good care of it. It’s the side roads that end up being more problematic for us.”

The Director of Transportation and Superintendent take the information on the roads and what the weather forecast is to then come to a decision.

Payne noted that snow can be manageable for keeping school open, but when things ice over (as they did at times in December) it becomes clear that a full closure is needed. In addition, the Welches Schools have flexible closure protocol, allowing for the middle and elementary schools to be closed or have a late start even if the rest of the district remains open.

“It’s recognized that Welches is at a different elevation,” Payne said. “For the most part I think it works really smoothly.”

The only problem when the Welches Schools are closed or open late, she noted, is for high school students. In that case, the bus typically stops at the Hoodland Thriftway, while Payne noted that teachers at the high school are also flexible in that case.

And while a snow day maybe a welcome respite for students, the snow days in December may be twice as nice as Payne doesn’t believe the days will be added to the end of the school calendar this summer. She noted that while there is a formula for the number of instructional minutes students must receive in a school year, there should be enough days remaining to meet that requirement.

“It’s not out of the question that we might have to add days back, because it’s early,” Payne said. “At this point, I don’t believe we are going to be adding days on.”

The snow days also caused a number of school events to be cancelled, some of which will be rescheduled, but some not, including a holiday concert (will be a spring concert), a middle school dance, two basketball games (not likely to be rescheduled), a high school band concert and a field trip to the Portland Art Museum (likely to be rescheduled).

“It was really intense,” Payne said, adding how thankful she was to the community for its understanding and flexibility. “It really has to start with student safety, we don’t want anyone on unsafe roads.”

For more information and detailed snow route information, visit http://oregontrailschools.com and click on “Transportation.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Kim Yamashita
Sandy names Police Chief Kim Yamashita as interim city manager posted on 12/30/2016

The Sandy City Council selected Sandy Police Chief Kim Yamashita as the city’s interim city manager, with the departure of City Manager Seth Atkinson set for Monday, Jan. 9. Yamashita has already started working with Atkinson to get up to speed on city projects.

Sandy Mayor Bill King noted that Yamashita, one of two candidates for the interim position, has had experience in very tough situations and been able to keep her cool, while noting her ability to work with others.

“Her people skills really set her apart,” King said.

Yamashita joined the city’s police department as the chief in 2010, and she sees the job as an opportunity to serve the city in a different capacity while gaining some new life experience.

“I think stretching and growth is always important and good for you,” said Yamashita, who noted she wouldn’t have offered herself as a candidate if she didn’t think she could do a good job.

King noted that the council will hire an outside firm to lead the search for a new city manager, and it will be the same firm that was used to lead the search for police chief when Yamashita was hired for that position.

“We’re going to lean on them and see if they can strike gold for us twice,” King said.

Yamashita expressed interest in taking on the position permanently after a career spanning 24 years in law enforcement.

“I’m really proud of being a police officer,” Yamashita said. “I think it would be a good way to leave on a high note and in good hands.”

King noted that the council owes it to the city’s residents to do a thorough search and end up with the right person for the position, while adding that Yamashita should be a contender.

“I expect her to be a strong candidate for the permanent position as well,” he said.

Yamashita noted that the city is at a critical juncture, starting work on a new branding strategy that will help create the “face of Sandy” for the next 15 years, while a number of projects are currently in different stages, including the purchase of the Cedar Ridge Middle School from the Oregon Trail School District to turn it into a recreation hub.

“We’ve got a long way to go on that project,” said Yamashita, who noted the importance of community involvement in that process.

While Yamashita serves as the interim city manager, Sergeant Ernie Roberts will take over as the interim police chief. Yamashita noted that Roberts is versed in her vision of the police department and that she has “every confidence” in him.

“I’m thankful for the council for the trust they’re displaying in me,” Yamashita added. “(Roberts and I) both decided to just make the most of it, have fun with it and learn from it.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Mic Eby
Eby era ends at Hoodland Fire District posted on 12/01/2016

Ten years ago this month, the Hoodland Fire District’s (HFD) board of directors named Mic Eby (serving as the acting fire chief) the district’s fire chief, shortly after three members survived a recall vote. This December will be Eby’s last month on the job, after he agreed to a request by the current board to retire.

“It’s a good thing,” Eby told The Mountain Times, noting that there is an opportunity now for the current board, which four out of five members were not on the board when Eby was hired, to hire a chief. “They need to build their own chief. They need somebody who they can call their own.”

Eby, whose contract expires in June 2017 and had discussed retiring at that time, noted that when he took the job in 2006 the district was at a controversial time, with disputes between staff and volunteers.

“We had some pretty bad times together,” said Eby, 66, who has served the district for more than 30 years.

He added that the board at the time came up with a list of goals to bring stability to the district and reestablish it as a good part of the community.

“I believe I have accomplished it,” Eby said.

Eby noted that his vision included building the district up from the inside, with improved training and better equipment, but to also not go to the community and ask for a tax increase. And he credited the support from his staff as a big reason to his successes.

“It really made my job a whole lot easier,” Eby said. “I had people around me that made me look good.”

Cliff Fortune, chair of the board and the lone member who was on the board when Eby was hired, described Eby as a “strong leader in the community,” always attending meetings and functions as the “face of the department” and credited him for bringing the district back from the deep divisions and getting people on the same page.

“I wish Mic all the best in retirement; I think he’s done a fantastic job,” Fortune said. “He’s got a lot of respect throughout Oregon fire service.”

Fortune noted that no action was taken to start the process for finding a new chief at the November board meeting and the board is likely going to address it at the December meeting. He added that Deputy Chief John Ingrao could take over as the chief on Jan. 1, 2017.

“He’d be the logical choice,” Fortune said.

The new chief will have a number of issues to deal with, including a potential rebuild of the main fire station in Welches, renovating the Government Camp fire station and a push to add 24-hour coverage (a new staff member is expected to be hired by January to help provide that coverage).

“The new chief’s going to have his hands full,” Eby said.

Eby added that while he doesn’t know what he’s going to do in retirement, he intends to continue his service with the district as a volunteer at the Brightwood station. And after years of covering shifts during holidays, he plans on doing something he hasn’t done in nearly 20 years - spend Christmas with his wife.

“I’ve missed a lot by being fire chief,” Eby said. “I take responsibility very serious. There’s fantastic people out there and they deserve the best.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

George Wilson ponders alternatives to BCC posted on 12/01/2016

In testimony before the Board of County Commissioners (BCC), Villages at Mt. Hood Chair George Wilson insisted the Mountain community was being ignored, and that he was considering other ways to attain representation for local residents.

“The disconnect between the BCC and village residents continues,” Wilson told The Mountain Times. “The BCC only has interest in our villages when there is timber to harvest to raise funds for Oregon City, Milwaukie and Wilsonville projects. The BCC does not care about our villages, or our residents.”

According to Wilson, the BCC public meeting held Nov. 23 in Oregon City underlined the disconnect when it determined – once again – to alter the county codes to remove all power previously held by the Villages board of directors.

Wilson maintains that the BCC’s decision to alter the Villages bylaws is directed at him, despite Commissioner Martha Schrader saying it was “not personal or political.”

 “This is personal,” Wilson said, addressing the BCC. “I have been vilified and defamed by this board. Not one (Villages) issue has been addressed by the BCC. You have not listened. I know what I say here will be ignored. I have talked to a law firm about a defamation suit (against the BCC). I am not going away.”

BCC Chair John Ludlow, having been voted out of the chair position in the Nov. 8 election, responded to Wilson admitting it was threats like these that precipitated the changes (in the bylaws).

“Spewing stuff like that, I’ve heard it before,” Ludlow said. “And you can take that to your attorney.”

“I don’t need your permission,” Wilson said, exhausting his time allotment.

The BCC concluded that by amending the county code, it could now remove any board member or dissolve the board entirely when it decided to do so, or, more precisely, whenever it feels it to be in the best interests of the community.

With Commissioner Paul Savas as the only dissenting vote, the motion carried by a solid 4-1 vote.

“What is the best interests of the Villages or Hamlets?” Savas asked. “How will we know? It is being perceived that we are being heavy handed. These (changes in bylaws) are nuclear. It’s a big hammer. It will discourage public involvement.”

Savas’ concerns fell on deaf ears.

Frustrated with the BCC’s position regarding the Mountain community, Wilson, besides deciding to pursue personal legal action, has turned his attention to alternatives, including:


  • Begin educating residents of the pros and cons of incorporation;
  • Exploring a class action lawsuit against the unlawful invalidation and handling of the December 2015 Town Hall elections;
  • Campaign hard to ensure misguided and misdirected commissioners John Ludlow and Jim Bernard are not reelected to the BCC; and
  • Forming special districts for particular projects.


By Larry Berteau/MT

Community effort targets gun issues at Miller Quarry posted on 12/01/2016

For Warren Bates, living at the Mt. Hood RV Village should be idyllic, with its quiet, forested setting. But all too often, the sound of gunfire and explosives echo through the community, travelling down from Miller Quarry, land held by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“You cannot believe the noise in the summertime,” Bates said, noting how it goes from early in the morning until after dark.

And while the winter season should bring a downturn in the amount of gunfire, Bates noted that the weekend before Thanksgiving, two large explosions were set off at night, likely people detonating tannerite, an explosive that is legal to possess but not permitted on federal land.

Bates has started an effort to try and improve the situation, holding a community meeting with four representatives from BLM on Oct. 26 featuring approximately 40 community members, with a follow up meeting likely to take place in December or early January. The issues, he notes, go beyond noise, with contamination of the quarry due to gun residue, litter and refuse used as targets and the safety of people in the area, both nearby residents and other users of the land, also priorities.

“Anybody could get hit with a bullet,” Bates said, adding that bullet holes have been found in a car and a carport at the Village in the past. “When you add all these things in, the simplest thing to do is to close down the range. It’s way too close to populated areas.”

Chris Papen, BLM’s Acting Field Manager for the Cascades Field Office, attended the Oct. 26 meeting and acknowledged the problem, but noted that finding a solution is a “long road.” Target shooting on federal land is legal, and Papen noted that with a lack of places for people to shoot guns, Miller Quarry is a logical destination.

Papen noted that the BLM also has safety concerns at the site, with contractors working near the quarry last year performing restoration work on the Salmon River, not to mention anglers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts trying to enjoy the area.

“This really came to rise with us with just the safety of the public and our own employees working down by the river,” said Papen, who has worked with the BLM for 27 years.

He added that the BLM added a “flip” sign near the entrance to the quarry warning potential target shooters of BLM contractors working in the area, which helped during the week this summer, but also noted that it’s “not working in there” now.

There are restrictions on shooting on federal land, including at least a quarter mile from a residence or recreational area and no shooting from public roads, while shooting etiquette dictates a safe backstop and for shooters to know their target.

“We expect people to uphold not just federal laws, but state and local policies,” Papen added.

Terry Bennett, the host at the Douglas Ridge Rifle Club in Eagle Creek, told the Mountain Times that the Miller Quarry has a bad reputation with club members, including people shooting in different directions, waving gun barrels “all over the place” and shooting up old refrigerators and other garbage.

“It’s scary up there,” said Bennett, who has been host for eight years but has not been to the quarry himself. “They just don’t feel safe.”

Bennett noted that the problem is not limited to the quarry, as he participated in a cleanup effort on U.S. Forest Service land last year in an area decimated by target shooters, including trees shot in half.

“That’s as bad as I’ve ever seen,” Bennett said. “You could see where they’d been standing, and they were shooting off the mountain.

“The thing is, there’s no regulation,” he added. “Common sense isn’t common.”

Bennett noted that the club, which opened in 1969 and features a variety of shooting areas on 130 acres, is “tight on safety,” and offers a variety of safety classes open to non-members, including public “site-in” days, youth training and ladies nights. He added that as a child, he sometimes shot at gravel pits, but that the unwritten rule was to “take home more than you brought.”

Papen credited Bates and the community for the self-started movement to address the issues, noting that the BLM will put an emphasis on the area with its law enforcement officers.

“The key is we want to work with them and we want to listen to them,” he said. “We’re certainly in it for the long run.”

Bates and other members of the community now keep a log of gunfire they hear from the quarry, including dates and times. But Bates also hopes to see limits on the types of guns allowed at the quarry and target shooting limited to certain hours of the day.

He added that he believes the gun noise has a negative impact on business at the Village, including seeing diminished rentals.

“In the larger sense, it’s BLM’s responsibility,” Bates said. “If they're going to have the gun range, it has to be monitored.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Caryn Tilton at The Rendezvous
Art website looks to expand posted on 12/01/2016

Mountain resident Caryn Tilton retired five years ago, or really semi-retired as she kept a few clients and weaned herself from work. But as part of retirement, Tilton was finally able to pursue her interest in learning how to paint watercolors.

In a class about watercolors, Tilton was a businesswoman surrounded by artists and realized they could use a little help when it came to marketing and computers. So one year ago, Tilton started a website, MtHoodArtOnline.com, to help local artists market their works. 12 months later, 16 artists are on board and Tilton hopes more will soon follow.

“It seems to have really filled a need in the area,” Tilton said. “It’s taken hold over the past year.”

The website offers a featured artist each month, with an opportunity for all the artists to post photos of their work and biographical information in their own gallery. Visitors can also purchase art through the site, while the site also advertises art classes, promotes art events and offers a quarterly newsletter.

Tilton has also brought works by the artists to local businesses, including The Rendezvous, while she also started a greeting card program, where retail customers, wholesale customers and fundraisers can request customized cards to fit any occasion or select from the many website options available.

Beth Verheyden, a Boring resident and watercolor painter who has taught art for 25 years, noted that many artists need some outside help to effectively market their works.

“I think that we as artists, we’re not our best salesmen,” Verheyden said. “Some of us are a little more business-minded than others, some of us just like to paint. I am my own worst salesman. I love to talk other people up, I love to listen. I think this is a really wonderful tool for people who fall into that category.”

Pam Smithsted, an oil painter, met Tilton through a meeting of the Wy’east Artisans Guild and saw it as a perfect way to get an online presence for her art, and she hopes it continues to grow.

“We want people to know they should apply,” Smithsted said.

Tilton noted she hopes to double the number of artists in the coming year, while increasing the presence of the online newsletter.

The website, touted as by artists and for artists, has a volunteer steering committee to guide the venture, including leading the process of adding new artists.

During the month of December, all proceeds from the sales of gift tags will be donated to the Hoodland Women’s Club. For more information, visit MtHoodOnline.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Sandy City Manager resigns posted on 12/01/2016

City Manager Seth Atkinson tendered his resignation last month, following three years at Sandy City Hall.

Atkinson noted he accepted a job offer in a small town in Utah and will be leaving to take that job in mid-January.

“It’s just been such a wonderful experience working with council and staff here,” said Atkinson, who studied finance and economics and earned a masters degree at Utah State University and served as a budget analyst for the city of Park City, Utah before coming to Sandy as the finance director. “We really feel we’re part of the same team.”

Atkinson noted a number of accomplishments over his tenure as both finance director and city manager, including the recent sale agreement between the city and the Oregon Trail School District for the Cedar Ridge Middle School campus with an eye toward turning it into a recreation hub for the city and the upgraded library.

“I’ve just enjoyed my time here so much,” Atkinson said, noting the move is based on his family’s needs. “This has been a real bittersweet decision. I would want to stay, if I could.”

The city council will recruit an interim city manager from internal options, with an interview process likely to take place on Monday, Dec. 5. Atkinson noted that process will allow the interim city manager to shadow him during his last days on the job and will give the council more time for a recruitment process for a permanent replacement, if they want.

Sandy Mayor Bill King noted Atkinson did a good job for the city and grew in his role as city manager.

“He’s done a great job; if I could change his mind, I would,” King said. “I understand why he’s doing it, I just wish he wasn’t.”

The city will also lose another employee as Nancy Enabnit, Director of Community Services, will retire after 30 years at the end of February, 2017.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Shakeup at BCC; Mark Johnson keeps seat posted on 12/01/2016

The bitterly contested November election spurred Oregon and County voters to cast their ballots. Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of eligible voters showed up countywide, topped only by the 77 percent turnout statewide.

The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) election results promised to have an impact on Mountain residents. With the relentless attack from the Board regarding the county’s dissolution of the Villages at Mt. Hood – an incursion led by then-Chair John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith – voters appeared to get the message, or at least send one.

Ludlow was defeated in the race for the chair’s position by Commissioner Jim Bernard (53 percent to 47 percent) and Ludlow was relegated to take a back seat on the Board.

Smith was sent packing by Ken Humberston’s run after Position 4, with Smith suffering a 51 percent to 49 percent defeat.

The new makeup of the BCC includes: Chair Bernard, and commissioners Humberston, Paul Savas, Martha Schrader and Ludlow.

House District 52 incumbent Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) held off an effort by Democrat Mark Reynolds, returning to Salem with a 55 percent to 44 percent win. Johnson’s margin was considerably wider within Clackamas County, 61 percent to 39 percent.

Federal results

Hillary Clinton fared better at the county and state level than she did on a national scale. Clinton topped President-elect Donald Trump 50 to 43 percent countywide, and 50 to 39 percent statewide.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D) coasted over Republican rival Mark Callahan 54 to 37 percent and 56 to 33 percent, countywide and statewide respectively.

U.S. Representative contests that local residents participated in included Democrat victories by incumbents Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader over David Walker and Colm Willis. Blumenauer’s win raised eyebrows locally as he lost to Walker countywide 48 to 47 percent, but romped statewide 72 to 20 percent.

State results

Incumbent Democrat Kate Brown was returned as Oregon’s governor, eking out a narrow statewide victory by 50 to 43 percent, despite Clackamas County voters disagreeing by backing Bud Pierce’s bid 48 to 47 percent.

Republican Dennis Richardson unseated incumbent Bard Avakian in the Secretary of State race, 53 to 39 percent countywide and 47 to 43 percent statewide.

Local results

The City of Sandy will have the same look as before with the mayor and three city councilors keeping their posts while running unopposed. Bill King is mayor, John Hamblin, Donald Hollis and Olga Gerberg will return in Positions 3, 4 and 5, respectively.

Measure 3-510 passed by a 75 percent to 25 percent margin levying a 3 percent tax on marijuana sales.

Measure 3-509, proposing a 6-cent per gallon fuel tax failed by a 63 to 37 percent margin.

And the city of Sandy will continue prohibiting marijuana sales with a vote of 56 to 44 percent. Just in case, another measure that would have authorized a tax on marijuana should the other measure permit sales, was approved by 79 percent to 21 percent.

By Larry Berteau/MT

The Lions (Club) Pride posted on 12/01/2016

As the Lions Club International celebrates its centennial, the local chapter focused in on helping youth this year and utilized proceeds from its annual Chili Cookoff to fund scholarships at the Mt. Hood Learning Center.

David Buoy noted this year they were able to fund two scholarships (at $880 each), after funding three last year, when the Lions started the scholarship program.

“We just kind of identified there’s not really much for daycare,” said Buoy, the third vice president of the local chapter, noting that many parents on the mountain have to travel to Gresham or farther for work. “Sometimes that money makes a big difference to a working family.”

Alicia Sperr, president of the non-profit board that runs the Learning Center, noted that the center has been a huge success since it started three years ago. The number of children going there has more than doubled, and the scholarships go to families that would not have otherwise been able to afford sending their children there.

“We feel that’s a pretty big deal in the community and we appreciate their contribution,” Sperr said.

Buoy noted that the club, which has other programs targeting youth such as Reading is Fundamental at the Welches School and college scholarships for mountain students graduating Sandy High School, likes to keep the money generated by events in the community.

“People up here on the mountain have been very very generous,” he said, adding that the entries for the Chili Cookoff have gotten more competitive. “We try to spread it around with a focus on the young folks.”

The Lions Club is currently holding a toy drive starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Lions Club building on Woodsey Way and Hwy. 26.

Please bring a new, unwrapped toy. Tickets are $12 at the door and $10 presale at the Barlow Trail Roadhouse, Welches Mountain Building Supply and the Clackamas County Bank.

The Mt. Hood Learning Center still has spaces available for children.

For more information, email mthoodlc@gmail.com or call 503-668-3868.

By Garth Guibord/MT

The county commissioners’ seats went unoccupied at the meeting.
Mountain residents rear their backs against county commissioners posted on 11/01/2016


The Mountain’s opposition to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) grew exponentially throughout October.

While the BCC continued its attack against the Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors – more specifically its Chairman, George Wilson – the community rallied behind the Villages at an emergency Town Hall meeting Oct. 11 at The Resort.

The Town Hall, held in defiance of the BCC which had previously dissolved, then put on hiatus, then again dissolved the Villages Board, voted unanimously to oppose the BCC’s latest proposal to amend a county ordinance, allowing the BCC to independently and arbitrarily remove an elected representative of a Village or Hamlet. The only thing missing from the amendment was mentioning Wilson by name.

“This is absolutely absurd,” Wilson said. “It is an outright deviation from our democratic process.”

The unanimous vote to oppose the BCC action came in a raise of hands of 71 attendees at the Town Hall.

The Town Hall setting was a statement in itself. There were six seats set up at the dais – one for each commissioner (John Ludlow, Tootie Smith, Jim Bernard, Martha Schrader and Paul Savas), plus a chair for HD 52 State Representative Mark Johnson (R-Hood River). All six had been invited. Savas replied that he had a conflict and would not be able to attend. The other commissioners deigned not to reply. As usual when there’s a pressing issue on the Mountain, Johnson showed up.

“I had other commitments tonight,” Johnson said. “But this is a lot more fun.”

Wilson ticked off many complaints that the community fosters regarding the BCC beyond arbitrarily scuttling of the Villages Board, including:

This is the same governing body to harvest and sell our surrounding timber, with no proceeds coming back to our communities;

The same governing body that wants us to support increased taxes for road maintenance and repair, with no monies budgeted for any or OUR county roads;

The same governing body which due to its own neglect, failed to adhere to FEMA reporting requirements over three years, causing all National Flood Insurance Plan policy holders on the Mountain to lose their plan discounts and suffer rate hikes.

“I could go on,” Wilson added. “But I hope residents begin to see a pattern before it’s too late.”

Christine Roth, the former liaison between the BCC and the Villages Board, knows the county’s players well.

“Costs incurred by Clackamas County for settlements or additional unnecessary spending resulting from actions taken by Chair John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith as of August 2016 total more than $3 million in taxpayer monies,” Roth writes in her site at www.fixourcounty.org.

At the Town Hall, Rep. Johnson indicated he would be willing to put the Mountain’s concerns about the BCC to other legislative colleagues who may have some influence.

He added that the BCC’s actions smacked of “taxation without representation.”

Other local residents weighed in at the public affair.

Kip O’Connor: “If there’s something they (BCC) don’t like, they just move the goal posts.”

Gary Randall: “They (BCC) only see tax revenue and a bunch of ignorant people.”

Rick Applegate (the original Chair of the Board): “I make the motion to not dissolve the Board.”

The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

The BCC has announced a public hearing for 10 a.m., Nov. 9, in the BCC hearing room in Oregon City, to review and discuss the amendments to the County Code that would place the Villages Board under the complete control of the BCC, rendering the Villages Board useless.

The public is invited to attend and have their voices heard.

Wilson will be at the meeting.

“You don’t get to change the rules in the middle of the game because you don’t like the way the game is being played,” Wilson said. “I can only say that if county commissioners continue to ignore the will of our community, they must be challenged in court, and forced to abide by the rules and original bylaws they agreed to when the board was formed.

“No matter how long it takes, this issue must be presented to the Oregon State Attorney General’s Office.”

By Larry Berteau/MT

Jack Fletcher tells his story at Emmanuel Hospital
Jack Fletcher makes his way back from collision on Hwy. 26 posted on 11/01/2016

Jack Fletcher walked on to the stage on Monday, Oct. 24 at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital. That feat alone could be seen as a miracle, but then Fletcher, 20, shares his story – a speech he gives up to six times a month.

“And I got to tell you - I shouldn’t be here today,” Fletcher told the audience at one point.


Fletcher grew up in southwestern Washington, the son of the high school’s rugby coach and an avid snowboarder, who got involved with the local fire cadet program at Clark County Fire & Rescue when he was 16 at Prairie High School.

Fletcher frequented Mount Hood, heading up ten times or so each winter to go snowboarding.

“Love that mountain, man, love it,” Fletcher told the Mountain Times during an interview.

Fletcher landed a fire scholarship at Crook County Fire & Rescue in Prineville for the summer of 2014, right before heading to nearby Central Oregon Community College that fall. In July that year, Fletcher got a text from his grandmother about some cousins coming from the east coast for a visit and he made up his mind - head back home and surprise his family for the visit.

That day, July 30, 2014, fate intervened.

Just after 3:30 p.m., the Hoodland Fire District responded to a head-on collision on Hwy. 26, near milepost 40. The accident featured a Ford F-150 travelling approximately 80 miles per hour, veering off to the opposite side of the highway before turning back into traffic and striking Fletcher’s Subaru Outback on the passenger’s side.

Fletcher was trapped in his car, unresponsive. The driver of the truck, who was driving under the influence at the time, was conscious with no obvious injuries and would later be released from the hospital. But Fletcher’s fight had just begun.

He required a trip on a Life Flight helicopter to the Oregon Health & Science University hospital, odds stacked against him and arriving in a coma with numerous injuries, including a broken arm, an injury to his right hand requiring amputations, traumatic brain injury and damage to his face that shattered most of the bones and caused blindness in his right eye. The hours ticked by as the initial critical periods elapsed, offering some hope to his family, and then Fletcher awoke five days later.

“For a while I didn’t remember Prineville,” said Fletcher, who noted his short term memory, focus and attention are still affected. “I thought I was still in high school.”

The recovery was just starting, from drilling holes in his skull to relieve the pressure to a 13-hour facial surgery, and weeks of rehabilitation before he was released on Sept. 27, 2014. On his way home, his family stopped at a local Winco, where Fletcher was greeted by his fire instructor on a cadet engine to drive him to his neighborhood, where a welcome home sign and friends were waiting to greet him.

“That was super cool,” Fletcher said.

The following months included physical therapy, occupational therapy, brain injury rehab and more. He also reconnected to his firefighting roots, stopping by Clark County Fire & Rescue for a visit, where at first he wasn’t recognized  by Battalion Fire Chief Dean Lange. Lange brought Fletcher in to see some of the staff, and was moved by not only how much it meant to Fletcher, but also how much it meant to the other firefighters.

“It overwhelmed me so much, that I thought right then and there we’ve got to do something,” Lange said.

Lange spoke with his bosses and they offered Fletcher the chance to pass a test to become a specialty volunteer, helping with auxiliary duties. The test included physical agility, and Lange was impressed by Fletcher’s performance.

“He whipped right through it,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Lange noted that Fletcher was assigned to a captain, Jason Leavitt, just as any other probationary firefighter would be, while the administration has been very supportive of the plan.

“It kind of makes you reevaluate not only your life, but faith in the human heart and the human drive,” said Lange, noting the members of the fire district wanted to go out of their way to do the right thing for Fletcher. “Here’s a kid that could have just laid around and felt sorry for himself.”

And while Fletcher’s future as an emergency responder may be unknown, he is making the best of his situation, volunteering his time as a speaker at driver’s education classes, at churches, at proms and elsewhere about the dangers of DUII and reckless driving.

“It definitely feels good to be able to help,” Fletcher said. “I don't want to plateau with recovery. I hope I never stop.”

Hoodland Fire District Senior Firefighter Scott Kline was one of the responders during the fateful call, tending to the other driver. While he tended to the other driver, he’s been impressed with Fletcher’s journey from the accident in what was once known as, “blood alley.”

“He’s kind of one of our honorary members,” Kline said. “It’s awesome. He’s doing a really good job with his recovery.”

Fletcher’s parents, Kelly and John, also try to keep positive about the accident, pointing to where he is in life now and not dwelling on what happened.

“If you save one person, it’s worth it,” Kelly said about Jack’s public speaking.

“He’s busy, and he’s at his best being busy,” John added.

Jack’s journey is also one of forgiveness, as he noted he was able to forgive the driver who caused the accident, including reading from the Bible at the sentencing hearing.

“Be kind and compassionate,” Jack said, adding that he hopes the driver who hit him will join him for speaking engagements when he is released from jail. “God forgave you.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Cedar Ridge sale agreement in place posted on 11/01/2016

The Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) and the City of Sandy made a splash heard ‘round Clackamas County in October, as the OTSD board of directors and city council both approved a sale agreement for the Cedar Ridge Middle School campus and the Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center. The city will lease back the school to the district while upgrades are made to the Pioneer Building (former Sandy High School), before potentially turning the campus into a recreation hub.

Sandy City Manager Seth Atkinson noted the magnitude of both entities signing off on the deal after referring to the potential transaction as a “slow moving train” numerous times.

“It’s exciting,” Atkinson said. “I kind of feel like we passed a major station.”

“We knew from the beginning if we could make this happen, it would be mutually beneficial to students and our whole community,” added OTSD Superintendent Aaron Bayer in a newsletter release. “I’m excited about the outcome.”

The agreement includes a $3 million sale price, which includes $2.2 million to the school district and a loan of $800,000 to the city at zero percent interest because the district will not be able to vacate the property until after upgrades to the Pioneer Building. Proceeds from the sale will be used for the upgrades, with a target of fall 2017 for students to relocate.

Julia Monteith, OTSD Communications Director, noted that construction documents were expected to be released in early November. The Sandy Grade School campus will be partitioned into a separate lot and retained by the district.

Atkinson noted that while the school is still occupied, the city hopes to put together a team for site visits at various recreation centers in the region to see the pros and cons on what other cities have done.

“We want to learn from any mistakes and obviously build the best facility we can,” Atkinson said.

The city will also solicit a request for qualifications from architect and engineering firms with the goal of putting together a master plan for the site, including preliminary sketches. Atkinson added that multiple public forums will be held to discuss what the public wants and the funding of the project.

“From that point forward, we’ll have a plan in place so whenever the school vacates, hopefully be ready for construction,” Atkinson said, noting public forums could be held as early as next spring.

Monteith added that the Sandy High School swim and water polo teams will retain access to the pool after the transfer.

“The city has been very willing to work with us on that,” she said.

The city council unanimously approved the agreement at their Monday, Oct. 3 meeting, while the OTSD board of directors unanimously approved the agreement at their Monday, Oct. 10 meeting (Candice Lindberg was absent and did not vote, while Kurt McKnight was absent but submitted his approval vote to the board chair prior to the meeting).

By Garth Guibord/MT

Hwy. 26 after widening and adding a median barrier.
That’s a wrap! Hwy. 26 Safety Project completed posted on 11/01/2016

Drivers on Hwy. 26 might see some workers cleaning up along the shoulders as they travel to and from Government Camp in November, but the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project” reached an official end, including a celebration at the Mount Hood Cultural Center and Museum on Friday, Oct. 28.

“We’re feeling really accomplished and proud for just getting this done,” said Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs. “We’re thankful for the community for putting up with it, because we realize it’s been disruptive at times.”

Work on another project, adding RealTime signs that offer up to the minute traffic information and advisories on Hwy. 26, Hwy. 35 and Timberline Road, is expected to begin in the spring when the snow melts. Dinwiddie noted more information will be available after a contractor is selected, and the project will go to bid “any time,” she noted.

The project will cause fewer delays to travelers than the safety project, while the sign work is expected to be completed in one season. The signs, however, might not be operational for some time after construction is complete, as tests will need to be performed on the software before then.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Blind tandem bike project shifts into fundraiser gear posted on 11/01/2016

The organized effort to initiate the Blind Tandem Cycling Project moved closer to reality during the month of October.

The Oral Hull Foundation, of Sandy, teamed with the Mt. Hood Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition (MHBPC), has now raised $3,500 following an Oct. 8 fundraiser.

“As far as I’m aware, there has never been a program of this type anywhere,” said George Wilson, director of the MHBPC. “I am excited about the fact that we will be the first.”

The project is coordinating with a Eugene-based company Co-Motion Bicycles who will custom build each tandem bicycle. These bicycles will provide for a pairing of a sighted tandem captain with a blind or visually impaired rider – called a stoker – of various skill sets.

“Each handmade tandem bicycle will be made of sturdy, lightweight aluminum, utilizing higher-end race grade components,” Wilson said.

The project plans include establishing novice and intermediate camps to prepare the riders for single day/multi-day recreational tandem rides and events. The next evolution would include organized sanctioned tandem racing events through the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association.

“Our mission goal is to offer a quality program, utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and gear, to produce an adventure experience of a lifetime that would not otherwise be possible for individuals with visual impairment,” Wilson said. “Each tandem team will utilize helmet to helmet communication, which will be especially useful during racing events.”

The MHBPC contribution to the project will also include: maintaining a pool of dedicated tandem captains and volunteers; provide medical and rest stop support; manage, service and maintain tandem bicycles and equipment; and provide an online computer assisted at-home training program utilizing a stationary trainer.

By Larry Berteau/MT

A classroom of the students, by the students, for the students posted on 11/01/2016

Mountain resident Jillian Kyle has a tough decision this fall when it comes to electing her president, because, as she notes, both candidates are her really good friends. And with the stakes for this election so high, with the winner receiving a four-week term as the president of Kyle’s fifth grade class at Welches Schools, every vote will count.

“They’re both really really good students in the classroom,” said Kyle, 10, of the two candidates, Abby Perez and David Hernandez.

The classroom election was the brainchild of teacher Kalee Adams, who took the structure of the national presidential election and set it in her classroom.

For the unit, Adams broke up her class into various groups: two political parties (each with a president, vice-president, campaign manager and three team members), one to create a voting booth, one for ballots, one for voter registration cards and a final one for debate questions. All students were randomly assigned to a group, with the roles (such as president) also randomly assigned.

Furthermore, the two political parties - the Wildcats Party and the Welches Party - created donation letters to solicit donations of fake money (distributed to school staff) to buy supplies for banners, stickers and other materials.

“We’re trying to make it as real life as possible,” Adams said, adding they may try to make commercials on Chromebooks. “I think the thing that most of them are excited about is because they have to earn that money and they’re creating it, each team has a creativity piece.”

The non-party groups mirrored real life aspects of the election, with those in charge of voter registration finding alternatives to the typical questions, such as, “Are you 10 years old or older?”

The two candidates were honing their message for the electorate, while also working hard to get that message out.

“The hardest part is working with your team and managing them,” said Hernandez, the top of the ticket for the Welches Party, who is pushing for more variety for the school’s pizza lunches and adding a wider range of dietary options, such as gluten-free.

Perez, 10, the candidate for the Wildcat Party, noted she’s focused on raising donations because, “running for president is not free.” But she noted that she may have an advantage due to the staff around her.

“My campaign manager, Jacob, he’s like, ‘We’re not going to let you lose,’ she said. “It feels good. Ms. Adams said that’s a really good campaign manager.”

Landen O’Donnell, 10, was on the group coming up with debate questions, and noted the difficulty was in narrowing down all the possibilities to get to a final list of 20. He noted that among the questions that made the cut include ones about wearing hats at school and chewing gum.

“There’s a lot of questions we could ask them, but we had to choose some,” he said, adding that the debate will play “a big role” in determining his vote.

Timothy McMillion, 10, worked on the ballot for the unit and noted he learned a great deal about the election process.

“I just thought it was a bunch of paperwork,” McMillion said, noting that a big factor in casting his vote will be “how well they handle things.”

Tytan Rocha, 11, worked on the voting booth (something utilized in most states, but not in Oregon), which ran into some issues.

“The tape isn’t strong, so it’s been a challenge to get up the roof with tape like that,” Rocha said.

He added that he’s learned a lot about the three branches of government, while he has some ideas that his ideal candidate would support.

“I like recess; maybe we could add on just a little bit more, 20 minutes of recess,” Rocha said.

 By Garth Guibord/MT

The Scene on Stage: ‘Hard-Knock’ musical at SHS posted on 11/01/2016

Sandy High School (SHS) drama instructor Tomi Griffin directed a production of “Annie, Jr.” ten years ago, leading her to do the full “Annie” musical this year. What she discovered, however, is that the cast requirements for the larger show are just that - larger.

“‘Annie Jr.’ is a lot less,” Griffin said, noting that the cast for the SHS production at almost 50 students (which doesn’t include students involved with technical and backstage elements).

The cast also includes a number of students from other schools in the district, as she opened up auditions to include younger students. So many worthy young actors showed up that Griffin decided to cast a student as Annie’s dog, despite Griffin having a dog at home that she thought she would use.

“I want to give every single kid a chance,” she said. “It will build my program in the long run.”

The popular musical offers the story of Annie, an orphan who lands a home with billionaire Oliver Warbucks. They try to seek out Annie’s parents, but the matron of Annie’s orphanage, Miss Hannigan, has a scheme of her own to make some money.

Griffin noted the story, based on the 1920s comic strip, “Little Orphan Annie,” by Harold Gray, offers a lesson on keeping a positive attitude in life.

“I think it's going to hit us right when we need it most,” she said of the November production.

SHS Drama presents “Annie,” music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan, at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19, at 37400 SE Bell Street in Sandy. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 503-668-8011, ext. 7313.

Drama performances at SHS this year are general seating only on a first come, first serve basis. There will be no reserved seating.

American Classic at Sandy Actors Theatre

Doug Holtry, who has served on the board of the Sandy Actors Theatre (SAT), directed and designed lights, noted that Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” is one of his “bucket list” shows. And while he produced it years ago in Olympia, Wash., he now gets to check it off that list as the director of SAT’s latest production.

“It’s an American classic,” Holtry said. “Neil Simon and Oscar and Felix, everybody knows the references.”

The comedy pits Felix Unger, the neat clean-freak, against his friend Oscar Madison, an unkempt sportswriter, after Unger’s wife throws him out. The play inspired a movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in 1968 and the 1970s TV series of the same name starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

“It is one of the challenges in doing something that is so iconic,” Holtry said. “I try and keep the personalities as best we can to that. I think they’ll be surprised and pleased with our version.”

Holtry noted the play is truly a story about friendship and how Oscar and Felix grow and impact each other.

“Oscar grows and changes so much from the beginning of the show to the end of the show,” Holtry added. “He’s really just a lonely guy, he’s not really sure why his wife left him … he hasn’t come to grips with that.”

SAT presents “The Odd Couple,” by Neil Simon, from Friday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Dec. 4, at 17433 Meinig Ave. (behind Ace Hardware). Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 for students and seniors (reservations are recommended). For more information, or to make reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org.

For the entire run of the show, military veterans who show their veteran’s ID will get $3 off, while those who wear their uniform will receive free admission.

The Wy’East Artisans Guild presents “Mismatched,” a show of artwork by local artists inspired by “The Odd Couple,” at SAT from Nov. 11 through Dec. 4.

The featured artist for this show is Jennifer Bliesner. As a young adult she pursued an interest in crafting, but as she approached retirement she was attracted to watercolor and has been painting for eight years. She teaches youth art classes at the AntFarm in Sandy and is the current President of the Wy’East Artisans Guild.

A reception will be held at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at SAT, followed by a dress-rehearsal performance.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Concrete barrier.
ODOT’s Hwy. 26 safety project to end this month posted on 10/01/2016

Contractors were expected to wrap up paving during the final week of September for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” setting the stage for the completion of the project this month. Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted the paving was a challenge due to weather delays, leading to several days of working both day and night, after originally planning on just paving during the night.

Dinwiddie added that the installation of a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents was also expected to be finished by the end of September, adding that people who need to make U-turns should utilize the Government Camp Loop or Kiwanis Camp Road.

While the project is scheduled to end this month, travelers should still expect 20-minute delays due to striping, as Dinwiddie noted there will be flaggers and pilot cars utilized until the striping is complete.

“It’s been a busy couple of years, but we realize that it’s been a rough month with the paving and delays,” Dinwiddie said. “We really appreciate everyone’s patience, but in the end, we believe it will be worth it when we have a safer highway and a smoother ride.”

For more information, please visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Once again, the BCC dissolves Villages Board posted on 10/01/2016


When we last left the Board of County Commissioners (BCC), the gang that couldn’t shoot straight invited the Villages at Mt. Hood Board to a policy session on Sept. 6.

At that point in time, it was quite possible the BCC had awakened from its somnambulant state and was willing to recognize the Mountain community as actually being in Clackamas County.

Our expectations remained guarded, as the BCC had lowered the bar so far regarding rational thought. The reasons resembled a train wreck that had stacked up over a three-month period.

Consider the following, which led to this derailment:

The BCC did not approve of the way the Villages at Mt. Hood conducted an election. (This, from the BCC having corrupted a previous Villages election when its liaison, Christine Roth, stopped the balloting one hour early when the desired results [her desired results apparently] had been attained.)

Consequently, the BCC dissolved the Board.

When faced with the possibility it couldn’t actually do that, the BCC changed the nomenclature, putting the Villages Board on “hiatus.”

Villages Chair George Wilson, his attorney, and Board Director Carol Burk reacted to the insult, prodding County staff to agree to mediation – with the mediator, of course, an employee of the county.

A Memorandum of Understanding was reached during the mediation, with County staff recommending the BCC to allow Wilson et al. to move forward with a Villages election.

This was followed by the Sept. 6 policy session in which by a 4-1 vote, the BCC ignored the memorandum (from its own staff), and returned to Step 2, above, and dissolved the Board – again.

Wilson, refusing to be cowed, responded by announcing an emergency Town Hall meeting scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct 11, in the Hunchback Room of the Resort at the Mountain.

“Mt. Hood area residents are outraged with the actions and behavior of the BCC regarding their handling of the Villages issue,” Wilson wrote in an email to the BCC and County staff. “The BCC has demonstrated their willingness to dissolve an established board of 10 years, thereby ignoring and disallowing our democratic system to work in the manner in which it was intended.”

Wilson is urging Mountain residents to rally to the cause against the BCC by attending the Town Hall.

“We plan to encourage voters to protest the actions of the BCC by voting in opposition and forcing them to respect the wishes of local residents,” Wilson told The Mountain Times.

“Please be advised our goal will be to encourage residents to cast a resounding “NO” vote for the dissolution process, and force our government representatives to pay attention to the needs and the will of the people,” Wilson added.

It should be noted that the BCC actions, the four votes for dissolution of the Villages Board (Commissioners John Ludlow, Jim Bernard, Tootie Smith, Martha Schrader) provides no evidence of a rational thought process. To the contrary, it’s quite obvious this is a personal dislike for Board Chair Wilson. Listen to the Sept. 6 policy session at www.clackamas.us/bcc/presentation.html and decide for yourself.

These are some of the commissioners’ comments:

“They are well represented by the Rhody CPO.”

“Leaders have thrown wrenches in the process. It’s time to put this to rest.”

“It’s in our DNA to self-govern.”

“The leadership is not there any more. It’s gone rogue.”

“They are burrs under our saddle.”

Mountain resident and business owner Rick Applegate was the first Chair of the Village Board, and although by his own admission, has not always agreed with Wilson on everything, rallied to his defense and admonition of the BCC.

“The tape (from Sept. 6 policy session) shows several commissioners’ extreme hatred of Mr. George Wilson,” Applegate said. “They don’t have the gumption to name him by name, but they slander him and everyone knows they are talking about him when they make comments about the ‘one person.’”

Applegate added that the decision to dissolve is driven by the commissioners’ complete dislike, and possibly hatred, of Wilson.

“In this, I support George one hundred percent,” he said. “His tenacious advocacy for our community is undeniable and honorable.”

It shouldn’t be required, but as a reminder, Wilson has been duly elected to the Villages Board by Mountain residents. This stubborn fact has slipped through an I-5 corridor crack.

In the policy session, county counsel reminded the BCC that a Town Hall Meeting is required before the actual dissolution takes hold. Commissioners got a good laugh out of this one, claiming the Town Hall would be held in Oregon City, not on the Mountain. One commissioner can be heard saying “Anyone can pack a Town Hall.”

Actually that’s not quite true. Not “anyone.” But Wilson can.

It should be noted that Paul Savas was the lone BCC vote against dissolution. “If the (Mountain) community wants to dissolve, it’s up to them to decide, not us,” he said during the session. “If the community wants to dissolve, so be it.”

We applaud Savas for standing up to the corrosive forces that run amok at the BCC.

Finally, we urge all concerned Mountain residents to attend the Oct. 11 Town Hall. It is incumbent on us to continue the drum beat of democracy – a concept that has slipped from the grasp of Ludlow, Bernard, Smith and Schrader.

By Larry Berteau/MT

District seeks solution to lead in Welches School’s water posted on 10/01/2016

The Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) continues to seek an answer to the discovery of lead in the Welches School’s water and has requests out to contractors for recommendations on how to proceed, according to district Communications Director Julia Monteith. As of Wednesday, Sept. 29, the district received one response, but Monteith noted they will wait for more before proceeding.

“We want to make sure we talk to two or three contractors and make sure what we end up doing is the right thing to do,” she said, noting that the most likely course of action will be installing a neutralizing system into both the school’s buildings.

In the meantime, the district brought in six water coolers between the two buildings to provide safe drinking water for students and staff.

“It’s been a really smooth transition to the water coolers,” said Kendra Payne, Welches Schools Principal. “It’s keeping everybody hydrated.”

Payne added that students are encouraged to bring water bottles to school to help reduce the number of paper cups being used. She also noted that the only feedback she’s received about the issue was a question during the Welches Parent Teacher Community Organization meeting in September.

Monteith noted that the lead issue is more “system wide” in the middle school building, but more “localized” at the elementary school. But the district is looking to instal a neutralizing system, which raises the pH level to reduce the water’s acidity and reduce corrosion, in both buildings.

Monteith added that the work is expected to be performed this fall, although she noted contractors and labs across the state are busy due to the number of schools that are addressing the lead issue.

The district announced in August that seven fountains out of 14 and two faucets in food prep sinks out of two in Welches Middle School contained slightly elevated levels of lead, ranging from .0206 to .030 milligrams per liter (mg/L) (the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit is .020), and subsequently replaced the equipment.

However, further test results the district received on Friday, Aug. 26 revealed the continued presence of elevated lead levels.In addition, 23 classroom sinks out of 24 tested revealed elevated levels of lead in the water, ranging from .0204 to .199 mg/L. Five of the seven fountains with elevated lead levels are in rooms that are not used by students (but are used for storage), while the remaining two fountains were sometimes  in use.

Results from other facilities in the district revealed four fountains out of ten and two faucets out of five at Sandy Grade School, one fountain out of 16 at Kelso Elementary School, 12 fountains out of 15 at Cedar Ridge Middle School, two faucets out of four at Kelso Elementary School, one faucet out of one at the Community Connections (across from the Pioneer campus) and one faucet out of seven at Naas Elementary School higher than the EPA limit.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Kids in the mix at ‘Just for Kix’ posted on 10/01/2016

Just For Kix, a youth dance program in its 35th year, in 14 states, at 210 locations, engaging more than 20,000 young dancers, is now being staged in Welches.

The program boasts that “At Just For Kix, doing your best is more important than being the best.” Dancers experience the health and fitness benefits of working to build cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, along with the core attributes of confidence, pride and friendship.

Tiffany Pfenning has assumed the director’s role for the Welches business. She has an extensive background and passion for dance.

“I spent over 15 years training, competing and performing as a studio dancer, dance team member and University of Oregon cheerleader,” Pfenning said. “I also have over 15 years of experience choreographing, teaching and coaching for private studios, high school teams, performance companies and dance camps.”

The Welches Just For Kix dance program offers classes for youth ages 3 to 18 at Camp Arrah Wanna.

“I enjoy working with students of all ages and abilities and am committed to bringing the joy of dance to our community,” Pfenning said. “I am excited to watch the Mountain children bloom from the friendships and confidence gained through dancing.”

Class schedule is on Tuesdays, with Mini Kix (Grades 4-6) from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.; Wee Kix (Grades 1-3) from 5:20 to 6:20 p.m.; Tiny Kix (3 years old to Kindergarten) 6:25 to 6:55 p.m.; and Junior Kix (Grades 7-12) from 7 to 8 p.m.

Students can enroll at any time. Contact Tiffany at welchesor@justforkix.com or call her at 503-673-2704.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Dance to the music – in Sandy posted on 10/01/2016

For mountain resident Sharon Wortman, her love of music began at an early age, listening to greats such as Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Bill Haley & His Comets as a sixth grader and even winning a bop competition at the YMCA in Portland in 1956. Now, the 71-year-old has gone back to her roots by organizing the “Get-the-Lead-Out, No-Partner-Needed 1950s Rock & Roll and 1960s Motown & Other Eras Dance & Exercise Jam” at the Sandy Community Center, 38348 Pioneer Blvd. in Sandy, from 2:30-4 p.m. each Tuesday through Nov. 29.

“There aren’t very many places, especially during the day, with a nice environment to listen to rock ‘n’ roll music,” Wortman said. “I’ve always loved music and loved to dance.”

The free event is open to all ages, no partner needed, and those who are shy or think they have “two left feet” are encouraged to attend. Attendees can come and go as they please.

Wortman noted that a few songs will be staples at the event, including Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk,” but declined to name her favorite song or musician.

“That would be like trying to pick a favorite child or grandchild,” she said.

Wortman enjoys putting together the playlist for each week, but also appreciates how being physically active helps her out. This past spring, she was involved in a car accident and needed six months to heal, with the weekly dancing now contributing to her recuperation.

“Just getting up on my feet and moving my body makes me feel better,” Wortman said.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Scott Caster (L) and Mackenzie Chapman
‘Little Shop’ takes root in Boring posted on 10/01/2016

American actor and vaudevillian W.C. Fields is famously credited with the quote, “Never act with children or animals.” That leaves Scott Caster’s latest role, as Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors,” off the hook since he’ll be performing with  a plant in Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company’s (NNB) latest production.

Director Justin Lazenby will provide the voice for the plant (named Audrey II), while also operating the puppet, which NNB rented from Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Audrey II’s progression includes five plants of increasingly larger sizes.

“It’ll be interesting to see once we have our lines down to see how that works,” Caster said. “The final plant is really cool.”

The musical, a blend of horror, comedy and rock ‘n’ roll, offers the story of Seymour Krelborn, a florist who has a crush on his coworker, Audrey, and names a new found plant after her. The plant promises fame and fortune to Seymour if he can help satiate its need to feed on human flesh.

Lazenby noted the relationship with Seymour and Audrey II is akin to a deal with the devil, but the horrible things Seymour ends up doing is based on his affection for Audrey.

“He does it all for love, which is sweet and dark and lovely and romantic all at once,” Lazenby said.

Caster added that Seymour is not a typical leading man, but in that way, Caster can identify with the character he was introduced to 30 years ago when he first saw the movie.

“I felt like an outcast, I felt invisible, I felt like the nerd,” Caster said. “He still gets the girl. He’s like the anti-hero, and everyone roots for the underdog.”

The musical is set the 1950s and features doo-wop and other types of musical numbers.

“It’s good music, it’s a great mix of songs that kind of happened in different genres,” Lazenby said. “You kind of get this fun feel of a whole bunch of different eras. It’s a lot of fun.”

The production will be the 50th for NNB, which is entering its 11th season, and audience members who are familiar with NNB shows will be treated to a new full proscenium curtain as an upgrade to the Grange where they perform.

NNB presents “Little Shop of Horrors,” book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, from Oct. 7-23 at the Boring Grange, 27861 Grange Street in Boring. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Audience members are encouraged to create plant art to get a discount on the ticket and enter into a contest. There will also be door prizes. For more information, or to make reservations, call 503-593-1295 or visit nnbtheater.com.

Clackamas Rep’s children's series returns

Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s (CRT) “Wing It” series, interactive children’s shows, will offer a performance of “Rapunzel” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City. The show includes singing, dancing and a talent show for kids, offering a chance to go up on stage. Admission is $5 at the door with no reserved seating.

Each episode of “Wing It” is unique and features an important lesson to be learned. “Rapunzel” focuses on discovering beauty from within, as forest friends will discover how Rapunzel feels about being judged by the length of her hair and the audience will be asked, “What do you do when you’re judged by the way you look?”

Children in the audience are sure to have fun helping solve this conundrum. “Wing It” is created for children two to ten years of age, but it’s fun for all ages.

The series was developed and directed by Travis Nodurft, a CRT company member, professional clown and Oregon City sixth-grade teacher.

Future episodes of the “Wing It” season are Dec. 3 and 10, Feb. 11, April 22 and June 10. All performances begin at 10:30 a.m. and take place in the Niemeyer Center on the campus of Clackamas Community College. For more information and show updates, visit www.clackamasrep.org.

First weekend offers one last chance for two shows

The Sandy Actors Theatre presents “Wait Until Dark,” by Frederick Knott, about a woman who was recently blinded and three criminals, who terrorize her as they search for a doll stuffed with heroin they think is in her apartment through Sunday, Oct. 2, at 39181 Proctor Blvd. (behind Ace Hardware). Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, or to make reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org.

CRT presents “Steel Magnolias,” by Robert Harling, about a southern belle and daughter to a local socialite, who marries a good ol’ boy but then dies from diabetic complications after pregnancy, from Thursday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit clackamasrep.org or call 503-594-6047.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Assessment mixed for Welches Schools posted on 10/01/2016

The Oregon Department of Education released the 2015-16 state assessment results in September, with the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) above state averages in English Language Arts (ELA) in all grade levels, and above state averages in math and science at the 3-5 and 6-8 grade levels. The Welches Schools lag behind the district and the state in both ELA and math for grades 3-5 and 6-8, but are above the district and state in science.

Welches Schools Principal Kendra Payne noted in an email that the scores are a “snapshot” of student abilities during a particular testing window.

“A wide variety of factors contribute to and influence the results,” Payne added. “Welches is working on renovating our intervention system to better support students in the specific areas that they need to experience growth. Our staff works hard at providing differentiated instruction, but will be using new assessment tools to better match instruction to specific needs.”

Payne also noted that the strong results in the science category are “due in part to the unique connections we are able to make with our natural mountain environment.”

She added that the school will use a variety of resources to address gaps, including digital tools such as iReady, ALEKS and BigBrainz, which provide assessments, online lessons and practice sites, more rigorous structure around staff development and training opportunities in collaboration with other school districts.

In a press release, the district also noted that other methods are used to measure student achievement and growth, including written, verbal or web-based assessments and teacher observation.

“Our staff is wholly committed to the growth and academic achievement of every student,” Payne wrote. “We strive, on a daily basis, to implement best practices and reflect on their effectiveness. Our school goal this year is to improve achievement for every student in literacy and math while making meaningful connections to science, social studies and the arts.”

“Learning the skills necessary to successfully complete post-secondary certificates and degrees is an endeavor that begins in kindergarten,” OTSD Superintendent Aaron Bayer said in the press release. “We need to undertake this journey together so our children arrive at the future they deserve.”

Parent Teacher Corner

The Welches Parent Teacher Community Organization (WPTCO) is looking for vendors for a holiday bazaar/Santa’s Workshop in December.

Upcoming events:

Middle School movie: “X-Men: Apocalypse” on Friday, Oct. 7

Elementary School movie: “Finding Dory” on Thursday, Oct. 13

(All movies shown in elementary multi-purpose room, $1 entry fee with food for sale)

Harvest Festival on Friday, Oct. 28 (afternoon for elementary students, 6-8:30 p.m. for middle school students, small entry fee)

Bookfair opening and Family Fun Night from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, followed by the Bookfair from Nov. 7-10.

Next WPTCO meetings are 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, in Room 20. Meetings will alternate between morning and evening to accommodate more parents’ schedules.

For more information, email welchesptco@gmail.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Golden Poles Chalet fire in 2015.
Mountain Gold – Hoodland Fire District hits 50 posted on 08/31/2016

Fire Chief Mic Eby, the longest tenured member of the Hoodland Fire District (HFD), joined the district in 1979 as a volunteer. He’s drawn maps, staffed the Government Camp station and responded to a vast array of calls and community emergencies over the years, from car wrecks to floods and more.

One memorable event happened in his first years with the district when a storm dropped approximately eight feet of snow in 72 hours. Firefighters stayed at the station, working six hours and then sleeping for four, while utilizing the wood stove for heat, cooking and to dry out clothes on four clotheslines.

The station had a generator at the time, which was a necessity to keep the radio and coffee machine running.

“That was the most important part,” Eby said.

He remembers snowshoeing to houses in the community, especially since the snowmobiles they had sometimes worked, but sometimes didn’t, while in lighter times the firefighters would jump off a backstop behind the station into the vast depths of snow and built an igloo to bury their supply of meat given to them by Thriftway (all the food at the store was rotting). And through it all, the district’s greatest strength, the sense of community, shone through.

“We were isolated, so we became a tight community at that time,” Eby said. “We found out how hearty the mountain people are.”

The district will celebrate its 50 years of service from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the main station, 69634 Hwy. 26 in Welches. The event will include refreshments, a dedication and a number of officials from throughout the state.

50 years of change

The district today would seem extremely different to those responders from the time of its formation. Lane Wintermute joined the district as a volunteer in 1971 when he and a friend spoke to the chief, who said they should join. Wintermute and his friend went to the station and signed up.

“That was the recruitment process at the time,” said Wintermute, who would later become the district’s chief and is now a life member. “Today, you go through a lot more.”

When Eby joined, he estimated there was about 40 hours of training, but today volunteers go through more than 400, not to mention the necessary certifications. Eby noted it was around the time he joined that the district started the transition between the “good ol’ boys,” who enjoyed hanging out at the station, to a more professional organization.

“People were trying to get smart about fire and medical, trying to make a difference when I first joined,” Eby said, noting the fire district merged with the Hoodland Rescue group right before he came on board.

Pat McAbery started at HFD as an explorer in 1982 and is now a Battalion Chief, and remembers that in his youth, there was no 9-1-1 service in the district. Those in need of help could call a number that would ring the phone at every volunteer’s house, leading to times when nobody was around to answer a call, and other times when everybody picked up at the same time. McAbery described the equipment today as, “mind-numbingly different,” including bigger and better rigs and also the advent of dispatching responders via smartphones.

Conversely, McAbery notes the district’s volunteer ranks were greater in the past, with as many as 60 in some years. When calls came in, McAbery (as an explorer), would try to tag along on an extra seat in the rig, if it was open.

“I got bumped a lot, because the rig filled up,” he said. “Not the case now.”

The nature of calls has also shifted dramatically, with early fires consuming mostly products made from natural materials, including wood, wool and cotton. Today, building fires feature items made from plastics and chemicals, which burn hotter, brighter and faster.

“It’s a lot nastier now,” Eby said.

The district also saw an increase in paid staff, as recalled by Larry Eckhardt, the Fire Chief from 1991 to 2002. With most volunteers working out of the district during the day, Eckhardt (who passed away in early August) increased staffing to meet the demand.

“We worked hard to improve our level of service and our commitment to the community,” said Eckhardt in an interview with the Mountain Times earlier this summer.

The district was also quick to adopt new trends in firefighting, including incident command structure, training for disasters and implementing the first advanced life support rescue service in east Clackamas County in the mid 1980s.

“That was something that was unheard of in the area at the time and really a substantial accomplishment,” Wintermute said.

For the next 50 years, Eby sees a number of potential changes, from a new station that will better fit the equipment and personnel and increases in the volunteer and professional ranks, to more homes and commercial buildings with sprinkler systems and improvements to Hwy. 26 to make it safer.

A unique district

Hwy. 26 is one of the defining features of the district, while other challenging aspects  include the fact that volunteers are so spread out, being bordered by just one other fire district (Sandy) and a topography that includes an elevation range from 900 to 4,000 feet, causing roads to be wet in one place but icy in others. And in addition to snowstorms, floods and large scale fires, such as the Golden Poles fire in 2015, the highway has offered countless memorable moments throughout the year.

McAbery remembers one call when a logging truck couldn’t make the turn at Map Curve, resulting in a rollover crash with the driver trapped in the cab under the logs. Firefighters had to cut up the lumber before extracting him from the cab.

“That was a spectacular wreck,” McAbery said.

Eckhardt lamented the “driving habits” of people who visited the mountain, but also the scenic beauty of the district, including that same part of the highway that bore witness to numerous crashes.

“I remember my amazement the first time on Hwy. 26 I saw Map Curve and understood why it was called Map Curve,” he said.

But throughout the changes, the calls and the disasters, those who have served point to the sense of community as the quintessential aspect of the district, from volunteers pitching in to help build each other’s houses to the district’s support group and its late night meals for hungry firefighters to any one of the thousands of calls from the past 50 years.

“What was always very special to me was the sense of family and community within the fire department,” Wintermute said. “I kind of took it for granted until later when I left to three other fire departments. I found out it wasn’t that way in other fire departments.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Hwy. 26 project finish in sight posted on 08/31/2016

Contractors were expected to begin paving Hwy. 26 on Sunday, Aug. 28 as the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project” nears the finish line.

“(We are) on the final stretch of this project,” said Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs.

Dinwiddie noted that remaining work includes the paving, adding the median barrier, drainage work, installing new signs and cleanup. She added that paving will take place “pretty much” night and day for approximately four weeks (not including weather delays), with lane closures and flagging occurring at night, while paving outside the travel lines likely during the day.

Work could potentially finish up in October, but could go longer.

“There are things that could slow us, down, but we plan to go at it strong,” Dinwiddie said.

The median is expected to be installed in late September, followed by drainage inlets that will necessitate all traffic driving on one side of the barrier at a time.

“It’s just going to be a little awkward for travelers,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie added that a ceremony is in the works to mark the end of the project, which includes the expansion of the highway and the addition of a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents.

“The community has been through so much with this project and we appreciate that,” Dinwiddie added.

The project also featured early work on adding RealTime signs, offering up to the minute traffic information and advisories, including electrical vaults. Dinwiddie said construction for that project could begin when the snow melts in 2017, but added that the work would be “nothing like” what drivers experienced over the past three years and the sign project should be finished in one season.

Dinwiddie also cautioned that when the barrier is added to Hwy. 26, vehicles will be unable to access the Mirror Lake trailhead from the westbound lanes. A new trailhead is currently in the works.

For more information, please visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

County reconsiders Villages future posted on 08/31/2016

The saga of the Villages at Mt. Hood vs. Clackamas County has become more like a Bertolt Brecht play than two governmental bodies trying to solve a problem.

In the latest act, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will hold yet another policy session Sept. 6 to determine either the fate, or the way forward, for the Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors (BOD) – which consists of Chair George Wilson and Carol Burk, or just one, or neither, depending on the scenario.

Or, Wilson and Burk are still actors, perhaps, as they’ve been invited to attend the policy session.

Newly appointed liaison to the Villages, Katie Wilson, public involvement specialist with the County, wrote to Wilson: “I would like to invite you and Carol to attend that policy session and ask you to please hold off on your emergency meeting until after the BCC has discussed the Villages election.”

Wilson had prepped an emergency meeting, steadfast in his position that he is still the Chair and the Villages is still in existence.

In previous acts, the County had “dissolved” the BOD, then later changed the terminology to put on “hiatus.” Either way, it no longer existed. Now, it seems, there is some form of life as the two board members have been at least recognized.

Wilson told The Mountain Times that he will attend the session.

“We recently received word … that the BCC have reconsidered their previous decision (hiatus) and now plan to move forward with a candidate’s forum and formal elections for fall of 2016,” Wilson said. “(Katie) Wilson has asked us to hold off on a September emergency community meeting (until) they reconvene to listen to Public and Government Affairs (PGA) staff recommendations on how to move forward with the board. We do plan to attend.”

Earlier, PGA had recommended to the BCC to reinstate the Board and hold elections. But for reasons shrouded in mystery, the BCC voted 4-1 to scuttle the Board instead. Now, just as mysteriously, the BCC will meet Sept. 6 to discuss moving ahead with the elections.

Even with the window of opportunity, Wilson remains skeptical of the new direction of the BCC.

“We remain steadfast and determined to proceed under the guidelines of the current bylaws, until which time recommended amendments can be discussed and approved by the Villages board,” he said.

It’s probably safe to assume that the Sept. 6 policy session will be something more complicated than a simple curtain call.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Lion’s Club building in need of repairs posted on 08/31/2016

At the Lion’s Club’s annual Chuck Wagon Breakfast earlier this year, a near disaster was averted when a good Samaritan helped fix a broken dishwasher.

But more issues have popped up at the club’s building, built in 1991, including replacing the fire suppression system for the kitchen hood, replacing fire extinguishers and potentially adding air conditioning.

“The Lions Club is getting older and we’ve got to do things to keep up with the times,” said Carol Norgard, the building’s house manager. “We don’t have that much extra in any coffers anywhere. We pretty much run month to month from our rentals and events.”

Norgard noted the club received a bid for replacing the kitchen hood system at nearly $4,000, and that while the organization had spare funds in the past, the 2008 recession has drained reserves in order to take care of basics.

The club is a 501c-4 organization that supports various community activities, including baseball, softball, Boy Scouts, offering scholarships for preschool children and sight and hearing programs.

Many of the club’s signature events, such as the annual Chili Cook Off, dedicate funds specifically for these efforts.

Norgard noted the club’s August rummage sale helped raise more than $1,000 during its first weekend, but that no firm plans are in place to help make the necessary projects happen.

“Anything people would like to do, they would help,” she said.

For more information on helping the Lion’s Club, call 503-622-4111.

By Garth Guibord/MT

‘Smoke’ rises on the Mountain posted on 08/31/2016

Proprietor Stewart Schmidt opened his business July 2, 2015. Subsequent to that date, he was forced to close in order to comply with a county marijuana zoning requirement.

On July 1, nearly one year to the day of the first opening, Smoke on the Mountain reopened at its Welches location on Hwy. 26, in full compliance.

Schmidt’s problem stemmed from a recent requirement that an air filtration system stamped by a mechanical engineer licensed in the state be installed, according to Schmidt. Failure to do so would have resulted in hefty fines.

“As this is a new industry, it was rather difficult to find a mechanical engineer willing to work on such a small job,” Schmidt said. “They are used to dealing with large corporations, Costco, large restaurants, and hospitals. The air filtration system was quite costly and I was told by two separate engineers that the requirements that the county put into place matched those of a hospital emergency room.”

Now, fully operational, Schmidt noted the business is striving to grow and offer better and better products, more selection at competitive prices.

“We carry several strains of marijuana flower as well as a number of extract concentrates in cartridge form used for vape pens, as well as a number of edibles and drinks,” he said. “We will soon be carrying other forms of extracts such as dabbable extracts and shatters, And I’m happy to announce that we now have an ATM.”

Most of the product at Smoke on the Mountain, appropriately, comes from local farmers on the mountain. Schmidt pointed out that the current 25 percent sales tax goes to the state and the county’s 3 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana goes to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, none of those tax dollars are specifically targeted for the local community.

“It is my goal to stay local and to directly stimulate the economy of the mountain,” he said. “Purchasing locally and providing a local discount is just the start.”

The business offers a 15 percent discount to veterans and members of the community.

While the road has been dark and uncertain at times, turning back was never an option for Schmidt.

“My commitment to bring a dispensary of the finest quality to the mountain has never wavered,” he said. “We have started small, but will continue to strive to grow and to meet our patient’s and customer’s needs.”

As of July 31, the Oregon Department of Revenue processed $25.5 million in marijuana tax payments for 2016, according to Joy Krawczyk, public information officer for the state.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Rhody author offers holiday books posted on 08/31/2016

What started as a quiet form of rebellion at a conservative Methodist seminary evolved into a home in Rhododendron next to a volcano.

Tiffany Reisz is an internationally bestselling author. If she couldn’t write, she would die, according to Lisa Wray from Reisz’s publishing company Harlequin/Harper Collins.

Reisz and her husband Andrew Shaffer – also a writer – moved to the Mountain last year, migrating from Kentucky, following a visit in 2014 where she fell in love with the Mount Hood area.

“The beauty is unbelievable,” Reisz told The Mountain Times. “I can sit in the guest room upstairs and watch the sun set on a billion trees and the colors change a hundred times in a few minutes. It’s glorious. And there’s something a little unnerving about living on a volcano … I mean how many people can say they live on a volcano?”

Harlequin is rolling out three new Reisz novels with “Her Halloween Treat” going on sale in September, “Her Naughty Holiday” hitting the stands in October, and “One Hot December” on sale in November. All three novels are set in Oregon.

“This series was inspired by house hunting out here on the Mountain,” Reisz said. “So many gorgeous cabins and cute guys in flannel – a great romantic combination.”

Reisz was bitten by the writing bug at an early age.

“I started writing as a kid … and from seventh grade I was writing all the time,” she said. “Scripts for my favorite TV shows, bad love poems, everything. It was just the weird kid thing I did … I’m not sure I ever had a moment when I said ‘I’m going to be a writer.’ I didn’t need that moment since I was already writing all the time.”

Her first published novel was “The Siren” and by her own admission “It’s a very naughty book. The story behind it is that I was a well-behaved student at a conservative Methodist seminary and writing a naughty book was a very quiet form of rebellion,” she said. “Very soon writing took over my life and became much more important than seminary. I quit school to pursue writing novels. It’s worked out so far. No complaints.”

Reisz’s favorite writer is her husband who recently hit the New York Times bestseller list. “Plus, he has a fabulous wife,” she said. She is also a big fan of Anne Rice, Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Knox and PG Wodehouse, while Robert Penn Warren’s “All the King’s Men” is her favorite novel.

Reisz captured the prestigious RITA last year – the highest award given in romance fiction – for “The Saint.” But she doesn’t categorize herself completely within the romance fiction genre. Her latest release “The Bourbon Thief” she describes as mainstream women’s fiction. Her favorite description of the three upcoming holiday releases: “literary friction.”

She is quick to offer advice to budding writers.

“Write all the time,” she said. “Write your guts out. Write, write, write.”

It seems that the Rhododendron author has followed her own advice. And as well as being an avid writer, she’s also a very discerning reader:

“Thanks for having me,” she said. “We love The Mountain Times. We always read it.”

To learn more, visit www.tiffanyreisz.com.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Lead found in Welches Middle School’s water posted on 08/29/2016

The Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) announced seven fountains out of 14 and two faucets in food prep sinks out of two in Welches Middle School contained slightly elevated levels of lead, ranging from .0206 to .030 milligrams per liter (mg/L) (the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit is .020), following testing in August. The district shut down the receptacles, notified parents via email on Wednesday, Aug. 10 and replaced the equipment.

However, further test results the district received on Friday, Aug. 26 revealed the continued presence of elevated lead levels.

“They came back with still a level of lead in the water that is not acceptable,” said Julia Monteith, OTSD Director of Communications.

In addition, 23 classroom sinks out of 24 tested revealed elevated levels of lead in the water, ranging from .0204 to .199 mg/L. Test results for the Welches Elementary School classroom sinks were pending.

Monteith noted five of the seven fountains with elevated lead levels are in rooms that are not used by students (but are used for storage), while the remaining two fountains were “sometimes” in use. She added that the district will have to hire a contractor to investigate the source of the lead, and noted that the school’s water, supplied by the Salmon River Water Company, has a low pH balance and the acidity level could cause corrosion.

Lon Goff, Water Distribution Operator at Salmon River Water Company, noted the company is in compliance with the state for both lead and copper. The company is tested every three years and the last test conducted by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), as detailed on the agency’s website, was Aug. 18, 2015.

The Salmon Valley Water Company is designated as an “Outstanding Performer” by the OHA, which is earned through an on-site review of a system for the purpose of evaluating its capability of providing safe water to the public.

The school still has seven fountains without elevated lead levels and Monteith noted an alternative water source, likely bottled water, would be brought in. She added a neutralizing system may be needed to combat the problem, while noting the problem appears in certain areas of the school while others are unaffected.

“That’s one of the things we need to look into as we continue to test the water and try to determine if there are certain areas that are higher in lead (or) if is it the whole system,” Monteith said.

“We expect to have all the results back before school starts,” Monteith said, adding that all the receptacles will not be functional until the district is sure they are safe.

The district tested fountains and faucets at all 12 of its facilities in August, with preliminary results showing four fountains out of ten and two faucets out of five at Sandy Grade School, one fountain out of 16 at Kelso Elementary School, 12 fountains out of 15 at Cedar Ridge Middle School, two faucets out of four at Kelso Elementary School, one faucet out of one at the Community Connections (across from the Pioneer campus) and one faucet out of seven at Naas Elementary School higher than the EPA limit. The district was expected to notify all parents on Monday, Aug. 29.

Monteith, who noted lead tests are not mandated, confirmed that all fountains and faucets had been replaced and the district was awaiting results from testing the new ones. Results were expected in late August or early September, but if results had not been received prior to the return of students, fountains and faucets that had not passed would not be in use.

Principal Kendra Payne noted she had not heard much feedback from the community after the email notification.

“We are taking it really seriously,” Payne said.

Kurt McKnight, OTSD school board member for Zone 3 (Welches), noted that he hasn’t heard much from community members since he was appointed to the board in August. He added that he has been updated on the water issue from Jim Seipel, the Facility Operations Director.

“I’m confident in hearing the update from Jim that the district is on top of it and going to keep our kids safe,” McKnight said.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Dan Davis at Wildwood.
BLM considers developing Wildwood into an overnight destination posted on 08/01/2016

Development at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wildwood Recreation Site began in 1963 and was to originally go through three phases, according to Dan Davis, Outdoor Recreation Planner for BLM’s Salem District, with the first two resulting in the layout the mountain community is now familiar with. The third phase would have added a campground in 1971, but because of an inadequate water system, it never happened.

Since then, development at the area has been limited, but has included upgrading the water system and adding the salmon viewing window, the most recent new feature which was added approximately 20 years ago.

That may change soon, as the BLM looks to possibly develop the area further, including the addition of campsites, yurts, cabins and RV sites. That could help the site increase the number of visitors utilizing the area each year, currently at approximately 50,000, a fraction of the 375,000 it was built to accommodate.

“The site definitely offers the capacity to have it,” said Jennifer Velez, Public Affairs Officer for BLM’s Eugene and Salem Districts, about the potential development. “We feel it would be a value added thing to have here at this site.”

The BLM will host a public meeting at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Mountain View Shelter in the site, 65670 E. Hwy. 26 in Welches, starting with a 30-minute presentation and also featuring up to four proposed plans for Wildwood, including a “no development option,” a tour of the site and an opportunity to ask questions as share feedback. The meeting also marks the beginning of a formal 30-day scoping comment period, offering the opportunity for the public to provide comments.

Development proposals will include an official entrance with new office and visitor contact that is closer to the entrance than the current office, a new loop for RVs, with campsites, yurts and cabins. Davis noted that yurts and cabins could be clustered, offering the opportunity for guides, outfitters or families to reserve a group of them for a specific outing.

The yurts, at a size good for a small family, would likely be placed on pads that already exist, with perhaps four surrounding a central kitchen area and a small barbeque for each yurt. Cabins, meanwhile, would include a bed, table and chairs and also feature electricity. Both yurts and cabins could possibly be utilized year-round, while building characteristics would reflect the current construction, including large wood and stonework.

“We just want to offer people a little bit higher level of camping experience,” Davis said.

He added that the lower section of the park, including the salmon viewing window, could see the addition of popular day use activities, including a playground and swings.

“We don’t want to displace the current use, we want to enhance it,” Davis said. “We understand that people like to use this as a community park.”

The park could also see three stops a day on weekends by the Mountain Express bus service. No timeline is in place for when work could begin, if development is the chosen path, but Davis noted that a new management plan for Wildwood will hopefully be completed by next spring or summer.

Any development that would take place would be done in phases, with portions of the park potentially closed off, but no closure of the entire park.

“It’s too large of a park to consider that,” Davis said.

Davis also noted that similar development at the BLM’s Molalla River Recreation Area helped make that park safer while reducing problems and disruptions during the night.

“If you bring people in there that are doing responsible use (it will) displace irresponsible use,” he said.

Some members of the community have formed a group, “Friends of Wildwood Hood,” in opposition to the potential development of the park.

The BLM is also finishing the design for the Sandy Ridge Trail System and starting to consider development options for the site of the old Marmot Dam, which was removed in July 2007. The Marmot site would likely be designed for fishing and mountain biking experiences, including camping, RV and yurt sites, and potentially a boat ramp.

“We’re looking at doing a lot smaller scale than Wildwood, for sure,” Davis said, adding it is “really early” in the process for planning on the Marmot site.

The BLM will combine two districts, Salem and Eugene, into one, the Northwest Oregon District, on Saturday, Oct. 1, which will offer 11 total sites. Davis noted that the district offers a year pass, good at 21 fee sites, for $30.

By Garth Guibord/MT

County ‘failures’ will be costly to Mountain residents posted on 08/01/2016

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has downgraded Clackamas County’s Community Rating System (CRS) from a Class 6 to a Class 10 which will result in a loss of flood insurance premium discounts for local policy holders.

It seems the county’s failure to provide documentation to the insurance carrier is at the root of the downgrade, one that will result in premium cost increases to policy holders on average of $180, according to Marlene Jacobs, ISO/CRS Specialist for Insurance Services Office, Inc. of Portland.

The insurance spike will go into effect Oct. 1, 2016 or May 1, 2017.

“I regret to inform you that I will be recommending to FEMA that the County retrograde from a CRS Class 6 to a CRS Class 10 rating,” Jacobs wrote June 14 in an email to Steve Hanschka, senior planner for the county. “This recommendation will result in the loss of flood insurance premium discount for NFIP policy holders within the County.”

Jacobs went on to write in the email that the recommendation is a result of not receiving sufficient documentation from the county since March 2015.

Mountain resident and property owner Kip O’Connor cites the ineptitude of county officials for the costly problem.

“Mike McCallister (county planning director) and Steve Hanschka have failed at their jobs,” O’Connor wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “The county refused for one year and three months to furnish all Base Flood Elevation (BFE) certificates associated with building permits (and) they did not furnish repetitive loss paperwork as needed. They knew for a while they were not following NFIP regs and that means they have been defrauding the NFIP and insurance company all this time.”

McCallister wrote to O’Connor July 20 that the county has a project manager who will be “looking at the County’s Floodplain management program over the next year.”

At that time the project will consider future participation in the CRS program, including where the program will be located organizationally in the county, staffing resources, use of consultants, funding strategies and overall coordination between divisions, McCallister added.

To reapply for the CRS program, the county would need to complete a community assistance visit with FEMA and it be determined the county was back in good standing with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Aside from the policy premium increase, it is uncertain what lies ahead for Mountain residents.

But O’Connor has his own idea. “I think the county commissioners should have to answer for this and act accordingly.”

By Larry Berteau/MT

Villages at Mt. Hood is no longer – at least for now posted on 08/01/2016

At a June 28 policy session the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners (BCC) officially scuttled the Mt. Hood Villages Board – the last vestige of political influence for Mountain residents.

The county had options after having first “dissolved” the Villages, then not liking that word, changed it to putting the Villages on “hiatus.”

One of the alternatives was the decision reached in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by county mediator Amy Herman, Villages’ Chair George Wilson and Villages Director Carol Burk which reinstated the board with instructions to move forward toward an election of board members.

But the BCC didn’t like that solution, instead opting for the hiatus.

The county had hired a consulting firm, EnviroIssues, to conduct a survey, feeling out the sentiments of the Mountain community.

The survey, plus meeting with PGA staff to create a draft, management of survey distribution and website, outreach (including staff at community locations with printed surveys), along with stakeholder interviews and the final report, cost the county nearly $11,000, according to the county’s strategic communication manager Amy Kyle.

Despite the county’s admitting it was not a “scientific survey,” the results appeared to be split with an equal amount of local residents showing distrust of the Villages and the county alike.

In the policy session, Commissioner Jim Bernard took from this the position that “If we have all these concerns about trust, getting the (Villages) Board back together would be a big mistake.”

Commissioner Paul Savas, the lone dissenting vote in the decision, thought the BCC was making a mistake.

“We get an agreement (MOU), now we go against it,” Savas said during the session. He added that he didn’t think a delay was good policy without a cause.

Commissioner Tootie Smith was quick to respond.

“Oh, there’s cause here,” Smith said. “We don’t need to comment on why we’re doing this.”

Villages Chair Wilson took the decision personally.

“I’m frustrated,” Wilson said. “The BCC has a vendetta. They’re waiting for me to go away. Do I want to waste my life chasing this? I know they won’t make it easy for me. But I take a great deal of pride in my community. So I’ll wait to see what they do next.”

Mountain resident Brigette Romeo stood in opposition to the county’s decision.

“As a past (Villages) board member and county taxpayer, I disagree with what the county has done,” Romeo told The Mountain Times. “They should be held accountable for the defamation of these board members. I give kudos to George (Wilson) on his attempts to reunite the Villages board … Now we have no representation at all with the county. Maybe the commissioners should be on hiatus until they can find elected members that are for the people, not themselves.”

Former Villages Board Chair Doug Saldivar added a slightly different slant.

“I don’t think the current BCC cares much or thought much about the Villages program,” Saldivar wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “I believe their view of the board was that it was an irritation.”

Saldivar added that, even though the BCC is not operating in the best interests of the Mountain community, the real problem is that the Mountain community is not operating in its own best interest.

“The community has never accepted the (Villages) board as its representative to the BCC,” Saldivar wrote. “I think most of the people who have ever been involved with the board (including myself) need to accept some responsibility for this. When the board stopped meeting with the BCC and began to run all its recommendations through (county) staff, it lost the chance to show the community that it was a voice that would be heard by the BCC.”

Saldivar also noted there was a feeling that Wilson placed his agenda above committee work and recommendations.

Commissioner Bernard will attend a Chamber meeting at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Mt. Hood RV Village to discuss the plight of the Villages board, according to Kyle. Kyle added that, “In the coming weeks we will be working on an outreach plan with the Villages community.”

By Larry Berteau/MT

Support Group holds annual garage sale posted on 08/01/2016

Rochelle Simonds, Treasurer for the Hoodland Fire District (HFD) Volunteer Support Group, noted the annual garage sale started sometime in the 1980s as a way for the district to buy new gear.

“There wasn’t any money, it was all volunteer,” she said.

Now, however, the group runs the sale, with proceeds used to give children in the community free bike helmets as part of EMS Day. This year’s sale, including a barbeque, will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the district’s main station, 69634 Hwy. 26 in Welches.

HFD Chief Mic Eby, who started giving away bike helmets years ago before the district got involved, noted it's not just a matter of giving away helmets, but also teaching kids how to put it on correctly and why wearing a helmet is important.

For the sale, the HFD empties out the bays at the main station, while anybody who wants to sell can reserve a table for $15 (tables are already sold out for this year). Sellers have offered a wide range of items in the past, including motorcycles, furniture, clothes, tools and more.

“You name it, there’s just tons of different things,” Simonds said. “It’s a big, huge social event. A lot of people show up.”

The support group provides meals and other support for the district’s firefighters, including cooking on late night calls and making lunches for “Burn to Learn” events. The group, open to anyone who wants to join, meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the main fire station.

Eby noted the support from the group is extremely important to the district, recalling how special it is to return from a call late at night and a hot meal is waiting for them at the station.

“They do it all hours at night, no matter when we have a call,” Eby said. “We’re so grateful to them.”

Hood to Coast and Fill the Boot

Runners won’t be the only people out in the community when the annual Hood to Coast relay happens on Friday, Aug. 26. HFD’s firefighters will be out and about as part of “Fill the Boot,” an effort to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Firefighters are expected to be at the stoplight at Hwy. 26 and Welches Road between approximately 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., as well as in the Hoodland Shopping Center. And new this year, donations will be accepted via credit cards or online (please choose Hoodland Fire District as the fire department).

Evan Jarvis, Senior Firefighter/Paramedic for the HFD, noted that last year the district raised more than $3,000.

“Our goal this year would be to beat that,” Jarvis said, adding that it will be important for drivers to pay attention, slow down and keep an eye out for runners during the Hood to Coast relay.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Erin Fitzgerald.
Trail runner battles forest litter posted on 08/01/2016

In September 2014, Portland resident Erin Fitzgerald arrived at Skibowl to help train for a mountain race in Colorado. But as she ascended the slopes, she was shocked by how much litter was strewn about in the forest.

“I wasn’t prepared to pick everything up,” Fitzgerald said, noting she could only fit a small amount in the hydration vest she wore. “I probably would have needed 50 hydration vests or more.”

Fitzgerald, a trail runner who also runs frequently in Portland’s Forest Park and in the Columbia River Gorge, returned and picked up as much as she could, filling a 13-gallon trash bag to the brim and still not taking away all the trash. She returned to Skibowl in 2015, found some more trash, “but not a ton,” and picked up what she could.

But earlier this year, Fitzgerald once again went running at Skibowl and found the situation was worse. Beer cans, papers, all types of plastics and more were back on the trail, which she dutifully picked up again.

“It’s just too bad,” said Fitzgerald, who chronicles her work on cleaning up the trash on her blog, adventuresinthumbholes.com. “I kept thinking, ‘Why do people think its okay to toss something off the chairlift.’ I was trying to wrap my head around why people litter. The best thing I could come up with is they don’t have the connection to the natural world. Litter is unattractive, it’s costly to pick up and harmful to wildlife and rivers.”

Fitzgerald plans on returning sometime in early August for another training run and to check on the conditions of the trails.

Hans Wipper, Public Relations for Skibowl, noted littering is a problem at the resort, despite the fact that they have receptacles in various locations, including at the bottom and tops of lifts. But  despite their efforts, litter still makes its way onto the trails.

“It’s really unfortunate that people feel comfortable or think its okay to throw stuff down (from the lifts),” Wipper said. “I think it’s a great thing that (Fitzgerald is) doing and being a great example. If everyone did a bit of that, we’d have a lot cleaner forests out there.”

The trash usually starts appearing in the spring when the snow starts to melt, and Wipper added that Skibowl holds cleanup parties in the spring before the Summer Adventure Park.

He also noted that the problem is worse in winter because approximately twice as many people utilize the resort during that season.

“I just think everyone needs to take pride when visiting their national forest and do their part,” Wipper said. “When one person litters, others feel they can do it.”

Wipper also offered to supply Fitzgerald with gloves, trash bags and a place to throw away what she collects.

Fitzgerald hopes her story resonates with other people and inspires them to help keep the forest clean.

“I’m passionate about making sure that wild places are litter free,” she said. “Pack it out even if you didn’t do it.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Welches students show generosity in quilt raffle efforts posted on 08/01/2016

Welches resident and parent Stephanie Gagnon came up with a new fundraiser last year for the Welches School’s eighth grade class: a raffle for a custom quilt that Gagnon would make.

Gagnon, who has been quilting for 15 years and had her quilts shown at Timberline Lodge and Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, offered three different designs for the winner to pick from, along with the color and size, and also committed to making a quilt for the student who sold the most tickets.

By the end of the school year, Samantha Weiler and Olivia Wilcox had sold $217 worth of tickets, more than a third of the $600 total that was raised. And in the continued spirit of giving, the girls – who will both be ninth graders at Sandy High School this fall – elected to give their quilt to a neighbor who Weiler noted helps others, including taking animals to the vet.

“We thought she should get the blanket because she is one of the nicest people we know in the neighborhood,” said Weiler, 14l. “She started crying when we gave it to her. She was really happy and she would call us and thank us a lot after that day.”

The two girls spent hours going door to door in their neighborhood to sell their raffle tickets, taking turns giving their pitch and sometimes staying out until nearly dark. Weiler added this was not the first fundraiser she’s participated in, noting she’s sold wreaths, flower baskets and coffee in the past.

“I like helping out our school because I’ve been there since kindergarten and they’ve treated me with respect and helped me through some hard times,” she said. “A lot of people like to keep things for themselves. I kind of wanted to be that one percent that didn’t.”

Gagnon noted how impressed she was with the two girls and their selflessness.

“They thought outside themselves,” she said. “They did it and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Jonathan Edwards at 2015 festival.
Timberline’s festival a labor of love posted on 08/01/2016

(MT) - (In anticipation of Timberline Lodge’s Mountain Music Festival on Monday, Sept. 5, The Mountain Times and Jon Tullis, Director of Public Affairs, had a question and answer session to get a better understanding of what the event is all about.)

MT – This is your 20th year presenting music at Timberline, how has the process of putting the lineup together evolved since you started?

JT – We started the Timberline Acoustic Music Series in 1995. Evening concerts were held in the Lodge’s main lobby on Wednesday evenings in October when things were otherwise very quiet. I purposely reached out to some of my favorite singer/songwriters, mostly of the rootsy, folk music genre, or what has become known as “Americana.” The lineup over the years included such chestnuts as Tom Russell, John Gorka, Steve Forbert, Dave Mallet, Steve Young, Mary McCaslin, Katy Moffatt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Eliza Gilkyson, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammar, Kevin Welch, Bill Morrissey, Dan Hicks… I could go on and on. For me it was about bringing great music to the mountain, in this great intimate setting that the Lodge provides. These folks were the troubadours of their day, poets of the people, and extraordinary performers. The audience was always very attentive and appreciative. It was all about the songs. The songs had the ability to move people, and pull them together. I’ll tell ya, there were some magical evenings listening to those performances around the fireplace. I have lots of fond memories. Sharing Timberline’s top notch hospitality with the artists was always a source of pride for me, and I enjoyed getting to know them as we ate dinner before the show.

Back then Portland wasn’t nearly as hip as it is today with live music galore, and live music on the mountain was even rarer. These artists often skipped Portland while touring the West Coast, so this gave the local audience here a chance to see them, and it gave the artists a great little gig in between shows say at the Freight and Salvage in San Francisco and the Tractor Tavern in Seattle.

Portland is full of great live music now, and there are great live music venues on the mountain like the Skyway. The final Acoustic Music Series was in 2005. Nowadays we have moved the music outdoors in the amphitheater so I focus more on presenting larger bands, and new, younger talent, folks who are out on tour and playing the summer festival circuit. Our festival is just a few days before the Sisters Folk Festival, so I often feature some of the artists who are headed that way. It’s a win/win for everyone, and I have been able to present some really tasty acts such as Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line, Eli West and Cahalen Morrison, and the amazing quartet called Darlingside who went on to be named Folk Alliance Artist of the Year in 2016.

MT – How has the event itself changed over two decades?

JT – Well, as I was saying, after Timberline’s historic outdoor amphitheater was restored, we brought the Acoustic Music Series to a close and started presenting summer shows out there. Then in 2012 we decided to produce a big free all day festival on Labor Day to celebrate Timberline’s 75th Anniversary. We called it the “Tribute to Tradition” and in addition to some incredible barbeque, and a nice speech by Senator Merkley it featured Sarah Lee Guthrie and an amazing line up of folks playing Woody Guthrie songs ,. Over 7000 people came out that day. It was so cool we decided to make it an annual event; The Timberline Mountain Music Festival.

MT – What stands out about the musicians for this year's festival?

JT – This year’s festival will be opened by Eric Kallio, a fantastic local guitar and dobro player who has written some wonderful songs about life on the mountain. Next up is a local favorite bluegrass band, Jackstraw, back by popular demand you might say. They have their own unique brand of  bluegrass music that I sort of see as Cascadian. We are also presenting two singer songwriters that just need to be heard! The first is a rising star based out of Nashville, Caitlin Canty. Her music is catchy and gritty and soulful all at once and I guarantee she will charm the audience. Next, Sam Baker, who hails from Austin is perhaps one of the most personable and powerful performers of the day. You just have to check him out to understand, He too will have the audience in the palm of his hand. Our headliner is a tried and true Americana band named Marley’s Ghost. They have been pleasing festival crowds for over 25 years, and have recorded with everyone from Emmy Lou Harris to John Prine, and they are soon to release a new CD produced by Larry Campbell.  I am sure they will have everyone on their feet by the time they close out the show around sunset. 

MT – Bluegrass/Mountain music and Timberline Lodge are both unique American creations; how does the festival's setting and the music complement each other?

JT – That’s a great question. Again, the phrase “tried and true” comes to mind. Timberline Lodge and the rustic sort of music that we present at this festival are both tried and true, honest, authentic, and yes, uniquely American. As songwriter Guy Clark once sang, “Its stuff that works. Stuff that holds up. Stuff you don’t hang on the wall. Stuff that’s real. Stuff you feel. The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall.”

The festival is also a huge team effort for us here, and that brings out the best in Timberline. Our amazing staff is dedicated to creating a very genuine, enjoyable, casual, family-friendly festival scene. We’ll have food and drink on the back patio, the Taborgrass Players will lead folks in impromptu jams (bring your own instruments) and we will have free face painting for the kids as well. Various vendors and non-profit groups will be sharing interesting information, and all the while the beautiful mountain is right there on the horizon. The musicians always comment that our stage is one of the most beautiful settings they have ever played! 

MT – The festival, offering world class musicians, is free. What does it mean to you and the festival sponsors to be able to present this event to the public for no charge?

JT – It seems like a fitting way to give back to the community. After all, the Lodge was built to be enjoyed. It’s the people’s place. And thank you for the opportunity to recognize our sponsors! We couldn’t throw this party and present such great talent without The Boyd Coffee Company, The Mt. Hood Brewing Company, and of course RLK and Company, operators of Timberline Lodge. And while I’m at it, I’d like to give a shout out to Stew Dodge Sound who has been providing excellent sound mixing and lights for our shows going back all the way to 1995.

MT – You've experienced 20 years of festivals – the musicians, the music, the attendees - is there one memory or story that stands out for you?

JT – There are so many. I’ll never forget Peter Rowan’s spirited performance of Land of the Navaho. The temperature had dropped 10 degrees from earlier in the show and a cold thick cloud rolled in across the stage like God’s own smoke machine. Peter sounded a conch shell and he and his band just sort of leaned into it and reveled in the moment. But if I had to choose my personal favorite, I guess it would have to be when last year’s headliner, the very gracious Jonathan Edwards, a personal favorite of mine since high school days, invited me up on stage to sing a couple of songs with him. I was a little nervous at first, but I couldn’t let that opportunity pass me by, and it was a blast.

Of course, I promise I won’t do that every year!

Villages kept on ‘hiatus’ by commissioners posted on 07/01/2016

The Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) opted to keep the Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors “on hiatus” at a Tuesday, June 28 policy session, despite efforts through mediation to reform the Villages board and move toward elections of new board members, according to Amy Kyle, Strategic Communication Manager for Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs (PGA).

The BCC had three options given to them at the session: to approve a process outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would have appointed an interim board to hold an election this fall, to keep the board on hiatus or to begin the dissolution process for the Villages. The staff recommendation was the first option, but the BCC voted 4-1 in favor of the second, with Commissioner Paul Savas dissenting.

“They felt they needed to keep it on hold for now,” Kyle said, noting the commissioners had received continued feedback beyond a staff report on the matter and the staff recommendation was just a recommendation.

Kyle added that the BCC wants county staff to work with community on a path forward and wanted to keep the Villages board on hiatus until they are able to do so. The BCC did not offer direction on a timeline for a resolution.

The county hired the consulting firm EnviroIssues to conduct a survey of Mountain residents and stakeholders to provide better direction for the Villages. Among the firm’s recommendations was to discontinue the board until the end of the year, but Kyle indicated before the policy session that the county wanted to move quicker.

The survey, including meeting with PGA staff to create a draft, management of survey distribution and website, outreach (including staff at community locations with printed surveys), along with stakeholder interviews and the final report, cost the county nearly $11,000, according to Kyle.

The hiatus began in February when three members of the Villages board resigned, citing concerns over the board’s chair, George Wilson, followed by the BCC dismissing the three remaining Villages board members (including Wilson).

But Wilson, with local attorney Gary Linkous providing legal representation, challenged county staff that in turn knuckled enough to agree to mediation. That occurred June 14 with county mediator Amy Herman holding forth, and it was agreed that Wilson, along with serving director Carol Burke, “will serve as existing board members during this interim time,” Herman wrote in the MOU.

The agreement had limits, as the resuscitated board was to only focus on organizing formal elections in order to fill remaining vacancies and to establish a quorum. To that end, Wilson had already taken action, along with Burke, and two applicants were selected to form a temporary quorum.

When told of the BCC decision, Wilson said he would consult Linkous about what he would do next.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the commissioners decided to keep us on hiatus, despite our agreement with senior county council … and PGA staff,” Wilson said. “I’m just beside myself, really.”

By Garth Guibord and Larry Berteau/MT

Grace Ramstad spent early years on the mountain.
The Mountain’s Grace Ramstad, Queen of Roses posted on 07/01/2016

The 2016 Rose Festival Queen is Grace Ramstad – a rose that rose in Brightwood.

 “My backyard was basically a forest so my twin brother (Will), our neighbor (Emily Smith), and I would climb around in the trees pretending to live there,” Grace said. “(They) would always argue who was the leader but I was always happy to be the chef and make ‘meals’ from the plants around us. I definitely grew up surrounded by nature.”

Grace’s road to the Rose Festival stage meandered from the Mountain, through Welches School, Cedar Ridge, Sandy High, and finally Centennial, as, along with the support of her family, she always sought to get the best education possible.

Grace’s commitment to excellence has a new reward, fitting of a queen.

“When I first heard my name announced as queen I had a moment of disbelief,” Grace said. “Then all of the princesses circled around me in a hug and I got a moment to feel their support and know that I was picked for a reason.”

“What sets Grace apart is that she has always been willing to work hard to learn and achieve,” her mother Rita Ramstad said. “She’s been willing to make sacrifices … which twice meant leaving her friends and community and changing schools. That’s not always been easy.”

Grace got a great start at Welches School. Besides becoming a Student of Merit in The Mountain Times, she cited the special relationships she forged with her teachers.

“I credit the people and experiences I had growing up on the Mountain for my accomplishments,” Grace said.

“Throughout elementary school I attended speech classes to fix my speech impediments, and now I’ve competed nationally in public speaking events and serve in several positions such as Rose Festival Queen that are based around communication skills.”

Two teachers, in particular, had a profound impact on Grace. In fourth and fifth grade Virginia Knowles fed Grace her love of books and encouraged her writing.

“Because Grace was seriously injured in a playground accident, she had to miss the last five weeks of fifth grade,” Rita said. “Virginia agreed to be her tutor, coming to our house to give Grace assignments and keep her connected to classmates.”

The other was Tom Wallace who agreed to let Grace come into his fourth/fifth grade class for writing instruction, when she was in third grade.

“I would not be where I am today without my Mountain community,” Grace said.

She will move on to Georgetown University (Washington D.C.) this fall and intends to major in government with a minor in education.

A rosy future awaits.

By Larry Berteau/MT

ODOT preps Hwy. 26 in July for paving in August posted on 07/01/2016

Construction work on Hwy. 26 during July will focus on preparations for tentatively paving the road in August, according to Kimberly Dinwiddie, Oregon Department of Transportation Community Affairs.

Workers restriped the highway in late June, moving traffic to the south side, while causing some long delays.

“That allowed us to have more room on the north side and we’re continuing to do our excavation on the north side of Highway 26 to later put in the concrete barrier,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie added that paving dates in August are not set, but completing the paving should take three to four weeks.

By late June, workers had placed 25,800 blocks out of a total of 44,500 as part of a retaining wall located above the Pioneer Bridle Trail. Each block is eight inches tall and 18 inches wide, with the wall varying in height between three and 20 feet.

Dinwiddie also noted that workers are expected to finish up the Map Curve area of the project in early July, including completing the installation of all rock bolts to secure the banks. The “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, is still scheduled to be completed this fall.

Workers are on two shifts this summer, a day shift and a swing shift, with most of them staying on the mountain during the week and going home for the weekends, according to Dinwiddie.

For more information, please visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Brightwood RV park proposal denied posted on 07/01/2016

(MT) – What started as an attempt to build an RV park in Brightwood, has been dashed by a land-use decision in a 16-page denial by hearings officer Fred Wilson.

Kashmir Dhadwal, of Sandy, was the applicant for the proposed park on Hwy. 26 that would have included 99 campsites, an office, clubhouse, laundry facility, restrooms, showers, a circulation system, utilities for each campsite, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, picnic areas, walking paths, water well, septic system, septic dump site and detention ponds.

A conditional use permit application went out Feb. 29 to agencies, community planning organizations and property owners within 500 feet of the property on Hwy. 26 in Brightwood.

The land-use hearing took place April 7 in Oregon City, after nearly 100 local residents showed up in March at the Dragonfly Café & Bakery in Welches for a meeting with county officials regarding the RV park proposal.

At that meeting many local concerns were raised. Among them were Welches resident and Realtor Dave Lythgoe and local property owner Margaret Thurman.

At the time, Lythgoe pointed out that the new owner (Dhadwal) had eliminated all of the trees and natural plants by scraping and denuding the property, saying “it is quite an eyesore along Hwy. 26 which I believe is designated scenic highway.”

Lythgoe’s concerns went beyond the scenic nature of the site.

“There is no sewer system in the area,” he said. “The septic system that will be necessary will be massive with the potential of polluting the river and the water table.”

Thurman also cited water concerns.

“We are most concerned about them drilling a well and how that will impact the two Country Club water system’s wells as well as all of the local wells on the property on Cottonwood Road that back up to the proposed development,” she said. “We are already having well issues.”

Wilson’s statement mirrored local concerns, and he piled on citing the effect on wildlife, noise pollution and traffic concerns, concluding:

“The opponents’ evidence and testimony is much more compelling than the limited evidence and testimony from the applicant,” Wilson wrote in his decision.

Dhadwal is allowed to appeal the decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals.

Bightwood residents alarmed by logging project posted on 07/01/2016

A number of Brightwood residents are concerned over a potential logging project on a hillside property to the north of Barlow Trail Road.

The owner of the property is Fern Hollow Farms, based in Veneta, Ore., and residents met with Greg Demers, who represented the company, to discuss the operation in late May.

Brightwood resident Scott McNamara noted that other projects Demers has been involved with, including the Pilot Rock sawmill wood waste landfill, 90 acres in Crow, Ore. that was clearcut and the mining of Parvin Butte in Dexter, Ore., have earned Demers resentment in those communities and some fines.

“This guy leaves a wake of destruction,” McNamara said, highlighting his concerns over the potential operation, including the risk of landslides, the impact and potential flooding from culverts added to McIntyre Road and the danger of logging trucks operating on narrow and twisty community roads.

Bill Simonds, another homeowner concerned about impact on his property, noted that concerns over the operation, on approximately 20 acres of land, have been raised with the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Bureau of Land Management and Clackamas County, but that Demers “seems to be unstoppable.”

“If that’s the case, our best bet is to make sure he follows the rules,” Simonds said, adding that he thinks the agencies they have contacted will watch the project “extremely carefully.”

In a phone interview with the Mountain Times, Demers said, “We bought the property, we’re going to do a selective harvest on it. Everything’s going to be done according to state, county and federal regulations.”

McNamara started a website, friendsofbrightwood.com, outlining the community concerns and announcing meeting times.

By Garth Guibord/MT

A smoothie way to better health posted on 07/01/2016

If you’ve been putting off that “get healthy” regimen, you just ran out of excuses.

Mountain Mel’s Green Canyon Apothecary will hold its grand opening celebration from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, July 9 at 68272 Hwy. 26 in Welches, on the back side of the Hoodland Shopping Plaza.

Green Canyon will serve as a hub of health and well-being for the local community, featuring a full service herbal apothecary providing bulk herbs, tinctures and other natural health care supplies with a focus on using food and plants as medicine.

With owner Melissa Mutterspaugh at the helm, the apothecary will also serve herbal teas, organic and locally grown smoothies, plus gluten and dairy free snacks and treats.

“We are the community’s only natural health care supply and educational space,” Mutterspaugh said. “We use only organic and ethically wild harvested plants, herbs and oils in everything we serve. You can guarantee that anything you get out of the Green Canyon Apothecary is the highest quality available, and the best for your health, your family’s health, our community’s health, and the health of the planet.”

The apothecary will also serve as a classroom and workshop focusing on natural health and living, plus will provide a drop point for Azure Standard organic, bulk, and natural food and product supplies.

Mutterspaugh has lived on the Mountain for nine years, and recognizes, at last, that this is home.

“In all the places I’ve lived in the world, none of them have embraced me … like this wonderful community,” she said. “I’ve taken advantage of the healthy options that mother nature has provided us in such an incredibly beautiful place. Opening the apothecary tea and smoothie shop is my way of giving back to such an amazing community.”

Mutterspaugh is already looking toward the future.

“My hope is to continue to grow the Mountain Mel’s product line, while creating a healthy gathering space for this community,” she said. “I want to create a vibrant, fresh, friendly, positive, and inspiring place that people can come to and feel good about what they’re putting in their bodies, and minds. I want to see families gathering here for classes, and perhaps others teaching their own classes.”

Green Canyon Apothecary is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. To celebrate throughout July, all bulk herbs and products are on sale at 20 percent off. Learn more at www.mountainmels.com.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Fire district welcomes four new vols posted on 07/01/2016

Four new recruits completed their training and graduated as the new volunteer class for the Hoodland Fire District in June.

Three, Daniel Maurer, Casey McGinty and Dana Waldron, will be firefighters while the fourth, Valentina Galenko, will be part of the special task group that can participate on medical calls but not fight fires.

“(Special task group members are) allowed to do certain things on the fire scene, but they’re not full fledged firefighters,” said Scott Kline, co-director of the training company.

The recruit class began with seven in early January, but three dropped out, and Kline noted that the numbers vary year to year. The 2014 class, for instance, featured 11 people signing up with seven graduates, and all seven currently still serve the district.

The three new firefighters will all be based at the Brightwood station.

Defensible space

Kline encouraged everyone in the community to create a defensible space around their home in preparation for the fire season. The space provides a buffer between the forest and a home in case of a wild fire.

“A lot of people think that means clear cutting, which isn’t true,” Kline said.

He noted that within 30 feet of a house, all leaves, branches and “brown stuff” should be cleaned up, while lower limbs of trees can be cut down. Branches should not overhang on roofs, keep plants pruned within the 30-foot barrier, while roofs and the ground under decks should also be cleaned up.

Between 30 and 100 feet from the house, low hanging tree limbs should be removed (reducing “ladder fuels,” which allow a fire to spread up into the forest canopy).

“Some neighborhoods are really good at it, other places are not so good at it,” Kline said, adding that some neighborhoods, such as Timberline Rim and Zigzag Village, hold cleanup days and haul debris to a central burn pile.

The defensible space could be crucial in the event of a wildfire, when responders must assess each house and determine what resources would be needed to save it from the fire.

“If we have a house that has prepared a defensible space around it … we don’t have to put much effort into trying to save that house,” Kline said.

Burn season over

Wednesday, June 15 marked the end of backyard burning in the fire district. Recreational fires are still allowed, unless the district is under a general fire closure. For more information, call the district’s burn line at 503-622-3463.

By Garth Guibord/MT

County pivots, will mediate with Villages board posted on 06/01/2016

A combined effort by Clackamas County offices scrapped the Villages at Mt. Hood following what the county claims was an illegal election in December 2015, followed by complaints from “several citizens” of the local community.

In an apparent turnaround, county counsel Stephen Madkour has agreed to mediate the county’s decision and will sit down with Villages Chair George Wilson, and Directors Carol Burk, Ben Bliesner, and Pat Holbrook, plus Wilson’s attorney.

The fact that the county disallowed Bliesner’s election at the December Town Hall, and to this point doesn’t believe Wilson had to the authority to appoint Holbrook as an interim board member, only adds to the drama that surrounds this standoff between the Villages and the Board of County Commissioners (BCC), the office of Public and Government Affairs (PGA), and the county’s legal department.

Madkour told The Mountain Times that the county has agreed to mediate but no date has been set, citing the busy schedule of county resolutions services.

“We agreed last week (May 16) and must schedule with resolutions services  officer Amy Herman,” Madkour said. “She has first-hand knowledge of the Villages Board. We look to the opportunity to resolve issues.”

Wilson, who finds all the actions of the county to be arbitrary and unlawful surrounding the scuttling of the Villages Board, was quick to react to the mediation scenario.

“My concerns are that Ms. Herman is a Clackamas County paid staff employee, as opposed to an independent arbitrator, and (her) busy schedule raises some concerns,” Wilson said. “Are there really that many conflicts requiring resolution services that our issues must be forced toward further delay?”

The differences between the county staff and Wilson have more twists and turns than a failed field sobriety test. But the main points are these:

– The BCC ruled the December 2015 elections invalid, when Bliesner was elected to the Board.

– Board members Joe Mazzara, Rob Bruce and Gina Royall resigned from the Board over differences with Wilson, leaving the Villages with only two members, Wilson and Burk – far short of a four-person quorum – from the county’s point of view, but with a quorum according to Wilson, including himself, Burk, Bliesner and interim appointee Holbrook.

– Wilson, through his Welches attorney Gary Linkous, filed a tort claim notice to Amy Kyle, strategic communications director for PGA, for allegedly issuing false information to The Mountain Times; and sent a letter to Madkour citing violations of state statutes, county ordinances, and current by-laws of the Villages. Both notices sought mediation to resolve these issues.

In defense of the county’s position of suspending the Villages Board, PGA Manager Gary Schmidt pointed to several citizen complaints. When questioned by Wilson, Schmidt listed three citizens, Fran Mazzara (wife of resigned board member Joe Mazzara), the late Bob Reeves (former board member) and Steve Graeper (Rhododendron CPO President). Again, Wilson questioned the three people put forward, after which Schmidt admitted that Graeper was incorrectly listed, leaving only one citizen complaint on the board, that of Fran Mazzara.

Wilson was, and continues to be, incredulous of the county’s position.

“The actions of Gary Schmidt to invalidate our December 2015 Town Hall elections were indeed unlawful,” Wilson said. “Mr. Schmidt acted unilaterally based on frivolous allegations by Fran Mazzara, and without due process for remaining elected board members. There was never an inquiry into those alleged complaints … We were simply denied our opportunity to dispute these claims, and as a result were denied our right to due process. Had the elections not been invalidated, we wouldn’t be going through any of these nonsensical circus acts.”

Madkour, however, defended the county’s actions all the while agreeing to the mediation.

“There has been dissension among (Villages) board members,” Madkour said. “They have been unable to agree on anything.”

However, Madkour admitted to “not being aware of the history of the Villages,” in his interview with The Mountain Times, but stood firm on the suspension of the board, saying “If the board has only three members, that’s not a quorum.”

Kyle has indicated the mediation will occur sometime in June.

By Larry Berteau/MT

The Mount Hood Farmers Market returns posted on 06/01/2016

Ant Farm, the nonprofit with Brightwood roots and now based in Sandy, had a vested interest in a farmers market since it started a garden nearly four years ago, seeing a market as a way to give the youth it helps the chance to understand what it takes to get produce in the hands of customers. Last year, the organization was at the helm of the Mount Hood Farmers Market, operating with no budget, and this year, the market returns bigger and better.

Nunpa, Ant Farm’s executive director and founder, noted this year the market features more vendors, music and special events, while also participating in the Power of Produce program, helping kids make healthy eating choices, and the Double Up Food Bucks program, offering twice the amount of vegetables for those using Oregon Trail Card SNAP dollars.

“We’re really stepping into offering everything (people) want,” Nunpa said, adding the produce has expanded.

One of the new vendors is mountain resident Kayla Diggins, who quit her job as a bartender and now creates wood burned art, including bird feeders and planter boxes. This is her first summer participating in farmers markets, and even on her first day at the Mount Hood Farmers Market, she was pleased.

“I’d rather be closer to home and I’ve already seen a ton of people I know,” Diggins said.

Nunpa hopes that with the added attractions this year, the market attracts more people.

“We really want to put that invitation out there,” he said.

The Mount Hood Farmers Market will be held every Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Ant Farm Outdoor Building, 38600 Proctor Blvd. in Sandy (located between Dairy Queen and the Big Apple). Market gift cards are also available at the market or at Ant Farm’s cafe, 39140 Proctor Blvd. in Sandy. For more information, please visit mounthoodfarmersmarket.org.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Deal in place for OTSD teachers posted on 06/01/2016

The Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) and the Wy’East Education Association (WEA) agreed on a new four-year contract, with the district’s board of directors expected to vote on it at the Monday, June 13 board meeting. The two sides met eight times over the course of nine weeks to hammer out the agreement.

“The best word to describe bargaining was ‘collaborative,’” said Steve Snow, WEA’s bargaining chair and an elementary school counselor. “We have a great working contract and a great working relationship with the district.”

OTSD Human Resources Director Ken Bucchi added that the working relationship includes heated debate on some topics, but that each side is willing to yield and recognize strong logic from the other.

“It isn’t about winning,” Bucchi said. “Too often, I think districts believe they’ve won, but at what cost? The expense of relationships and ability to work with those people later on.”

The contract, which starts July 1 of this year, includes a cost of living adjustment of two percent each year, a benefits increase of five percent each year and no reopeners. It also addresses class sizes, the number one issue for the WEA in negotiations, by setting caps on the numbers of students for each grade level.

If class sizes exceed that number, the teacher of that class receives an additional $21 per child beyond the cap, per month.

“It’s not a remedy for large class sizes, (but) it at least represents an acknowledgement that having a certain size classroom might potentially create a greater workload,” Bucchi said.

The contract also includes new language guaranteeing two weeks of paid family leave for younger teachers, including instances such as having a baby, on top of other leave time they have accumulated.

“We didn’t feel it was fair that the group most likely to have a child is the group least likely to have time to spend with that child,” Bucchi said. “(We’re) trying to be a more family friendly environment.”

The contract also formally adopts language regarding salary exempt status from the Fair Labor Standards Act, offering teachers the ability to perform some duties, such as grading, away from the school and not requiring teachers to remain at the school if they have completed their essential duties for that day. The status also means teachers may work longer than eight hours per day on other occasions due to the demands of the job and the essential functions of their responsibilities.

The district has offered teachers the ability to perform grading duties outside the school for approximately four years, which has proven popular.

“It was overwhelming, the vast majority of everyone loved it,” Snow said.

Each side has the opportunity to pull out of that language in the next four years, while Bucchi noted he believes the OTSD is the first district in the state to adopt the standards.

The contract also offers the district the unilateral right to transfer teachers once every four years, and adds one additional day of orientation for brand new hires. The additional day will be paid at the substitute teacher rate. The contract does not include guaranteed daily teacher preparation time, which the WEA had asked for, but the district will “make every effort” to accommodate that, according to Bucchi.

Snow noted that the two sides do a lot of work between bargaining, including a monthly labor management meeting at the district level, and he added that the teachers are pleased with how the district manages its finances.

“They’ve been good stewards of the money and making sure there is a cushion there, which there should be,” he said.

Welches board position opening

Citizens interested in applying for the Zone 3 (Welches) open board position can find the application and other information at http://oregontrailschools.com/school-board/. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Thursday, July 7. 

By Garth Guibord/MT

Contractor wraps blasting on Map Curve posted on 06/01/2016

K&E Excavating, the contractor for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” hit a milestone on Tuesday, May 24 when it set off the last blast on the Map Curve section of the project. Map Curve required 14 total blasts, starting with the first on April 28, 2015, which removed a total of approximately 44,000 cubic yards of rock and dirt from the area.

“That was pretty huge for us to get that done,” said Kerry Kunzi the president of K&E Excavating. “Pretty much right on schedule so far.”

Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted that while blasting slopes has concluded, there could still be more blasts this summer as part of the RealTime travel information sign project.

“We want to thank everybody for their years of patience as we’ve endured through the blasting,” Dinwiddie said.

Kunzi noted that work in June on the safety project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, will include building a retaining wall, digging out on the north side of the highway to accommodate widening it and adding a guard rail. Travelers can expect intermittent flagging and delays of up to 20 minutes.

“Traffic up here really seems to increase after Memorial Day,” Dinwiddie said. “People should expect to see more congestion.”

Trucks carrying dirt and vegetation up Lolo Pass Road will be “very sporadic” now, according to Kunzi, while trucks are still expected to bring rock to the Tamarack site.

K&E will also crush rock at the Laurel pit site off Kiwanis Camp Road to use for asphalt and road base for the project. Kunzi estimated that approximately 50,000 yards of rock will be crushed and reused.

Both Kunzi and Dinwiddie stressed that while the project is nearing completion and is expected to be done this fall, all travelers should continue to drive safely through the work zone.

“We want everybody to go home safe,” Kunzi said.

For more information, please visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Fire district looks to expand to 24-hour coverage posted on 06/01/2016

The board of directors for the Hoodland Fire District set two new goals at a planning session: 24-hour coverage by paid staff at the district’s main station and limited coverage at the Government Camp station. And at the Sunday, May 8 board meeting, the board approved hiring one new full time firefighter/paramedic, the first of four Fire Chief Mic Eby hopes to have on board in the coming year.

“It is going to get us closer to that (24-hour coverage),” Eby said. “The board feels it's such an important thing.”

Eby noted that currently volunteers cover the district at night, but there are times when only two volunteers are able to respond to a call. In addition, volunteers must wait at a station for somebody certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and a driver before heading out on one of the rigs.

All paid staff are paramedics and drivers, while approximately 65 percent of the district’s volunteers are Emergency First Responders, and unable to drive.

The first new firefighter could be hired by October, while Eby hopes to utilize a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to pay for the others, including one who will be designated as a specialist for volunteer retention and recruitment and public education.

As part of the move toward 24-hour coverage with paid staff, Eby also noted the district will have to figure out sleepers quarters at the main station. He added the southwest corner of the building is the likely location, while no plans are in place for what the quarters would look like.

Eby also noted the district will look into an internship program, potentially partnering with a college and having interns live at the station.

“It’s an evolving challenge,” he said about staffing. “Once you start catching up with it, a new aspect comes up.”

Other fire news

The district hired Architectural Cost Consultants to help estimate the costs associated with renovations at the Government Camp station. Eby noted the district has received drawings from structural engineers, which the consultants will use in their estimates.

The board of directors passed the district’s budget at the Tuesday, April 26 meeting, including approving the purchase of two new brush rigs to replace old ones. Eby described them as “Swiss army knives” of fire rigs, carrying water, foam to put out car fires, extrication equipment, high angle rescue equipment and advanced life support.

Eby noted the brush rigs are particularly useful when maneuvering smaller roads in the district and when responding to home first aid calls.

By Garth Guibord/MT

A Merit milestone, 10k and counting posted on 06/01/2016

When David Lythgoe purchased Merit Properties in 1984, the company was purring along through its sixth year.

Today, 32 years later, the Welches real estate company has recorded 10,000 transactions. Not all resulted in sales, but Lythgoe estimates that two-thirds became closed sales.

“It is an accomplishment I never expected to achieve,” Lythgoe said. “Since that time we have weathered the high interest rates of the late 80s, the boom years of the 90s when the Californians arrived, and the great recession just passed.”

Lythgoe was quick to point out that more than 20 agents have made up the Merit team during those years, and the company would never have reached the 10,000 mark without them. “Some are still with us,” Lythgoe added.

It’s easy to imagine that all transactions are not alike, and one in particular proves the point.

“I remember the buyer who wanted to trade gold for a house,” Lythgoe said. “I found a seller willing to make the deal. After meeting with all parties and a jeweler we then arranged for all to meet an assayer at the gold office in Portland to value the gold. Long story short, the buyer never showed and we never saw him again.”

In the meantime, more normal operations are expected.

“On to the next 10,000,” Lythgoe said.

A promotion of Merit

Marti Bowne returns to the fold at Merit Properties, and will assume the position of office manager.

“I’ve been in love with the Mountain all my life,” Bowne said. “Coming back to Merit, where I started my real estate career, was a natural.”

While maintaining her broker status, as office manager Bowne will also oversee day-to-day company operations.

By Larry Berteau/MT

The Adventures of Welches School posted on 06/01/2016

In preparation for a visit from a comic artist as part of the Right Brain Initiate program (RBI), Welches sixth grader Garrison Carpenter broke out his dad’s collections of comics to study up. After three hours of investigation, he came away a big fan of the Flash.

After five sessions with artist Lisa Eisenberg, Carpenter created his own comic strip and came away a fan of the experience.

“I’m really happy she came and helped us with it,” said Carpenter, 12. “It was just a great time overall.”

Eisenberg starts with art lessons on figure and anatomy and helps students learn to draw characters that work for them, with a focus on developing their comic’s main character. Students then develop the backstory of the characters and a “story map,” an outline of how their comic will play out.

After that, students “thumbnail” the page, making a rough sketch and investigating different choices of panel size, what’s inside each panel, speech bubbles and creating a point of view to help direct the reader on where to look.

Then students get feedback and begin the process of drawing their comic in pencil before going over in ink and adding color.

Eisenberg, who has been creating comics for 10 years, noted comics blend the worlds of writing and visual arts together.

“It creates something beyond those things and how they function separately,” she said.

Her program at Welches focused on personal narratives, but Eisenberg has also used it to teach social studies, language arts and more.

Eighth grader Taryn Criss, a fan of “Calvin and Hobbes” and “Garfield,” learned a bit about herself through making her own comic.

“It was fun and it kind of helps you think about what happened in your life,” said Criss, 14. “You look inside yourself and see what great stories you have to write about.”

Fellow eighth grader Sophia Herman was intimidated at first because she doubted her drawing skills, but she based her comic on a walk through the woods back home from her friend’s house, adding a monster and gaining a newfound appreciation for the work needed to make a comic.

“The comic book creators, we don’t give them enough credit,” said Herman, 14. “It is so stressful to draw something and mess up and it doesn’t look like what you want it to look like.”

Sixth grader Inanna Vognild was already familiar with comics and graphic novels, including Japanese comics called “manga.” She based her comic on attending her friend’s birthday party, where a girl was asked to become a model, and learned what it takes to get an idea put on the page.

“It was fun because there were a lot of things I didn’t know about the process on how to make them,” said Vognild, 12.

Eisenberg, who has taught comics for four years, found her experience in Welches to be rewarding as well, noting she was impressed by the differing views of the students, how they engaged in the work and the support of the staff.

“I really appreciated the students there,” she said. “It was definitely a really positive experience overall.”

Welches Principal Kendra Payne notes she’d like to keep the RBI program going “in perpetuity.” It began last year in just two classes before being expanded to the entire school this year, featuring comics for grades fourth through eighth and drumming for kindergarten through third grade.

“It’s just a great program,” Payne said, adding that she  is developing a map to provide different arts experiences for each grade level, including music, performance and visual arts. “I think it makes arts feel more accessible for teachers. It just really blends with what’s already happening.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Hwy. 26 project back on schedule posted on 04/30/2016

Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” is on schedule after falling behind due to spring snow, according to Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs. Crews worked “almost around the clock” Mondays through Thursdays in April, including during hail and rain, and were expected to continue doing so into May.

“Our crews are pretty hard core,” Dinwiddie said. “We are really moving ahead on this project.”

Day work has included work on slopes and a wall to protect the Pioneer Bridle Trail, while workers have installed drainage pipes during nighttime hours.

“It’s less of an impact on travelers to do drainage at night,” Dinwiddie said, adding that travelers can expect to be held up by flaggers “consistently” at night and intermittently during the day.

Two blasts are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 3 and Tuesday, May 10, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. and close the highway down in both directions for approximately one hour. Dates are subject to change based on conditions and if holes can be drilled in time.

Dinwiddie added that following the two blasts, ODOT should know how much more blasting on the project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, will be necessary. The project is expected to be done this fall and Dinwiddie noted that is still the goal.

“We are going to do whatever it takes, without causing too much disruption, to get it done,” she said, adding that the patience exhibited by drivers and those in the community is much appreciated.

For more information, please visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Break-ins force pharmacy closure posted on 04/30/2016

The benefit of a Mountain pharmacy has been ripped away from the community.

As of April 14, Williams Pharmacy has closed its doors, no longer able to sustain its business due to multiple break-ins resulting in loss of medications.

“We are sad over the demise,” Pharmacist Jeff Williams told The Mountain Times. “We were broken into again over Easter and with the extent of drug abuse in the area, three times was a charm. All involved, us, DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and the pharmacy board all sensed a concern for overall security.”

Williams was quick to thank the community who supported his effort, and noted the difference between the majority of those who lead honest and productive lives and “these small minded pathetic parasites” who violated the pharmacy.

“I don’t know where it will end, but I will no longer create a supply of narcotics to addicts in our community,” Williams wrote in a notice posted at the pharmacy in the Rendezvous Center.

A pipeline has been set up for pharmacy clients. Walgreens, in Sandy, has agreed to pick up the phone number, transfer all records and service the patients, according to Williams.

“Walgreens, in our opinion, is the most efficient and best for clinical care,” he said.

By Larry Berteau/MT

County gears up for June Villages elections posted on 04/30/2016

Clackamas County sent a survey on the Villages at Mt. Hood to all village property owners in April, with results expected to be presented to the Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) at a meeting on Tuesday, May 24, according to Amy Kyle, Manager for Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs. The BCC is also expected to set new elections for the Villages board of directors for sometime in late June at that meeting.

The survey will be available at the Villages’ website, www.clackamas.us/citizenin/mthood.html, through Friday, May 13, and Kyle noted that “a number of people” had already taken the survey by the end of April.

The BCC dismissed the three remaining Villages board members in February following the resignation of three others due to concerns over the board’s chair, George Wilson.

Kyle noted that it is possible for board members who have time remaining for their terms to fulfill them. Applications are available on the county’s website for anybody interested in serving on the Villages board of directors.

Wilson, however, contends that the BCC’s dismissal of board members, as well as the county invalidating election results from Dec. 1, 2015, was not supported by county ordinance or the Villages bylaws. In a letter dated April 5 to county counsel Stephen L. Madkour from Wilson’s attorney, Gary G. Linkous, Wilson requests the BCC to rescind the dismissal of the board and the invalidated election from December, and to allow the board to appoint temporary board members to fill out the board, followed by formal elections at a town hall meeting.

The letter requested the BCC accept the proposal or “come back with an acceptable solution or some effort” by April 15. Wilson did not hear back from the county and now plans on moving forward with appointing new board members.

“It’s apparent that they haven’t given much credence to the letter we sent,” he said. “They had no authority to dissolve the board. Essentially they violated their own ordinance and bylaws.”

Wilson noted the interim positions will be filled by people who have already submitted applications through the county and once the board is complete, they will announce the first meeting and move forward with formal elections. He added no date has been set to appoint the interim board.

“I think at this point, they’re just hoping that I’m going to let things rest,” said Wilson, whose term was set to expire this May. “I’m not going to let that happen. If they decide to challenge, we’re completely prepared to push it to the attorney general’s office. We believe we have a strong case.”

Kyle noted the BCC has not approved any applicants for the board and any appointment of non-approved applicants would be against the Villages bylaws. She added that the Villages board members remaining did not constitute a quorum, meaning they could not function as such, including make decisions or hold a meeting.

Applications for the Villages board are  available on the Villages’ website. Kyle estimated the county has received “five or six” applications so far.

By Garth Guibord/MT

RV Park permit left unresolved posted on 04/30/2016

The concerns of many Mountain residents were heard at an April 7 land use hearing in Oregon City for a proposed RV park on Hwy. 26 in Brightwood.

What followed was an exhaustive 45-page staff report from county planner Sandy Ingalls to land use hearings officer Fred Wilson. In the lengthy document, Ingalls recommended the proposal be denied.

"The applicant did not state how impacts to wildlife will be minimized and mitigated with removal of the sites' vegetation, under Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 3, Natural Resources and Energy, Wildlife Habitats and Distinctive Resource Areas Policies: Minimize adverse wildlife impacts in sensitive habitat areas, including deer and elk to winter range below 3,000 feet elevation, riparian areas and wetlands," Ingalls wrote.

However, Ingalls added that if information is provided by the applicant the recommendation may be revised.

The ensuing pages of the report listed multiple conditions, all of which Ingalls was confident applicant Kashmir Dhadwal would be able to meet.

The land use permit proposal is to construct and operate an RV park with 99 campsites, office, clubhouse, laundry facility, restrooms and showers. The proposal also includes a road through the park, utilities for each campsite and septic system, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, picnic areas, walking paths, grass recreation area, septic dump site, on-site water well, detention ponds and landscaping.

The site takes access off Hwy. 26 and its neighbors would include the community of Country Club Road and the Ark Motel.

Local residents wondered why if the owner was planning to comply with the deer,  elk and environmental issues, he had removed all the trees from the property.

There were other issues raised as well, including:

– There is no well on the property, despite the applicant's saying there is one. Thus, a deep well would have to be drilled, raising concerns about the impact on existing wells in the area.

– Environmental impact due to soil erosion or water runoff to the Salmon River.

– Impact that an RV park will have on property values.

Because of the high level of interest the proposal has attracted, an extended period for the submission of new evidence and a period for response has been granted.

The proceedings are expected to conclude May 5.

By Larry Berteau

Spring Fling helps Neighborhood Missions help others posted on 04/30/2016

Clarence Edelman, the chairperson of Neighborhood Missions, knows from personal experience about the struggles that some people go through - people on the mountain that the organization helps every year. As a child, he grew up during the Depression in a small town in Idaho, often without being able to eat and with no resources that could offer some help.

“It hits pretty close to home,” Edelman said. “That’s my motivation.”

Neighborhood Missions, which provides food, wood, and financial assistance for heating, medicine, utilities, gas vouchers and transportation for those in the community in need, will hold its annual Spring Fling event on Saturday, May 21, at the Mount Hood Lions Club, at the corner of Hwy. 26 and Woodsey Way in Welches.

“We help everybody, we don’t draw any lines,” Edelman said. “Everybody gets help, everybody is welcome to ask us for help.”

The event features a silent auction, bake sale and craft sale starting at 11 a.m., with the auction closing at 7 p.m. Silent auction items are expected to include gift certificates to local restaurants, a gun cleaning kit and power yard equipment. The crafts will be locally made, including quilts, socks and more made by the Hoodland Lutheran Church quilt group.

A spaghetti dinner with dessert will start at 4 p.m., $10 for adults, $5 for children four to 12 and free for children three and under. All proceeds will benefit Neighborhood Mission. Tickets are available at Welches Building Supply, El Burro Loco, Still Creek Inn, Coffee Brewsters and Clackamas County Bank.

Edelman noted the organization serves up to 15 people a week, with tens of thousands of hours donated by volunteers to keep it going. He added that Neighborhood Missions is unique because it is available seven days a week to those in need, plus it can deliver help to people.

“If we didn’t have the support of the whole community up here, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Edelman added.

For more information, call 503-622-5694.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Students win essay contest posted on 04/30/2016

The Mt. Hood Green Scene (MHGS) challenged the Welches School’s sixth grade class to write essays on the theme, “What nature teaches us about recycling,” following a presentation earlier this year.

The students, who were raising money to attend Outdoor School, submitted 15 essays, with Grace Bliesner’s “What Nature Teaches Us About Recycling and Sustainability” and Sam Butler’s “Recycling and Sustainability in Nature” named as the co-winners, earning $500 toward the Outdoor School from the MHGS and The Mountain Times.

“Our goal is to increase and promote recycling and sustainabilty awareness and knowledge,” said Doug Saldivar, a member of the MHGS board of directors. “Helping our children learn about sustainability is one of the most important things we can do. After all, it will soon be their world.”

Bliesner, 11, wrote about “The Three R’s,” recycling, reusing and reducing, while also using the water cycle as an example of recycling.

“When you really pay attention to it, it shows you how water recycles itself,” she said.

Butler examined various cycles in nature, including geology, weather and ecosystems, in his essay.

“I just looked up a bit of general information on the topic and wrote a rough draft,” he said.

While the Mt. Hood Green Scene did not hold a recycling collection event this year, it hopes to hold one next year.

Recycling and Sustainability in Nature

By Sam Butler

Nature is defined as "the phenomena of the physical world, including flora, fauna, geography, and other features of Earth. There are examples of recycling and sustainability in all of them.

To start, there is the Earth itself. The rock cycle is a process through which igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock, along with sediment and magma, interact with and change into each other. This is an example of recycling. Moreover, this cycle happens by itself, without outside intervention.

There is also weather. Water evaporates, forms into clouds, then falls back to the ground as precipitation. Whether this precipitation is rain or snow or hail depends on atmospheric conditions. Once the water, in whatever form, hits the ground it slowly seeps in to rivers and streams, which run out into oceans or lakes, where the water evaporates again. The water cycle is the means by which water is recycled.

The ecosystem is very sustainable. Anything that dies in a working ecosystem is used by other organisms. Nature recycles things.

How the ecosystem is sustainable begins with sunlight. Chlorophyll in plants uses the energy of the sun to fuel the plant's growing process. As a byproduct of the chemical reactions involved in this, oxygen is released, making the atmosphere sustainable.

After the plant grows, some kind of herbivorous animal eats the plant. The animal digests the plant to help it live. Then, the animal excretes those parts of the plant it cannot use. This helps spread seeds. Also, the rest of the excrement provides plants with helpful minerals. What goes around comes around.

Eventually, the herbivorous animal is killed and eaten by a carnivorous animal for food.

Carnivores feed on herbivores, which feed on plants, which feed on sunlight, which is almost everlasting. When the carnivore dies, its carcass is useful to decomposers, such as fungi. The fungi eat the organic matter on the carcass, leaving only bones. After thousands of years, the bones transmute into coal.

Nature is made up of hundreds of recycling systems. The environment will keep going until the sun swells so much the earth cannot function as normal, in several billion years. Nature is almost complete sustainable.

What Nature Teaches us about Recycling and Sustainability

By Grace Bliesner

Nature is amazing! It works together to provide a habitat to plants and animals, who provide oxygen and materials for us. And it provides a home to us. But think, nature is doing all this stuff for us but what are we doing for it?

Some of us are trying to help the environment like the green scene and other groups, who go around teaching people about the environment and how we can help it sustain itself. Some of us recycle but don't fully understand how much it helps, and some of us just throw our stuff away and don't realize how it is hurting the place that we call home.

Almost everything in nature teaches us about recycling and sustainability. (the ability to keep reproducing and sustain itself) Such as Plants, animals and the water system.


Some resources such as trees and water are renewable resources which means they can be reproduced. Others like coal and oil are non renewable which means they can't be reproduced or it takes billions of years to reproduce them. Which leads us to the three R's, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

When it comes to resources and trash the best thing to do is reduce the amount you use so it doesn't take so much energy and materials in the first place.

The next best thing to do it reuse the materials and resources you already have. Keep filling your plastic water bottle up to reduce waste. Or even better buy ONE metal one and use it again and again. If your family moves a lot don't buy new boxes every time, reuse the ones you already have. Simple things can make our home a better place.

The next and probably easiest thing to do is Recycle when you take your recycling to a recycling plant. The people will make your recycling into new things.

But since it takes energy to make the new things it is best to reduce and reuse before you recycle.

Recycling helps nature sustain itself. But we have to help it. And we can by using the 3R's and treating the environment like we treat family. And the environment quietly tells us how to help.


It may sound weird but the water cycle teaches us about recycling and sustainability.

The water cycle is a big system that recycles and reuses water. The water starts in lakes and ponds. It then evaporates, turning into condensation which forms clouds.

Then as you know the clouds move around then drain forming precipitation which

comes in the form of rain, snow, hail and dew. In other words nature recycles water. But that doesn't mean we can't help it along the way by reducing the amount of water we use. We can do this by turning the water off while you brush your teeth or not taking such a long shower. Even simple everyday things can help the environment.


Did you know one large tree can make enough oxygen for four people! It's true but some people figure the world's population of trees has so far decreased by 40%. But they teach us about recycling too. Trees turn carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses into oxygen for us to breathe. Then we breathe out carbon dioxide and they turn it into oxygen it is a cycle. That recycles. Just like the water system we can help.

So there are many ways we can help the environment sustain itself and we should help.

Use the three R's and help save the place we call HOME.







Fire District upgrades chief’s rig posted on 04/30/2016

Hoodland Fire Chief Mic Eby gets to break in the district’s latest addition, a 2016 Ford Explorer that will serve as the fire chief’s new vehicle.

Eby noted the district was able to replace the old one, a Ford Tahoe purchased in 2003, through a state bid that saw numerous agencies, including the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police, get a deal.

Eby noted that Deputy Chief John Ingrao researched and set up the new rig, including lights and sirens, which came in under budget. It was purchased at Suburban Auto Group in Sandy.

The new vehicle is smaller and lower to the ground than the old one, so Eby added that he is testing it to see where it’s limits are, particularly when it comes to forest roads and other more difficult terrain.

“So far it’s done real good,” Eby said, adding that he’s found the sirens help move traffic over better than the previous rig.

The district is expected to sell the old command vehicle and another 2003 Tahoe that has been up in Government Camp, or offer it to another fire district in need.

In other district news, four recruits have started training on combating fire fighting, including how to operate ventilation saws, throw ladders, hazardous materials, incident command and more. The recruits are expected to go through intensive training in wildland firefighting in June and will graduate on Wednesday, June 22 as fully certified state firefighters and state wildland firefighters.

“We wear both types of hats,” said Ingrao, noting the district has a contract to help fight fires with the U.S. Forest Service. “Up here it’s important because we’re surrounded by national forest and state protected lands.”

The district is also making the transition from winter operations to spring and summer operations, including replacing snow tracks with tires and restoring outdoor pump equipment into proper shape. Eby noted that with some hot days that have arrived already, it’s important to be prepared.

“It’s good to know that we got more moisture in the ground than we did last year,” he added.

Eby also recommended that people be prepared as they take advantage of the better weather, including the possibilities of bee stings and being ready for emergencies when going outside.

The burn season has also started and Eby noted that only woody debris, including limbs and leaves are allowed to be burned. No petroleum products, insulation, foam, garbage, rugs or anything that will produce hazardous smoke are allowed.

A burn pile that is five feet long by five feet wide by no taller than five feet high does not require a permit. Burn piles have to be ten feet away from any combustible material such as structures, trees, utilities and other burn piles, and must have a clear trail completely around the pile that is down to dirt level. It cannot be within ten feet of moving creek, stream or river.

Permits are required for burn piles bigger than five feet by five feet by five feet, which can be made up of slash from land clearing, thinning, brush/stump removal and debris blown down from wind storms.

Those interested in a burn pile should call the “Burn Line” at 503-622-3463, to make sure it is a burn day.  Burn times are 8 a.m. through dusk, with no burning at night.

Chief’s Message

The Hoodland Fire District offers chimney brushes to borrow for no cost. Anyone interested can stop by the main station, 69634 Hwy. 26 in Welches, to fill out a form, including the size of the chimney and the number of stories.

Chief Eby noted that the district used to have two or three chimney fires per week, but following the implementation of the brush loan program, he estimates they were reduced by approximately 80 percent.

By Garth Guibord/MT

The Bite of Mt. Hood is a culinary cornucopia posted on 04/01/2016

The Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce’s Bite of Mt. Hood has offered an evening of some of the most fantastic fare since it began seven years ago. But the event is not just about one night of nourishment, it also helps fill the food pantry for Neighborhood Missions of the Hoodland Lutheran Church.

“They’ve done a tremendous job,” said Clarence Edelman, Chairperson of the Neighborhood Missions, which also offers firewood and help with rent and utility bills to locals in need. “Without all of that food, there would be times that we’d be running very short.”

This year, The Bite features the theme “What fun looks like,” and will add a little spice to the festivities with a new emcee, Helen Raptis, the host of KATU’s AM Northwest, and entertainment by Tony Starlight, who performs song parodies, pop icon impressions and pop culture tributes.

“I believe that when you do something, you have to expand the platform and change it up,” said Coni Scott, president of the chamber. “You have to add interest every year.”

Vendors at this year’s event feature some of the best in area cuisine, including The Resort at The Mountain, The Shack, Hazelnut Bakery, Ivy Bear, The Rendezvous, Dragon Fly, Whistle Stop, Skyway Bar and Grill and Busy Bee Catering. Mt. Hood Brewing will be the newest addition to this year’s food lineup.

Vendors will each offer a selection of small plates, with the menu expected to include macaroni and cheese, Sicilian meatballs, a variety of salads, desserts, pizza and two chowders, one with smoked sturgeon and another with steelhead.

“I say it all the time when I’m visiting with my guests, that we have some of the best selections of restaurants in the area,” Scott said. “They have a way of expressing themselves through their food that I don’t see in other places. I’m very proud to know all of them.”

The event will also feature an auction of donated items, ranging from gift baskets and gift certificates to trips to the beach and artwork. Scott noted they try to include items for all levels of budgets.

“We try to have a variety of things,” she said, adding the auction catalog is made possible through advertisements and space is still available.

Another change in this year’s event is the flower arrangements on the tables will not be auctioned, but instead given to seniors in need through the Hoodland Senior Center. Scott noted a faith-based community group stepped in to cover the cost of the flowers.

Scott added that the event is made possible thanks to all the volunteers who help, which include a number of people who aren’t even members of the chamber.

The Bite of Mt. Hood will be held from 5 p.m. to late Saturday, April 23, at The Resort at The Mountain, 68010 E. Fairway Ave. in Welches. Admission is $5.

For more information, please visit thebiteofmthood.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Residents up in arms over RV park proposal posted on 04/01/2016

A 99-unit RV park in Brightwood is on the county docket for a hearing to approve on April 7. But there is a concerted effort by local residents to foil that plan.

Kashmir Dhadwal, of Sandy, is the applicant for the proposed park. A conditional use permit application went out Feb. 29 to agencies, community planning organizations (CPO) and property owners within 500 feet of the subject property, located at 61999 Hwy. 26 in Brightwood.

Besides 99 campsites, the proposal includes an office, clubhouse, laundry facility, restrooms, showers, a circulation system, utilities for each campsite, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, picnic areas, walking paths, water well, septic system, septic dump site and detention ponds.

However, the Mt. Hood Corridor CPO, which would have held sway over the planned property as an advisor to the county while representing the community’s point of view, has been inactive for the past two years. Janine Bertram, a former MHC CPO director, told The Mountain Times that an active CPO could have had a positive effect on the land use issue.

“It would be a strong tool for our community,” Bertram said. “Personally, I feel that Clackamas County often treats the MHC like a colony, ignoring our needs and using our natural resources to fund urban projects. When county staff have relationships and regular communication with a solid CPO, it softens that ‘us and them’ view.”

Rallying in lieu of a functioning CPO, nearly 100 residents showed up March 13 at the Dragonfly Cafe & Bakery in Welches to gather more information from county officials about the proposal.

Concerns ranged from traffic impact, environmental issues, residential homes nearby, and the possible effects of a community well.

Welches resident and Realtor Dave Lythgoe shared his concerns with The Mountain Times from the letter he sent to the county stating his opposition to the RV park.

He pointed out that the property was purchased by Morris Engineering in 2000 and the timber was logged and immediately replanted as required by the state forestry department.

“The new plantings were growing well and just beginning to dominate the property ... About six months ago the (new) owner eliminated all of the trees and natural plants by scraping and denuding the property,” Lythgoe wrote. “It is quite an eyesore along Hwy. 26 which I believe is designated a scenic highway.

“An RV park this close to a residential area would be detrimental to the neighbors,” Lythgoe continued. “As a local realtor, I can attest that those concerns would be detrimental to property values.”

Lythgoe also pointed to the environmental issue of the volume of water runoff along with vehicle oils so near to the drainage leading to the Salmon River. “There is no sewer system in the area,” Lythgoe wrote. “The septic system that will be necessary will be massive with the potential of polluting the river and the water table.”

Margaret and Bob Thurman, local residents and property owners, have issues with the proposed park as well.

“We are most concerned about them drilling a well and how that will impact the two Country Club Water System’s wells as well as all of the local wells on the property on Cottonwood Road that back up to the proposed development,” Margaret Thurman said. “We are already having well issues.”

Dhadwal, in a truncated phone call, indicated his decision to build the RV park came about after buying the property he discovered that the property could only be used for tourism.

“We find out RV park is tourism,” he said. “Summer, there is no parking spot. So we thought if the county agrees with that, then why don’t we do that.”

The April 7 land use hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the Clackamas County Development Services Auditorium, 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City.

Local residents can voice their concerns at the hearing.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Blasting on Hwy. 26 to start after delays posted on 04/01/2016

Reminiscent of last year, spring snows delayed early work on the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents.

Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted the contractor, K&E Excavating, was able to get out during the week of spring break to do some work without any lane closures, including drilling on the hillside of Map Curve (west of the runaway truck ramp).

Dinwiddie noted that workers were expected to re-stripe the highway to one lane in each direction as soon as the weather would allow.

“We’re already behind with the delays from the weather,” she said. “We want to take the first dry window we can to get that re-striped.”

The first blast of the final season for the project is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, conditions permitting. The blast will close the highway for no more than one hour.

Dinwiddie added the schedule for the project is “aggressive” and that the contractor has ways to get back on schedule, including possibly working on Saturdays and performing work during the night.

“We’re confident we’ll be able to catch up,” she said.

Dinwiddie also noted she has attended community meetings, including the Rhododendron Community Planning Organization and is scheduled to talk at the Mount Hood Area Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday, April 5. She reported that people have expressed similar sentiments about the project scheduled to wrap up this fall.

“So far, everybody is happy that this is our final year of construction,” Dinwiddie said.

For more information, please visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Darcy Lais newest fire district board member posted on 04/01/2016

The Hoodland Fire District’s (HFD) board of directors welcomed a new member on Sunday, March 13, when Darcy Lais was sworn in.

Lais, who has lived on the mountain for ten years, spent 28 years working for the Clackamas Fire District (CFD), retiring as a lieutenant in January 2012.

“I thought that since I spent that much time working for the fire district, it would be kind of nice to give back and spend some time to see what I could do to help my own community and the fire district up here on the mountain,” Lais said.

Lais noted during his time with CFD and in addition to his regular duties, he was part of the process of ordering new fire engines. He also worked with current HFD Deputy Chief John Ingrao when Ingrao was a battalion chief at the CFD.

Ingrao noted Lais’ experience at CFD will help him serve HFD, including spending time at both rural and urban fire stations, working with and training volunteers and responding to complex scenes, such as structure fires.

“Kind of all the things that we have here, he did there,” Ingrao said. “As a board member he’s going to be very well attuned to our needs and desires.”

Lais noted one of his priorities is to get 24-hour coverage with paid personnel for the HFD.

“That’s something that I would definitely like to see happen and hopefully we can make that happen,” he said.

Lais added that he is also heavily involved with his church, Village Fellowship, while he also likes to camp, fish and hunt and loves living on the mountain.

“The hardest part about living on the mountain is you actually have to drive to town,” he said.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Welches try in ‘Battle of the Books’ just the first chapter posted on 04/01/2016

As first-time participants in the 2016 Oregon Battle of the Books, where teams of students from various schools read books and answer questions about them to earn points, elementary and middle school students from the Welches Schools more than held their own. And even though the middle school team won both its matches, they didn’t make it to the next round, falling just short of scoring enough points to be one of the 16 teams that advanced.

When reflecting on their performance, seventh grader Griffin McAbery noted there was one question he had to answer that he’d like to have back.

The question was to identify the product a company makes in a book he read. McAbery answered, “fruit snacks,” while the correct response was, “chemical weapons.”

“I should have been thinking of the right company,” McAbery, 12, said with a laugh.

Each team received 16 books in October, including titles such as “Stormbreaker,” by Anthony Horowitz, “Famous Last Words,” by Katie Alender, and “The Roar,” by Emma Clayton for the middle school team and “Mountain Dog,” by Margarita Engle, “Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library,” by Chris Grabenstein, and “How to Train Your Dragon,” by Cressida Cowell for the elementary school team. The teams first met in December and got together once a week to practice, ramping up to meeting every day in the week prior to the early March competition.

Fifth grader Jack Padberg, 11, noted the elementary team, called the “The Mountain Bookaroos,” should have offered a challenge to some of the questions, including one where they correctly answered that a hinge was used to pry open the seal of a skylight in one book, but were told they were wrong.

Sixth grader Inanna Vognild, 12, noted the middle school team,  “The Reading Wildcats,” encountered some questions that asked for highly specific details, including the address of a school in one book and the name of a newspaper in another.

“(It’s) not something you look for when you’re reading normally,” she said.

The school plans on participating next year and wants to expand it to more teams and students, with a school competition to determine which team goes to the regional competition.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Sandy High snow sports teams end seasons on high note posted on 04/01/2016

(MT) – The season came to an end for the Sandy High snowboard team at Mt. Hood Meadows March 12.

The OISA state championships played host to 24 riders from Sandy.

Ethan Anderson was the top individual garnering second place in slope style and boarder cross, plus a third place finish in banked slalom.

Wyatt Johnson picked up a third place ribbon in boarder cross, while Keegan Shackelton and Blake Haughton finished in fourth place half pipe and eighth place half pipe, respectively.

The girls side was paced by Alex Connors who nailed down third place in half pipe.

Kelly Stamatz finished sixth in half pipe and 10th in slope style, while Brooke Phillips checked in seventh in slope style and 10th in half pipe.

The riders were led by head coach Ben Beavon and assistants JD Elliot, Alex St. Pierre and Sadie Ford.

Meanwhile, following up on their third place finishes in the Mt. Hood Conference, the Sandy High boys and girls ski teams finished 10th and 11th, respectively, in the Southern Oregon State Championships, despite the steep and icy course of Mount Ashland that took out 30 percent of all competitors.

Senior Captain Erin Carpenter finished off his Sandy High career with a fifth place finish in the freestyle state boys slopestyle event.

Freshman London Madrid finished in 25th place overall at state. Junior Amber Herman took 31st place in the girls slalom. Freshman Gabe Smith, Junior Kelby Richardson and freshman Sean Steffey picked up 32nd place honors in boys giant slalom, girls giant slalom and overall alpine competitor, respectively.

Senior Ryan Steffey took the Henry Bendinelli Sportsmanship Award for the Mt. Hood League, following an ACL injury minutes before the last league giant slalom race. Senior Kaylee Brunette picked up the league sportsmanship award in the girls division.

The rest of the SHS team is comprised of undergraduates who will return for the 2016-17 season. They include: freshmen Avery Whitlock, Mac Potter and Sakura Yamamoto; sophomores Kaymen Izer, Oliver Jacobson, Noah Whitlock and Taylor Torkelson; and juniors Anna Knollman, Emme Hansen and Sean Fortune.

Bachmann freed from Mexico prison posted on 03/01/2016

As soon as Troy Bachmann stepped on American soil, he knelt and kissed the ground.

It was 10:30 in the morning, Feb. 1. It was the Welches resident’s first taste of freedom in more than eight months.

Bachmann had suffered through those long months in the notorious Venustiano Carranza Prison in Tepic, Mexico since May 2015, held without charges, then with charges, finally tried and found not guilty, then remained in prison as the prosecuting attorney appealed the verdict.

Then came the phone call from Troy to his brother, Derek Bachmann. He had been found innocent and absolved of all charges.

“I didn’t believe it,” Troy told The Mountain Times of when he first got the news of his release. “I had been told that a couple of times ... I could not give up hope. But, I didn’t believe it.”

It was also difficult to believe that Troy had been arrested in the first place. Watermelon farmers at Troy’s Mexican business, Fancy Fresh Farms, brought the charges that Troy insisted were bogus. He had noticed discrepancies in the accounting of his bookkeeper and hired an independent audit, which confirmed his suspicions. Upon returning from a business trip he was cuffed and taken off to the prison in Tepic – a prison, according to Human Rights Watch, of “unspeakable conditions.”

When Derek got the phone call from his brother saying he had been released and was heading toward Guadalajara to catch a plane to the U.S., Derek knew this time it was real.

“I couldn’t hear any yelling and screaming in the background like all the other times I spoke with him, just his voice and the sound of a moving car. It’s finally over,” Derek said, tears flowing and hugging his wife.

Feb. 20 was Troy’s homecoming party at The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches, owned by his father, Mark Bachmann. He was joined by his wife Sara, son Adam, brother Derek and his wife Angie, plus his attorney from Mexico, Jose Miguel Pena and a host of friends.

According to Derek, his brother is doing fine, has obviously lost some weight thanks to the prison in Tepic, and will be seeking medical attention soon.

At the homecoming party Troy noted it is so easy in this country to take our rights for granted, to have expectations of clean water, decent food, mostly clean air to breathe, and the ability to get a job.

“Until a person sees how things are going elsewhere, there is little appreciation of these things,” he said.

Pena, the attorney, supported Troy’s opinion, saying that he loves his country, but only a handful of people hold all the power and corruption is the norm. He compared it to “Hitler’s time.”

Besides the work of Pena, and the constant pressure from Derek and the family, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) also played a role, leaning on Mexican authorities to obtain the release.

“I’m overjoyed that Troy is back on American soil, reunited with his family,” Merkley wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “No one should have to go through what he has gone through. His brother, Derek, deserves tremendous credit for his unwavering efforts to advocate for Troy.

“I am also thankful to the Mexican Ambassador and Attorney General of Mexico, U.S. State Department and consular officials in Guadalajara, and everyone who assisted in securing his release.”

Troy was asked if he had any plans to return to Mexico and he broke into a big smile. “No immediate plans to return,” he said. “It would be easy to have bad feelings about all of Mexico and the people but there are a lot of good people there. But it might be sometime before I go back.”

Employees that brought the false charges against Troy and his company are being prosecuted to the full extent of the law, according to Derek. He noted that officials are now dedicated to bringing those responsible to justice.

By Peggy Wallace and Larry Berteau/MT

County presses restart button on Villages board posted on 03/01/2016

The Villages at Mt. Hood, an advisory board to Clackamas County, has been left without a board of directors following the resignation of three members and the dismissal of three others by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) early last month.

Joe Mazzara, Rob Bruce and Gina Royall submitted their resignations following a Tuesday, Feb. 2 Villages board meeting while the commissioners dismissed the remaining board members, George Wilson, Marilan Anderson and Carol Burk, during a BCC policy session on Tuesday, Feb. 9 by a vote of four to one (Paul Savas cast the one ‘no’ vote due to the wording of the motion).

The commissioners noted that following the resignations, a number of options were on the table, including conducting an election at a town hall meeting in May to fill the empty seats, appointments of new board members by the commissioners, dissolving the Villages (part of the county’s “Complete Communities” program) entirely or pursuing a “time out” by dismissing the remaining board members and restarting the board at a later date. During the policy session, commissioners noted the support for the Villages on the mountain, in addition to other strong community organizations such as area Community Planning Organizations and the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce.

In response to mounting concerns with how the board was being run, commissioners Savas, Jim Bernard, John Ludlow and Martha Schrader attended the Feb. 2 Villages meeting, held at The Resort at The Mountain, where they observed other issues, including community members in attendance bringing in alcohol during the meeting.

“I’ve been in some tough meetings before, but the last one and the one prior to that was probably the toughest meeting I’ve ever been to,” Bernard said during the policy session. “I would say that without question, the board is dysfunctional.”

“The longer we wait, the worse it’s going to get,” he added. “And sometimes you need to pull the plug, wait for it to recharge and plug it back in.”

“Obviously, by our attendance, we recognize there needs to be a change, a rather dramatic change,” Chair Ludlow said. “So, like everybody else, I want to save this, I want it to be viable and effective and fair. But I have no problem with saying thank you to those three.”

Amy Kyle, Strategic Communication Manager for Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs, noted county staff is expected to take some time to map out a path forward, while the commissioners are expected to have a policy session in May to make a recommendation on an election timeline and process. She added the county will reach out to community members and leaders for feedback and concerns, while utilizing county resolution services to help work through issues.

“We’re already hearing people are concerned about what’s happening next,” Kyle said. “That’s really exciting, there’s enthusiasm for it. You want it to be done right and you want it to be in the best interest of the community up there.”

Meanwhile, Kyle noted the Villages subcommittees will be put on hold until some further resolution is achieved.

“Everything is on pause until we regroup,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll get more clarity on those when we take the pulse of the community.”

Mazzara and Bruce, who each served on the board for approximately one year, noted their resignations stemmed from Wilson (the board’s chair) not following Robert’s Rules of Order or the bylaws of the Villages, including signing a contract for the Villages board to pay approximately $1,900 for refreshments during a Town Hall that had not been approved by the board and also using the county logo on his personal website.

“It was just blatant disregard for Villages bylaws, county bylaws and state ethics that were broken repeatedly,” Bruce said. “That’s what brought this whole thing to a head. It wasn’t a personality conflict; it wasn’t ‘We don’t like George.’”

Kyle told the Mountain Times that the county is looking into outstanding invoices from The Resort, but had no further information.

Mazzara noted he came to the Feb. 2 meeting prepared to resign, but he was unaware of the prospects of Bruce and Royall also resigning.

“It was not a surprise, I knew they were upset,” he adding, noting that he intends to run for the board again when it is reformed. “I want to see this thing work. I want to see it flourish because there are a lot of things that have to get accomplished in the Villages.”

Bruce added that the Feb. 2 served as a tipping point for him with representatives of the county in attendance.

“At the meeting, (Wilson) was trying to bend the bylaws,” he said. “He wasn’t stopping, no matter what, even with the county legal there. I couldn’t welcome that liability in my life any more.”

“It’s not a personality conflict,” Bruce added. “In a social setting, I’ve enjoyed George’s company every single time.”

Bruce also noted he’ll stay involved in the community “in some way,” even if he doesn’t run for the board again. In the meantime, he has confidence that county staff will take the necessary steps to find a solution.

“They’re good people at the county and I trust them,” Bruce said. “I knew they would handle it the right way.”

Wilson, who served on the board for six years, described the events as “a focused effort” to discredit him and to make sure he’s removed from the board.

“Nobody’s told me any violations or deviations from our bylaws, nobody’s come forward with any charges,” Wilson said of the accusations against him, while noting the county’s logo appeared on his site because of a grant from the county. “There’s never been any wrongdoing or any violations whatsoever.”

Wilson described the commissioner’s’ decision to dissolve the board as “erroneous” and “overzealous,” while noting it is an example of the county not supporting the Villages, citing the county’s invalidation of the Villages’ Town Hall election results in December as another recent example.

“If this election had not been invalidated, we would be dealing with none of this,” Wilson said. “At our last meeting here, the county took full responsibility for the elections invalidation. This was a county problem that was started because of the county’s inaction to support the Villages at Mt. Hood, even when requested.”

Wilson has also started a petition to reinstate the three dismissed board members and he has retained a lawyer for a potential lawsuit over the dismissals.

“I don’t take it lightly; this taints my name and the other directors and our reputations,” Wilson said, noting that he has not been presented with any evidence of any wrongdoing. “If they decide that it’s best to dissolve this board, then I feel obligated to deal with this, to take this to court in order to exonerate the three of us from any wrongdoing.”

In a subsequent policy session held on Tuesday, Feb. 23, Bernard mentioned that a petition was circulating, but added, “I already told somebody that I doubt that we’re interested in doing that.” At the same policy session, Ludlow recognized Burk and Anderson’s service on the Villages board.

“Their service is valued, appreciated and was not the cause of the BCC action to have the Villages board take a pause,” Ludlow said.

Wilson noted that instead of going through the process to form a new board, the commissioners should have allowed the three remaining board members to stay on and hold elections to fill the empty seats.

“The BCC decision to dissolve this board has certainly done more harm to our community and demonstrates the lack of support we’ve had by the BCC,” Wilson said. “When you’ve got individuals who sat on the board who resigned who were the main problem as to why we ended up here, and once they resigned the problem is pretty much resolved.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

Hwy. 26 safety project enters final season posted on 03/01/2016

Workers may be out as early as mid-March for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” now entering the final work season of the three-year project. Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted that thanks to slides in the later part of the 2015 work season, the contractor, K&E Excavating, is a little behind schedule on the project, but the expectation is that the project will still wrap up this year.

“We still have a lot of time in 2016 and we are confident that we will finish everything by fall,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s an aggressive schedule.”

The details of early scheduling were still being worked out in late February, but Dinwiddie noted that initial work on the project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, could begin in mid-March with some lane closures as workers get an early start to get signs up and perhaps continue installing rock bolts to secure the slopes at Map Curve. She added that the work will not interfere with travellers during spring break.

In April, travellers can expect Hwy. 26 to be reduced to one lane in each direction, with early work including the construction of a retaining wall across from the Laurel Hill Chute Trail that will protect the Pioneer Bridle Trail. Workers will then excavate the shoulders on the south side of the highway in preparation for widening it, allowing for room for the barrier.

Slope excavations are expected to include blasting, with the potential for blasting in early April if workers can start their preparations in mid-March, while Dinwiddie noted blasting is expected to be finished by the middle of the summer.

Paving for the project could also begin in May, and Dinwiddie noted the entire length of highway from the west end of the project to Highway 35 will be paved by the end (the section of highway by Government Camp will not be paved until after Labor Day).

Dinwiddie added that hauling will take place on Lolo Pass and Trillium Lake Road, but the amount of hauling will be less than in the first two years. She offered her appreciation to the community and to drivers for their patience during the project.

“We realize that this has been an inconvenience and its impacted a lot of people every day,” Dinwiddie said.

The project’s website, us26mthoodsafety.org, is expected to be updated by the beginning of March, including a video outlining work done during the first two years. An online open house at the site is expected to occur in mid March, while motorists can also visit tripcheck.com for the latest traffic information.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Sandy High School offers one-act showcase posted on 03/01/2016

Sandy High School (SHS) sophomore Carl Nelson may be in his first year of theater, but he’s not shy about finding ways to be involved. As part of the school’s upcoming One Act Competition Showcase, Nelson is directing one, acting in another and running the lights for the four other plays.

“I really enjoy it because not only do I get the perspective of acting … it’s a lot of fun to do the directing,” said Nelson, who is also the school’s auditorium manager. “I get to piece the story together with movement and voice and tone.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nelson noted the most difficult part of his efforts is the scheduling and figuring out where he needs to be and what times he needs to be there. Nelson is directing “April Showers,” a play set in a silverware basket where a new utensil is introduced, while acting in “Loyalties,” a play set in Nazi Germany where his character’s views on war and politics conflict with others.

Drama teacher Tomi Griffin noted the showcase is a preview of the pieces that will compete for a spot at the Oregon State Thespian Festival, held March 31 through April 2 at the Salem Convention Center.

In past years, there were no performances for the local supporters, but Griffin wanted to pull back the curtain and share the pieces the students have worked on.

“I love for the community to see what kinds of things get taken to competition and what it’s like to go to competition,” Griffin said, noting 36 students are performing and just one of the plays will get to go to the state competition.

Griffin added that she tries to let the students do all the work on the shows, including directing, but will jump in if there are major problems.

“I have to let them have their directorial space,” she said. “They’re in charge of their own bit.”

Trinity Rodrigues, a 16-year-old junior, is directing “The Square,” a play set on a playground where a group of sixth grade students encounter a strange square, causing a conflict among friends.

“The square is one unit and they’re all talking in monotone, (so) anything that one person does everyone else does,” Rodrigues said. “That’s the challenge, is getting them to coordinate together.”

“I’m very excited about it,” she added. “It’s going to be very good.”

SHS Drama presents the One Act Competition Showcase at 7 p.m. March 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12, at 37400 SE Bell Street in Sandy. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 503-668-8011, ext. 7313.

Classic murder mystery in Boring

Agatha Christie’s “Mousetrap” is known to have the longest initial run of any play in history, with more than 25,000 performances since it opened on London’s West End in 1952. The play, about a group of strangers - including an unknown murderer - stranded in a snowstorm, is also known for its surprise ending and for the request that theatergoers not share that surprise to ruin the play for others.

Boring’s Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company (NNB) will offer a production of the classic this month, with the actors keeping true to the tradition of not spilling the beans about the end. Kim Berger, playing Mrs. Boyle, noted that was made clear as early as auditions for the production, which meant she had to play coy with her husband at times.

 “I’m looking forward to opening night because I’m waiting for that moment when the big reveal happens,” she said.

Berger, a regular with NNB who has performed in more than 25 shows there, added that Christie has a knack for creating fun characters.

“What’s great fun about the Agatha Christie plays is everybody is quirky and everybody has secrets,” Berger said. “You start to tell through people’s behaviors that everybody is hiding something.”

Berger, who has also performed in other area theaters including Sandy Actors Theatre and the Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego, sees NNB as a hidden treasure in Boring.

“I just cannot tell you what an honor it is for me to be a part of Nutz-n-Boltz,” she said. “I have such high regard for this theater and I’m always thrilled when a new person discovers us.”

NNB presents “The Mousetrap,” by Agatha Christie, from March 4-20 at the Boring Grange, 27861 Grange Street in Boring. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15. For more information, or to make reservations, call 503-593-1295 or visit nnbtheater.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Kevin Frank named Hoodland’s Firefighter of the Year posted on 03/01/2016

Hoodland Fire District’s Kevin Frank gained a reputation quickly since he joined the ranks of firefighters three years ago. The Brightwood resident is up each morning to get to the Brightwood station at 5:45 a.m. to put in two hours of cleaning rigs, testing pumps and other work. He’s also stood out for the number of drills and responses he’s participated in, supporting the district’s Explorer program, helping rebuild the Brightwood response team and going above and beyond expectations.

That dedication has also meant plenty of cold dinners for Frank, returning home late to a call, or leaving his wife in the middle of a movie when a call comes in. It also earned Frank the district’s Firefighter of the Year Award at its annual awards banquet, held Saturday, Jan. 30 at The Resort at The Mountain.

“It means a lot; there’s so many people here that put in so much work,” Frank said. “I feel so privileged just to be able to get to spend this time working with them.”

“He’s already a senior firefighter,” the district’s Fire Chief, Mic Eby, said. “He is like the officer of Brightwood.”

Frank, who has lived on the mountain for 16 years, noted the district has become family to him, while his family has also jumped into firefighting, with his son, Jonathan, who is in the Explorers program and even gets up some mornings to help his father at the Brightwood station.

“It’s great because it’s a bond that both of us can share,” Frank said, adding that Jonathan will go to sleep in his uniform on the chance he’ll be able to go on a call as an observer during the night.

The district also honored Battalion Chief Casey Buck, who retired after 27 years of service. Eby noted that Buck’s contributions included weekend duties that helped take pressure off of the chief, along with his expertise gained from fighting fires with the U.S. Forest Service.

“He also brought an awful lot of humor; his humor was amazing,” Eby said. “He was always able to lift the spirits of us up here. A very sharing, caring kind of guy, and yet he took the calls seriously when the tones went off.”

Other award winners include Byron Trelstad for the Rookie of the Year, Nick Miller for the EMS of the Year, Amanda Schmitt for the Chief’s Special Recognition, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office for the Community Appreciation Award, a memorial plaque for Bob Reeves, five-year service awards for John Ingrao, Debra Sinz and Scott Trax, 15-year service awards for Amanda Schmitt and Jacob Rackley, and a 20-year service award for Lisa Kline.

Firefighters and units from the Sandy Fire District, Estacada Fire District, Corbett Fire District and the Clackamas/Boring Fire District covered the Hoodland Fire District during the banquet.

Chief’s message

Hoodland Fire District Fire Chief Mic Eby encourages all mountain residents to start burning branches, leaves and more in burn piles now, rather than wait until summer.

“I don’t want them to have dry piles of fuel,” Eby said. “Let’s burn them early.”

For burn piles larger than five feet by five feet, a permit is needed.

Permits are available at the main station at 69634 Highway 26 in Welches. For more information, call 503-622-3256.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Stanford Hotel group takes over The Resort posted on 01/30/2016

The Resort at the Mountain has bounced between new owners three times inside six months: from Coastal Hotels, to Y Hospitality RATM LLC and now the newest entry, Stanford Oregon Hotel LLC.

Stanford negotiated the sale on Jan. 8 with Xiaoyan Yan, managing partner of the previous LLC ownership group.

Yan passed the torch suddenly, citing health issues as the primary reason in an email to Coni Scott, President of the Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce.

“It has been an eventful 180 days for all of us,” Yan wrote. “We have tried our best but failed to meet the expectations of many neighbors ... We apologize, and will learn from the lesson and try to do better in future.”

Stanford has inserted a new management team, headed by General Manager Barbara Brunetti and Assistant Manager Tammy Kay Galvin.

Brunetti told The Mountain Times that the goal is to return the Resort back to Coastal standards.

“We also want to make it a lot better,” Brunetti said. “We want to improve services.”

Part of getting back to previous standards was restoring the Resort rock sign on Hwy. 26 at Welches Road.

Even though Stanford will continue its association with Best Western as part of its Premier Collection, the Best Western blue and gold drape over the rock has been removed.

Also, an audible sigh of relief may have been heard from Resort employees. Their positions, except for a few promotions, are intact.

“We’ll certainly evaluate them,” Brunetti said. “But they know what they’re doing. Many have been here for a long time. They care about the place and our feeling is we should keep them.”

The Stanford Hotel group has holdings in Oregon, New York and Asia, and is currently developing a property in California.

The Mountain Times attempted to contact Yan for this story, but failed.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Hoodland’s first marijuana dispensary opens posted on 01/30/2016

Smoke on the Mountain opened its doors on Friday, Jan. 22, making it the first marijuana dispensary in the Hoodland community.

An online application for licenses to sell recreational marijuana went live at 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4 through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) and the first application was received at 7:15 a.m. As of Jan. 25, the OLCC had received 96 applicants statewide for retail licenses – including five in Clackamas County. There were 38 applicants for processor licenses, 228 for producer and 31 for wholesale businesses – including three for processor, 28 for producer and four for wholesale in Clackamas County.

“Despite the Portland Metro area being gripped by an ice storm the day the OLCC began accepting applications, the online system didn’t freeze up, and we’re continuing to receive a steady stream of submissions,” said Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for the Recreational Marijuana Program in a news release.

The OLCC projects it will receive approximately 1,200 applications and issue more than 850 licenses in 2017.

Stewart Schmidt, owner of Smoke on the Mountain, started preparations for his dispensary in January 2015 when he began leasing the retail space at 23869 E. Arrah Wanna Blvd.

 “This has been a year in the making,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt noted the store currently offers 10 strains of marijuana, but plans for more in the future. All of the marijuana is lab tested for mold, mildew and pesticides as well as lab packaged and labeled to show the breakdown of potency, including the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) content of each different strain.

 “It is important to me that people realize this is an upstanding local business,” Schmidt said, adding the business is registered with the Oregon Health Authority and is in complete compliance with all state and county regulations, including 24-hour interior, exterior surveillance, window and door sensors and storing all of his products in a commercial grade safe during non-business hours.

Customers must be at least 21 years old and have valid identification to enter the premises.

Recreational customers may purchase up to seven grams of product per day (prices range from $10-$14) and will be subject to the temporary marijuana tax of 25 percent per the Oregon Department of Revenue.

Medicinal customers can purchase up to 42 grams per day tax free.

Cannabis concentrates and tinctures will also be available to medicinal customers only. Schmidt hopes to include edibles in his inventory in the future.

 “I intend to have only the best quality product I can find represented in my store,” Schmidt said. “Oregon is world renowned for the marijuana it produces and I believe that some of the best marijuana is grown right here on the Mountain. I want my store to be a showcase of what the Mountain has to offer, as well as the finest from Portland, Eugene and Bend.”

Schmidt added that purchasing marijuana from a legal dispensary offers customers with a variety of product, quality control, convenience and a knowledgeable staff.

Smoke on the Mountain will be open Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, visit  www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana/pages/default.aspx.

By Fay Dunahoo/MT

Hoodland community bids farewell to Bob Reeves posted on 01/30/2016

Family, friends, community members, representatives from approximately 11 fire districts, county commissioners, state legislators and more gathered at the Mount Hood RV Village on Sunday, Jan. 24 to celebrate the life of Bob Reeves, the community-minded Welches resident who died Dec. 27, 2015.

Born July 31, 1934 in Palo Alto, Calif., Reeves was known for his service to others throughout his life, including on the Mountain where he served in various capacities such as the Hoodland Fire District board of directors, the Villages at Mt. Hood board of directors and was instrumental in starting the Mt. Hood Express bus service.

Ron Reeves, Bob’s son, shared stories of his father’s business ventures in Oregon, including a grocery store in Oak Grove and starting a radiator business, while also expanding on the organizations his father was involved in including the Boy Scouts and Optimists.

“His whole life has been about service, serving the community, helping others,” Ron said. “I hope that’s an example that I can follow in my life. He’s been a great example and a great father.”

Bill Kennemer, who served as a Clackamas County Commissioner from 1997 to 2008 and is now the District 39 State Representative, shared how Reeves would visit him to chat and even if the two were on different pages, Reeves would

 “As I think back, I’d be hard pressed to find very many people that had more impact than Bob,” Kennemer said, adding that he didn’t think the Mountain Express “had a prayer at first.” “We’re all going to miss him, and thank God the world is better because he was here and he loved us, he loved this community and he made this world better.”

Martha Schrader, currently serving as a commissioner and a former State Senator, noted that Reeves helped her when she first became a commissioner in 2003.

“I didn’t know how to be a good commissioner, it was a new job,” Schrader said. “(Bob) went out of his way to be a teacher to me. He was always kind, he was always generous.”

Reeves received military and fire honors at the ceremony. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Karen; three sons, Ron, Jeff and Bryan; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Court of Appeals slaps down suit posted on 01/30/2016

In the appeal of a lawsuit against public participation, the Ninth Circuit Court has ruled against the plaintiff (Kip O’Connor et al.) in a Dec. 24, 2015, decision.

In a case that began in 2011 and wound through two appeals to overturn the courts’ decisions, the defendants (County of Clackamas and the Mount Hood Corridor Community Planning Organization, including the CPO’s land use chair Don Mench) have seen the court rule in their favor.

O’Connor, a local developer and owner of Big Mountain Co., claimed in his original suit that the CPO and individuals intentionally interfered with the developers’ business relations, as well as violated their constitutional rights to due process. O’Connor was upset about public comments submitted by the defendants of the County’s land use permit process. Those comments highlighted damage to the Sandy River and its sensitive salmon habitat caused by the partially completed development activities.

In an earlier ruling, the Court threw out the business relations claim under Oregon’s anti-SLAPP statute, a law specifically designed to protect citizens who take advantage of public involvement opportunities to provide input into government decision-making decisions.

SLAPP is an acronym for strategic lawsuit against public participation.

The lawsuit was a contributing factor in the CPO going silent over the course of the appeals hearings.

Mench affirmed that the legal wrangling was at the root of the CPO’s temporary demise, but also cited that the economic recession during that time reduced the number of new land use/permit applications being dealt with by CPOs.

But there were other organizations that stepped up to fill the void.

“The MHC CPO may have missed some comment opportunities, however other groups and individuals did not,” Mench wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “Oregon Wild, BARK, Sandy River Basin Watershed Council, Oregon Trout, and NW Steelheaders are a few examples. Local citizens have testified at state and county land use hearings, and taken a local case all the way through the Land Use Board of Appeals.”

It is Mench’s understanding that an effort may be made to revive the CPO at a March 19 Rhododendron CPO meeting.

Daniel Rohlf, an Oregon attorney who defended the CPO, commented that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling was “pretty short and to-the-point.”

He indicated that unpublished decisions (such as this one) generally means the case did not raise any novel legal issues or deal with a weighty topic that society in general might follow.

“Unpublished opinions are thus typically short and curt and simply resolve the points of dispute between the parties,” Rohlf wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “It is one indication that the judges were not very impressed by the appeal. I think the court of appeals correctly recognized that the plaintiffs’ allegations against the CPO ... had no merit.”

In the Ninth Circuit Court’s memorandum, which is not for publication verbatim, it indicated that O’Connor’s challenges failed on the merits.

“While the courts readily recognized that plaintiff’s legal claims were without merit, simply going through this legal process imposed significant stress and uncertainty on my clients,” Rohlf wrote. “What I think is even more unfortunate is that this suit has discouraged people in the Mount Hood community from expressing their views on land use issues that affect their community for fear of winding up in court.”

Through it all, Mench noted that he was encouraged by U.S. District Court Judge Simon’s rulings.

“Now that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed those decisions, my sixth year of retirement starts with celebration,” Mench wrote. “I thank all of our friends and Mountain locals who have consistently encouraged my wife Christy and I throughout this case.”

The Mountain Times reached out to Kip O’Connor but he refused to be quoted.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Cedar Ridge assessment next step before sale posted on 01/30/2016

The City of Sandy is expected to award a bid for a company to perform a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment on the Cedar Ridge Middle School campus at the city council meeting on Monday, Feb. 1, according to City Manager Seth Atkinson. The assessment process will delay a potential sale of the property by the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) to the city by approximately one month.

The assessment will primarily deal with paperwork about the building, including titles, liens and permits, while also interviewing anyone who worked on the site. That information would be used to determine if a higher order assessment is necessary.

Atkinson noted one of the bigger worries about the property is potential soil contamination from heating oil tanks, but added the potential sale was nearing completion.

“If we can get this worked out between us, things will move forward pretty quickly,” he said.

The city’s plan for the campus, which includes the Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center, is to turn it into a recreational hub. The sale agreement is expected to allow the school district use of the property while it renovates the Pioneer Building (the former Sandy High School) to be used as a middle school.

A possible agreement between the two government entities had been expected to be reached as early as last September, but Atkinson noted that despite wanting things to move a little faster, the process necessitated more time.

“People want us to be careful and considerate,” he said. “We want to be sure we’re doing this the right way.”


The school district implemented an exit strategy to end its support of the pool at the Nov. 12, 2013 board meeting, including a limit of $400,000 or through Nov. 30, 2015, whichever came first. (Julia Monteith, Communications Director for the OTSD, confirmed that the district will continue to fund the pool operations while negotiations continue.)

In January, 2014, the city formed a task force to gather information, identify options for continued operations and improvements and survey the community.

Both the city and the district performed appraisals of the campus in 2014. The district’s appraisal, including two buildings and 43.65 acres of land, placed the value at $3.4 million, while the city’s appraisal valued the campus at $2.2 million for the land and $230,000 for the buildings. Differences in the appraisals, such as a value for timber included in the district’s but not the city’s, put the two valuations closer than the raw numbers.

The city hired Moore Information to conduct a survey between July 14 and 22, 2014, which revealed support for the continued operation of the Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center from city residents.

At that time, it was noted that a fee between $3 and $7 might be added to Sandy residents’ utility bills to help pay for pool operations. Atkinson confirmed that a potential fee is still in line with that survey, adding that the city will perform a “big public outreach” before any fee is instituted to inform what the city is trying to accomplish, what the fee would go toward and why it is needed.

Last year, the city successfully completed a substantial amendment to its urban renewal plan, helping to provide money for a variety of city projects, including the recreation hub and assistance to the Sandy Fire District.

By Garth Guibord/MT

A slice of Sicily served up on Mount Hood posted on 01/30/2016

Two years ago, Stephen Ferruzza closed his restaurant, Al Forno Ferruzza, in Portland after a pipe burst and flooded it. But in the wake of that crisis, Ferruzza found an opportunity. Two years later, with the same restaurant crew and equipment, Ferruzza has opened the new Al Forno Ferruzza in Rhododendron, located at 73285 Hwy. 26..

“The mountain is a fresh place to start,” Ferruzza said. “I want it to be like a community center where people can come, like in Italy.”

Ferruzza described his pizza as “authentic style from old world Sicily,” where his father was born. They use stone deck ovens to reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit, making the pizza come out “with a crunch and a chew.”

The restaurant will offer organic ingredients and in season foods, including wild boar and elk, while their sauce and dough are both handmade. Ferruzza’s father, Francesco,  also makes ricotta cheese from scratch, used for cannolis and calzones.

“We’re trying not to do the whole factory farm style that’s bad for the earth, bad for the environment and bad for your health,” the younger Ferruzza said.

He added that the fresh, wholesome and local food will be high density and nutritious, perfect for the skiers, backpackers and others who come to the mountain to play.

Ferruzza also noted that the style of baking that the restaurant employs, utilizing a high temperature, imparts a unique flavor where one or two ingredients are enough to make a tasty pie.

“You don’t need to put a lot of toppings on there,” he said.

The restaurant will also offer fresh salads and a variety of canned goods, including sauces, pickles, roasted peppers and more. Ferruzza’s family runs a business in upstate New York that produces maple syrup, a product that Ferruzza utilizes in a variety of ways, including the cannoli filling, salad dressings and more.

Ferruzza and his crew have been hard at work since their previous location’s disaster, traveling the country with pizza trailers to bring their food to various festivals, while also renovating their new restaurant, in the same building where the Rhododendron Post Office is. Included in their work has been a new kitchen, new walls, ceiling, floor, roof, plumbing and electrical, with most of the labor provided by Ferruzza’s pizza crew.

Al Forno Ferruzza was expected to open on Friday, Jan. 29. For more information, visit 503alforno.com or call 503-622-1212.

By Garth Guibord/MT

Undetermined cause for fire at The Resort posted on 01/30/2016

The Hoodland Fire District (HFD) announced an undetermined cause to the three-alarm fire that hit building four at The Resort at The Mountain on Wednesday, Dec. 30, following an investigation by the district, the Clackamas County Fire Investigation Team, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, ATF and Insurance Fire Investigators. The fire, which forced guests out of their rooms, was determined to have started in the upper areas of the building.

Scott Kline, HFD Fire Marshall, noted the undetermined cause will “probably” remain that way.

District firefighters were on the scene for approximately ten hours, according to Kline, while numerous other area fire districts provided assistance, including an engine and water tender from the Boring/Clackamas Fire District, four engines from Sandy Fire District, one engine and a water tender from the Estacada Fire District, a truck from the Gresham Fire Department, a truck from Gladstone Fire Department and two American Medical Response units. HFD response vehicles included two engines, two water tenders and a rescue rig.

Kline noted the water tenders were needed because the available hydrants could not supply enough water.

“We have to augment with having water trucks bring in extra water to the scene,” he said, noting that engines are able to pump up to 1,250 gallons per minute.

The fire was the second of 2015 which featured responders from other fire departments, following the Golden Poles condominium fire in Government Camp last April.

More district news

HFD Fire Chief Mic Eby noted that calls on the mountain are up this winter compared to the previous winter, crediting more people seeking out the snow for recreation. Eby noted more calls in Government Camp, including auto, skiing, snowboarding and sledding accidents.

“We’ve had just about everything you could think of,” Eby said.

Eby added that parking on weekends has been  “saturated” with vehicles, including parking in spots he hasn’t seen previously, such as along Highway 26 by Snowbunny and Trillium snowparks.

The district also welcomed five new recruits into its training company, which began on Saturday, Jan. 9.

The training company will have a more consistent schedule this year, meeting every Friday evening and all day Saturday, with graduation on Wednesday, June 29.

Following a retirement, the district has an open lieutenant position for the first time in 20 years. The position is expected to be filled by one of the six paid firefighter paramedics in the district, following an interview process that includes a written exam, an exercise requiring candidates to prioritize and justify 30 different topics, an interview with Chief Eby and a tactical exercise that features a mock scenario.

Deputy Chief John Ingrao noted the new lieutenant is expected to be named in early February.

Finally, the district was slated to hold its yearly awards banquet, including naming the Firefighter of the Year, on Saturday, Jan. 30. Eby noted the theme for this year’s banquet was “the Roarin’ 20s.”

The district’s awards banquet occurred after the print date for the February edition. Look for the March Mountain Times for a recap and award winners.

By Garth Guibord/MT

The snow has brought out the skiers.
The Wait is Over, at Long Last - SNOW posted on 01/04/2016
The massive storm that hit Oregon mid-December has brought the glorious snowpack back.

Timberline and Skibowl were in full swing for the holiday season as a winter wonderland returned – cold on the heels of several years of winter misfortune.

“These are the best holiday snow conditions the ski areas on Mount Hood have had in many years,” said Jon Tullis, director of public affairs at Timberline. “People are really enjoying themselves on the slopes.”

Skibowl Public Relations Director Hans Wipper echoed the sentiments.

“This is the best opening we have had in a few years,” Wipper said. “Skibowl had a fantastic opening night for skiing and snowboarding (Dec. 16). The snow was epic and skiers were eager to hit the hill.”

Oregon’s ski areas are among the leaders in North America with the deepest snow depth. The massive five-day storm dropped more than four feet of snow at the local resorts, returning Oregon to its rightful place in the country.

The Mountain community will enjoy the economic boost of ski areas opening for the holiday season. The economic impact associated with the ski industry tops $482 million annually – figures that include ski areas, retail equipment purchases – as well as provides 6,800 jobs in the state generating nearly $200 million in personal income, according to analysis by ECO Northwest.

“Opening in time for the Christmas holiday is critical for ski resorts as much of the business for the year occurs in those two weeks,” Wipper said, also noting the importance of providing job security for staff and the erasing of uncertainty after last winter.

Greg “Chopper” Moreno, resident guide at Mt. Hood Adventure in Government Camp for more than 10 years, is fired up for his snowmobile tour business.

“The snowmobile trails are in good shape and we are ready to show our guests a wonderful adventure on a snowmobile,” Moreno said. “Or a quiet snowshoe hike through the woods if that is more your style.”

Wipper summed up the sentiments of all in the ski resort business.

“Everyone is excited and ready for a nice, long, snowy winter.”

There was holiday joy beyond the resorts, as Mountain businesses were feeling the return of welcome visitors.
Brigette Romeo, owner of the Still Creek Inn, rejoiced in the return of winter.

“Yes, there has been an increase in travelers and snow enthusiasts,” Romeo said. “The holiday season should be back to normal with all this fresh snow.”

Kim Perry, owner of The Shack, echoed Romeo’s sentiments with a “Woo Hoo. The snow is finally falling,” she said. “And when the snow comes everyone benefits in a positive way. First, all our locals get to go to work. It’s been kind of a hard-candy start of the season for Mountain employees. Soon, the paychecks will start coming in and we’ll see some of that business. But the Mountain in general benefits from the ski season.”

Meanwhile, at the Skyway Bar & Grill, a hub for skiers and boarders, the snow has made the last couple weeks fun.

“Customers are giddy and the overall feeling is that we’re all excited and thankful, and I’ve been hearing that people aren’t going to take the snow for granted ever again,” said Tracie Anderson, owner of Skyway. “The snow is really exciting and it has definitely increased our business. But even more than the numbers, it has made our business more fun and positive. The kids are having fun and the adults feel like kids.”

By Larry Berteau/MT
County Approves Marijuana Land Use Regulations posted on 01/04/2016
The Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved marijuana land use regulations at the Thursday, Dec. 17 business meeting by a vote of four to one, with Commissioner Paul Savas casting the sole dissenting vote. 

The regulations, which only apply to the unincorporated areas of the county and do not apply to personal recreational or medical marijuana growing and production (as allowed by state law), become effective for recreational marijuana on Monday, Jan. 4, and for medical marijuana on Tuesday, March 1.

“We don’t know what the unintended consequences are yet,” Commissioner Martha Schrader said at the meeting, adding that it was highly likely that the county would have to address issues around the land use regulations of marijuana in the future.

The approved regulations include allowing retail marijuana businesses in commercial zones (both urban and rural); wholesale marijuana businesses in light industrial zones, rural commercial and rural industrial zones; processing businesses in all zones except urban and rural industrial zones (while extract and concentrate processing is prohibited); and growing operations in urban industrial, exclusive farm use, ag/forest, timber, rural residential farm-forest five-acre, farm-forest ten-acre and rural industrial zones.

There are 29 zoning districts in which no marijuana commercial business is allowed at all, including all urban residential districts and many rural residential districts. The ordinance also includes other requirements for marijuana businesses, including setbacks, hours of operation, odor prevention, lighting, minimum lot sizes, security and waste management, while a land use application with the county will be required for all businesses.

Cities in the county can determine their own policies regarding marijuana, including prohibiting businesses and sending the matter to a general election.

Welches resident Shirley Morgan appeared before the BCC to express various concerns, including that the potential enforcement needs and costs to protect citizens have not been identified.

“And it shocks me to believe that (the county) would open the door to marijuana sales and wholesale distribution into an area with limited law enforcement knowing that they are federally illegal and that they operate by cash only,” said Morgan, who was also on a county committee making recommendations on marijuana to the BCC.

Commissioner Jim Bernard also noted concern over law enforcement and also rules by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) on the fencing requirements for certain marijuana businesses.

“I don’t want it to look like a prison camp out there,” Bernard said.

The OLCC must adopt administrative rules by Jan. 1, 2016, regarding recreational marijuana purchase, sale, production, processing, transportation and delivery, and will also begin accepting license applications to produce, process, wholesale and retail recreational marijuana by Jan. 4.

Approval of the regulations came after an earlier town hall meeting in the month held by the Villages at Mt. Hood board of directors (BOD) on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Bernard was in attendance at the town hall and helped shed light on some aspects of marijuana policy.

He noted the commissioners are likely to institute a three percent sales tax on marijuana in the county (in addition to the 17 percent for the state), adding that he has a problem with “sin taxes,” such as those on alcohol, cigarettes and gambling.

“The voters have spoken, let’s make sure we spend the money wisely,” Bernard said.

George Wilson, chair of the BOD, created an unofficial poll for community members in attendance to participate in, including asking the question, “Do you support the proposed ban on all four categories of recreational marijuana for rural Clackamas County/Villages at Mt. Hood?” The final results revealed 59 responses opposing a ban with nine responses in favor.

Many in attendance expressed general support for marijuana, citing possible health and economic benefits, adding that Measure 91 passed with approximately two-thirds support in the Mountain community. Rhododendron resident Rick Applegate found the discussion missed its target for gauging support on the specific issues of land use regulations for retail shops, wholesale shops, grow operations and processing operations.

“In my mind, this forum has not given any information on how many of those 65 percent wanted wholesale operations in their community,” he said.

For more information on the county’s marijuana land use regulations, visit clackamas.us/planning/marijuana.html.

By Garth Guibord/MT
Villages at Mt. Hood Voting Results Invalidated posted on 01/04/2016
Election results for two board positions in the Villages at Mt. Hood town hall meeting, held Dec. 1 at The Resort at The Mountain were invalidated by the county later in the month, citing election irregularities. In an email to the board, Clackamas County Director of Public and Government Affairs Gary Schmidt explained his decision, including candidate Ben Bliesner not receiving formal approval, names on sign-in sheets not including addresses, unclear identification to verify attendees with P.O. boxes were eligible voters and attendees who claimed they lost their ballot and were given new ballots.

“No one did anything purposefully wrong, especially the Village board members,” Schmidt told The Mountain Times in a phone interview. “They did the very best they could, and I feel my staff did the best they could.”

Schmidt noted that per county ordinance county staff organizes and runs the election for board members in conjunction with the village board, but the staff liaison was unable to attend the town hall. A county representative was trained and Schmidt noted the process is “fairly strong,” but there was confusion at the meeting, including some people taking extra copies of an unofficial survey that others in attendance believed were extra ballots.

“Because of the doubt that has been created, I feel it is in the best interest in the Village board and the community to have a new election,” Schmidt said.

A new election will be discussed at the Villages’ board meeting, 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Hoodland Fire District main station, 69634 Hwy. 26 in Welches. Candidates must receive approval of the board to be placed on the ballot, while candidates must receive a majority of the ballots cast (50 percent plus one vote) to be elected. Bliesner and Gina Royall were the two candidates to appear on the ballot for two open positions.

George Wilson, chair of the board of directors, met with Schmidt to express his concerns over having the results invalidated.

“Gary (Schmidt) was very clear to point out that this was through no fault of our own,” Wilson said. “But because there wasn’t a way to validate or invalidate these accusations, the best thing to do was redo the elections and have proper county representation.”

Other topics at meeting
The town hall also featured further discussion of a possible name and logo change for the village, with Wilson citing another website that appears at the top of internet searches that is not the official village website.

“Most people believe that … website represents the Villages at Mt. Hood board, which it does not,” Wilson said.

Wilson presented a new seal and has proposed to change the name to Mt. Hood Villages. Applegate raised the issue of how the proposed name could cause issues with area businesses with similar names, such as the Mt. Hood Village RV Resort & Campground.

“I think that’s close enough, you could have a problem,” Applegate said.

Wilson noted he has already secured the domain “mthoodvillages.org.”

“I want to make sure we’ll get this right, I want to make sure that the whole community is on board,” he said. “Our intention is to clearly define ourselves from the other website out there.”
Wilson added that if the name change does gain approval, he would “pass (the url) on to the board and let the board deal with it and manage it.”

An unofficial survey created by Wilson asked the attendees, “Do you support a Name/Logo change for the Villages at Mt. Hood to Mt. Hood Villages?” 57 responses were in favor, with eight opposed.

Gary Barth, Clackamas County Director of Business and Community Services, also offered an update on a proposed community park at the site of the Dorman Center, across from the Welches School on Salmon River Road. The county is willing to lease the property for $1 per year, but it is up to the village to figure out funding for any park infrastructure and how to secure funding for ongoing maintenance.

Barth noted options for maintenance costs include forming a taxing district (likely based on geographical boundaries such as the Hoodland Fire District) with a dedicated property tax and led by a board of local citizens, or a county service district directed by the county’s board of directors.

The unofficial survey asked those in attendance, “Do you support a Special Parks District for the Villages at Mt. Hood?” 57 were in favor, with eight opposed.

Barth added the biggest issue is figuring out the assets to maintain a park, while money for capital improvements could be acquired via grant funding. The first step, he noted was specifying what the wants and needs for the park would be, then  calculating what funds would be needed to operate them.

Ben Bleisner, who was elected to the village board of directors at the end of the meeting, noted current plans for the proposed park include a public shelter, five picnic shelters, a skate park, a BMX track, a playground, a community garden and a park and ride area.

Wilson said the current estimate on labor and materials (but not including items such as permits) for the park is approximately $1.1 million.

“This park will change in shape and design as we go along,” he said, adding the construction of the park is likely to be done in phases.

By Garth Guibord/MT
ODOT to Add Sign Advisory Technology Around Mount Hood posted on 01/04/2016
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will add RealTime signs to areas around Mount Hood, including Hwy. 26, Hwy. 35 and Timberline Road, with construction beginning in late 2016. The signs offer up to the minute traffic information and advisories, including road conditions and travel times between destinations.

“This is a cutting edge system,” said Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs. “There are not very many systems across the country at all that tell people the weather conditions in real time.”

This will be the second installation of the technology in Oregon, according to Dinwiddie, following the first on Hwy. 217 in Washington County. She added that the data from the first year of the system show there has been a significant reduction in crashes.

Dinwiddie believes the problems that can occur around Mount Hood, including congestion, crashes and changes in weather - even weather changes based on the elevations - will make the signs a welcome addition.

“The Mount Hood area is the perfect location to have a weather warning system ... to advise (drivers) on what steps they can take to make sure they travel safely,” Dinwiddie said.

Designs for the project to this point have located sites where signs can go based on visibility, communications viability and access to power at the lowest cost.

Dinwiddie noted that things could change as the project progresses and she hopes to get feedback from the community.

Currently, signs that advise drivers to carry chains are changed manually by ODOT maintenance workers, which Dinwiddie noted adds a dangerous delay when trying to get information to drivers quickly. The new sign system will be controlled remotely, meaning managers can post advisories from their offices.

The new system is also expected to include weather sensors and additional cameras (accessible by the public at tripcheck.com).

Dinwiddie added that some of the early work for the project has been included in the “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents.

The sign project will also have much less of an impact  to the highway, but will require lane closures, flagging and extremely short term full closures of areas, such as overnight closures.

A project website is expected to to be up and running by mid-February, including offering an opportunity for community members to submit comments, while plans are expected to be put out for bid in spring.

For more information, visit TripCheck.com/realtime.

By Garth Guibord/MT
Troy Bachmann Continues to Await His Fate posted on 01/04/2016
The fate of Troy Bachmann remains cloudy, at best. His prison quarters have improved, but the rickety wheels of Mexican justice creek along.

Bachmann has languished in the Venustiano Carranza Prison in Tepic, Mexico – a prison of “unspeakable conditions” according to Human Rights Watch – since May 2015, on charges his family insists are bogus.
In fact, the slow-moving Mexican court system seemed to agree. In mid-November the charges against Bachmann were negated, only to have the judge recharge the Mountain resident, despite admitting “there was no evidence (of guilt) in any of the charges against him.”

Now, Bachmann remains in prison, and waits.

Troy’s brother, Derek Bachmann, of Seattle, has worked furiously trying to gain Troy’s release, as well as provide funds to improve his prison conditions.

“About a month ago we were able to secure a private cell for Troy,” Derek wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “Of course, at a cost.”

Derek’s early efforts cost him his job in August.

“I’ve completely exhausted my savings and dipped into my IRA account,” Derek wrote. “As you can imagine it’s taking quite a toll on my family both financially and emotionally.”

In the meantime, Derek stays in constant touch with his brother.

“Troy’s mood comes and goes,” Derek wrote. “I speak to him most every day now just to make sure that everything is OK with him. Of course a situation like this can take a toll on any man’s spirits.”

Troy was taken into custody, and prison, following charges from watermelon farmers at Fancy Fresh Farms, Troy’s Mexican business. Troy had hired a new bookkeeper and noticed discrepancies in the accounting. An independent audit confirmed his suspicions, but he didn’t have time to deal with it before leaving on a business trip.

In his absence, the bookkeeper and other employees raided the company’s checking accounts, wiped his computer hard drives and planted rumors with Troy’s growers that he was planning on leaving the country without paying them.

Upon returning from the business trip, Troy planned to meet with the growers to straighten out the misunderstanding but was immediately surrounded by police, handcuffed, and arrested – without a warrant or reading of his rights – according to Derek and their father Mark Bachmann, owner of The Fly Fishing Shop in Welches.

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and, Jeff Merkley have tried to intervene on Troy’s behalf, but with little success.

“Senator Merkley has personally called and spoke with the ambassador of Mexico to the United States and it seems that the ambassador is doing everything he can to secure Troy’s release,” Derek wrote.

Previously, in September 2015, Sen. Wyden’s letter to Ambassador Dr. Miguel Basanez Ebergenyi, failed to change anything of note.

“I am writing to express my concern about the treatment of Mr. Troy Bachmann,” Wyden wrote in a Sept. 17 letter. “While I am not in a position to assess the merits of the allegation, I am told that the U.S. Consulate was not notified of Mr. Bachmann’s arrest for approximately one week. If true, that would raise serious concerns.”

The ambassador responded noting he was looking into the situation, even though referring to the senator as “Roy” Wyden.

Local residents can help pay for Troy’s legal bills and prison expenses through accounts that have been set up at PayPal, Fundly.com/friends-of-troy, and the U.S. Bank: Friends of Troy Account No. 153567494536.

The most recent report indicated that 75 donors had already contributed a total of $8,160.

As the ordeal continues, Derek keeps the faith.

“As you know, we are Bachmanns, and we will persevere,” he wrote.

By Larry Berteau/MT
Mountain Musician Turns Mount Hood’s Solitude into Songs posted on 01/04/2016
After years of playing music with various bands, including gigs with Blue Mountain Groove, Sound Scope and the Midnight Spaghetti & the Chocolate G-Strings, Eric Kallio landed a job running the Reed College ski cabin on Mount Hood in 2009. The cabin - utilized by the college’s students, alumni and staff and set in an undisclosed location on the mountain - made for a solitary setting for the musician, or as he describes it, a “hermit lifestyle.”

“It’s kind of cut me off from opportunities I’ve been used to having,” Kallio said, in particular noting he’s missed out on his friends and playing music in bands. “I love it, actually. It’s a great job. Great people, great community.”

But the solitude also inspired the guitarist and bassist to start playing some solo music, while adding to his instrumental collection, including a resonator guitar and a square neck Dobro. Those instruments, Kallio noted, made his older music richer and “a better version of itself,” and helped rekindle his passion for music.

Now, Kallio is about to release his first solo album, “Glass, Wood & Steel,” featuring 11 songs with sounds from Americana, a little bit of soul and a little bit of country jam that were honed at the cabin.

“Living up at this cabin made me realize that music is something that kept me happy,” said Kallio, who grew up in Virginia and started playing guitar at the age of 13. “If I don’t have it, I’m not a whole person.”

Last fall, Kallio got motivated to get the album done, and with the help of a loan from his brother, was able to record at Sean Flora’s “Rock N Roll BNB Recording Studio,” a residential recording experience, on Sauvie Island. Now, Kallio has launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish raising the funds necessary.

Kallio hopes to raise $6,000 and release the album, with themes of struggle and the natural world, in March. He noted this music is much different than what he created when he was younger.

“My earlier days, I was always trying to make complicated and technical things I would make myself better by doing,” Kallio said.

“I think I’ve simplified a lot,” he added. “It’s clear, your ideas are very defined because you have to limit them.”

Want a sneak peak? Eric Kallio will also perform from 6-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Skyway Bar and Grill, 71545 Highway 26 in Zigzag. No cover. Kallio’s music is also available on Youtube.com and at erickallio.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT
Why I Became a Firefighter: First Person From a First Responder posted on 01/04/2016
I didn’t know when I became a firefighter that showing up on someone’s worst day of his or her life would make me feel honorable. If I can make someone’s day better or easier or less stressful by just showing up I am better for it.

Duty, honor and commitment. Those are the Hoodland words printed on all our buildings and in our literature. Looking at these themes it is humbling to know I can make a difference. Sometimes it means just holding a patient’s hand, or helping the paramedics do their job better and faster.

I have had many human losses in my life. Stephanie, my favorite baby sitter, died in a car accident when I was only five. My favorite aunts passed away, one from a hit and run accident and the other from cancer. Bobby, my first true love, died in my arms when I was 18 after receiving a gunshot wound to the chest. My niece was murdered at 16. Looking back I wonder with my training as an EMT and as a firefighter if I could have saved Bobbi or if a volunteer or paid first responder could have saved my favorite babysitter or my niece, who died before getting to the hospital. 

Once I got going, the training really made me think about all my bad days that could have turned out differently if a person had decided to volunteer and learn the tools and techniques that would make a difference in an individual and family’s life.

It is hard physical work and at 56 I want to make sure I stay injury free. I have to be able to pull a 100-pound tire. Lift 60 pounds over my head. Pull a limp body from a fire. Climb two-story ladders with 40 pounds on my back and also carry a 20-pound tool. I was in good shape before I started the training, yet firefighter shape is a different deal.

Now three years later I am lighter on my feet and can bench press close to my own weight. I want to be my best if I show up on someone’s worst day.

There are so many opportunities for learning in the firefighter world. I can study about: fire safety building codes, operating an engine, becoming a juvenile fire setter expert, how to communicate succinctly on the radio, or even become a paramedic.

I had an opportunity to go out on a wild fire this summer in John Day. I have never worked so hard in my life. I climbed hills at a 40 percent vertical daily all day. Please think about others and their property before striking a match or setting off fireworks.

When I drive on Hwy. 26 I remember the accidents. I think about the families who were affected by these accidents and wonder why a text or phone call is so important to take while driving. Then there are those drunk drivers who think it important to have another cocktail before getting in their vehicles.

Becoming a firefighter has changed my world. There were a few days I didn’t think I would make it. A few days I cried. I had to dig deep to accomplish the mental and physical tasks. The challenges have made me younger and more flexible in both thought and physical strength. I have to give my time, learn new skills, learn new ways to think, act with calm intent and mostly give with my heart. As a firefighter and first responder I have new meaning. I get to show up on someone’s worst day and make a human difference.

The deadline for applications to become a volunteer firefighter at the Hoodland Fire District is 5 p.m., Monday, Jan. 4. For more information, call 503-622-3256.

By Susan Mikolasy For The Mountain Times
Wild Weather Wreaks Havoc in Hoodland posted on 12/01/2015
At one point when the winds whipped and the storm was at its strongest as it hit tahe mountain on Tuesday, Nov. 17, responders from the Hoodland Fire District (HFD) had to juggle seven calls at the same time. Fire Chief Mic Eby noted all the district’s rigs were out and three things were prioritized: gaining access to people in need, clearing roads for fire engines and ambulances to pass through and getting people out who needed it.

“We had issues everywhere,” Eby said. “Everybody described it like a train coming through, then poof, trees would bend over.”

Eby recalled things got rolling at 6:57 a.m. that morning, when the first power lines went down, and “it just took off from there.” Twenty-two volunteers responded during the storm, while Eby noted he was impressed by both volunteers and the district staff.

“All night long, they really care for the community and the people in it,” he said. “They want to provide the best and quickest service they can.”

Calls ranged from trees falling on houses to propane leaks to welfare checks, but Eby said the biggest problem was from the fallen power lines. The district’s standard policy is to treat all lines energized until Portland General Electric (PGE) tells them they are otherwise.

Despite the extensive damage, Eby reported no major injuries, even he noted one A-frame house was “now a duplex.” He added that many homes were vacant at the time, with owners who only visit on the weekends or on a seasonal basis.

At one point, both lanes of Hwy, 26 near milepost 46 were closed, while approximately 43,600 PGE customers experienced a power outage at some point. PGE deployed 97 crews to repair storm related damage.

“PGE was on it,” Eby said. “(Power was) back that night in places.”

Eby added that the welfare checks are a priority, as a quick response can make a big difference for somebody stuck in a car or a house when they can’t get out.

“If somebody has relatives up here and can’t contact them, give us a call and we’ll check it out,” he said.

Locals share their experiences

Lorry Lythgoe, a Mountain resident since 1968, had a tree branch break through the skylight of her Fairway Avenue home. The intrusion occurred early evening of the Nov. 17 storm.

“First I heard a bang noise and went outside to see what it was,” Lythgoe told The Mountain Times. “It must have been the wind because my patio furniture was heading toward  the neighbors.”

After battling the wind and the furniture, she returned to the house. There was more to come.

“I was in the bedroom and heard this loud boom,” she said. “I ran into the living room and a huge tree branch had gone through my skylight. The rain was really coming down and my neighbors came running hard to help me. They knew I couldn’t swim.”

As the storm has passed, Lythgoe now reports that instead of the wind and rain, all you can hear are chainsaws.

“There’s going to be a lot of free wood this winter,” she said.

Robert Cole, of Welches, escaped without damage from the storm, but was in awe of the mighty blast.

“We had 80 to 100 mile per hour wind gusts and rain like I have never seen,” Cole wrote in an email the night of the storm. “All power is out in Welches, with power lines down everywhere. It might take days before it is restored.”

Cole was lucky. He was mostly prepared.

“I have a generator and able to email you,” he said. “But I have to get to Sandy for gas as the local station has no power to pump and I am running low. This is the worst storm I have witnessed up here.”

“This is the worst storm I’ve seen in a few years,” added Drew Levens, an Alder Creek resident for 16 years. “The power was out overnight which in comparison to previous years was actually fairly mild. The local power company was on it within a few hours and the power was on the next morning.” 

Others in the community were not so lucky when it came to the falling debris.

A tree fell on the home of Eric Getchell, whose family is now in search of a new place to live with his wife and his adult son who is disabled with Asberger’s disease.

“We have two cats, and a dog, which will hamper us in finding a permanent home, and the tree that took out the entire width of our house, leaving a 4-ft wide, open skylight, is not covered by insurance,” Getchell wrote in an email to the Mountain Times, adding that he has set up an account on GoFundme.com to help pay for new housing and moving.

To help the Getchell family, visit GoFundme.com and search for “Eric Getchell Rhododendron.”

By Garth Guibord, Fay Dunahoo and Larry Berteau/MT
Bachmann recharged in Mexican legal battle posted on 12/01/2015
The tragic tale of local resident Troy Bachmann has not improved.

If anything, the story has become one of frighteningly gothic proportions as he continues to languish in the notorious Venustiano Carranza Prison in Tepic, Mexico, held on charges he and his family insist are bogus.

As late as Nov. 17, Troy’s father, Mark Bachmann, owner of the local Fly Fishing Shop, told The Mountain Times that “Troy has been moved to better quarters and food, and he may be out today. We are guardedly optimistic.”
That was the last piece of good news coming out of Mexico.

On Nov. 22, Mark’s optimism had turned to disdain.

“Things are not progressing fast enough with Troy,” he said. “Little tangible progress has really been made. I’m going to have to go to war.”

Troy’s brother Derek Bachmann, of Seattle, has lost his job trying to battle against the Mexican authorities.
On Nov. 23, he told The Mountain Times that “As far as I’ve been told, all the evidence against Troy has been negated and the court is deciding today whether or not to proceed with the growers’ charges against him.”

Then came the stunning news.

“Just found out that Troy has been recharged with the case even after this judge says that there is no evidence in any of the testimony,” Derek wrote in a Nov. 24 email. “But because there are five cases, he believes that there is reason to proceed with them anyway.”

Mark responded, saying “Apparently he has been recharged with the crimes he was acquitted of by a federal court.”

That acquittal came on Oct. 12, followed promptly by a local district attorney filing an appeal.

Troy Bachmann has been held in the Tepic prison since May, on charges from watermelon farmers at Troy’s Mexican business, Fancy Fresh Farms.

According to Derek Bachmann, his brother had hired a new bookkeeper for his business and started noticing discrepancies in the accounting. An independent audit confirmed his suspicions, but he didn’t have time to deal with it before leaving on a business trip.

As previously reported in The Mountain Times (Nov. issue), in Troy’s absence the bookkeeper and several other employees raided the company’s checking accounts, wiped his computer hard drives and planted rumors with Troy’s growers that he was planning on leaving the country without paying them.

Upon his return from the business trip Troy planned to meet immediately with the growers to straighten out the misunderstanding but was immediately surrounded by police, handcuffed, and arrested -- without a warrant or reading of his rights.

Since then he’s been in the Venustiano Carranza Prison, a deplorable institution referred to by Human Rights Watch as a prison of “unspeakable conditions.”

His family has been brought to its financial knees since the arrest, as the prison extracts money for food and a bed.

Local residents can help pay for Troy’s legal bills and prison expenses through accounts that have been set up at PayPal, Fundly.com/friends-of-troy, and the U.S. Bank: Friends of Troy Account No. 153567494536.

As of the last report, 72 donors had stepped forward raising $7,875 toward Troy’s legal bills and incarceration fees.

By Larry Berteau/MT
Storms cause mud slides and delays on Hwy. 26 project posted on 12/01/2015
Two stormy days, one on Halloween and the other on Tuesday, Nov. 17, lead to mud slides and some downed trees in the construction zone of Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project.” The slides, caused by oversaturated soils, and trees did not impact the highway as they occurred either where the new slopes were built far back enough to accommodate them and or where they fell on top of a work bench area, according to Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs.

K&E Excavating, the contractor in charge of the project, spent several days cleaning up the slides, while the unfavorable weather caused work on the project to be approximately a week behind schedule. Dinwiddie noted the hope was for workers to install rock bolts in the slopes at Map Curve in early December before the project wraps for the winter, but that some fencing would also be installed in areas.

“We just don’t have enough time, weather wise, to repair those slides fully before the snow starts falling,” she said. “We’re not going to leave anything that we feel couldn’t last until spring.”

The project is expected to restart on April 1, 2016, or as weather allows, and it is expected to be finished by next fall.

For more information, visit  us26mthoodsafety.org.

By Garth Guibord/MT
Mallards wades into winter weekends posted on 12/01/2015
Welches resident Glen McLaughlin retired in 2000 after more than 20 years in the restaurant business, starting with the Chowder Bowl in Depot Bay before adding other restaurants and then a factory to offer his clam chowder in stores throughout Oregon. But now an opportunity has resurrected his restaurant career, and his clam chowder recipe, at the Mallards Cafe & Pub, now slated to be open on weekends throughout the winter.

“I’m going to come out of retirement and see if I remember how to do this,” McLaughlin said. “It’s ridiculous for something this nice to sit empty. It’s ideal for entertainment.”

McLaughlin will take charge of the kitchen, with a focus on lower prices, food specials and bringing locals in, while his friend, Robert Cole, will book musical acts for Fridays and Saturday nights. Cole, who helped bring McLaughlin on board, started bringing in musicians a couple months ago and has already started filling the place on Saturday nights.

“This place used to be the hottest place in town,” Cole said. “It’s such a great facility for it to be sitting idle all winter.”

In recent years, the restaurant, featuring a view of the scenic golf course as part of The Resort at The Mountain, had been closed during the winter months. The restaurant is expected to be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this winter (starting Thursday, Dec. 3), with the possibility of being open during all of Christmas break (if there’s sufficient snow).

“We’re really looking forward to Glen’s clam chowders and the music nights here really lighten it up,” said Willy So, Assistant General Manager of the Resort.

Musical entertainment will feature fireside music, such as a guitar player, from 6-8 p.m. on Friday nights, with more rowdy bands taking the stage from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday nights, including Bob Voll, 

“We’ve got some of the best entertainment coming up here to play,” Cole said, noted that there will not be a cover charge. “A lot of variety, but all danceable and top name players in the Portland area.”

McLaughlin plans for a seafood oriented menu, although there will be steaks, burgers and nightly specials. He added that while the restaurant will open at 2 p.m. to start, he expects to be open for breakfast eventually.

“We want to get this thing rocking and rolling this place used to be one of the best places up here,” McLaughlin said. 

December’s music at Mallards

Saturday, Dec. 5:
PDX Funktown, a six-piece rock and funk band playing music of 70s, 80s and 90s.

Saturday, Dec. 12:
Girls Night Out with Dudes, four men and two men.

Saturday, Dec. 19:
Freak Mountain Ramblers, a hippie country/rock band.

Saturday, Dec. 26:
John Bunzow, Nashville singer/songwriter.

Thursday, Dec. 31:
New Year’s Eve party featuring Hottea Cold.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Chamber aims to make it snow on the mountain posted on 12/01/2015
As evidenced by the disappointing snowfall last year, when it comes to the frozen precipitation that helps fuel the mountain community in winter, we mostly have to just wait.

Mother Nature, perhaps along side Old Man Winter, rule the winter when it comes to making it snow, and there’s just not much humans can do to alter that dynamic.

Or is there?

It hasn’t stopped the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce (MHACC) from trying to make it “snow” in a different way. Mountain businesses can expect to see an influx of snowflakes thanks to the MHACC’s recent “Bring Back the Snow” campaign, where people can print out a list of participating businesses, find the snowflakes in their windows and get a discount of at least 15 percent.

“We’re working hard to get people up here,” said Coni Scott, MHACC President. “Snow or no snow, it’s been a tough year for people.”

The campaign follows an early one in which the chamber ran a video spot on Portland’s ABC television affiliate, KATU, which played hundreds of times in the late summer and early fall. The chamber spent $14,500 on the video and Scott noted the funds used came from the organization’s yearly Bite of Mt. Hood event.

“The funds go back into the community to bring people up here,” she said, adding that next year’s Bite is scheduled for Saturday, April 23.

“Most small businesses, especially those in rural areas, do not have the individual resources to promote themselves,” Scott added. “That’s our goal, to promote our businesses.”

John Erickson, a former general manager at The Resort at The Mountain and an industry consultant who worked on the campaign, noted that while snow is important for the mountain, it’s also just a part of the local economy.

“The whole thing about the mountain, it’s not just the snow, but that’s the first thing that people think of,” Erickson said.

“There’s so much to do on the mountain and in the villages,” he added. “It’s been an opportunity for the communities to come together and recognize that the general population needs to know how much more there is to do on the mountain besides the snow.”

But for the snow enthusiasts, the best news is that there is no limit to the snow for this campaign.

“(Visitors can) print up as many as they want and they can scatter the snow on Mount Hood,” Scott said.

Discounts at area businesses include 15 percent off at Alder Creek Cabin, All Seasons Vacation Rentals, Boulder Creek Retreats, the Cabins Creekside at Welches, Camp Arrah Wanna, Dragonfly Cafe & Bakery, the Hidden Woods Bed & Breakfast, Hull Park & Retreat Center, Ivy Bear Family Pizza and B&B, Liberty Lodge of Brightwood, Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum, Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals, Sandy Salmon B&B Lodge, Still Creek Inn & Lounge, The Resort at The Mountain, Valian’s Ski Shop and Whistle Stop Bar & Grill, and 25 percent off with Vacasa.

For more information, visit mthoodchamber.com.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Winter brings early gift of snow as Skibowl opens posted on 12/01/2015
Skibowl is back in business.

The Government Camp winter and summer resort kicked off the season, opening the Snow Tube and Adventure Park at Skibowl East and the world’s only Cosmic Tubing run.

“With a couple of early season snow storms and with forecasted cold temperatures favorable for snowmaking, Mt. Hood Skibowl opened the Snow Tube and Adventure Park on Nov. 27,” Public Relations Director Hans Wipper announced in a press release. “The opening included the tube hill conveyor lift, indoor play structure and the Multorpor Lodge.”

Full food service is available in the lodge with the Multorpor cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus the 70-meter Bar and Grill featuring gourmet burgers and custom drink specials.

Cosmic Tubing slid into action after Thanksgiving. The world’s first and only such feature is like day tubing on steroids with colored lights, rocking music, laser shows, DJ nights and fireworks every third Saturday starting in December, Wipper noted. Thrill seekers will experience an entirely new way to have fun on the snow with 600,000 LED lights and laser light shows that make the experience out of this world.

Day tubing hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, while Cosmic Tubing will run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Upcoming Events

– Santa Claus will swoop down on Skibowl from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20. Santa will visit the tube hill, then set up shop in front of the cozy fireplace at Multorpor Lodge. There will be picture taking opportunities and treats for the kids.

– Skibowl will celebrate 28 years of its legendary midnight fireworks extravaganza on New Year’s Eve. Events include skiing-riding until 2 a.m. plus the fireworks at Skibowl West and East
Visit www.skibowl.com or call 503-222-2695 for more details on the operating schedule, pricing and the New Year’s Eve celebration.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Bark helps restore old road posted on 12/01/2015
(MT) - On Saturday, Nov. 21 two dozena volunteers picked up their shovels and went to work planting 200 western red cedar trees on Road 1825-111, a recently decommissioned logging road, as part of an effort by Bark, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the Mount Hood National Forest and the surrounding lands, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Shafts of sunlight highlighted their breath in the frosty air as they dug holes and carefully planted trees in the parts of the old road surface that had been decompacted using the bucket on a large excavator. 

In 2009 the Forest Service analyzed each of the roads in the Old Maid Flat area to determine which roads were needed for recreation or administrative access and which ones posed a threat to water quality and salmon. Road 1825-111 was identified as a risk to watershed health and unneeded for public access. It was decommissioned in July 2015 by removing old culverts so they wouldn’t become blocked by debris and wash out during storm events, while earthen water bars were dug to reduce soil erosion by diverting water off of the road.

“Removing old, unneeded logging roads helps to protect our watersheds while providing high wage jobs for local contractors,” said Russ Plaeger, Bark’s Restoration Coordinator. “Tree planting is an excellent way for Bark to support the Forest Service’s efforts to reduce its approximately 3,000 mile road system, in the Mt. Hood area, to a more manageable size.”

Tree planting helps jump start the process of reforesting an old road. The volunteers planted willow cuttings, to shade the creeks, on the banks where two large culverts were removed. Willows produce extensive root systems that stabilize stream banks and reduce erosion. The old road and a spur road off of it total a little over one mile. The decommissioning was done by Leonard Collins and Sons, a private contractor, based in Colton, Oregon.
Bark recruited volunteers from communities in the Sandy and Hoodland areas as well as Portland. Zigzag District Ranger Bill Westbrook and fisheries biologist Kathryn Arendt also participated with the tree planting project.

“It was great to have ten volunteers from Sandy-Hoodland area be part of the crew today including seven current students or recent graduates from Sandy High School,” Plaeger said. “These cedars have the potential to grow here for hundreds of years. That means each person who planted trees today contributed to the legacy of forests in the Old Maid Flat area.”

The project was the second time Bark planted trees in the Zigzag Ranger District.

“Decommissioning unneeded, old roads really is restoration because it improves water quality and reduces the impact of roads on fish and wildlife habitat,” Plaeger said. “Bark would like to see the Forest Service put more energy and funding into reducing the impact of the almost 3,000 mile road system in Mount Hood rather than planning large timber sales and building new roads.”

For more information, visit bark-out.org.
Resort links with Best Western posted on 11/01/2015
The Resort at the Mountain, spreading its wings globally, has joined one of the world’s largest hotel families – Best Western – and in doing so became the first Best Western Premier Collection member in North America.

“At the Resort, we are thrilled that we have the opportunity to join this chain … and look forward to welcome travelers from all over the world to visit the Mount Hood region,” said Willy So, assistant general manager of the Resort.

As a Best Western Premier Collection hotel, independent hoteliers in primary and destination markets can take advantage of the world’s largest hotel chain with more than 4,000 hotels located in more than 100 countries and territories around the world.

“We are pleased to add the beautiful Resort at the Mountain to our BW Premier Collection brand,” Senior Vice President of Brand Management at Best Western wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “The BW Premier Collection provides an opportunity for independent hotels to join the strength of a global brand and benefit from the powerful $4.1 billion global distribution channels of Best Western Hotels & Resorts. It provides guests with confidence of associating with an iconic brand … and providing more choices for city center and resort destinations at which to earn and redeem Best Western Rewards points.”

As a result of its new Premier Collection status, the Resort will have the advantage of Best Western’s benefits which include:

1. Access to Best Western’s $4.1 billion global reservation system;

2. Participation in Best Western Rewards, an award-winning and fast-growing loyalty program;

3. Powerful mobile, eCommerce and technology resources;

4. Pay-for-performance business model;

5. Low fee structure that will improve profitability; and,

6. Reduced reliance on third-party distribution channels.

In conjunction with the new association with the Premier Collection, the Resort now extends the following offer to local and out-of-town organizations:

Starting immediately and extending through April 15, 2016, meeting spaces in the Mallards Restaurant building are open for booking for organizations for events at no cost. Available time is 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. For reservations contact the sales office at 503-622-2220.

The meeting spaces include the Foliage room (space for 50), Muscovy room (15), Trails (60-150), Pub area (20-30) and the dining room (40).

The Resort can provide coffee break, meals, banquet and other services if requested at cost. For pricing, contact sales at 503-622-2220.

The Resort will give a 20 percent discount to event goers for spa and golf course usage. For spa service call Rachelle Closner at 503-622-2228. For golf course call Bryce Finnman at 503-622-2239.

By Larry Berteau
Bachmann remains in Mexico prison posted on 11/01/2015
The fate of local resident Troy Bachmann has taken another turn, due to the vagaries of the Mexican criminal justice system.

Imprisoned since May in the notorious Venustiano Carranza Prison in Tepic, Mexico, on agricultural fraud charges that were completely corrupt according to Bachmann and family members, he finally went to trial Oct. 12 in a Mexican court.

It appeared justice had been served. The court ruled Bachmann to be not guilty.

But a few days later, the local district attorney filed an appeal – not by the complainants but by the district attorney himself – and according to Troy’s brother Derek Bachmann, it could take another six months before a court date is set.

“The feeling is mostly anger right now, and kind of deflated,” Derek told KPTV news via Skype. “We thought it was over. I don’t think there’s anybody who doesn’t know my brother’s innocent. The worst part of it is we’re completely powerless from this position.”

Bachmann was originally charged for allegedly owing money to watermelon farmers through his Jalisco, Mexico business “Fancy Fresh Farms.” 

What followed was six months in the dangerous and overcrowded prison where more than 3,000 inmates are crowded into a facility built to house 650 – referred to by Human Rights Watch as a prison of “unspeakable conditions.”

According to Troy’s brother, Derek, the problem began when his brother hired a new bookkeeper for his fruit and vegetable business, and started noticing discrepancies in the accounting.

An independent audit confirmed his suspicions, but he didn’t have time to deal with it before leaving on a business trip.

In his absence, the bookkeeper and several other employees raided the company’s checking accounts, wiped his computer hard drives and planted rumors with Troy’s growers that he was planning on leaving the country without paying them. 

Upon his return Troy planned to meet immediately with the growers to straighten out the misunderstanding but was immediately surrounded by police and arrested – without a warrant or reading of his rights.

What followed was the six months awaiting trial at the prison.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) sent a letter in support of Troy in September to Dr. Miguel Ebegenyi, Ambassador to Mexico, urging him to intervene. It appears nothing has come of this request.

At this point, all that remains for Troy Bachmann is to await trial on the appeal. That wait is at Venustiano Carranza Prison.

The public can help pay for Bachmann’s legal bills and prison expenses through accounts that have been set up at PayPal, Fundly.com/friends-of-troy, and the U.S. Bank: Friends of Troy Account No. 153567494536.

By Larry Berteau
Blast season on Hwy. 26 done this year posted on 11/01/2015
The final blast of the season was expected to take place on the evening of Monday, Oct. 26, for Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project.” The blast, the second-largest one so far during the project according to Kimberly Dinwiddie with ODOT Community Affairs, was expected to bring down approximately 8,000 yards of material.

Following the blasts, crews were to spend several days clearing rocks from the side of the road before pavement repairs can take place in early November.

“As everybody who’s driven up there have seen, the rocks being blasted off the slope have banged up the pavement,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie added that a “handful” of blasts are expected for 2016 after work on the project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, resumes in the spring.
K&E Excavating, the contractor in charge of the project, restriped the lanes to the east of the runaway truck ramp in October, returning them to their original configuration. Dinwiddie noted the only work expected to be done along that part of the highway this year is installing rock bolts for stabilization and reducing rock falls.

That work will require lane closures, but “nothing major,” Dinwiddie added, while all lanes are expected
to be open on nights and weekends.

Work will also be stopped for the Thanksgiving weekend, beginning at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and lasting until Monday, Nov. 30.

Dinwiddie noted that the “ideal” time for the project to wrap up will be early December, but they will definitely wrap up by the middle of the month. “When you’re working on rock slopes, you can have all the best laid plans … things change and you need to adapt to that,” she said.

Dinwiddie added that the newly exposed slopes on the sides of the highway may change and shift during the winter months, with rocks and mud appearing to come down. This is natural, she noted, as rock will expand and contract with temperature changes, particularly in the winter.

Dinwiddie noted that the slopes will be monitored during the coming months and that an erosion plan is in place to make sure material does not go where it shouldn’t, including area creeks.

“It could look alarming, but that’s just what naturally happens after you blast slopes,” Dinwiddie said.
She added that catchment areas should prevent anything that comes down from the slopes from impacting the highway.

The project’s website, us26mthoodsafety.org, is updated weekly or as needed, while motorists can also visit tripcheck.com for the latest traffic information.

By Garth Guibord
Skibowl bike park expansion tested, will open in spring posted on 11/01/2015
Through the efforts of a funding grant from Clackamas County, the oversight of the Forest Service, and the commitment of Skibowl’s entire staff, the Bike Park just got bigger and better.

“We recognize the rapid growth of lift accessed mountain bike parks and know that developing ours is an essential part of the resort’s future,” said Kirk Hanna, president of Skibowl. “That’s not just talk. Skibowl has invested heavily in building the first new trail in several years.”

Hanna also noted the new flow trail from the top peak of Skibowl connects to the beginning of the Gnar Gnar trail that continues on down to the base area.

Petr Kakes, owner of the Hurricane Bike Shop at the mountain’s base, worked on the trail throughout the process.

“The trail crew was always up on the mountain early in the morning and got to see countless spectacular sunrises while cutting, sculpting and hand tooling the trail,” Kakes said. “They said to me we should call it Sunrise. The name stuck. Given the multiple viewpoints built along the trailside, Sunrise offers some of the best views in all of Oregon.”

The trail ascends to the top of the mountain and links with the Gnar Gnar trail, allowing riders to swoop from top to bottom without every getting on a road.

Sunrise is an easier/more difficult family friendly trail which descends through the forest, dropping 900 vertical feet over 1.4 miles of single track.

“The feedback we have received from pros, bike shop owners and beginner riders is that the track is fun, has great flow and is a great trail to learn on,” said Scott Connors, who joined in the effort from Trestle Bike Park in Winter Park, Colorado.

“For us, that is mission accomplished … for now,” he added. “Next season Skibowl will offer skills park clinics for new riders, open at least one more trail, run the upper lift Thursday through Sunday for maximum access to the Sunrise trail, and work toward tying into our base camp operation in Rhododendron.”

Connors also noted the goal is to make the bike park a go-to destination to the thousands of mountain bikers in the Portland metro area, while offering instruction to those who want to break into the sport.

Skibowl began in 1928 with its infamous Jump Hill and skiers and snowboarders have been jumping and riding its slopes ever since. It is also home to one of the nation’s oldest lift accessed mountain bike parks.
And this spring, the spectacular Sunshine will be added.

By Larry Berteau
Two sets on Villages board to be decided in December Town Hall posted on 11/01/2015
The November Town Hall meeting of the Villages at Mt. Hood is slated for 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, at The Resort at The Mountain. Topping the agenda is the public election for two open seats on the Board of Directors.

One seat is occupied temporarily by candidate Gina Royall, who has been serving as an interim member, while local business owner Ben Bliesner has applied for the second open position, according to Board Chair George Wilson.

“Ben was raised on Mount Hood, and has donated a tremendous amount of his time and skills to the development of the CAD presentation for our proposed Mt. Hood Villages Community Park,” Wilson wrote in an email to The MT. “He also used to be a local teacher, and is now a current member of the Portland Mountain Rescue Team.”

Bliesner is the owner of Rhododendron Technology, LLC.

Although the Town Hall agenda had not been finalized by press time, one of the items up for discussion is a change of name for the Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors.

Wilson noted in his email that the change has been brought about by a “rogue website” by the same name and due to the confusion the Villages Board is proposing “Mt. Hood Villages Board of Directors” going forward, and has secured the domain @mthoodvillagesBOD.org for future correspondence.

Also on the agenda is an update on the proposed Mt. Hood Villages Community Park.

Current board members include: Wilson, Chair; Marilan Anderson, Vice-Chair; Joe Mazzara, Treasurer; Rob Bruce, Secretary; Carol Burk, member; Royall, interim member; and Bliesner, candidate.

By Larry Berteau
Welches students learn to 'Say Something' posted on 11/01/2015
At an assembly at the Welches School on Thursday, Oct. 22, as part of “Say Something Week,” students learned that in four out of five school shootings, the attacker told people of his or her plan ahead of time.

“The numbers of acts of violence are surprising,” sixth grade student Grace Bliesier said. “I learned to report things right away and what to look out for.”

The Oregon Trail School District (OTSD), in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise, took part in the program to help educate students on how to detect warning signs, signals or threats from their peers who may want to harm themselves or others. 

The program encourages students to ‘say something’ when they read, hear or see signs of such behavior, particularly on social media.

Ladine Marquardt, OTSD Student Services, is at the helm of orchestrating this new program and noted that students can have a different vantage point on what is happening amongst their peers.

“Students are in a unique position to see and hear things that adults do not.” Marquardt said. 

“Say Something,” based on research conducted by Dr. Dewey Cornell and Dr. Reid Meloy (two leading national experts in threat assessment and intervention), focuses on the prevention of gun violence, suicide, bullying or harassment in and out of the school. Students are encouraged to say something about concerning behavior or actions via phone, text, email or through a website, and can do so anonymously.

“We are trying to prevent a feeling of helplessness.” Marquardt said regarding the rise in school violence.

At the assembly, students watched a two-minute video of statistics about violence in schools, followed by a presentation and a discussion facilitated by teachers.

 “I learned helpful information on signs of suicide,” Karver Muise, a sixth grade student said. Muise added he would “feel more comfortable” reporting something after the information he learned.

Fellow sixth grader Inanna Vognild noted she would try to text or email if she discovered something.
“It’s really scary to think about,” she added about the statistics surrounding school violence.

By Fay Dunahoo
Winter is almost here and Timberline is ready posted on 11/01/2015
Mountain Times: In light of last season, we thought we’d check in with Timberline’s Jon Tullis about the coming ski season. Jon, how bad was last season? 

Jon: Well, in the industry we have a technical term for a season like last season – we call it a “crappy season.” This season is going to be much better I can tell you, because it can’t be much worse!  But truthfully here in the Northwest, even a crappy season is better than a bad season in most regions. We are a bit spoiled in that regard. As your readers know, we actually had some great ski days last winter, and we skied every day until Aug. 3 this summer, so that’s pretty amazing. The Cascades have a track record of some of the most dependable snow on the continent, and that is particularly true up at Timberline where we have the highest elevation skiing on Mount Hood.  

Mountain Times: How did a bad season like last winter affect Timberline? 

Jon: Bad seasons like last winter come down to two things, good snow management and good business management, and we did real well in both areas, thank you. We also stayed real strong in our hotel and food business, and this summer we had a very robust summer tourist season, so we’ve been very busy up here! 

Mountain Times: And this season? 

Jon:  We are looking forward to a great season. As far as snow goes, we don’t really get into the forecasting business, and in a way it doesn’t matter. I can assure you we will have plenty of snow for skiing, but I must say we were pleased recently when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised their outlook away from a dry, split jet stream model, to a normal wet winter pattern, and the last time I checked, snow has only two prerequisites: moisture and 32 degrees, so I think we’ll see plenty of snow up here this winter.

Mountain Times: Is there anything new at Timberline?

Jon: Yes indeed! We are particularly excited to be unveiling two new food venues. We are completing a million dollar remodel of our skier’s restaurant in the W’East Day Lodge, which is going to really be spectacular, and out on the hill we have taken occupancy of the old Phlox Point Boy Scout Cabin, which we have fixed up, and will be operating as a warming hut, and serving drinks and tacos. We can’t wait to get that going, so we hope to see you all on the slopes soon!

By Jon Tullis
Locked Up in Mexico posted on 09/30/2015
Former Welches resident Troy Bachmann, 48, has been held in the notorious Venustiano Carranza Prison in Tepic, Mexico since May 19, and is scheduled for trial in a Mexican court Oct. 12.

He is being charged for allegedly owing money to watermelon farmers, a charge he denies. If he is convicted, he faces up to 84 years in prison, according to his brother, Derek Bachmann, of Seattle.

Troy is the son of Mark Bachmann, who owns the Fly Fishing Shop in Welches.

In the meantime, Troy languishes in the dangerous and overcrowded prison where he is the only Caucasian among more than 3,000 inmates crammed into a facility built for 650. He is housed in a 5 foot by 10 foot cell with seven other inmates, a single toilet, no beds, and blankets, safe drinking water and food are available only for sale.

“We’re also paying $1,500 a month so he can have edible food,” Derek told The Packer reporter Coral Beach, who writes for the fruit and vegetable industry weekly newspaper. “He has to pay for everything in prison. If he wants to go to the bathroom he has to pay. If he wants to wipe, he has to pay again.”

Derek believes the problem began for his brother when he hired a new bookkeeper for his fruit and vegetable business in Jalisco, Mexico – Fancy Fresh Farms – and started noticing discrepancies in the accounting. An independent audit confirmed his suspicions, but he didn’t have time to deal with it before leaving on a business trip.

While he was gone the bookkeeper and several other employees raided the company’s checking accounts, wiped his computer hard drives, and planted rumors with Troy’s growers that he was planning to leave the country without paying them. When Troy returned he agreed to meet with some of them to straighten out the misunderstanding, according to Derek.

He was immediately surrounded by police and arrested without a warrant, explanation or reading him his rights.

He was hauled away.

“Apparently whoever grabbed him didn’t want anyone knowing he was there, because by law he is supposed to be allowed to call the U.S. Consulate within 24 hours,” Derek said. “Troy also wasn’t told what he was being charged with for I don’t know how long.”

When appeals to the American Consulate and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden led nowhere, Mark Bachmann took money from his personal retirement account to pay for a Mexico City private investigator to give him an independent assessment of the problem and what it would take to fix it. As a result, Troy now has a highly respected attorney to spearhead his legal defense.

Finally, the U.S. Consulate was contacted and has provided some assistance.

“We’ve visited him on a number of occasions,” the consulate’s public information officer – who requested her name not be used – told the reporter at The Packer. “We also watch for human rights violations. But we cannot provide legal assistance or advice. It is our understanding that he has secured a local attorney and we are actively monitoring the case.”

The attorney is handling the case pro bono, but the family must pay expenses, including $4,000 for forensic experts to try to recover information from two computer hard drives and another $4,000 for an interpreter and for translation of legal documents, according to Derek Bachmann.

Since the incarceration, Troy’s produce business has been destroyed, his home taken under duress, his wife and 9-month-old child are back in the U.S. having been threatened, and Derek has lost his job as an SEO and Internet marketing specialist for taking calls from Troy and Sen. Wyden during business hours.

Wyden’s office ultimately weighed in with a Sept. 17 letter to Dr. Miguel Ebegenyi, Ambassador to Mexico, urging him to intervene in the matter.

Human Rights Watch, in New York City, whose mission is to protect human rights of people around the world, has had Venustiano Carranza Prison on its list for many years, writing on its website: “Prison conditions are unspeakable.”

Funds are critically needed to help pay for Troy’s mounting legal bills and prison expenses, while the family works on raising public support to put pressure on the Mexican government to release him back to the U.S.
The public can help through accounts that have been set up at PayPal, Fundly.com/friends-of-troy, and the U.S. Bank: Friends of Troy Account No. 153567494536.

Troy is remaining positive and hopeful, Derek noted, and added that his family is struggling to do the same.

by Lyla Foggia and Larry Berteau/MT

Where There's Smoke ... posted on 09/30/2015
Smoke on the Mountain is a new business in the Hoodland community. At this point Smoke currently offers cigars, cigarettes, tobacco and marijuana pipes and accessories. 

The storefront is located at the corner of Arrah Wanna Blvd. and Hwy. 26. 

Sole proprietor, Stewart Schmidt, has big plans for the future which go well beyond the current inventory. “I do not want to be misleading; it is my plan to become a medicinal and recreational marijuana dispensary,” Schmidt said. 

Schmidt opened Smoke on the Mountain on July 2. 

“The response from the community has been overwhelmingly warm and receptive”, he said. “I had regular customers within the first week of being open.” 

After working for Northwest Natural for 10 years Schmidt knew he wanted to be in business for himself. While commuting from West Linn to Bend where his daughter lives, Schmidt saw an opportunity to start a business in Welches. 

One aspect that sets Smoke apart from the local competition is not only its low pricing on tobacco products but also allowing customers to place special orders for the store to carry in stock. 

Schmidt noted that he is happy to serve the local community and the majority of his business has been local residents and via word of mouth. 

Two focal points of Smoke’s business are to do everything legally and to use local artisans for the glass and wood work of products sold in the store. 

“Doing everything by the law is of extreme importance,” Schmidt said. This includes checking identification of customers, product tracking and security. 

Schmidt currently holds a medicinal marijuana dispensary license issued by the Oregon Health Authority. He plans to apply for a recreational wholesaler’s license for recreational marijuana in January 2016 when applications are being accepted. 

According to Oregon.gov retail recreational marijuana stores will most likely be able to open sometime in the third quarter of 2016. Smoke looks forward to the opportunity to expand its business during that time.

by Fay Dunahoo/MT
Death in Government Camp Called a Homicide posted on 09/30/2015
(MT) – A body discovered Sept. 24 in a white pickup in the parking lot of Trillium Lake Snowpark on Hwy. 26 is being investigated as a homicide following autopsy results from the Oregon State Medical Examiner Office.

The autopsy on Frank Wilson, 68, of Gresham, showed he died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

At 10:26 a.m. on the 24th, a passerby spotted Wilson in a Ford F150 pickup and he called 911 and reported the male was obviously deceased, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Deputies responded and confirmed his findings.

The death was immediately deemed to be suspicious and Clackamas County Homicide and Violent Crimes Detectives, Crime Scene Reconstructionist and the Medical Examiner were called to the scene.

Wilson was initially listed as a missing person by the Gresham Police Department. He was reported to be driving the Ford 150 pickup with a disabled veteran license plate EYHQ.

Clackamas County Deputies would like to speak with anyone who might have information regarding this incident or who had seen Wilson or his vehicle. Deputies also noted that the vehicle had a Vietnam Veteran sticker in the back window of the cab.

Anyone that saw or spoke to Wilson between Sept. 22 and Sept. 24 – or anyone with other pertinent information regarding Wilson – is asked to call the CCSO Tip Line at 503-723-4949 or use the online email form at http://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp and refer CCSO Case No. 15-25638.
School District Above State Averages posted on 09/30/2015
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released state assessment results from the 2014-15 school year, revealing students in the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) scored higher than the statewide averages in all grades for all tests: English Language Arts (ELA), math and science. 

Students at the Welches School scored lower than the state average in ELA, but higher than average in math and science (middle and elementary schools).

“The (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) results indicate that our staff and students rose to the challenge,” Debbie Johnson, OTSD Director of Curriculum, wrote in an email to The Mountain Times, noting the district developed a plan to address changes in standards that Oregon implemented a few years ago.
“They also indicate that our students are capable of achieving this higher standard. We still have work to do, but we are encouraged by the results.”

Johnson added that ELA has been most improved in the district, crediting a collaborative effort and aligned focus for all grades. She sees science as a continued strength, while adding that math is an area of focus for the district after it completed a new math adoption last year.

“We have concentrated staff development and the purchase of new resources to support a shift in instruction,” Johnson wrote. “The new materials coupled with a shift in instruction means that students are experiencing a different approach to learning math.”

The district also saw an increase in “regular attenders,” students who attend school at least 90 percent of the time, including an increase of 3-3.4 percent for grades kindergarten through eighth, and an increase of 6.9 percent for high school students, while 95 percent of students participated in the state assessment. 

The graduation rate for the 2013-14 school year increased by 2.4 percent over the previous year.

“A student’s success can be influenced by many factors, yet one of the simplest steps to success is being present at school,” Aaron Bayer, OTSD Superintendent, said in a press release. “Attendance and achievement are explicitly linked. This correlation serves as a reminder that being present can provide our students with the boost they need to arrive at the future they deserve.”

by Garth Guibord/MT
Fish On: October Caddis posted on 09/30/2015
Flies are meant to trick fish into believing that they are eating a live organism. Most flies are made to look like a specific organism that a certain species of fish is used to seeing and eating from their natural environment. Trout eat a lot of things, but average size trout mostly eat insects. Trout normally target certain insects when they are concentrated, and most available. 

 Most insects have short lives, and are most concentrated when they are hatching, or mating, or laying eggs.

The dense hatches create the most interest. Dense hatches of large insects usually create the most interest for large trout. In the fall, inch and a quarter long giant caddis flies hatch from nearly every river and stream in the Pacific Northwest. Many of these hatches comprise thousands or maybe even millions of these flying moth-like insects. 

They have lived in a stream for a full year as a water breathing larvae. Most of these large caddises hatch in to winged adults during the early fall, but some cold spring creeks have hatches through much of the winter and into the spring as well. The fat bodies of winged adults are in colors that range from light tannish orange to yellowish orange to bright orange to burnt orange. Wings are usually gray but there are also brown tones. There are apparently a number of different sub-species in what is commonly called October Caddis or Fall Caddis or Giant Caddis.  Most belong to the family Dicosmoecus. Along the Pacific coast they range from California to Alaska.  The larva of these giant caddis build tube-like cases. 

During the winter months when the larva are tiny, these cases are made from vegetable matter attached to a foundation of silk. As the larva grows in size through the spring months they abruptly switch to cases made from small gravel.  You can observe these larvae crawling around on the stream bed dragging their cases with them as they forage for algae and decaying plant and animal matter.  Many people call them periwinkles. During the summer months of June and July Dicosmoecus larvae are important trout foods. Daily behavioral drift cycles occur in the early afternoon, usually peaking about 4 p.m. They are one of the few families of caddis that leave their cases before behavioral drift cycles.  This makes them extremely enticing to large trout.
In August these larvae seal themselves in their cases and by September they are ready to emerge as adults.
Emergence occurs from late afternoon until dark. The pupae usually swim and crawl to shallow water, but some emerge mid-river. Many actually crawl from the water to hatch on rocks along the shore.  

Even when adults are not active, you can tell if October Caddis have been hatching by observing their shucks on stream margin rocks. 

If prospecting with a dry October Caddis pattern doesn’t turn up any interest, try a pupa pattern.
Pumpkin orange color is usually the best. 

Try fishing your pupa suspended from a dead drifted dry fly.  

This technique can be very productive late in the evening when both egg laying adults and hatching pupas are both active. 

Steelhead as well as trout can be fooled by this trick.

Egg laying occurs in the afternoon and evening. The big fat juicy females flop around on the water exuding their eggs.  

They are a prime attraction for fish of all sizes.
Fishing a big orange body dry fly can be productive any time of day if you fish in shady spots under overhanging trees.  

Some caddis are active during moderate temperature days. Most of the big caddis rest in the shade of vegetation throughout hot days.  

These caddis are perfectly camouflaged to hide during the day and wait for evening flights.

by Mark Bachmann/MT

Jimmy Bunting well retired.
Jimmy Came Marching Home posted on 09/02/2015
This is a story that would be told best by a classic fiction writer.

There’s just one problem.

It’s not fiction.

Jimmy Bunting now lives a quiet life on the Mountain (since 2005) with his wife Becky. 
It’s a life well earned.

He was adopted out of an orphanage at age 4 by an Illinois farm family. As he progressed through grade school, he was introduced to the burden that was required of Midwestern farm families.

“I got up before 5, and the chores began,” Bunting told The Mountain Times. “Livestock had to be fed, hay had to be baled – hay bales as big as me. Then, off to grade school, then back home, and the chores started all over again.”

He’d finish up around 9:30 in the evening, which left no time for homework.

“I was a terrible student,” he said. “And about the time I turned 15, I had it up to here.”

Bunting contrived a perilous escape plan.

There was no way he could join the military at 15. 

So he went down the road to a neighbor farmer who happened to have a son in the Marines. He bribed the farmer with two quarts of Old Yellowstone – a lot of money in those days, and it took him a long time to save up – and the farmer gave Bunting his son’s birth certificate and accompanied him to the Marine recruiter’s office.

At the tender age of 15, Jimmy Bunting became a Marine.

The Marine Corps didn’t know he was 15. They didn’t even know his real name.
Boot camp wasn’t easy, but after the farm life, it wasn’t all that bad.

“It was tough, but I could handle it,” he said.

Following boot camp and combat training he boarded a ship to Korea. The troops slipped down the big ropes on the side of the ship.

“That was where I saw my first dead Marine. He was crushed between the ship and the landing craft.”
Oddly, the war was officially over, but there were plenty of enemy troops left behind who were unaware of the peace treaty.

Bunting was attached to a reconnaissance unit because of his shooting skills – he had shot 238 out of 250 on the rifle range. He was immediately made the permanent point man in his platoon.

“It was my job, all the time,” he said. “I was the best shot and the smallest target.”

He worked point with two interpreters with bull horns as the Marine unit was trying to notify the enemy the war was over. Both of the interpreters were killed immediately.

At one point his platoon was pinned down by an enemy machine gun nest. Bunting grabbed a couple extra grenades, worked his way around the back of the nest and lobbed two grenades at the enemy.

“They had already killed three or four of us,” Bunting remembered. “The grenades took out the machine gunner and his feeder, I shot two, and got the last one as he tried to run away.”

For that effort, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

After six months of combat, he was called before the commanding officer with six other underage Marines. The CO informed them they had enlisted under false pretenses, had his Bronze Star taken away, and was drummed out of the Corps, with the proviso that if he ever told anyone about his service he’d be sent to prison at Fort Leavenworth.

Bunting took them seriously. He never told anyone, not even his wife Becky, until 2011 at a nephew’s wedding. That original recruiter was there and remembered Jimmy.

But the Marine saga continued. When he turned 17 he enlisted again – this time under his own name.
“Boot camp was a lot easier the second time,” he said. “I knew what was going to happen.”

He made the base wrestling team and was on his way to the Pan-American Games when he suffered broken ribs and couldn’t continue.

That was doubly unfortunate, as his next assignment was Desert Rock, Nevada, where his company was entrenched in a four-foot deep trench, 3,500 yards from three atomic bomb blasts.

“We put on our dark glasses, kneeled down, and wrapped our arms over our faces,” he said. “When the bombs went off, I can’t tell you how hot it was. It was the biggest firecracker I ever saw. When the bomb went off I could see the bones in my arm as if it was an X-ray.”

The Marine Corps was finished with the experiment. War games ensued and they approached ground zero.
“As we got closer, the blast had been so hot we were crunching in sand that had turned to glass,” he said. “Finally, the lieutenant had had enough and ordered us to head back.”

He finished out his tour of duty in relative ease and settled as a civilian in San Francisco where he met, and married, Becky.

But a normal life was not yet in the offing. Bunting went to diving school, was certified as a deep sea diver doing salvage work. Later he became a plumber and worked as a boomer throughout the country on jobs such as, ironically, nuclear plants.

He later went into business for himself, owning a welding business, before retiring in 1999.

Becky remembers that moment, when, after 50 years of marriage, she found out about Jimmy’s underage enlistment.

“All I can remember saying was ‘What? Oh my God,’”

Becky and Jimmy have two children, and enjoying family is now a top priority.

And one of the youngest warriors ever is now one of the oldest veterans in the Mountain community.

When asked what’s next, Jimmy flashed a jagged smile and said:

“It takes a lot to take out an old Marine, especially if he still feels like fightin’.”

by Larry Berteau/MT

Summer Bows Out; School Days Return posted on 09/02/2015
The calendar for the Welches Schools will be a little different for the 2015-16 school year, with one change impacting the entire school and another just the youngest students. 

This year, every Wednesday will feature an early release at 2:30 p.m., while the kindergarten classes shift from a half day to a full day.

Principal Kendra Payne noted the past couple years included an early release on 20 Wednesdays throughout the year, which is utilized for staff development, including team meetings and collaborative time. The development time will give teachers the chance to improve their classroom instruction by looking at student data and effectively responding to it.

“It really allows for customizing professional development based on your actual kids and the teacher’s needs 
at the time,” Payne said, noting this year’s increase will bring the total to 32 Wednesdays.

Payne added that the previous model for professional development included one or two full days during the year when kids would not go to school at all. But under that model, teachers found it more difficult to make an impact in the classroom.

The school district started the new model a few years ago in a pilot program and found it successful, Payne added.

“That was found to have much more lasting impact on helping grow and develop teacher’s practices,” she said.

The increase from half day to full day for kindergarten will also have an impact, as Payne noted instruction time will increase from approximately two hours and 20 minutes per day to approximately six hours. With the added time, students will get to build early literacy and math skills along with other content including science, social studies, health and physical education.

“We really have been able to expand what we can offer to the kids by going full day,” Payne said, adding the kindergartners will now get to have lunch at school, get three sessions of recess and also ride the bus with the older students. “It’s going to be a more full school experience for them.”

The entire school will also take part in the Right Brain Initiative, offering a five-week artist in residence experience to every classroom, funded by the Starseed Foundation, money from the school’s Jog-a-thon and by the Welches Parent Teacher Community Organization (WPTCO).

Meanwhile, the middle school lost one staff member due to lower enrollment this year, but Payne noted the remaining staff will still offer a full slate of classes.

The school will also see an influx of technology, with 35 new Chromebooks for grades K-2, another 20 from the district for the fourth grade and the WPTCO purchasing iPads for all the teachers.

The WPTCO will also hold elections for board members at 6:30 p.m. Wed. Sept. 2, at the school. While all positions are available, Payne believes the parents in the community will step forward to continue the organization’s strong support.

“What I know about Welches parents is they’re really vested in their kids education,” she said. “I think we’re going to maintain the same level of involvement we’ve had over the past few years.”

by Garth Guibord/MT

New equipment at Roasters.
Resort Turns to Roasters in Coffee Deal posted on 09/02/2015
When Xiaoyan Yan – through his LLC – took over the Resort at the Mountain in July, he told The Mountain Times he was committed “to have good relations with locals.”

It would seem Yan and the new ownership team is making good on its promise.

In August, the Resort decided to depart from its coffee deal with Starbucks, instead turning to Mt. Hood Roasters coffee products owned by local entrepreneur Rick Applegate of Rhododendron.

“The Yan family notified us on August 10,” Applegate said. “The Yans are proving that they don’t just talk about ‘local,’ they act ‘local.’ Jiyeon (Rick’s wife) and I are so thankful that the Yan family is a part of the Mount Hood community and we feel incredibly blessed that they have allowed us, through our coffee, to join their team at the Resort at the Mountain.”

The Applegates aren’t the only ones to enjoy the new deal. Mountain residents and visitors alike will now enjoy a product that utilizes the highest grade Arabica coffees on the open market, and because its roasted on the Mountain, it promises to be fresher.

Applegate also noted that thousands of dollars that would have been sent out of the area will remain here and subsequently get distributed throughout this community.

“It just makes sense,” Applegate said. “This is the power of local.”

The Resort’s outreach program didn’t stop there.

Cathy Burgess, human resource manager at the Resort, notified The Mountain Times of a new Friend of the Resort Pass that will be available beginning this month.

The passes will be good for one year – through Sept. 1, 2016 – and are good for 20 percent discounts for golf, lodging, the spa and restaurants and lounges at the Resort. (Not to be combined with other promotions.)
The pass is available to all Mountain and Sandy residents, and pass holders will be eligible to receive additional discounts for accumulated referrals to the Resort.

“Come to the Resort in the month of September to receive your pass and enjoy a dollar beer for registering,” Burgess wrote in an email to The Mountain Times.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Blasting on Hwy. 26 Takes Hiatus posted on 09/02/2015
On Thursday, Aug. 13, K&E Excavating hit a milestone while working on the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project” by finishing blasting on all slopes east of the runaway truck ramp. Work continues on those slopes, including drainage, slope stabilization and widening the highway.

“It’s a major accomplishment,” said Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs. “We’re incredibly pleased. You could just feel the excitement among the crew as they were getting the last blast cleaned up.”

Following that accomplishment, blasting was suspended and will resume after Labor Day on the slopes around Map Curve. Blasting will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, while travelers can expect to see shipping containers placed in the road for safety and resumption of 24-hour flagging.

Dinwiddie added that the long range forecast for the fall and winter includes temperatures that are warmer than average, with the possibility of less precipitation than usual. Due to this, they have proposed extending the fall timetable on the project –  which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents – until the end of November, followed by cleaning up and returning the road to its usual configuration by Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Work had been previously scheduled to take place through the end of October.

If the extended work schedule takes place, Dinwiddie noted K&E Excavating could complete all the remaining blasting on the project.

“We just want to take advantage of as much of the nice weather as possible,” she said. “It would just be nice to get (the blasting) over with.”

Inclement weather, such as a snowstorm or icy highway conditions, would shut the project down for the season, before it resumes next spring. And regardless of how much longer the project could go into the winter, hauling on Lolo Pass Road will cease on Oct. 31, as originally planned, according to Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie added that while it is too soon to know if the proposed extended work time could push up the completion date of the project, it is still on track to wrap up in the fall of 2016. She noted that the slopes east of the runaway truck ramp are a reminder of how much has been accomplished and that the project’s completion is on the horizon.

“It doesn’t seem very far away, we can see the end in sight,” Dinwiddie said, noting that some people at ODOT have worked on the project for more than five years, while some of the original planning took place in the late 1990s. “We appreciate the patience of the community as well as the travelers for bearing with this work. We’re getting it done and we’ll be out of there soon.”

The project’s website, us26mthoodsafety.org, is updated weekly or as needed, while motorists can also visit tripcheck.com for the latest traffic information.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Library Moves to New Location posted on 09/02/2015
The new Hoodland Library, after many months in the making, moved its literary contents with the help of enthusiastic volunteers at the end of July into its new space at the Welches Mountain Center, 24525 E Welches Road (at the corner of E Stage Stop Road) Welches. 

The new library, which features additional breezeway and restroom areas, bay windows, and meeting and program rooms, held its Open House on Aug. 15. 

Cookies and refreshments were on hand, and patrons were entertained by guitarist and singer William Frank. 

“It’s beautiful, I love the new woodwork and especially the view out toward the wooded area,” said Welches resident Sue Ouderkirk, enjoying some quiet time with a good book. “It’s very peaceful and the same friendly folks are here. I always feel welcome.”

Sarah McIntyre, Library Director was present at the opening and is excited about being able to do additional programs, such as introducing a new book club. 

She explained that three separate starter meetings, to accommodate busy schedules, will be held at 6 p.m. on September 9, 15 and 21 at the library and will give people an opportunity to brainstorm ideas and discuss the future format for the club.  

“It’s really nice when people walk in for the first time,” McIntyre said. “The number one quote we get is people say it looks like a real library.”

Other additions to the Hoodland Library include a community room, with a capacity of 24 persons, and available for use by social, educational, or charitable groups. Groups may call 503-622-3460 for information and reservation requirements or complete an online application on the Sandy Public Library web page. 

Cultural passes are still available for one-day check out to either the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden or the Japanese  Garden, although patrons should note that the garden will be closed for construction from September through March of next year.  A cultural pass to the Portland Art Museum will be added shortly. 
Other programs such as Story Time on Thursdays from 10:30 - 11 a.m. for all ages, and Lego Club, held on the second and fourth Saturday from 1 - 3 pm, will continue as before at the new location.

Dianne Downey, Hoodland Library assistant, is thrilled with the new library. “We’re having such a good time in our new space,” she said. ”People are really happy and proud.”

by Frances Berteau/MT
Sandy Ridge Leads the Way for Mountain Bikers posted on 09/02/2015
The Hoodland area is quickly becoming a major mountain biking destination. And Sandy Ridge tops the list offering downhill and intermediate riding.

The trail is designed specifically for mountain bikers rather than hikers and features one-way traffic which provides flow in a single direction.

Jay Small, of Vancouver, Wash., has visited Sandy Ridge several times in the past two years and last month brought his son to enjoy the experience.

“It’s an amusement park,” Small said. “These trails were built for mountain bikers.”

The trail system is comprised of three different downhill runs and has become a national model in sustainable trail design practices and provides virtually year-round access to some of the most unique riding opportunities in the country, as stated on the Ride Oregon Ride website.

Victor Flores, of Hood River, heard about the trail system from friends and expects to frequent Sandy Ridge more in the future.

“Trail conditions keep me coming back,” Flores said, noting his favorite part of the system is the downhill runs.

David Stevenson, of Portland, has been taking advantage of the trail for five years, and hits Sandy Ridge every weekend, 10 months out of the year.

“I wish Portland would take a lesson,” Stevenson said. “It’s not a converted hiking trail.”

Jim Scholefield is a committed mountain biker and used to travel to Oregon from Georgia specifically to enjoy the sport. Now living in Portland, Sandy Ridge has become his favorite. He discovered the trail by googling “best places to ride in Oregon” and looks forward to future visits, citing the “trails are top notch and the scenery is beautiful.”

Carl Svendsen, of Vancouver, Wash., has biked the trail two times per week for the last four years. He heard about it from his buddies when he first took up mountain biking.

“It’s a great little place,” Svendsen said, “and better than most places you get.”

He cited proximity to his home keeps him coming back.

Sandy Ridge has made its mark on the burgeoning mountain biking community, and contributes to the rising popularity of cycling tourism that generates approximately $400 million each year in Oregon.

by Fay Dunahoo/MT

CAD rendering of the park.
Community Park Rising posted on 08/01/2015
There it stands, for now. 

The Dorman Center is a sad sentinel of the past, and a hapless harbinger of the future.

It’s coming down. 

Now the Mountain community turns its attention to what remains – a four-acre plot propped up by a community garden.

The Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors, at a sometimes contentious July 7 meeting, witnessed a computer-aided design (CAD) presentation narrated by Ben Bliesner. The show outlined the Board’s best effort at creating a community park on the county-owned Dorman Center property.

“The park has been designed with the themes of art, science, movement, and community,” said Bliesner, of Rhododendron Technology, LLC. “Many great people put a lot of time and energy into this project (including Josh Frazier and Jason Johnson), and I hope that my work can capture that energy.”

The CAD presentation was mesmerizing – from a point of view drive-up by a Mountain Express bus, to a real-life dash through the skate park, and a stroll through the raised boxes of the community garden.

“We believe we have designed an artistic, sustainable community park that will not only become a valued Mountain asset, but also the center point of our Mountain community,” said Villages Board Chairman George Wilson. “Our goal is to keep this local through every phase of the project.”

The next step is to face a 12-person Clackamas County Park and Forest advisory board, in an attempt to get the county on board with the design effort. That meeting is set for 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the Resort at the Mountain as the primary focus of the Villages Town Hall meeting. The public is urged to attend.

The CAD community park design includes: 100 parking places, bike hub, bus stop, large community shelter, four private day-use shelters, playground with tree house slide, skate park, pump park, community garden, amphitheater and public rest rooms.

The Bliesner-Frazier-Johnson vision will take advantage of the close proximity to Welches School.

“The community garden (which will include a greenhouse) will be a great place for class projects and lessons about horticulture,” Bliesner said. “Themed structures will contain living models and sculptures that offer educational opportunities, from art and science to simple machines and water cycle and cultural history.

“Playing in the rain will be one of the best ways to enjoy the park,” Bleisner said. “The kayaking runs are going to be out of this world, and themed on our Sandy, Salmon and Zigzag rivers. Hydrology lessons will be a fun day for the kiddos.”

The park and ride for the Mountain Express will provide shuttle service to Timberline.

There was contention, as in all things at Villages meetings. A community park committee was disappointed there was no mention in the presentation of the committee’s desire for an area set aside for events such as weddings. This difference of opinion led to committee member Marci Slater resigning her position on the Villages Board.

The thrust of the Aug. 18 Town Hall and CAD presentation will be to convince the advisory board, and ultimately the county, to approve the design and assist in the funding for the community park.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Commuters Finding Minimal Delays on Hwy.26 posted on 08/01/2015
High traffic volume has altered some work for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, including pausing work on the Map Curve section of the highway. 

But the project, which began in the spring of 2014, is on track to finish up in the fall of 2016, according to Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs. 

Now approximately half way through the project, some of those people who pass through the construction zone on a regular basis have a good understanding of the impact on their daily routines. 

Lloyd Musser, curator of the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum, described the impact on his twice-a-week commute as a “non-issue.” 

“They say 20 minutes and except when there was an accident, I’ve never waited 20 minutes,” said Musser, who has been driving up Hwy. 26 to Government Camp for decades. “It’s not bad.” 

Musser noted that while he’s not a fan of the project, he has no complaints about how K&E Excavating, the contractor, is performing the job. He added that he is impressed with how quickly the company cleans up the rock they are removing and noted the company was even washing its equipment during the Independence Day weekend. 

“That company is something else,” he said. “That’s how clean they are.” 

Musser also added that visitor traffic at the museum is up from last year and from the winter. 

Daniel Reed, an employee at the Ratskeller, travels through the construction zone from Welches six times each week. He noted that prior to the project, he had to leave 25 minutes to commute to work, but now he leaves 40 minutes to get there. 

“I think they’re doing their best,” Reed said.” I’m sure it’s not a fun job to deal with people getting mad.”

Cheryl Maki, who also works at the museum and commutes through the construction zone 10 times a week, noted every week is different, but the time added to her drive is typically from five to 20 minutes. That’s not a huge impact, she said, but she also leaves a sign out at the museum reading if she’s not there by 9 a.m., it’s due to construction delays. 

“They’re doing an excellent job down there; they try and get everybody through,” Maki said. “The company is amazing. I’ve been really impressed.” 

Joyce LeDoux, operations manager for the Mt. Hood Express, noted the service is doing OK through the construction, adding that when the project began, they asked the contractor to schedule blastings when it would least impact the service and that K&E Excavating has stuck to that schedule. 

LeDoux added that they’ve received a few calls from people waiting at the bus stop in Government Camp, while the congestion is worse from Thursday through Sunday. 

“No matter what, we’re just going to have to sit through that,” LeDoux said. 

Dinwiddie noted that work on the Map Curve will resume after Labor Day, and will include 24-hour flagging. She added that whatever work is not completed this fall will be finished in the spring. The contractor will continue working on drainage in August, focusing on the slopes east of the runaway truck ramp, by Mirror Lake and on the south side of the highway. 

Some slopes have already been seeded, with approximately 7.8 acres of seed sprayed this summer already, according to Dinwiddie. The project’s website, us26mthoodsafety.org, is updated weekly or as needed, while motorists can also visit tripcheck.com for the latest traffic information. 

The Mt. Hood Express is also conducting a survey on the service. For more information, visit mthoodexpress.com. 

For 2014 to 2015, work on the project included blasting 71,400 cubic yards, excavating 207,000 cubic yards, hauling 24,150 truck loads, installing 3,100 feet of rock bolts (help stabilize slopes after blasting) and using 30,600 pounds of explosives. 

 by Garth Guibord/MT
Lolo Fire Controlled After 3-Day Battle posted on 08/01/2015
It blew up Friday afternoon on July 24.

By Saturday it was contained.

By Sunday it was under control.

The US Forest Service responded to the fire on Friday about six miles up Lolo Pass Road, off Forest Service Road 1825, near McNeil campground. 

Moments later a second fire flared across the road and the Hoodland Fire District was summoned.

With the tender nature of the forest due to unseasonably dry conditions, the situation got serious quickly.

“There was just too much heat,” HFD Deputy Chief John Ingrao told The Mountain Times. “We made the decision to call in a helicopter.”

The USFS responded and quickly the Type 1 helicopter was making 10-minute sorties over the fire, drawing water from a couple deep pools upstream on the Sandy River, according to Ingrao.

The fire grew to almost 12 acres before crews were able to get the blaze under control, according to HFD Fire Marshal Scott Kline.

Besides McNeil campground, Old Maid Flats and Forest Road 1825 were closed during firefighting operations, and campers were informally evacuated.

The terrain made it difficult for firefighters as they had to traverse steep terrain packing hoses, fire axes and other essential equipment.

But, according to HFD Fire Chief Mic Eby, there was another important factor in play.

“It’s just a most beautiful area, you hate to see it in our own back yard,” Eby said. “The trees, mosses, it’s so pristine. We really hustled to protect it.”

And besides the intervention by the helicopter, the firefighters got another helping hand.

“The rain was wonderful,” Eby said. “It really helped out.”

It should be noted that rain broke a string of 48 days without measurable precipitation, starting June 5 and ending July 25, the second day of the fire, as reported by The Mountain Times weatherman (see Page 27, this issue).

As of Tuesday, July 28, USFS investigators had not determined the cause of the fire. 
However, according to Laura Pramuk, public affairs officer for the Forest Service, an illegal campfire is suspected.

As the weather changes to cooler temperatures Kline urged local citizens to re-evaluate their homes for defensible space from the threat of wildfires. 

Open fires are prohibited including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except in designated locations. 

Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels are still allowed.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Willy So (left) and Iiaoyan Yan
Torch Passed to New Resort Owners posted on 08/01/2015
The winds of change have arrived at the Resort at the Mountain – the zephyr sweeping over the local community. 

On July 2, the ownership of the Resort transferred to Y Hospitality RATM LLC. The “Y” is for Xiaoyan Yan, the major partner of the LLC and he will operate on site as the owner and general manager. 

Yan, from Beijing originally, came to the U.S. in 1980, matriculated from the University of Oregon with a PHD in mathematics, taught at the University of British Columbia, owned and operated a hotel in Newport, another in Twin Falls, Idaho, and yet another in Abilene, Texas. 

But his roots had been previously planted. 

“After looking at other states, we came back to Oregon,” Yan said, with a knowing smile. 

When the Resort became available, Yan and his wife Nongli, didn’t hesitate. 

“The strong points in buying a business are always location, location, location,” he said. “We’re so lucky to have all three.” 

There will be operational changes, as is usually the case when new ownership arrives on the scene. But some of the changes are anything but usual.

 “Profit sharing will be implemented,” he said. “Everyone has to be involved in making the Resort a better place. Everyone is an owner, just like me.” 

Yan noted that he likes a challenge, and the Resort will provide for that. 

“The previous owner did not make a profit,” he said. “But if we work together we will make this happen.” 

In that regard, Yan and his wife promised they would not take a salary until the profits arrive. 

“Our (immediate) goals are for a reduction of the negative issues, and to have good relations with locals,” he said. 

Besides Nongli and Yan at the helm, assistant general manager Willy So is already in place. So, originally from Hong Kong, earned his bona fides at Red Lion and Lloyd Center Doubletree in Portland, the Hilton Garden in Beaverton, and Embassy Suites in Hillsboro. 

So, echoing the sentiments of Yan, admitted to taking a considerable cut in pay to come to the Resort, but said “I wanted the challenge.”

by Larry Berteau/MT
Invasives Getting Uprooted posted on 08/01/2015
The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (SRBWC) is at it again, protecting the Mountain’s most valuable asset – its native vegetation. 

In partnership with the YESS Project and Clackamas County Conservation District (CCSWCD), the Watershed Council – a non-regulatory, non-profit organization – launched its most recent project to eradicate invasive plant species. 

“Every bit of the work we do is through cooperative relationships with land owners,” said Corinne Handelman, the Watershed Council, Community Stewardship Coordinator.

Handelman also noted that the service is entirely free to land owners. 

In 2014, of the 75 properties surveyed on the Mountain, 50 percent had invasive species infestation. Upon identification, each of these areas was treated. 

The Salmon River has some of the most productive salmon spawning habitat in the Sandy Basin. The mission of this project is to ensure the local ecosystem has positive bio-diversity of native vegetation. 

This vegetation shades streams to keep the water cool, promoting native insect multiplicity which provides food for salmon. As salmon spawn and die their bodies come back and fertilize the trees. 

Handelman noted they are essentially “protecting the cycle of life.” 

Invasive species disrupt this natural cycle by overwhelming native plants for nutrients, light and space.

By definition an invasive species causes environmental, economic or human health harm. Not only are they unwelcome, but they cause harm. One Policeman’s Helmet has between three and eight thousand exploding seed pods that can carry up to eight feet away. These seeds travel by way of rivers, seasonal ponds, side channels, wetlands or any riparian area. Therefore, this issue does not only pertain to riverfront property.
One invasive species often leads to a disturbance that allows more invasive species to move in. 

 “Visitors come all over to the Pacific Northwest to go into the wild areas to see the native vegetation,” said Amber Ayers, invasive species outreach assistant for the Watershed Council. “(But) a lot of the places we are actually finding it is not directly on the river.” 

The Watershed Council in partnership with CCSWCD has yielded proven results. They identify emerging invasive species such as knotweed, garlic mustard and orange hawkweed.

“You don’t know it’s a problem, until it’s a problem,” Handelman said. 

Project YESS, established in 1980, is a youth education and workforce program designed to help youth prepare for the GED examination, establish career goals, develop job search skills and transition to college or advanced training opportunities, as cited on the Mount Hood Community College website.

These young students attack the invasive species with enthusiasm and the work had an impact on them.
“Sustaining our native plants makes me feel like a true Oregonian,” said Revery McDinley, Project YESS member. 

“It’s a satisfying feeling knowing you are helping the community,” said Trystan Bishop, Project YESS member.
Many of these invasive species are still commercially sold. This is the suspected cause of the Policeman’s Helmet’s burgeoning presence on the Mountain in the last decade. 

Land owners often think they can tackle the problem on their own, Ayers noted. However with ample acreage, steep slopes and lack of proper training this task is arduous and seldom successful. 

Consequently, the Watershed Council is actively reaching out to land owners for permission to survey for these invasive species. Even after the initial eradication they come back year after year for maintenance. In addition, this fall they will replant disrupted areas with deep rooted indigenous plants.

“It’s a neighbor by neighbor campaign,” Handelman said “We are here to provide a service.”

The Watershed Council receives funding from CCSWCD and the Nature Conservancy to conduct this work free to landowners through this funding.

Residents who find invasive species should report it to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline at oregoninvasivehotline.org. 

The Watershed Council will host a cleanup effort at 9:30 a.m., Saturday Aug. 15 at Wildwood Recreation Park. Park entry is free for those who volunteer for the entire day. Local residents can RSVP for this event by emailing corinne@sandyriver.org.

by Fay Dunahoo/MT
Mountain Residents Welcome Lower-Cost Education posted on 08/01/2015
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 81 (SB 81), the Oregon Promise tuition waiver program, on Friday, July 17, opening the door for Oregonians to pursue higher education while lessening the burden of tuition. 

The program, available to Oregon residents of at least 12 months, will waive tuition for certain community college courses if certain criteria are met.

“SB 81 creates an affordable pathway to the middle class,” said District 52 Representative Mark Johnson (R-Hood River), in an email to The Mountain Times. “Removing the barrier of tuition will allow more Oregonians to become self-sustaining by giving them post-secondary training needed to enter the workforce.”

Under the program, tuition waivers will be available to Oregonians who are enrolled in a degree or certificate program, are a recent graduate from a diploma or General Educational Development program, meet a minimum grade point average, show continued academic progress, and accept all available federal and state aid. Students will also be responsible for contributing $50 and need to apply for and accept certain other available sources of financial aid before becoming eligible for waived tuition.

The program, administered by the Office of Student Access and Completion of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), is capped to $10 million per fiscal year. HECC will set the prioritization if funding is not available to all eligible students. 

Mountain resident Tony DeMicoli, whose daughter will be a freshman at Sandy High this fall, sees the program as offering a good option for students to get valuable education without entering the workforce or pursuing higher degrees, such as in law or medicine, with student loan bills. 

He also noted that his daughter has high expectations for her future and this program could offer another avenue to chasing her dreams.

“I’m hoping when she’s ready for college, I can afford the college of her choice,” DeMicoli said. 
“It’s good to know that community college is there for her.”

Fellow Mountain resident Kevin Frank has two children attending SHS, including a college bound senior. 
He sees it as a valuable program, but noted he doesn’t know if it might impact people’s taxes.

“In theory it sounds like a great way to go … as long as the benefits outweigh the cost and expense to the community as a whole,” Frank said. “The cost of college has become a pretty insurmountable sum of money for somebody getting started.”

Becky Fortune, a Mountain resident who has spent 15 years working in the Oregon Trail School District in various capacities, has five children between the ages of 16 and 24. Between her job and her kids’ friends, she’s seen numerous graduates not seeing college as an option and resigned to finding a job after leaving high school.

“For parents it’s hard enough any more to support your family,” Fortune said. “A lot of parents don’t have the money any more to put away for kids school. I know too many kids who don’t think about college because money is an automatic road block.”

Fortune noted that she’s not sure if her own children will take advantage of the program, as they are pursuing other options, including one currently in a fire science program and another in the Army and planning to use the GI Bill for further education. 

She sees those programs and others, such as job partnerships for high school students, as other ways for high school graduates to give themselves a brighter future.

“Not everybody’s built to go to college,” Fortune said. “But if you’re bright and you want to go to school, you should be able to go to school.”

by Garth Guibord/MT
Policeman's Helmet Targeted for Removal posted on 07/01/2015
The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council (SRBWC) is prepped for an invasive species attack on the Mountain environs.

SRBWC will be partnering with the Clackamas County Soil & Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) to reduce the spread of Policeman’s Helmet by expanding landowner outreach and surveying for other invasive plants.

“These efforts will focus on high priority habitat restoration sites along the Salmon River where the Sandy River Basin Partners have invested considerable resources to control invasives, replant with native riparian plants and install large woody debris to increase in-stream habit complexity,” said Corinne Handelman, community stewardship coordinator for SRBWC. “This summer, (we) will reach out to private property owners to secure access to new focus areas, identify and remove infestations of Policeman’s Helmet, and during the fall and winter we will add native vegetation replanting in treated areas with the largest amount of invasive species impact to secure them from regrowth and re-establish native riparian conditions.”

Handelman also noted that this replanting effort will help to restore long-term riparian processes such as native vegetation succession.

Policeman’s Helmet is the main target of the upcoming effort. This is a prolific seed producer that can grow more than 8-feet tall each year as an annual flowering plant. 

“Policeman’s Helmet is a priority in Clackamas County because of its damaging impact on the health of our streams and rivers,” said Sam Leininger, weed wise program manager at CCSWCD. “It spreads quickly along streams and rivers where it displaces vegetation important to wildlife. Policeman’s Helmet leaves stream banks exposed, especially during periods of peak stream flow. This increases erosion along streams, which can threaten homes.”

Leininger also noted that this erosion introduces sediment into our waterways which adversely affects spawning habitat for our native fish.

“Fortunately, the extent of this infestation is limited in Clackamas County and we are working hard to prevent Policeman’s Helmet from spreading further,” he said.

Landowner outreach will start the first week of July, and the first day of surveying new properties will likely begin around July 6, Handelman said. Volunteer crews will begin treatments July 13, schedule permitting.

Area residents who find this species on their property should report it either to Leininger from CCSWCD at eleininger@conservationdistrict.org or at the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline at oregoninvasivehotline.org. Removal work is free to landowners.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Tanker extracted from embankment.
Hot Asphalt Spills into Sandy River posted on 07/01/2015
It could have been worse.

A quick response by Hoodland Fire District (HFD) personnel managed to contain a hot asphalt oil spill on Barlow Road that threatened the pristine waters of the Sandy River.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office received a report at 2:30 p.m., June 24, that a jack-knifed semi-truck was spilling hot asphalt into the Sandy River at Barlow Road and Road 14.

HFD moved quickly to the scene.

“We didn’t want to pollute the river,” said HFD Chief Mic Eby at the site of the spill. “After all, we live here.”

Using ropes, buckets and shovels, two HFD crews worked their way down the steep embankment to the river’s edge where the hot asphalt was pooling in the Sandy.

“We dammed it up with sand, gravel, rocks and logs,” said HFD firefighter Nick Miller, standing on the road after the rescue had been made. “Oil got to the river, but we kept it in a small area.”

As the trailer was being hauled up the embankment, more oil seeped toward the river.

“Fortunately, we had built a berm at the river’s edge,” Eby said, the day after the event. “That slowed the second oil spill. A small amount sneaked out but the tar balls pooled. The important thing is the river is clear.”

The truck and trailer was being operated by Michael Banta, 47, of Brush Prairie, Wash. The load was headed to the local gravel pit.

The Mountain Times received information there was a car that forced the driver to steer to the road’s edge, but that report remains unconfirmed.

What is certain is the trailer veered off the road and dangled over the embankment, all the while remaining hitched to the truck. That truck was carrying 14 tons of liquid asphalt, according to the sheriff’s office.

The incident remains under investigation, and CCSO reports that the driver is being cooperative.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) responded to the location to determine the impact on the river.

Traffic was stopped on Barlow Road until after 6 p.m. the day of the incident. 

by Larry Berteau/MT
County Approves Sandy's Renewal Amendment posted on 07/01/2015
The Clackamas County Commissioners became the latest agency to approve the City of Sandy’s substantial amendment to the city’s urban renewal plan, joining the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) and the Sandy Fire District (SFD). 

Commissioners Jim Bernard, Martha Schrader and Paul Savas voted for the amendment, while Commissioners John Ludlow and Tootie Smith opposed it.

“We weren’t really sure (about the potential for the amendment to pass) so it was exciting to see the support among the other three commissioners,” Sandy City Manager Seth Atkinson said.

The amendment, if passed by 75 percent of the taxing districts that overlap Sandy’s urban renewal area, could help fund the acquisition of the Cedar Ridge Middle School property to be used as a recreation center and provide money for other city projects, including road extensions for 362nd Avenue and Bell Street, continuation of the city’s storefront program and assistance to the SFD. The 75 percent threshold is based on the ratio of each taxing district’s property tax levy.

County commissioners placed votes for three agencies: the county, the Clackamas County Library District and the Clackamas County Extension & 4-H Service District, passing all despite some strong opposition from the two dissenters. 

“I don’t believe in urban renewal, because it really scrapes from tender and precious services needed money for the future,” Ludlow said.

The county estimated the amendment would reduce its general budget by approximately $300,000 per year.
Sandy City Council is expected to vote on the issue on July 6, and approval would push the amendment past the 75 percent threshold. Atkinson noted while he can’t say for sure if the council will approve it, he sees reasons for optimism.

“I think they’re pretty supportive or they wouldn’t have come this far,” he said. “I think it’s positive.”
If the amendment is passed, the city is expected to begin in earnest the negotiations with the OTSD on purchasing the school property. 

Last year, an appraisal of the school’s campus, including two buildings and 43.65 acres of land, performed by Integra Realty Resources in Portland for the OTSD valued the property at $3.4 million. A different appraisal for the city valued the campus at $2.2 million for the land and $230,000 for the buildings, but Atkinson noted that differences in the appraisals, including the district’s appraisal, included a value for timber while the city’s did not, meant that their final valuations were closer.

 “We’ll just have to see how the numbers work,” Atkinson said. “It’s been a long and slow moving train. Things look pretty positive at this point, we keep making progress so that’s a good thing.”

by Garth Guibord/MT

Ray Howard
Brightwood Resident Goes to Bat for Vets posted on 07/01/2015
Ray Howard was watching the Bill O’Reilly show on television and heard him talking about The Independence Fund – an organization that raises funds to provide high-tech wheelchairs for disabled veterans.

As much as that caught his interest, a few months later in Salem he was roused into action. Outside a restaurant he watched a disabled veteran hobble haltingly on crutches.

In March, Howard purchased a track chair for $16,000, and now there’s a wounded veteran realizing a mobility thought to be gone forever.

“This is not about me,” Howard said. “It’s about severely injured veterans from the Iraq-Afghanistan wars … The Indy Fund, and others like it, are trying to make sure that some quality of life can be restored for these heroes, many of which are double, triple and even quadruple amputees.”

The track chair has been described as part snowmobile and part wheelchair. It looks like a hybrid comprised of a motorized wheelchair with bulldozer tracks. Users are able to navigate off-road and some models enable users to stand unassisted despite their injuries.

The next stop for Howard was a four-day gala celebration in New York City of The Indy Fund. Actor Gary Sinise – who is involved with a foundation for veterans – hooks up each year with The Indy Fund to honor those who have purchased and contributed track chairs.

“What is impressive is the Indy Fund is 100 percent staffed by veterans,” Howard said. “And at the celebration, which is also a fundraiser, the one-thousandth track chair was purchased.”

Howard, 79, lives in Brightwood and worked many years with FEMA, the US Forest Service, served on the Hoodland Fire District’s board of directors, and was incident commander for flood restoration in the 1996 flood that roared through the Mountain community.

He served on an ice breaker with the US Coast Guard from 1954 to 1958. Despite all that, Howard felt that need to do more. 

“The track chairs go a long way toward helping restore some semblance of normalcy to these richly deserving vets,” he said. Information regarding The Indy Fund and to make donations small and large, go to info@IndependenceFund.org.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Hwy. 26 Project Takes a Break posted on 07/01/2015
Kimberly Dinwiddie of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Community Affairs described the Hwy. 26 construction project as on “cruise control,” with everything going as planned despite an increase in traffic since Memorial Day weekend.

Traffic is expected to be heavy for the Fourth of July weekend, but work in the construction zone, where they are expanding the highway and adding a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, will be suspended by Friday, July 3 to help with holiday congestion. Work is expected to resume on the afternoon of Monday, July 6.

Dinwiddie also noted that ODOT and K&E Excavating, the project’s contractor, met in late June to help ease traffic issues in the work zone. She noted delays were no longer than 20 minutes (during non-blast times), but the two are considering suspending 24-hour flagging along Map Curve from early July until after Labor Day.

“We don’t like being at that 20 minute mark, we want to get people through the construction faster,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie noted even if the 24-hour flagging stops, travelers can expect some flagging to take place, as needed, and that blasting will be taking place throughout the remainder of the construction season. Blasting is expected to take place between 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August, and between 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in September and October before the project breaks for winter.

Dinwiddie reported the contractor has found many drivers to wave and smile as they pass through the construction zone, but there have also been a couple of minor “fender benders.” She stressed that drivers should focus on driving and limit distractions.

“Just because the work is cool to look at, you really need to be paying attention to the road,” she said.
One dump site up Lolo Pass Road has been filled and contoured, while a second is being intermittently used for fill appropriate for the site. The second site is expected to be filled this summer, and repair work on Lolo Pass Road is expected to take place in early July.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Fewer Changes at Welches School posted on 07/01/2015
Welches Schools principal Kendra Payne just finished her third year at the helm of the school and she noted her growth over the years includes being able to build a better schedule and being better able to support students, staff and parents and helping them work through problems.

“I just feel much more … stable in terms of what to expect, what to plan for, what to anticipate,” Payne said, adding that being able to counsel others is “a really satisfying part of the job for me.”

This summer will see fewer big changes at the school than in years past, when building security upgrades or changes to scheduling and the start of the school day took place. 

One of the notable differences will be a full day of kindergarten next school year, which will include music, physical education, media and core academics.

Payne also noted that the Right Brain Initiative, a program that brings an artist-in-residence to the school to work with classes, will be expanded from two classrooms this past year to include the entire school.

“I think it’s going to be awesome for everybody to have an arts experience,” Payne said, adding the staff will also benefit by learning techniques to bring arts into their classrooms.

The school will also see another influx of technology, thanks to the Welches Parent Teacher Community Organization (WPCTO), which will provide funding for more Chromebooks for students and provide an iPad for all classroom teachers. Payne expects the total number of Chromebooks for the school to reach approximately 185 next year.

Payne also noted a new elementary teacher will be hired for next year, following the retirement of longtime teacher Jan Well.

The WPTCO will also undergo some changes for the next school year, as all four board members will not run for reelection. 
The organization is expected to vote for new board members on Wednesday, Sept. 2, but nominations are currently being accepted at the school. Every parent who attends the meeting will get a vote.

Clackamas County Elections certified results from May’s election, including officially declaring former Welches School principal Mike Sutton as the winner of the Oregon Trail School District’s board of directors position 2 (Boring). 

Both Sutton and Tom Mack ran write-in campaigns after no candidate filed for the election.

Sutton garnered 273 votes as “Mike Sutton,” plus an additional 10 votes as “Michael Sutton” and six further votes with other variations. Mack received 271 votes as “Tom Mack” and one other vote as “Tom Mac.”

by Garth Guibord/MT

Library construction moves ahead.
Library Lumbering Along posted on 06/01/2015
A few nails needed to be straightened, but the sound of pounding hammers can now be heard at the site of the new Hoodland Library.

Only one company – Cherryville Construction – responded to the request for proposal, and according to Library Director Sarah McIntyre, the short delay was due to reducing the scope of work in order to get the bid amount to come in at the amount it did. Work began on May 18.

Total cost is $176,642.40 and construction is anticipated to take 10 weeks.

“I’m really excited to say that the construction work started … for the new Hoodland Library,” McIntyre said. “Cherryville Construction is moving quickly to try to give us as much time as possible to transition from the old space to the new one.”

Subcontractors contributing to the construction include Bull Run Electric, Sandy Décor, Commercial Interior Contractors, Airflow Engineering and Morgan Heating.

The library will exit its space in the Hoodland Shopping Center and plans are to open across the street, Aug. 1, in the Welches Mountain Center. According to the latest concept drawing, the new library will boast 1,909 square feet of space – up from the current footprint of 1,756 square feet.

The new site will feature continuous space utilizing additional breezeway and restroom areas, bay windows, meeting and program rooms, and a naturally landscaped wooded area in the rear.

The move from the old space to the new one is planned for July 26 to July 31, and library staff is encouraging people to sign up to help with the move by calling 503-622-3460 or stopping by the library.

“We are really excited about the new space,” McIntyre said. “Look for information about a grand opening soon.”

by Larry Berteau/MT

Candice Lindberg
Lindberg Upsets Incumbent in School Board Election posted on 06/01/2015
The Oregon Trail School Board will feature two new members, as Candice Lindberg defeated incumbent Norm Trost for the Zone 6 (at large) position, and former Welches Schools principal Mike Sutton held a small lead over Tom Mack for the Zone 2 (Boring) position. 

Both Sutton and Mack held write-in campaigns after no candidate filed for the ballot. According to Clackamas County Elections (CCE), results are expected to be certified sometime between June 4 and 8. Election numbers from May 19 put Lindberg at 1,543 votes against 1,235 for Trost, who has served on the board since 2006.

“I’m clearly happy,” said Lindberg, a Sandy resident. “I think parents have made a statement that they’re ready for change and they want to be allowed to be a part of their kid’s education.”

Lindberg hopes to help improve communication between the schools, district and the parents, while also wanting to address the Common Core State Standards and helping people understand everything they need to about them.

“I’m excited that the people obviously liked my opinions and platform, so I’m excited to serve them and be their voice,” she said. “But I still want to hear their voices, I don’t want people to stop telling me what their issues are.”

The write-in race for the Boring position was close, with Sutton garnering 271 votes as “Mike Sutton” and up to 17 more votes with other potential spellings. Mack earned 268 votes as “Tom Mack,” while “Tom Mac” had one additional vote. According to CCE, variations of a name will be counted together when they can determine that they were intended for the same person.

In Sutton’s case, 10 votes were cast for “Michael Sutton,” while a number of other variations received a single vote, including “Michael B (Mike) Sutton,” “Mik Sutton,” Michael Mike Sutton” and “Mike Shutton.” 

A total of 794 votes had been cast for the position at the time of printing.

“I’m thrilled if I get it,” Sutton said. 

Sutton noted he was on a missionary trip at the time of the deadline for candidates to file to make the ballot, but when he returned he saw that nobody had filed for the position. After consulting with his family, he decided to run a write-in campaign, but he was pleased to see another member of the Boring community step forward in the same way.

“It was nice that somebody else jumped in, too,” Sutton said of Mack. “I’m sure he would do a great job.”

Sutton is a graduate of Sandy High School, spent most of six years as the principal at Welches Schools and also worked as a teacher and administrator in the Estacada School District for 29 years.

“People know what I stand for and how I deal with kids,” Sutton said. “I didn’t do a lot of campaigning. If I did win, I would attribute it to people knowing who I was.”

Sutton sees a number of issues of import for the board to deal with, including state funding, what to do with the Pioneer Building (former Sandy High School), the future of the Cedar Ridge property and pool, and Smarter Balance testing.

More election results
The following election winners were the sole candidates to file for their position:

D. J. Anderson was re-elected to the school board for the Zone 4 (South Sandy) position, earning 2,063 votes.
Pat Buckley garnered 522 votes for Position 2 on the Hoodland Fire District Board of Directors, while Ron Partlow received 525 votes for Position 3.

Hans Wipper won Position 3 on the Government Camp Road District board with 24 votes.

Edward D. Rogers Jr., Brett Fischer and Andrew Tagliafico won Positions 1, 3 and 5, respectively, on the Government Camp Sanitary District board.

According to an Oregon School Boards Association survey, a total of 817 individuals ran for school board positions in this past election, the lowest number in any election of the past decade. The number of candidates is typically from 850 to 1,050.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Chris Scott
Daring Rescue at Golden Poles posted on 06/01/2015
Besides the heroics of the Hoodland Fire District firefighters – and those of nine other area districts – there was a handful of local citizens who rose to the occasion April 20 when the Golden Poles condominium exploded in flames in Government Camp. 

Chris Scott, 49, a plumber from Welches, was having lunch at Charlie’s in Government Camp when a phone call came in from a local housekeeper that the condominium was on fire. Scott, along with bartender Aaron Sgrignuoli, Skibowl mechanic Scott Anderson, and Govy gas station attendant Pete Peterson, headed immediately in the direction of the blaze, stopping only long enough to call Hoodland Fire. 

What Scott saw was three apartments engulfed in flames. 

“This is serious,” Scott said, remembering back at the moment. “It was shocking. The heat was tremendous. It was crazy. No one’s here.” 

Anderson got a phone call from a condo at the rear of the building. A woman was in trouble. Anderson took off running. 

“I didn’t think,” Scott said. “I just raced after him.” 

There was a woman two floors up, trying to clamber over the railing of a patio, her leg in a heavy cast. They later found out it was a broken femur from a snowboarding accident.

 “Scott (Anderson) started climbing,” Scott said. “I grabbed a railing, headed up, and grabbed a patio bar stool to stand on.” 

Anderson reached the woman in distress, and managed to hand her over the edge into Scott’s arms. 

“I saw her coming, took her feet, and hugged her as she slid down,” Scott said. “I’m surprised I could hold her. We got down from the stool, and she grabbed onto my back, piggy back, and I carried her away from the building.” 

Anderson had grabbed the woman’s wheelchair from the condo apartment and Scott put her into it. Anderson, Sgrignuoli and Peterson got the woman to her van and Anderson and Sgrignuoli drove her away. 

“I’m just standing there,” Scott said, then remembered thinking “What if there are more people?” 

He ran back to the rear – the only part of the condo that was accessible due to the inferno that was blazing in the front – and started yelling for people. He noticed a light on and a patio slider open one floor up. It was time to climb, again. Scott reached the apartment but the inhabitants had already cleared out. As quickly as he could, he grabbed up some belongings – purse, keys, laptop, wallet, photos – crammed them into a tote bag and headed out to the railing. 

“The owner is looking up at me, carrying stuff out of his condo,” Scott said. “I’m going, ‘am I going to
have to explain myself?’”

The crisis was avoided. The owner took the tote bag.

“That’s when Pete (Peterson) told me that Hoodland Fire had arrived, and we’d better get out,” Scott said.

They walked around to the front as fire engines were arriving on the scene and firefighters were attacking the flames.

The Hoodland Fire Department presented awards to the stalwart individuals at a May 9 Government Camp CPO meeting.

Looking back, Scott wondered when some people told him after hearing what they had done that they wouldn’t have done what he did.

“We didn’t hesitate,” he shrugged. “No one else was there.”

by Larry Berteau/MT

Hwy. 26 Blasting to Continue Through August posted on 06/01/2015
Motorists travelling on Highway 26 from Rhododendron to Government Camp can expect blasting delays two or three times a week to continue through August as part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” according to Kerry Kuenzi, President of K&E Excavating, the project’s contractor. Kuenzi noted the blastings have been successful to this point, with approximately 19,000 cubic yards of rock removed so far. Kuenzi added he expected a total of 150,000 cubic yards of rock to be removed during the project, with all rock removed to be recycled. Blasting for the project will result in road closures of up to one hour between 5:30-7:30 p.m. on up to three days per week from Monday through Thursday, while motorists can expect flagging and traffic reduced to one lane to continue, as well. Kuenzi noted that safety during the project’s construction, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, has been a strong point. That includes a number of shipping containers installed to prevent debris from reaching the road, which has performed as expected, and travellers who have followed the instructions from flaggers. “We do appreciate the traffic; most of the time, people have patience,” he added. Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, added the containers will remain in place, after they were expected to be removed on May 21. “If we take those away, we’re going to see longer delays, close highways for 20 minutes at a time to bring materials down,” Dinwiddie said. Kuenzi reported that 150,000 cubic yards of total material have already been removed from the slopes, with a total of 83 truckloads to take the material to various sites. One dump site up Lolo Pass Road is close to being filled (likely in June), while another up Lolo Pass is expected to be utilized throughout the summer. Another site near Trillium Lake is expected to be utilized this summer and into next year. Dinwiddie noted that work is expected to ramp up this summer, including longer days of work and work performed on Saturdays. According to Kuenzi, 70 people are working on the project during work hours, and that number is expected to rise as the work increases. Dinwiddie added that it is important for people to follow the instructions from flaggers and to be patient during delays. “We’re committed to getting people to their favorite destinations on the mountain, but there will be delays,” Dinwiddie said. “Your life is worth so much more than being delayed for a few minutes.” The project’s website, us26mthoodsafety.org, is updated weekly or as needed, while motorists can also visit tripcheck.com for the latest traffic information. by Garth Guibord/MT

Redside Trout
FISH ON -- Redside Revelation posted on 06/01/2015
The big “Redside” is five pounds, 23 inches long, and six years old. He is in perfect physical condition, and is the dominant trout in this riffle. His home was taken in combat, by driving out previous occupants and succeeding interlopers with his size and aggressiveness.

This is the prime hold in many acres of water. The fish rests at the edge of an intermittent slick of calm created by the displacement of a large, flat, angular, mid-stream boulder. The Deschutes River rushes by, its jade green water races to the Columbia, and finally to the Pacific Ocean. The big trout rests in his lair … in a tubular calm behind the boulder. A curtain of bubbles securely screens him from above. His home is a calm tunnel amid the raging torrents. 

Here no angler can see him. In the suction behind the boulder is a tiny eddy, which traps food and pulls it deep into the water. The big “Redside” has perfect escape routes to either side, into rushing water that will instantly hurtle him away from danger. Long filaments of blue green algae wave with the flow, even further concealing the trout’s home. The boulder, a chunk of basalt, recently discharged from the rim rocks, anchors the algae and breaks the flow into a cascade, which plunges a thousand oxygen-laden, silvery-green bubbles deep into the river. They mix with the long trailing algae and bounce off the gravel bed like an endless procession of transparent rubber balls.

The afternoon sun filters through the leaves of the streamside alders. A gentle breeze animates the leaves, changing the spaces between them, turning the rays into dancing columns. They penetrate the turbulent surface of the river and play upon the ever-changing pattern of the bubbles. Some of these tiny orbs of light cling momentarily to the algae and other water plants, before wandering downstream – and then back to the surface from whence they came. 

The water is a melody played by the afternoon sun upon the bubbles full of light.

The current slows next to the bank nearest to the sun. Here the large, smooth, current swept stones gradually give way to a bottom of sand and silt as the flows diminish. The finer silt provides a solid footing for Elodia plants and all of the creatures that live in them. The strands of bright green vegetation trail in the gentle current like an undulating wall of Christmas tree garlands. These fronds are lighter than water. The river moves through them in well-defined pulses. Groups of garlands rise to the surface as the changing currents subside but sink beneath the weight of stronger flows, so that they dance up and down, in and out. Their pulse adds melody to the harmony of the bubbles. 

The Elodia rises on straight stalks and fans out to cover more of the surface of the river than the bottom. It forms caves and funnels and tunnels. Several small trout flit about in the caves under the Elodia, capturing many of the hapless dwellers as they are washed from the foliage.

The big trout need not waste energy by flitting among the foliage in search of prey. The river brings him an endless smorgasbord and deposits it in the tiny eddy inches in front of his pointed snout.

Using polarized lenses, I cautiously peak over the streamside vegetation. Several small trout are visible along the edge of the weed bed. One is directly below me. It rises splashing to the surface and dispatches a small yellow stone fly.

My binoculars disclose other stone flies upon the riffle, but there are no other trout rising to them. The rest of the riffle seems curiously barren of fish. My view rests momentarily on the slick behind the boulder. The visibility is unusually good but the seamy, boiling surface is hard for my eyes to penetrate. Yet there is a grayish-greenish-reddish cast to the streambed in the far edge of the slick. At first I think it is a fish. Then I am not so sure as the image seems too immobile and too large.

A tiny yellow stone nymph leaves the gravel upstream from the boulder. It struggles to the surface and the pressure within its body splits the exoskeleton from the top of its head to the center of its back. A viscous, bleached version of the adult insect emerges through the rended skin. First the crumpled wings appear and then the back of the head and finally the thorax, feelers, and legs. Last to leave the nymphal shuck is the abdomen. Finally, the Stonefly rides the choppy, undulating meniscus as a fully developed air-breathing adult. It rides the surface only a short distance and is pulled under by the spill behind the boulder.

There is a short, swift movement as the trout lunges forward and the stone fly disappears into the giant maw. 

Standing crouched on the bank, I see the movement and for an instant the trout is fully visible. A shot of adrenaline shoots up my spine and lodges in the base of my skull. The primal hunter is aroused. The quarry has been detected. Briefly his camouflage has failed. He is now vulnerable because the predator has uncovered his presence. 

Brush and tall weeds surround me. The alders, which shaded me earlier, are now an obstruction to my back-cast. My eyes trace out the only possible trajectory for my fly line, which must be high and behind the trees. The forward cast must change direction in the air to align itself with the target. Since the line and the fly will land in water travelling at drastically different speeds, there will have to be a lot of slack in the leader. As I trace and retrace the path that the line must follow, my confidence falters. There is a brief search for alternatives. 

There are none.

Carefully, the leader is inspected and the 6X tippet is replaced with three feet of 5X. To its end is knotted a size #14 low floating Yellow Stone Fly – which was constructed complete with feelers, tails and flat Fly-Film wings. The colors, size, and shape matches the real ones hatching from the river. The fly is not dressed so that it will sink quickly as it enters the spill below the rock.

The leader and 20 feet of fly line are carefully coiled in my left hand. I raise the rod quickly with my right, and the coils feed out of my other hand into a high back cast, which hangs momentarily over the alders. The rod tip is then brought forward in a shallow arc and the forward loop sails out high over the water. The loop changes from vertical to horizontal with the swing of the rod tip. An instant before the loop flows into the leader, I push a tiny amount of slack into the line and the cast dies in the air. The fly line lands on the water upstream from the fish, with the leader pointed downstream and the fly on a direct course to the center of the boil below the rock. There is a quick rush of air from my lungs, and the incredible tension from executing the impossible cast is suddenly gone.

The fly drifts a foot and disappears in the spill. There is sudden movement in the slick below the rock; I raise the rod more by instinct rather than by observation. The line comes instantly tight, and there is an explosion of water meeting the air as the wide caudal fin hurtles the fish into the raging current. The trout and my fly line are a blur as yards of the white Dacron backing leaves my shrieking reel.

The huge trout launches himself into the air near the far shore and then races downstream into the eddy. Still he takes line, and the black felt marker stripe signals that 50 yards of backing have left the reel. Incredibly the fine leader holds up against the pressure of the light rod and smooth drag.

The trout pauses, and then runs toward me, and I reel frantically to maintain tension on the line so that the tiny barbless hook will stay embedded in the flesh. The trout shakes his head in angry violence and I ease off on the pressure slightly. He reverses his course and the reel spool, which is now small in diameter from loss of line, turns with unbelievable speed. The shiny black handle disappears in a blur. 

A red felt marker stripe signals that the reel is almost empty.

To my relief  the trout pauses again. There is no accounting for the luck. A few more yards and I will be out of line and he will break the light tippet. 

I must follow him. 

Immediately downstream, alders over-hanging the deep eddy block my path. The river bottom is mud and sticks. Off comes my vest and binoculars, which are tossed into the grass. I can barely feel the trout on the end of my line as I slide down the bank into the cool water. 

Now, I am into the river up to my shirt pockets, and fighting my way through a floating raft of flotsam and midge shucks, which readily adhere to the fabric of my clothing and the hair on my chest. I hurriedly reel myself downstream to the fish, which is heavy against the current of the river. Line is gained slowly back onto the reel. Alder branches hang nearly to the surface of the water. The throbbing rod tip slips through the water surface beneath the limbs. I fight my way through beneath them as quickly as possible with my nose underwater. My waders are totally filled. My feet sink into the bottom and I finally emerge downstream.
I crawl up the bank, water gushing from the top of my waders, while still maintaining pressure and gaining line back on to the reel. The fish is still far below me as the red marker stripe comes back onto the reel. 
For a while the fish gives ground and I reel continuously until the black stripe is also back on the reel. By now, I am downstream 50 yards below the riffle.

As if raising a ghost from the deep, I first see my fish as the backing knot comes into the rod guides. He is only a silvery-green blur deep in the clear water of the eddy. My heart jumps. He is even larger than I had thought.

For a long time the fish stays deep along the far shore and bullies my light tackle with the force of the main current at mid-stream. The backing knot seesaws back and forth through the guides. There is a tremendous down-stream bow in my line, as the fish stays straight across the wide green river. Finally after many minutes, the constant pressure takes its toll and the big trout starts to give ground. A few minutes more brings him to my hand. 

He is a wondrous creature, subdued but still full of life. His body is nearly as deep as the length of my hand. I can’t close my fingers around the waist of his tail as I slide him into the shallow water. The rose colored gill plates pump rhythmically. His nose is long and pointed, but the lower jaw lacks the pronounced kype of sexual maturity. All of his fins are in virgin condition. He has never spawned. The predominant male red stripe from whence his species got its name is but a faint glow of the ruby it will become. Every scale contains a sparkling mirror crescent. His muscles are hard to the touch.

Energy returns to this body and he starts to struggle, at first feebly, then with vigor. Complete equilibrium returns more slowly. 

He is tired. I am tired. I turn him toward the river and he struggles free from my hand. His form dissolves into the green depths of the eddy, and is free again. 

And so am I.

by Mark Bachmann/MT

Firefighters battle condo blaze.
Govy Fire Claims Condo posted on 05/01/2015
This was not the golden reminder that the Government Camp condominium intended.

The Golden Poles erupted in flames early Monday, April 20, prompting a three-alarm response by firefighters to Multorpor Road at the entrance to Skibowl East.

Hoodland Fire District Chief Mic Eby took a well-deserved breath of fresh air Friday, April 24, and reflected on the heroic efforts of his staff and volunteers.

“Our firefighters were exceptional,” Eby said. “We tried to pace them, but we were forced to use them over and over. I’m so proud of them. They epitomized what it means to be a firefighter. With that much fire, the winds, rain and snow, nature was against us. No, nature was testing us.”

Fortunately, only a handful of rooms were occupied at the time the fire broke out. Everyone at the Golden Poles managed to escape unharmed. There were no serious injuries to firefighters.

“Thank God,” Eby said. “One guy bummed a knee. That was all.”

The fire started on the top floor of the three-story complex, and firefighters were immediately confronted with challenges. There was no sprinkler system. Golden Poles had a double metal roof which prevented a collapse, containing the fire. The back side was nothing but patios, providing no access. 

“The place was built to withstand heavy snow and there were lots of hidden places,” Eby said. “Each room was like a vault – very difficult to penetrate.”

Three million gallons of water was used to battle the blaze, according to Eby. The Government Camp water supply was soon exhausted.

“We had to take water from Trillium Lake, and every creek in Govy,” Eby said. “We had to do it.”
Firefighters and equipment from Sandy, Boring, Estacada, Clackamas, Gresham, Gladstone, Wilsonville and Lake Oswego joined forces with Hoodland Fire.

“There were so many tenders I’m not sure where they all came from,” Eby said.

Due to the depletion of the local water supply a tier-1 violation was triggered forcing a mandated Boil Water notice by the Government Camp Water Company. The notice was lifted April 22, but Steve Graeper of the Hoodland Area Water Coalition took the event as a signal to all area water companies.

“This is exactly the type of situation that calls for a united front by all Hoodland area water suppliers,” Graeper wrote in an email. “Much like it happened with Hoodland Fire District, we should all be ready to offer
assistance to a fellow water system in need. Whether it be with manpower, materials, supplies, filter trucks, excavators, you name it.”

As the flames subsided, leaving behind the destruction of Golden Poles, with the remainder of the smoke drifting high above the condominiums, Eby traveled from Hoodland to Government Camp Friday, experiencing the best moment he’d had in a while.

 “It was nice to see (this morning) on the drive up – there was no smoke,” he said. “But it’s still very unsafe in there (the condominium).”

Cause of the fire is still under investigation, and could take weeks before fire marshals make a determination, Eby said.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Bob Reeves
Reeves Retires from Villages Board posted on 05/01/2015
Bob Reeves was there when it all began.

Now, the venerable chair of the Villages at Mt. Hood, is stepping down.

“Any time a person can be involved in their community for as long as I have is a great honor,” Reeves told The Mountain Times. “While I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Villages Board, it has never been about me. We serve because we feel that we can make a difference and have something to offer. I feel blessed that I could serve as long as I did.”

In 2005, Reeves headed a committee that met with the Clackamas County Commissioners to form a transit district to serve the Mountain community. When the commission offered to be the fiscal agent for the Mountain Express bus line, the committee went to work and the transit district was formed.

That event led to the formation of the Villages at Mt. Hood, May 6, 2006, and Reeves’ tenure began.

“One thing that is overlooked (about the Villages Board) is the relationship developed between the county and our community,” Reeves said. “While we always don’t get what we ask for, we have a much better line of communication with the county staff.”

George Wilson, who now moves up to interim chair of the Board, reflected on the endurance, commitment and dedication of the departing chair.

“He is the last of the original members,” Wilson said. “While Bob and I have agreed and disagreed … we were able to work together to keep the Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors functional and operational despite the many hurdles we have had to endure. We have worked together on many issues that have been, and will continue to be, beneficial to our Mountain community.”

Longstanding board member Judith Norval has worked with Reeves for many years.

“Bob’s devotion to community service is nonpareil,” Norval said. “His presence on the Villages Board will be sorely missed.”

Reeves felt this was a good time to leave.

“The board is at full strength and they have some good ideas moving forward,” he said. “When my wife and I moved up here we did some traveling and we would like to do some more while we still can. I also have some projects at home that have been ignored.”

Reeves offered some advice regarding the future of the board.

“The Villages will survive as long as people serve for all the right reasons and represent the citizens of the community without involving their own personal agendas,” he said. “As elected people we need to remember who we work for. I think over the years we have been very fortunate to have some very good residents serve on the board. As long as this continues the Villages board will be strong.”

Although he now turns a page, Reeves will continue to serve as director on the Hoodland Fire District, the Governor’s Fire Service Policy Council, the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce Board and the Mt. Hood Bus Committee. He also serves on a county Homeless Committee and is a member of the local Heart Team.

From his new position as Villages interim chair, Wilson not only lauded Reeves for “hanging in there during rough times” but also for making the Villages a viable entity.

“I will do my best to carry the torch,” Wilson said. “I truly wish Bob all the best, and hope he spoils his wife and himself with his new-found free time.”

It is apparent that Bob Reeves left his mark on the Villages Board, and will continue to serve the community in his selfless manner.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Govy Fire Station Renovations Will Start Soon posted on 05/01/2015
The Hoodland Fire District (HFD) has received funds from Clackamas County and will shortly begin the process to hire an architect and general contractor to renovate the Government Camp fire station, according to Fire Chief Mic Eby. 

Eby noted the funds total approximately $570,000, but he anticipates using some contingency funds for the project. Eby is optimistic to get work started by this winter.

“I’d love to have a shell done by the end of summer so we can put our equipment back in there,” he said.
The renovated station will feature the same building footprint, but add another story. The downstairs area will feature bays for fire equipment, with the upstairs offering rooms for sleeping and office space.

Eby noted the biggest cost for the renovation will be adding an elevator or lift to meet ADA requirements. 
He said the current plan is to install a smaller lift that holds one wheelchair, instead of a full eight-foot square elevator.

“That looks like the direction we’re going to go,” Eby said, noting the reduced cost compared to a full elevator.

The Government Camp station is expected to have a full rescue rig in the near future, too, after the district receives a new one in late April (the new one will be housed at the main station, while one currently in use at the main station will be transferred to Government Camp). Currently, the Government Camp station features a duty rig with medical equipment on it.

Eby added that the district’s main station in Welches will likely be a candidate to be replaced in future years.

More fire news
Eby reported that he is expecting a hot and dry summer and that district responders have already started training, including more training and at higher levels for the district’s volunteers. 

The district already received its first brush fire call of the year on April 19 – not to mention the Golden Poles Fire of April 21.

Eby added that burn season may close earlier than June 1 this year, as the determination is based on conditions throughout the state and some areas are already claiming drought.

“I’m pushing people to get their burning done early,” Eby said. “I think everybody is conscientious, (when we) put the red flag warning, everybody understands.”

The district is now part of a county-wide program, PulsePoint, an app on smart phones that notifies people who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and registered through the app when someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may need help. 

The free app will also direct people to the location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator.

Eby plans on having information on the program available soon at the district’s main station, 69634 Highway 26 in Welches.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Weather Delays Work on Hwy. 26 posted on 05/01/2015
Winter’s lower snowfall seemed like a boon for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) scheduled restarting of the “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project” on April 1, but Mother Nature had different ideas. 

Two snow storms in the first two weeks of the month delayed work, including restriping the highway and pushing back the first rock blasting. But the contractor, K&E Excavating, carried out a successful blast on April 21, with another potential blast scheduled for April 28. 

Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted it is too early to know if the April delays will impact the end of this year’s construction season, expected to run through October. 

“Considering the delay happened early, there hasn’t been any talk about snow delaying work at the end of the year,” Dinwiddie said, noting they will examine the schedule and remaining work at the end of the summer.

 One highly visible addition to the project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, was installed near the end of April: trucking containers lining the side of the highway to protect cars from rock falls. 

Dinwiddie noted without the containers (expected to remain in place through May 21), some rock falls could damage vehicles and also potentially close the road for up to 20 minutes. 

“It was a real innovative solution by the contractor,” Dinwiddie said. “They have a strong commitment to safety and keeping people moving.” 

Travelers can expect work on the north and south sides of the highway, including flagging for approximately 1,000 feet, reducing the highway to one lane, from 5 a.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Friday, around the clock. There will be two lanes of traffic during the weekends, and the lane reduction and flagging is expected to end on May 21. 

Dinwiddie added that there have been concerns on Lolo Pass about the speed of trucks bringing rocks and debris to a dump site, but that the contractor has addressed that with their drivers. ODOT has also set up a system with the Hoodland Fire District (HFD) in case firefighters need to respond to an emergency past the construction area, particularly when a blast is scheduled. The district can contact an individual who will be able to stop a blast in time for responders. 

HFD Chief Mic Eby noted a similar system was in place last year, and ended up being used with a blast day getting delayed. 

“I’m actually happier this year, with us taking last years process and improving on it,” Eby said, adding that the district hopes to put a staff member and volunteer in place at the Government Camp fire station during blast times. “They showed us last year they’re serious.” Eby noted that during non-blast times, even when just one lane is open, the workers will be able to hear the sirens in time for responders to pass through with minimal or no slowing. 

He added that the district has also toured the construction zone, looking at all aspects to plan for a “worst case scenario,” including getting to patients in inclement weather.

The system got a test on Monday, April 20, due to the three-alarm fire in Government Camp. Dinwiddie noted that at the request of HFD, all traffic was stopped for a time to allow responders to go through, causing “significant delays.”

“We will always give emergency services top priority to get through,” she said. 

Dinwiddie added the contractor was also able to assist in the firefighting effort, providing some water they had on site.

Please note the Pioneer Bridle Trail is closed during blasting.

For more information, visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Explosion Rocks Rhody, One Dead posted on 04/01/2015
Mystery still surrounds the deadly March 19 explosion at Milepost 48 of Hwy. 26 east of Rhododendron.

What is known is Jeffrey Roger Williams, 24, of Portland, was killed in the blast, and Oregon Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson determined March 23 that the death was a suicide, according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Laura Pramuk.

“We were lucky enough to find fingerprints and we had enough of the hands to do a fingerprint analysis,” Gunson reported. “It confirmed it is Jeffrey Williams.”

Friends and family of Williams were puzzled, stating he was a well-adjusted person and gave no indication that he was thinking of suicide, according to a March 24 report by The Oregonian. However, Gunson indicated there was enough evidence in Williams’ background, his actions before the event, his medical records, and that he bought the explosive close to the time he used it to conclude the incident a suicide.

Authorities searched Williams’ Portland apartment and found no suicide note.

The blast created an 11-foot wide, 2-foot deep crater a few feet off the road and closed Hwy. 26 until 9 p.m. that night. That day, Gunson confirmed Williams died of “blast injuries and body fragmentation.”    

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 6:25 a.m. dispatch and arrived on the scene at 7:30 a.m. Finding evidence of the explosion, the Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit was summoned to the scene to gather evidence.

By 3 p.m., the FBI’s Evidence Response Team began processing the scene using bomb technicians and a robot to determine that no further threat existed. The robot was used to open the trunk of a nearby abandoned vehicle – Williams’ 2002 Ford Focus – and a backpack was removed from the trunk, X-rayed, but no other explosives were found. 

In all, dozens of personnel from multiple agencies worked the explosion area.

Authorities were able to determine that the victim was killed by an exploding target mixture not regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.

It is believed the blast was caused by a substantial amount of Tannerite, a material commonly used by target shooters to make exploding targets. These targets are readily available at most gun stores and on the Internet, and the mixture, when placed in a receptacle like a can, will explode when hit by a bullet. Gun fragments were found at the scene, according to Pramuk.

by Larry Berteau/MT

The hardware store remains optimistic.
Winter Flakes Out posted on 04/01/2015
Despite snowfall in the latter half of March, Mount Hood’s Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), a measure of the amount of water contained within the snowpack, remains close to a record low according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). 

On March 25, the test site, at an elevation of 5,400 feet and in the vicinity of Timberline Lodge, revealed an SWE of 13.7 inches, barely above the lowest on record in 2005 of 13.5 inches (data cited from 1981 to 2012), and 24 percent of the 30-year average, 56.6 inches.

The snow depth at the test site was 35 inches and precipitation to date was 66.4 inches, both as of March 25.
“Overall, we still have a huge deficit on snowpack,” said Andy Bryant, Service Hydrologist for NOAA. “We’ve had some rain, which certainly helps. But snowpack hasn’t gotten significantly better.”

Bryant anticipated an on/off wet pattern for the end of March and into early April, with freezing levels dropping a bit at the same time. He noted that Mount Hood typically continues to accumulate snowpack during the first half of April and sometimes into May, which is something to monitor.

“That would help to give us some snowpack to push some of that runoff into the spring and early summer,” Bryant said, adding it would help area streamflow and water temperatures.

The lack of snowpack has made the winter a challenging one for Mount Hood’s ski resorts. 
Hans Wipper, Public Relations for Mt. Hood Skibowl, reported the resort had only been open for 11 days, all during the last part of Christmas break, as of the middle of March. 

Wipper added that on the bright side, Skibowl has been able to offer tubing for visitors and even opened some of its summer activities, including the Malibu Raceway. Wipper anticipated opening almost all summer offerings for spring break, and will keep them open on weekends moving forward, weather permitting.
“You’ve kind of got to roll with the punches, and if there’s no snow, why not open up the summer activities,” said Wipper, who has worked at Skibowl for more than 20 years.

Wipper added the resort is “not throwing in the towel yet” on winter activities, and that they could open the ski lifts back up if enough snow arrives.

Jon Tullis, Director of Public Affairs at Timberline Lodge, estimated in mid March that skier business was off approximately 20 percent, but that business at the lodge and visitor numbers remained strong.

Tullis added that thanks to the resort’s higher elevation, skiing was available on the Palmer snowfield every day, and that while the lower mountain was closed, the upper mountain remained open. He also noted the late March snow should ensure that the Bruno chairlift is open for spring break and that he anticipates a good summer season.

Tullis credited Timberline’s groomers for creative snow farming (also known as harvesting), moving snow from one location to another to maximize the snowfall on their terrain.

“They’ve done a great job for us,” he said, noting the resort has a spring pass on sale that is good through Memorial Day. “All said and done it’s been a disappointing ski season but we’ve remained open.”

Tullis, who has worked at Timberline for 31 years, sees some similarities between this winter and the winter of 2005, noting that 10 year ago, the snowpack was worse at the point before gaining 100 inches by mid April. He added that skiing lasted through Aug. 18 of that year.

Dave Tragethon, Executive Director of Public Relations and Social Media at Mt. Hood Meadows, estimated the snowpack at Meadows to be approximately 20 to 25 percent of normal in mid March, which is typically more than 100 inches. The resort, however, has been open every day since Dec. 22 and will continue daily through April 12, with the possibility to stay open on weekends beyond that.

Tragethon also credited his crews for their harvesting techniques, including starting the process in November to help fortify the base area even prior to opening. He noted the resort has been able to operate most of the upper mountain, although Heather Canyon has been closed since there hasn’t been enough snowpack to build snow bridges for full access.

The conditions in January may also have contributed to the best month for ski school in Mt. Hood Meadows history, Tragethon noted, including a lot of sunshine and good snow coverage in the beginner’s terrain.

“It brought the families out, it brought the beginners out,” Tragethon said. “On one hand, we’re probably missing the hard core, powder enthusiast. But on the other hand, we’ve had more families, more beginners come out.”

Tragethon, who has been at the resort for 20 years, also saw similarities with the winter of 2005, but noted they are keeping their fingers crossed for some more spring snow.

“By no means are we throwing in the towel,” said Tragethon, while adding the resort offers spring passes. “March and April are big historical snow months.”

The cause of it all
Bryant noted that the amount of precipitation this winter is below normal, but not by a dramatic amount. Unfortunately, much of the precipitation has come during warm events, often referred to as “atmospheric rivers” or a “pineapple express.” In these cases, a storm system picks up tropical moisture, perhaps the remnants of a tropical storm, but temperatures weren’t cold enough to produce snow.

“It’s an issue more of the temperatures; this winter, our temperatures have been several degrees above average over the course of the last 90 days,” said Bryant, who added there isn’t a connection with El Nino or La Nina. “That’s really unusual around here, we typically don’t see that much deviation.”

Bryant also said there is a connection to what happened this winter in the Pacific Northwest and what happened in the eastern United States: a large area of high pressure pushed the jetstream to the north, with cold air being funneled to the east. While our temperatures were higher, the east coast endured cold temperatures mixed with storms arriving from the Atlantic resulting for many places with record snow totals.
Bryant noted that the bigger picture does not look like it will include a very wet spring for the region.

“It’s possible we’ll still have a wet spring, and that will alleviate some of the drought concerns, but at this point we’re not seeing a strong indication of that,” he said.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Dulcie Lindsoe-Johanson at the wheel.
'The Bite' Set for No. 6 posted on 04/01/2015
Bring an appetite, a love of art and music, and dig into the Sixth Annual The Bite of Mt. Hood.

Presented by the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce, the food, art auction and music extravaganza will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 11 at the Resort at the Mountain.

“It is like a family reunion,” said Chamber President Coni Scott, who doubles as chair of the event. “I talk with people that I get to see every year here at The Bite.”

Now a yearly fixture on the Mountain, The Bite began modestly with 12 volunteers that has now grown to 35 volunteers who will keep the evening running smoothly for more than 800 expected guests.

As the name boldly suggests, community members will have a smorgasbord of choices to bite into.

Participating restaurants include Skyway Bar and Grill, The Resort at the Mountain, The Shack, The Rendezvous Grill and Tap Room, The Dragonfly, The Hazelnut Bakery, Busy Bee Catering, The Whistle Stop and the Ivy Bear Family Pizzeria.

More specifically, try these menu items: seared yellowtail wonton tacos, Carlton pork and fennel meatballs, 
truffles, prime rib stroganoff, chili nachos, Shack sliders, prosciutto wrapped prawns, pizza by the slice, Horner’s famous mac and cheese, smoked sturgeon chowder, sesame pork, chocolate dipped strawberries, cinnamon rolls, lemon puffs, and the culinary delights go on and on in the annual Bite festivities.

“When I finished reading all the menu options I felt like I had gloriously journeyed where taste and beauty meet,” Scott said. “Each restaurant honors its own cuisine, characteristics of who they are, and proud of what they create. I guess all I can say is it’s more than simple food, it’s tasting masterpieces.”

Beyond the food, there will be music provided by this year’s entertainer Joe Stoddard. Combining a great sense of humor and a rich baritone voice, Stoddard brings his experience from working with The Beach Boys, Oak Ridge Boys, and many more.

More than 200 auction items will be sold off with Tom Anderson – of Rendezvous fame – making the call as auctioneer.

This year’s featured artist is Dulcie Lindsoe-Johansen, a local pottery and sculpture master.

From her Welches studio, Dulcie creates a stunning line of functional stoneware and hand-built sculptures. She has been producing and selling her work throughout the Pacific Northwest since 1980. All of her ware is thrown on the potter’s wheel. No molds are used, giving each piece its own personality.

“It is an honor to be selected as this year’s featured artist,” she said. “Many thanks are due to the Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce for their continuing good works done for the betterment of our Mountain community.”
When arriving at The Resort, look for the signs on the first floor for directions. 

For this year’s event, The Resort’s General Manager John Erickson has donated the Trees Room for those who would prefer to sit, have a drink, and enjoy the art work donations.

By Larry Berteau/MT

Tony Turin gets to know a video crew member.
Turin Turns a Shy Eye to the Camera posted on 04/01/2015
When Tony Turin separated from active military duty, setting up his family eye care business was his first goal.

March, 2014: mission accomplished.

“I’ve been counting down the days for many years to return to the Mountain community,” Turin said last year.

The Welches native served a four-year commission as an Army captain following his obtaining a doctorate in optometry from Pacific University.

Now, a year into owning his own business, he has been recognized by the Small Business Administration as a model success story in the SBA’s ongoing program called “Boots to Business.”

The recognition turned into something more tangible when a documentary film crew led by independent 
video producer Dick Phillips set up shop at Turin’s eye care center March 24 and 25 in Sandy.

The SBA is producing a series of success stories about veterans who have successfully started their own businesses, and Turin was the third in the series, according to Leigh Ann Arnold of the Office of Veterans Business Development of the SBA, who was on site for the taping.

“Honestly, I could not believe it,” Turin said. “It was very humbling to have a crew fly out from Washington, D.C. to film our small clinic in Sandy.”

The Boots to Business series will be distributed to more than 165 military installations around the world for veterans to view, according to Arnold, who also noted the SBA will use the series for internal curriculum as well.

When asked if he was walking in the footsteps of his film star father, Dave Turin (of Gold Rush fame), Tony’s response was a quick one.

“No way,” he said. “I have enjoyed watching him become a big name but I would not do well having so much publicity. I am OK being known in a small community, but not to the same extent as my dad.”

Friday, after the dust had settled, the film crew had moved on, and Mt. Hood Eye Care got back to business, Turin had a moment to reflect.

“It is such an honor and I have much to be grateful for,” he said. “I appreciate that they (SBA) are continuing to honor veterans even after leaving active duty.”

Tony Turin’s service and accomplishments are easily honored as well.

By Larry Berteau/MT

City Moves Forward with Urban Renewal Amendment posted on 04/01/2015
The City of Sandy is expected to create a substantial amendment to the city’s urban renewal plan sometime in early April, including feedback the city received during a public forum held Wednesday, March 11. 

The amendment could allow the city to secure funding to potentially acquire the Cedar Ridge Middle School campus, including the Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center, and create a new recreation hub.

Sandy City Manager Seth Atkinson noted a long and drawn out public process is necessary to put the amendment in place, including approval by the city’s planning commission and approval by all other taxing districts that overlap the urban renewal area.

“We essentially need 75 percent of taxing districts to approve the amendment,” Atkinson said. “If we don’t get 75 percent, then we won’t be able to do it. If so, back to city council for final approval.”

Atkinson added the process to get approval from all those entities, including tax districts such as the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD), the Sandy Fire District (SFD), the Port of Portland and the Clackamas Education Service District, could take up to four months. The 75 percent threshold for approval was added by legislation enacted by the state in 2009, after the city’s last amendment to the urban renewal plan.

SFD Chief Phil Schneider, who is the district’s representative on Sandy’s urban renewal agency, already received confirmation from enough board members to support the amendment. 

The district, which can receive urban renewal funds for “brick and mortar” projects, is currently in the process of getting facts and figures in anticipation of a seismic upgrade of the main fire station in Sandy.

“We’re not going anywhere, we’re staying here,” Schneider said.

Julia Monteith, Communications Director for the OTSD, noted the school district would be in support of the amendment, while adding that there is “nothing different at this point” regarding the status of the pool, which is set to cease operating by Nov. 30, 2015 or when the $400,000 budget the district allotted for its operations ends, whichever comes first.

If the city is able to acquire the school campus, it is expected to include a fee on its residents’ utility bill to fund the operation of the recreation center.

Urban renewal basics
Urban renewal for cities stretches back to 1957 and provides a way to finance projects in designated areas. 
The tax base for the area is “frozen” for all overlapping jurisdictions, while the increases in taxes over that base in the subsequent years are used by the agency. 

The urban renewal plan doesn’t increase taxes, but it changes the distribution of the collected money.

Sandy’s urban renewal agency, which administers the plan, is comprised of the city council, a member of the SFD and a member of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce. Sandy’s urban renewal plan was originally adopted in 1998, has a maximum indebtedness of $18 million and is currently projected to go until fiscal year 2020-21.

Projects funded by Sandy’s urban renewal plan include storefront and streetscape improvements and the new Sandy Police Department building.

Atkinson noted the storefront improvements have garnered the most feedback, both from city residents and visitors passing through.

“I would say the facade grant program has been one of the most visible and most talked about projects,” he said, noting the program is still ongoing.

Other projects to be considered as part of the amendment, which would increase the maximum indebtedness of the plan, include road extensions for 362nd Avenue and Bell Street, continuation of the storefront program and assistance to the SFD.

by Garth Guibord/MT

The Salmon Surprise
FISH ON -- Chinook Salmon posted on 04/01/2015
There are many indications that in the past the Sandy River hosted huge runs of Chinook salmon. Of the five species of Pacific salmon, Chinooks are the best equipped to exploit highly fluctual, glacial/volcanic watersheds like the Sandy River basin. 

Chinook populations have to be pivotal to the overall fishery management scheme in this river system. Spring Chinook are the largest spawning biomass in the upper basin. Fall Chinook are the largest spawning biomass in the lower main-stem. Therefore they are potentially the basis of the food chain for both trout and steelhead.
Chinook spawn (eggs) and carcasses provide nutrients to the system, both directly and indirectly. Chinook eggs are ravenously consumed by all sizes of salmonids, cotids and minnows – whenever they are available. Salmon carcasses are prey to all kinds of beneficial insects and plants, which are also consumed by other species of fish, of many sizes. 

Chinook fry are some of the earliest to emerge from the gravel (March-April). This emergence provides an early spring meal for trout and steelhead juveniles, which are two or more years older. Chinook fry are consumed by all fish that are large enough to eat them. 

John Peterson, who was a fishery tech for the Mt. Hood National Forest, was in charge of the Still Creek fish trap. This trap is placed to capture downstream migrating fish. Most of the fish that have been caught in this trap are juvenile salmon, trout and steelhead. A small sample of each specie was killed for scientific study. These studies included stomach autopsies. John reported that most of the wild steelhead smolts had gorged on Chinook fry. No doubt resident cutthroat and rainbow trout partake of this same feast.
Spring Chinook fry emerge January through March. Fall Chinook fry emerge February through April. They are about 1 1/2 inches long when they become free swimming.  Many Chinook salmon rear in the stream for less than one year before going to sea. Some start to out-migrate immediately upon emerging from the gravel. Most are about 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 inches long when they enter the salt. By comparison, the average out-migrating steelhead smolts are usually 5 to 7 inches and may be more than 10 inches. 

Chinook fry emergence is perfectly coordinated with the peak downstream migration of juvenile steelhead. Juvenile steelhead consume large amounts of Chinook fry on their way to the ocean. Chinook fry are larger food which permit the steelhead juveniles to grow very quickly and enables them to compete better in the ocean. 

Since the Chinook and larger steelhead are out-migrating together, this symbiotic relationship may continue for a while at sea. However, ocean rearing Chinooks tend to feed at much greater depths than do steelhead and the two populations are soon parted.

Since Chinooks out-migrate at a comparative small size, they probably don’t compete much with other species for food or space while in the stream. They are a wind-fall profit in the food chain department. Basin populations of every other wild salmonid specie are probably highly dependent on very large healthy populations of spawning and emerging Chinooks. 

If we have more Chinooks we will probably have more of everything else. 

Chinooks were the most abundant salmonid in the Columbia River basin. They were also the most desirable salmonid for table fare. They were highly exploited by indigenous populations of humans for thousands of years. They were soon over exploited by the present civilization to the point of near extinction.

This happened very early in our history. Records show that in 1877 there were more than a thousand 1,200-foot long gill nets and many fish traps working the Columbia River. All of the larger tributaries also had nets and traps. Most of the Chinook runs were on the brink by 1885. This is long before we kept records of wild fish populations. 

I think that all of the west-slope rivers were much richer in all of their fish runs before the Chinook populations were reduced. The catastrophic reductions in Chinook runs probably brought a biological collapse to much of the Columbia River basin, both east and west of the Cascades. 

Sandy River Chinooks were some of the first to be heavily targeted by commercial fishermen. The mouth of the Sandy is in close proximity to the largest population area. Nets and fish wheels probably killed most of the Sandy River Chinook runs before 1880. 

A salmon hatchery was established on South Boulder Creek, a tributary to the Salmon River in 1892. This hatchery was to supply Chinook eggs to bolster the failing Clackamas River runs. Chinook eggs were taken from mid-July through November. There were fair numbers of fish. 

But what the hatchery people found at the mouth of South Boulder Creek in 1892 was probably no more than the remnant valleys, after the peak runs had been cropped to extinction. Old records speak of July spawning Chinooks in both the Sandy and Clackamas drainage’s. There is indication that in the first two years of hatchery operation; peak-spawning activity was in mid to late August. These upper river runs had severely declined by 1900. By 1906 the runs were so poor that the hatchery was shut down.

(Next month, our fishing guide will explore the fate of the great Chinook, and their return to prosperity.) 

by Mark Bachmann/MT

Trucks to Return to Lolo Pass.
THE BIG DIG: Season 2 posted on 03/01/2015
Work is expected to resume April 1 on Hwy. 26 as part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project,” which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents. 

Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted the first work will include creating access roads for future excavation and blasting, along with re-striping the highway and placing a temporary barrier to reduce traffic to one lane in each direction.

Blasting is expected to take place in April, but no firm dates have been set. Dinwiddie added that all blasting must be completed by the end of the 2015 construction season, set for the end of October.

“If they get it done earlier, that would be great,” Dinwiddie said. “It is possible.”

The contractor, K&E Excavating, will perform work on both sides of the highway this summer between Map Curve and Mirror Lake, with one lane of traffic in each direction for approximately three miles. Last year, the one-lane reduction lasted for 1.5 miles.

Dinwiddie noted that the traffic congestion last year “wasn’t terrible” and backups were likelier when a heavy truck was heading east (uphill). She credited motorists for adjusting travel schedules to avoid blast times, which are the same for this year and can lead to road closures of up to one hour between 5:30-7:30 p.m. on up to three days per week from Monday through Thursday.

“We didn’t see terrible tie-ups and we hope it’s the same thing this year,” Dinwiddie said.

She added that the speed limit in the construction zone will be 45 mph and that police will be enforcing it.
K&E Excavating is expected to work long days during the 2015 construction period, from sunrise to sunset every day of the week except Sunday, and may also work at night.

“We’re trying to stay out of everybody’s way,” Dinwiddie said. “But be aware that contractors will be out working six days a week.”

Materials removed during blasting will be taken to various sites on the Mountain, including up Lolo Pass Road and to the Tamarack Quarry near Trillium Lake. Dinwiddie noted the contractor expects to remove more rock than last year, which could lead to fewer trucks on Lolo Pass Road, as the two sites accessed there are set to receive softer material, such as vegetation and dirt.

When the two sites up Lolo Pass Road are filled, they will be returned to their natural character.

Dinwiddie added that other aspects of the project include reusing materials removed from the project area in other parts of the forest, including using fallen trees for fish habitat in rivers and crushing the rock blasted from the slopes at Mirror Lake to create a retaining wall that will protect the Pioneer Bridle Trail (a large pile of rocks now sits next to Hwy. 26 where the wall will be built).

Dinwiddie reported that a minor rock fall occurred on a bank at Map Curve that had not been worked on last summer. The debris was enough to cover the westbound travel lanes, but ODOT was able to clean it up in one day.

Despite the mild winter, there will be no early start date to resume the project.

“It is tempting to get some work done now, however the contractor does plan to start work on April 1,” Dinwiddie said.

An online open house is expected to take place during March at us26mthoodsafety.org with an open house also held from 5-7 p.m. Monday, March 30, at The Resort at The Mountain.

The project is expected to run each year between April and October through 2016.
For more information, visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Fir Tree Carnage Spurs Action
Water Coalition Goes 'Mutual' posted on 03/01/2015
When a tree fell in the forest back in November of 2009, it’s safe to say it was heard.

The 85-foot Douglas fir slammed into the Rhododendron water treatment plant, cutting the water supply to the homes connected by the Rhododendron Water Association (RWA). Steve Graeper, president of RWA, along with water master David Jacob, responded by hooking into the system of neighboring Lady Creek Water Association, and within five days RWA customers had their water restored.

That event of mutual cooperation led to a Sept. 20, 2014 meeting where 17 of the 58 water systems between Alder Creek and Government Camp were represented by individuals to form a coalition of responders.

On Feb. 21, the Hoodland Area Water Coalition (HAWC) was officially formed at a meeting of water board members held at The Resort. Eighteen of the 58 water systems were represented.

Graeper pointed out how none of the members are competitors.

“We are all striving to do the same thing: provide safe drinking water to our customers,” Graeper said. “Why anyone would not want to be a part of this, I have no idea.”

There is much work to be done, but some of it is already in motion. A free Wiki website has been set up at https://sites.google.com/site/hoodlandwater. A purchase of a domain name is in the works. Jacob is completing an area boundary map so that HAWC systems can be identified by the county and local fire departments.

At the same meeting, Ken Schlegal, chairman of the Oregon Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (ORWARN), pointed to the work of his group and that emergencies transcend jurisdictional boundaries, and the need for utilities helping other utilities.

Schlegal also noted that often times, in emergencies, federal response hinges on whether there exist mutual aid agreements between associations.

“The presentation of ORWARN was eye opening,” Graeper told The Mountain Times. “Mutual aid agreements are common to fire districts, why can’t they be initiated between water systems? Hopefully, HAWC can facilitate that.”

Graeper also noted that if HAWC can be there to gather contact information about each other, and provide assistance to each other in time of need, or just be there for each other as information sources, all water system customers will be better served.

“Down the line we could even form a buying group to obtain quantity discounts on treatment supplies that are common to all water systems,” Graeper said. “Saving money is a good thing. The possibilities are endless if we just learn to work together. I see HAWC as a first step toward working together for a common good.”

by Larry Berteau/MT

Demetrio Martinez installs Sandy fiber.
Sandy Shows Support for Broadband posted on 03/01/2015
The City of Sandy started its municipal internet service provider, known as SandyNet, in 2003 and is now in the middle of upgrading to a fiber optic network. 

But while Sandy’s residents have enjoyed the successful venture into internet service, some states have laws that prohibit municipalities from even offering it.

Now Sandy has added its support alongside the Next Century Cities (an initiative supporting communities seeking fast, affordable and reliable internet) and 38 other cities in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to respect community choice for internet infrastructure.
Mayor Bill King and City Council President Jeremy Pietzold signed their names to a letter which was sent prior to the FCC meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 26 when it was expected to consider a memorandum opinion and order addressing petitions filed by two municipal broadband providers to preempt provisions of state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee restricting communities from providing broadband services.

“This group is all in favor of expanding broadband service,” Sandy City Manager Seth Atkinson said. “We think that’s a worthy endeavor.”

The ruling will have no impact on SandyNet.

The letter reads, in part:
“It is increasingly clear that ultra-fast, next-generation Internet networks are the key to building and sustaining thriving communities, as essential as good healthcare, great schools, and reliable public safety. Indeed, in the coming decades, the Internet will increasingly become a platform for delivering these and other core services to our citizens, in addition to providing an onramp to the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow. Providing high-quality Internet is inarguably essential to safeguarding the public interest in the years and decades to come.”

Atkinson said Sandy’s success in the field shows “how it can happen.” 

The service had approximately 1,200 customers on the old wireless system and is already up to 1,800 signups for the new network.

“Our expectations were very much met, with people demanding the service,” Atkinson said. “It’s gone a little faster than we thought it would.”

The new service will provide internet service at approximately 20 times the speed of a wireless service, and Atkinson sees the new capabilities as a good marketing tool to bring new business to the city.
“We really see this hopefully as an economic development tool moving forward,” he said.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Prize of the Deschutes: a Redside
Fish On: The Deschutes posted on 03/01/2015
You are waist deep in the riffle, the shadows and reflections of the basalt ramparts above turn the water golden brown. The fly rides in the surface film under light tension, the long rod balances lightly in your hand. Your eyes wander to the Great Blue Heron stoically perched in an alder tree across the river. You are content in this soft fluid world. The line tightens in a slow but deliberate pull and the heavy fish twists and turns trying to dislodge your hook. Your rod arches with his power and the line melts from your screaming reel. An incredible distance away the huge silver and gunmetal fish bolts through the surface and you are caught in the frenzy of your first Deschutes Steelhead. 

And time stands still.

The Deschutes River heads in South Central Oregon and flows nearly 300 miles due north to enter the Columbia River near The Dalles. It drains all of the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range. Although this drainage is located in the arid rain shadow of the Cascades, the large area encompassed produces a river with average annual flows of more than 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the mouth. One hundred miles upstream from the mouth, Pelton Dam creates 400 foot deep Lake Billy Chinook. Agreements with the Power Company keep water fluctuations to a minimum. This tail-water effectively turns the next 60 miles of the Deschutes into an enormous spring creek.

The lower 100 miles of the Deschutes is one of the most prolific trout streams in the western United States. Seventy miles are open to angling year round. In this unique river, wild endemic desert rainbow trout rise to myriad hatches in riffles and back eddies mirroring green alders and brown basalt cliffs. These distinctive fish are affectionately called Redsides and are linked to the desert Red Band Trout group. Rocky Mountain Whitefish add to the spectacular nymph fishing. An occasional native Bull Trout adds variety.

The Deschutes River canyon is an oasis in the sagebrush covered desert. Bird life is concentrated here, attracted by the hatches that also feed the fish. Game animals come to water. The sun shines an average of 300 days a year. The air is pure and clear. In winter the Deschutes often has warm mid-day sun which triggers hatches of tiny may flies and great dry fly fishing. Early spring is a time of March Browns or Gray wing Olives. Late spring and early summer brings on the world famous Salmon Fly hatch. The warm weather of mid-summer through October brings hatches of caddis, midges, mayflies and small stone flies.

Steelhead are available nearly year round, but mid-July through November is prime time when mint bright summer Steelhead enter the river. These aggressive fish come readily to the surface and create one of the premier floating line steelhead fisheries in the world.

The Deschutes River in Central Oregon drains the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range. The cold green water provides a counterpoint in what is otherwise a stark and arid landscape. The lower 100 miles of the Deschutes River Canyon averages 2,000 feet deep. The sparse vegetation allows the angler to observe nearly twenty five million years of geologic history recorded in the steep canyon walls. Forty million years ago Central Oregon was a semi-tropical, flat coastal plain which may have received 240 inches of rain fall per year. About 30 million years ago the drifting Continental and Pacific Plates collided. The Continental Plate was pushed on top of the Pacific Plate and the coastline started to gain elevation. This was the birth of both the Cascade and Coast Range of mountains. 

The Deschutes trout fishery is regulated to sustain and enhance its populations of wild endemic fish. Only two trout per day between 10 and 13 inches may be harvested. Only barbless hooks on lures and flies are allowed. The use of bait is prohibited. No fishing from a floating device is allowed. Deschutes Redsides are a unique subspecies of rainbow trout called Desert Red Band Trout. Adult fish are heavily built and often brightly colored. They are very strong and acrobatic when hooked. 

The Deschutes River contains every age group with the highest population made up of three to four year old specimens that range from 13 to 18 inches and weigh 1-1/2 to 3 pounds. Twenty-inch fish weigh more than four pounds and 23-inch fish weigh about six pounds. Many of these larger fish are four and five year olds which have not reached sexual maturity. They are incredibly strong and fast and can be extremely wary.
Deschutes Redsides are primarily insectivorous with stone flies, caddis flies and may flies making up the highest percentage of the diet for fish under four years old. Larger fish consume large amounts of insects, but also eat many crayfish. 

Since much of the Deschutes is open to the angler year round, fly fishing opportunities exist all year.

by Mark Bachmann/MT
Welches Student 'Jets' to Spelling Bee posted on 03/01/2015
Welches sixth grader Madison Bowling put in a lot of practice time with her dad before the school’s second annual spelling bee, held Wednesday, Feb. 11 (sponsored by the district’s Talented and Gifted Program).
During her preparation, one word was a little problematic: jettison, which Bowling spelled “j-e-d-i-s-o-n” on her first attempt, so she gave it a little more attention and work to get it down right.

When the competition arrived, featuring 16 of the best spellers Welches School has to offer, Bowling found herself going for the victory with just one word to spell.

“She said ‘jettison’ and I thought, ‘Oh yeah, I got this,’” said Bowling, who was the runner up in last year’s bee.

Now Bowling will get to prepare for the Portland spelling bee on Saturday, March 7, with a chance to go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“I’m feeling nervous, definitely, but I’m really excited,” Bowling said.

Fourth grader Denali Barrett placed second, failing to correctly spell “modicum,” but she’s already got a plan in place for next year’s bee.

“Practice a little better on all the words,” Barrett said.

Last year’s winner from Welches, Savannah DiMicoli, bowed out earlier in the competition after missing out on “credulity.” 

But DiMicoli did offer some advice to the new school champ about the Portland competition, including trying to make friends with some of the other spellers.

“They seem really intimidating but I actually made friends there,” DiMicoli said. “It’s scary. There’s a ton of old people and they’re all really quiet and they’re staring at you. It’s really nerve wracking; just don’t go too fast.”

Welches Principal Kendra Payne noted the competition brings academic skills to the forefront like sports does for physical skills. 

She added that the student body also gets to practice appropriate audience behavior during the bee and that the preparation for the bee helps bring together students from all grade levels.

“I really like that it becomes a collective experience for our kids since they all take the same version of the final test,” Payne wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “In the week before, I overheard kids who didn’t compete in the final Spelling Bee talking about the words and comparing their results.”

by Garth Guibord/MT

Photo by Fox Searchlight
National Forest Lauded for 'Wild' Work posted on 02/02/2015
Leanne Veldhuis, Special Uses Program Manager for the Mount Hood National Forest (MHNF), noted that before the recently released movie “Wild” got to film scenes around Mount Hood, the production hit a snag during the permitting process. 

Just as work on the permit started in October, 2013, the federal government shut down for approximately three weeks, putting employees of the U.S. Forest Service on furlough.

Luckily, Veldhuis added, the film crew could shift their schedule to prioritize some scenes on private land until the permit process could be completed. And she noted that the film crew fortunately avoided early winter weather that could have made things worse.

“If it had been later in the year when the weather turns for the worst, you can really lose your filming window,” Veldhuis said. “It could have had serious repercussions for the film.”

But the hard word was worth it from all the parties involved and on Tuesday, Jan. 6, Governor John Kitzhaber presented an Oregon Film & Television Office’s Annual Governor’s Award in the category of “Film Advocate” to the MHNF for their work on the film.

Bill Westbrook, District Ranger for the Zigzag Ranger District said in a press release, “It always feels good to be recognized for hard work. Putting together filming permits like the one we established for Wild took great efforts from many talented staff members. It’s wonderful to celebrate their efforts in this way.”

The film (based on a book by Cheryl Strayed), stars Reese Witherspoon as a woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) by herself after her life spirals downward and features numerous locations in the MHNF, including the Clackamas Lake Ranger Station complex, Timberline Lodge and SkiBowl.

Veldhuis noted that she and Kathleen Walker, Westside Recreation Program Manager for the MHNF, spent time monitoring the sites where filming took place to ensure nothing was damaged. On one occasion in the past, she added, a film crew at the Clackamas Lake Guard Station used some heavy equipment too close to the building, which had a negative impact on the site.

Their responsibilities included preventing damage to structures (such as nails put into walls), protecting salmon and other wildlife and stopping any pollution from contaminating wetlands – basically enforcing to the fullest extent the “Leave No Trace” principals. Veldhuis also noted there is a balance to be struck between the people who want pristine forest and those who want to use it for artistic purposes.

“We’re public servants, right, so we’re representing the interests of the American people,” Veldhuis said.

Veldhuis and Walker both noted how some of the most time-consuming work performed by the film crew resulted in only a few seconds of screen time in the final film. The Clackamas Lake Guard Station, for instance, includes a ranger’s office and a barn, both called for in the script. But instead of using the real spaces, the film crew created new ones by building intricate sets, including making an office in a mess hall and using a warehouse as the barn.

“They ended up spending a lot of time to create a corral outside the barn,” Walker said.

The process for acquiring a film permit is the same as commercials and photo shoots. Fees are based on the number of people involved and the number of days in the forest. The permit for “Wild,” which had a crew of 75 in the forest for nine days, cost $828 per day.

Five percent of the funds collected go to the Washington, D.C. office of the USFS, while approximately 80 percent go to the local agency. Veldhuis noted the MHNF uses the money to “help build the program,” including staff time for future film projects and the like.

“That money collected goes back into managing the land,” she said. “It’s a good thing.”

Interest in PCT 
already increasing
Both Walker and Veldhuis also reflected on how “Wild” should increase interest in the PCT, something Jack Haskel, Trail Information Specialist for the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), reported has already happened. The trail stretches from Mexico to Canada through a wide range of terrain, from deserts to lush forests and more, but Haskel noted there are no hard numbers for how many people utilize the trail or parts thereof each year.

Haskel added that the impact from the book, and the book it’s based on, has had a notable increase in the donations, volunteers, website views, phone calls and social media activity for the PCTA. The organization has responded by launching a campaign called “Responsibly Wild,” including public service announcements and a microsite (a small cluster of stand-alone web pages) to increase awareness of “Leave No Trace” principals and how to be safe when hiking in the wilderness. 

“It’s really important that they don’t get in trouble,” Haskel said of new potential hikers.

Haskel added that the Mount Hood chapter of the PCTA is the strongest volunteer program in the organization, with approximately 900 people, and that the stretch of the PCT around Mount Hood is “really fantastic.”

 He recommended summer as the best time for hiking, to avoid the perils of snow, such as getting lost and falling (while muddy and wet trails also receive more damage from hikers).

Fore more information, visit pcta.org.

by Garth Guibord/MT

The Swinging Bridge losing its grip.
Rhody Bridge Awaits its Fate posted on 02/02/2015
The future of the swinging bridge in Rhododendron sways in the balance, awaiting a decision by the federal government on a grant application that was expected to be filed Jan. 30 – just after press time. 

It seems the 50-year-old swinger is in dire need of repairs, or perhaps replacement.

A Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) grant application – created by  Principal Planner Larry Conrad and Engineering Manager Mike Bezner – went before the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners Jan. 20, and board staff recommended the application. The recommendation calls for a grant of $1,050,000 to replace the bridge, or an alternate proposal of $291,833 for repairs.

The bridge that spans the Zigzag River – known locally as the swinging bridge – came into being at the point where the old Mt. Hood Loop Highway crossed the river before being washed out in the devastating flood of 1964.

The swinging bridge was built by the county to provide a crossing for pedestrians and bicycles to the community of Rhododendron. The crossing serves more than 250 permanent and part-time residences on Mt. Hood National Forest Service and private property.

Steve Graeper, president of the Rhododendron CPO was quick to urge the board to recommend the FLAP application.

In a Jan. 19 letter to the board – the day before the BCC met – Graeper wrote:

“Maintaining this crossing location is paramount to not only the residents and commercial establishments in the area, but to the bicycle tourism industry by providing a convenient and safe crossing of the Zigzag River, away from the dangers inherent with the heavily traveled Hwy. 26. Without this crossing location, alternate routes to cross the river would be over a mile away and would require travel along a lengthy stretch of Hwy. 26.

“Additionally, the Rhododendron CPO favors the replacement of the existing bridge through funds acquired from this grant application rather than just maintaining the existing swinging bridge. At only 6 feet wide, the current bridge does not allow for easy passage of two-way pedestrian or bicycle traffic.”

The replacement bridge would be 12-feet wide and provide for one-way vehicle traffic.

Graeper also noted that the current configuration as a suspension bridge causes it to easily bounce risking the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists that could be a liability for the county.

Graeper continued to point out that replacing the bridge with one that meets county standards would increase the probability that at least one bridge would remain in the event of another catastrophic flood and would allow emergency aid for victims who would otherwise be stranded on the peninsula between Still Creek and the Zigzag River.

In the BCC executive summary it was pointed out that while replacing the bridge is higher than the cost of major repairs, the Transportation Maintenance Division has indicated the reduced long-term maintenance costs associated with a new bridge would more than offset the short-term costs of replacing the existing bridge.

The FLAP review of the grant application could take as long as six months, according to Graeper.
Meanwhile, the swinging bridge rocks along, awaiting its fate.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Miller (left) and Chief Eby
Nick Miller Named Firefighter of the Year posted on 02/02/2015
When Nick Miller first joined the Hoodland Fire District as a volunteer in 2001, he was an “un-corralled, wild kid with a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” according to Fire Chief Mic Eby. 

But Eby noted that over the years, Miller has focused that energy and enthusiasm in becoming one of the best volunteers in the district.

And on Saturday, Jan. 24, at The Resort at The Mountain, Miller’s hard work and focus earned him the Firefighter of the Year award at the district’s annual banquet.

“I joined the fire department to help serve the community I grew up in,” Miller said after receiving the award. “It’s great to receive the award, but I basically do it for the community.”

Eby noted one of Miller’s greatest contributions was invigorating the responders in the Brightwood area. The district’s station there previously was “dead,” Eby explained, but things turned around with Miller responding to even late night calls.

“Now he’s an anchor point for main station for late night calls,” Eby added.

Miller is currently attending an Emergency Medical Technician class to become a medic, which Eby described as “the first steps to advancing to a senior firefighter.”

The district also honored two Rookies of the Year, one from each of the past two recruit classes: Kevin Frank from the 2013 class and Susan Mikolasy from the 2014 class. Mikolasy serves at the Government Camp station, and she also attends meetings in the community as a district representative, cleaned and organized the station and made a new sign for it. Frank serves at the Brightwood station, where he arrives at 7 a.m. in the morning to clean rigs and call in a report, while also typically being the first responder to arrive on a scene and the last to leave.

“Both of them were kind of like the steadfast class leaders, doing a lot to maintain and keep them together,” Eby said.

Linn Norgard, who has served the district for 30 years, earned the district’s Officer of the Year award. Eby noted that thanks to his long history with the district, Norgard has filled in for himself and the deputy chief at numerous meetings.

“He’s been our clutch hitter, so to speak,” Eby said. “He knows the district, he knows the people, he knows the department.”

The EMS of the Year award went to Melinda Revere, a member of the 2014 training company. Eby credited Revere with excellent diagnostic abilities and bedside manner, and for being one of the most physically fit volunteers in the district.

“It seems to me every time I work with her she’s getting better,” Eby said.

The Above and Beyond Community Recognition award went to the Hoodland Fire Support Group, who prepare food for firefighters returning from a house fire and other calls. The group also prepared the food for the standby firefighters from other districts (including Sandy, Boring, Colton and Estacada) who covered the district during the banquet.

“They’re there whenever we need them, day or night,” Eby said. “A lot of times, we see them after a call, always there with smiles and food. They make a hard night’s work worth it when you come in and there’s the nice smell of food.”

“They deserve it,” he added. “They’ve been more than supportive; it’s all encompassing.”

The district also awarded Years of Service awards to Karin Powell and Tony Hadeed for three years, Battalion Chief Casey Buck for 25 years, Senior Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Kline and Battalion Chief Pat McAbery for 30 years each, and to Chief Eby for 35 years, while honoring Kim Weaver, who retired after 19 years of service.

“We appreciate the time he’s given us and the support for the district,” Eby said.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Medford Skier Dies at Skibowl posted on 02/02/2015
New Year’s Eve brought great sadness to Skibowl when a skier died during a night skiing accident. 

At approximately 8:30 p.m., ski patrol was notified that Brian Fletcher, 37, of Medford was skiing with friends when he caught an edge and fell on a ski run, according to Skibowl public relations spokesman Hans Wipper.

 Ski patrol and American Medical Response personnel were unable to revive him. 

“We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” Wipper wrote to The Mountain Times in an email. “The run was appropriately designated as a Black Diamond (most difficult). The presence or lack of signage had no bearing on the accident as he caught an edge and fell.” 

However, Andrew Fletcher, the father of the skier, wrote in an email to The Oregonian that his son was an excellent and cautious skier with many years of experience. He questioned whether the signage on the mountain was adequate near the intersection of the two trails. 

In his email to the MT, Wipper cited the Duties of Oregon Skiers that apply to the situation. 

Duties of Skiers under Oregon Law (ORS 30.985): 

– Skiers shall be the sole judges of the limits of their ability to meet and overcome the inherent risks of skiing and shall maintain reasonable control of speed and course. 

– Skiers shall familiarize themselves with posted information on location and degree of difficulty of trails and slopes to the extent reasonably possible before skiing on any slope or trail.

by Larry Berteau/MT

You need a big net.
Fish On posted on 02/02/2015
The Sandy River falls 6,000 feet in 55 miles. The headwaters get more than 100 inches of rainfall every year. 

For these reasons, water flows remain constant only for very short periods.  This river doesn’t just flow downhill, it literally pulses though its channel.  There is a daily pulse, inside the weekly pulse, which coordinates with an annual pulse of water flow, which is determined by the Earth/Sun cycle and the resulting seasonal temperature and the precipitation cycle.

The fish follow these rhythms. As a matter of fact they are genetically selected by, and adapted to survive within these cycles. Their individual lives and racial histories are determined by hundreds or thousands of pulses within these natural cycles. 

Mother Nature can be the cruelest of all mistresses. A fish egg buried in the gravel at the wrong time of year, or in the wrong place, may be frozen solid or ground to bits by rolling down this river in a catastrophic flood.  That is why there are not only different races of steelhead, but also different races of salmon as well.  

Each is adapted to fill a different niche. Starting with the Winter Solstice, first comes the winter steelhead, then summer steelhead mixed with spring Chinooks, then Cohos mixed with fall Chinooks. 

Each specie and sub-specie is adapted to a particular water flow and temperature.  And so the beat goes on for thousands, nay for millions of years.

Early November is Indian Summer in the Sandy River canyon. Days are mid-50s and nights are in the 40s. The first light rains of the fall season raise river levels.  A few summer steelhead and a few winter steelhead are available. The first wild winter steelhead are some of the most aggressive biters of the year.

 November can be a most interesting month as the angler may catch steelhead that have been in fresh water for six months or six days. Their form and color will vary greatly. Most are two salt fish from seven to 12 pounds.

The winter run peaks during the last two weeks in January through the first two weeks in March. 
Winter steelhead are normally available in fishable numbers through April and occasional stragglers are caught as late as June. 

Through the peak of the season water temperatures in the lower river can vary from 44 degrees to 35 degrees with 38-40 degrees average. By late April water temperatures average around 50 degrees.

by Mark Bachmann/MT

Kathryn Bliss on her last day at the Vous.
Kathryn Bliss Retires from The Rendezvous posted on 02/02/2015
The transition promises to be seamless, but a certain “Bliss” will be missing. 

After 20 years of operation, the first change in ownership and in the kitchen took place in mid-January at The Rendezvous Grill. Co-founder and owner Chef Kathryn Bliss is tossing aside her apron. 

“I made the decision about a year and a half ago, but it took me five months to tell Tom (Anderson, co-owner),” Bliss said. “Now, I’m going to pause, live life for a while, a different kind of life, with weekends off.” 

Under her guidance, The Rendezvous Grill became a leader in the fresh local food movement. Her networking with local ranchers and growers for the best food available, as well as constantly changing of desserts, and placing an emphasis on Northwest seafood, made her an industry leader. 

“Procure a food product that is someone’s labor of love, and half the work of cooking is done, as long as it is treated with passion and respect,” Bliss said. “This has been my passion. Thank you for letting me share it with the community.” 

Owner Tom Anderson will miss his prized chef. 

“Not only will we miss Kathryn’s skills as a chef, but her leadership, intensity and dedication to training cooks and future chefs created this special place,” Anderson said. 

Leaving has been more difficult that Bliss thought. 

“It’s been my baby for 20 years,” she said. “But my ties to the Mountain are not over.” Then, on her last day on the job, she added (with a chuckle), “To the very end I’m bossing people around.” 

Remembering back, she couldn’t help to site her biggest disaster. 

“It was 10 years ago,” she said. “My big idea was fathers eat free on Father’s Day. The patio was open, the place was packed. The wind picked up, rain began to fall, then a huge clap of thunder followed by a downpour. Customers fled the patio for indoors, holding their food in their hands. Tom was having a cow.” 

But to this day, the Father’s Day special continues. 

What will she miss the most? 

“My customers, my employees, vendors, local producers of beef and produce,” she said. “They’re all my friends.” 

But won’t she miss the cooking? 

“Yes and no on the kitchen,” she said, the chuckle returning. 

The new chef and partner is already in place. Mathias Englom grew up on the Mountain, is a culinary school graduate, and cooked at The Rendezvous for several years prior to becoming the sous chef. He then moved on to the executive chef position at Full Sail in Hood River. 

He is excited for the opportunity and looking forward to the shorter commute. Englom will be helped by sous chef Lisa Lanxon who has been at The Rendezvous the past four years. 

“When partnered with Mathias, Lisa’s knowledge and sense of savory ensures that the great food found at The Rendezvous will continue into the future,” Bliss said. 

Meanwhile, the Bliss future starts a new chapter.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Josie and Faith in action.
For Josie Dockery, Riding is a Barrel of Fun posted on 01/01/2015
A little more than 18 months ago, Josie Dockery was first introduced to horses during a sleepover at a friend’s house. At the time, Dockery, now a sixth grader at Welches Middle School, took a pony out and rode in some mock competitions around flower pots.

Today, the 11-year-old’s room is adorned with countless ribbons and other prizes (including two belt buckles, two jackets, boots and a halter breast collar); her spoils from various competitions (held by the Clackamas County Gaming Association and other groups), including barrel racing, pole bending, figure eight, key racing, stake racing, western riding, showmanship and more.

“I really want to go do NFR (National Finals Rodeo) barrel racing,” Dockery said, referring to a major horse gaming event in Las Vegas. “It’s big.”

Dockery’s horse, Faith, a 14-year-old appaloosa, was set to be put down before Dockery rescued her, shortly after being introduced to horses. Faith was considered not to have good ground manners and not a horse for kids, but Dockery gave her a second chance and proved Faith’s skeptics wrong.

“The first event it was rough, but then when we started doing more and more we started doing better,” Dockery said, adding that she would just hang out with the horse to help figure out how best to work with her. “My horse is stubborn at times, but she comes around and she’s really sweet.”

Dockery and her parents, Dallas and Stephanie, credit neighbors, friends and the horse community, including Jerry Carlson and the Palmateer and Searls families, for helping teach Josie about taking care of a horse and providing constant support. 

“They’ve been a big big part of our life,” Stephanie said.

In preparation for event days, Josie typically heads to Eagle Creek the night before, where Faith is kept, to prepare the horse trailer and get the hay bags ready. 

Then on the day of the event, she leaves her house as early as 5 a.m. and might not finish competing until 6 p.m.

On top of all this, Josie still finds the time to participate in soccer, earn straight A’s at school, serve as a student ambassador, do her chores at home and even hang out with friends.

“I would say that I didn’t think that she was going to follow through with it,” Stephanie said, adding that they usually go to Eagle creek three or four times per week.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” Dallas added. “She’s proved it over and over again, she’s committed to the horse.”
Josie, who also has dreams to be a crime scene investigator, now passes on her horse skills and knowledge by setting up race courses in her yard with soccer balls and coaching her friends through it. 

And Stephanie recently rescued a horse, Penny, giving Josie another challenge.

“She’s giving me lessons,” Stephanie said.

And sometimes Josie will look at the awards and trophies that line her room reflecting on how far she’s come in the last two years.

“It feels awesome,” Josie said. “I’m considered a champion to some people.”

by Garth Guibord/MT
Hoodland Library is on the Move posted on 01/01/2015
The Hoodland Library is packing up its books and moving across the street.

The library has finalized plans to take over space in the Welches Mountain Center July 1.

The current concept drawing shows the new library will boast 1,909 square feet of space – up from the current footprint of 1,756 square feet. 

Located at 24525 Welches Road, the library will include continuous space utilizing additional breezeway and restroom areas, bay windows, and is situated with views of a naturally landscaped wooded area, according to Library Director Sarah McIntyre.

“We are very excited to be able to provide additional space and services at the Hoodland Library,” McIntyre wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “Our concept drawings at this time show a meeting/programming room which initial feedback shows as a very popular idea.”

The library’s building committee will now turn to collecting public feedback from electronic surveys (www.surveymonkey.com/s/Z9NQLNV) and through the flyer in this month’s Mountain Times being distributed to all post office and mail boxes in the coverage area. The survey deadline is Jan. 15.

The building committee includes McIntyre; Linda Layne, Sandy/Hoodland Library advisory board; Judith Norval, Friends of the Hoodland Library; Bob Reeves, Villages at Mt. Hood; Dianne Downey, library assistant, Hoodland Library; Tracy Brown, City of Sandy, director of planning and development; and Margaret Thurman, Welches Mountain Properties (non-voting member).

The City of Sandy has signed a contract for architectural design services with Architecture Northwest PC, and the process timeline is set for: December and January – design process; February – permitting and RFP for construction services; March through May – construction; and a July 1 move in.

The library staff will also be holding public meetings with the Hoodland Women’s Club on Jan. 5, and the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 6.

by Larry Berteau/MT

High, but not so dry.
A 'Flood' of Memories posted on 01/01/2015
Residents of Mount Hood share their homes with the dynamic forces of the Mountain, including occasions when area rivers forge paths outside their normal banks. 

But for Nancy Spencer and the others who witnessed the December, 1964 flood, a “100-year” flood that destroyed property and turned communities into islands, there’s only one Flood.

“If you’ve been here long enough, you call everything ‘high water’ except ‘The Flood,’” Spencer said. “‘64 was The Flood.”

The torrent of water that came down the mountain was preceded by a long stretch of cold weather which froze the ground, followed by large amounts of snow and finally warming temperatures and a deluge of rain.
“There was no place for the snow to go, except down the rivers and the roads,” Spencer said. “Everything it could go down, it went down.”

At the time, Spencer and her husband owned the Log Lodge in Rhododendron (across from the Still Creek Inn), when the rain started on the night of Sunday, Dec. 20. Since they had difficulty getting back to their home on Road 29, the couple and their two daughters (one 3, and the other 18 months), hunkered down in an upstairs bedroom at the restaurant.

The next morning, they got up and were crossing the street for breakfast when they noticed a group of people looking back. Behind the Log Lodge, the river had undermined the bank and the trees were falling quickly.

“I thought they were looking at us,” Spencer said. “They weren’t; they were looking at the trees going down. These big Doug firs would just drop straight through.”

The river washed out both approaches to the Rhododendron bridge, separating it from the west half of the community, although Spencer remembers a bit of luck for their side.

“We not only had the grocery store on our side of the bridge, but we had the liquor store,” she said. “And that made all the difference.”

Spencer recalled that their electricity returned on Christmas and to celebrate the holiday, her family invited everybody in town and served more than 30 Christmas dinners.

“We had a pretty good Christmas day out of it,” said Spencer, adding it was two weeks after the flood before they could return to their home and three months before they could live in a “civilized manner.”

Spencer also remembers waking up on New Year’s Day to hear the front door of their restaurant slam shut (they weren’t locking it due to their isolation). She ran downstairs and two skiers were outside wondering if they were open for business.

“They had fixed the bridge and nobody told us,” Spencer said. “There was the end of our seclusion. It was quite a traumatic time, but we survived it.”

Pic Erickson was a 28-year-old waitress at the Zigzag Inn who lived up Lolo Pass with her children at the time of the flood. 

She had a day off from work when the flood hit and her children had already been sent home from school (other children remained at the school, while many families would end up using the school building as a shelter in the flood’s aftermath).

“I had seen rivers get high all my life, so it didn’t really make an impact,” Erickson said. “I knew the rivers were high. But I didn’t think that the devastation was going to happen.”

As she and her children baked Christmas cookies, her ex-husband sped up to her house and told them to get in the car so they could leave immediately. They did and a few minutes after crossing the Sandy River, the bridge went out.

“I didn’t have to be helicoptered out,” Erickson said, referring to numerous Mountain residents who required rescue in that manner.

Erickson was then called in for work, as Zigzag Inn was the only place that was open for the crews from Portland General Electric to eat. 

She remembers the crews working for 24 hours at a time, but the restaurant kept up with the food demands of the workers thanks to a big supply of meat they kept on hand.

With all of their belongings and Christmas presents stuck on the other side of the river, Erickson took a ride across on a bosun line to collect some things. 

Despite a fear of water, she looked down and described the river looking “like chocolate,” with trees and remnants of houses floating down.

Her house survived the flood, although it took at least three weeks before she could return. Others, she noted, didn’t fare as well, including friends who lived on Barlow Road who lost their house and had to leave their dog behind as they fled. 

Luckily, they returned the next day to find the dog alive.

“Lots of friends lost houses,” Erickson said, holding back some tears. “Luckily I was young and rolled with the punches.”

Erickson later bought a house near Marmot Bridge, and she remembers another storm when the water started rising fast. 

Despite not losing the house, it was the final straw for her.

“I decided right then, we sold,” she said.” I never want to live on a river again. So we’re flatlanders now.”

Government Camp
Maryellen Englesby had a ski shop in Government Camp in the winter of 1964. When the flood hit, she remembers “roaring down the mountain” to pick up her children from school to get them across the bridge.
She also noted that a number of people who were up on the mountain wanted to get back to their homes in Sandy.

“It was kind of a mad scramble,” Englesby said. “The only way was the back way through (Highway) 35, I think it went out, too. It was kind of a matter of being stranded.”

Englesby recalled that while power was out to the community, most of the ski areas had backup power at the time.

“Things could run,” she said. “People just couldn’t get here.” 

Englesby gave credit to Joie Smith, who helped rig a bosun line between Rhododendron and Welches, for “getting things moving.”

She added that she doesn’t remember any trouble getting food during the aftermath of the flood, and everybody had a wood stove to provide heat and to cook on.

by Garth Guibord/MT
District Welcomes New Firefighters posted on 01/01/2015
We’re all a little safer now.

The ranks of the Hoodland Fire Department welcomed a pair of new firefighter/paramedics, Evan Jarvis and Andy Figini.

It’s almost like they were destined for the job. Jarvis and Figini’s fathers were fire department volunteers for a combined 53 years – Jarvis’ dad (27 years) at Hoodland, Figini’s (26 years) in Gladstone.

Figini, 26, was a volunteer for eight years in Gladstone before landing the permanent position Oct. 1 with HFD.

“You could say I grew up in it (firefighting family tradition),” Figini said. “I figured out a long time ago that I wanted this.”

He hopes to relocate on the Mountain as soon as possible.

“I will move closer because I plan on staying here,” he said, adding “I have three horses and would like some land, my own house, build a barn.”

Jarvis, 25, grew up on the Mountain, worked ski patrol at Skibowl, attended Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, Alaska in the paramedic program, volunteered at HFD Government Camp (where he lived in the fire station) before attaining his permanent slot Dec. 1.

Jarvis noted that his career path was pretty much set out from the beginning.

“It was a natural path,” he said. “It just made sense to keep going. Heck, Chief (Mic) Eby has known my dad longer than I’ve been alive. Besides, I like pulling hoses and getting dirty.”

The possibility of advancing to senior firefighter, or even an officer, is part of the future that awaits the new HFD members.

“Maybe one day,” Jarvis said.

“I’ll take it as it comes,” Figini said.

In the meantime, there are plenty of hoses to pull.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Mark Bachmann and a trophy.
Fish On posted on 01/01/2015
The Sandy River in northwestern Oregon is undoubtedly one of the best maintained urban rivers in the world. 
Recent management emphasis has been to maintain many parts of the Sandy drainage in a wild condition conducive to rehabilitating its diverse populations of native salmonids. 

All wild fish within the basin are catch and release. There is evidence that wild fish populations are increasing. The future looks good. 

This river contains Oregon’s oldest Wild & Scenic designated area, and the state’s first “big dam” removal.
The Sandy River originates high on the slopes of Mount Hood, an 11,200-foot volcano located about 50 miles east of Portland. The headwaters of the Sandy are beneath Reid and Sandy Glaciers at 6,000 feet elevation. From here the river flows due west past the village of Welches, located in the Hoodland Corridor, then 15 miles west of this location at the town of Sandy, the river then turns north to enter the Columbia River at Troutdale, which is at sea level. The river drops 6,000 feet in 55 miles. The Sandy River is a geological product of some of the most dramatic forces on Earth. Her changeable personality is one of tectonic stress, explosive volcanism, glaciations, torrential rainfall, the afternoon sun, and the disintegration and regeneration of huge conifer forests. This river’s geographic location, topography and geologic history make it the perfect factory for large, strong fish that return ocean bright.

The river flows through a rugged canyon. The deep clear pools and clean, gray gravel bars are often shaded by the tall, wet green trees.
As the river leaves the steep slope of the mountain it crosses recent volcanic mud flows and the gradient decreases. The mellowing currents allow smaller gravel to collect. These deposits form an ever-shifting layer, lying loosely over a mantle of hard basalt. 

Much of the water in the river travels through this inter-gravel aquifer providing maximum oxygenation for the spawn of large anadromous fish. 

Winter Steelhead
Winter steelhead provide the most popular sport fishery on the Sandy, The river has the most reliable and longest lasting Winter Steelhead run in the region. Some years more than 10,000 fish enter the river from November through May. (Runs in the 1970s and 1980s averaged 4,000 to 10,000 fish.  Runs in the 1990s averaged about 1,000 to 3,000 fish. Average runs from 2000 to 2014 are probably 3,000 to 6,000 fish, but no counting facility remains since the removal of Marmot Dam in 2007. 
(Totals are wild and hatchery combined.) 

Steelhead runs fluctuate from year to year as does run timing. These winter steelhead comprise at least three different genetic backgrounds. Steelhead from the Sandy can weigh from 3 to 30 pounds. Seven to 11-pound fish are average. Most have spent at least two full years at sea. 

Tackle and Techniques
The angler who can cover the most water, the most efficiently always wins at steelheading. Even when runs are at peak, steelhead fly fishing will demand more than a casual approach.

The Sandy River and its winter steelhead have a reputation for being difficult for entry level fly anglers. The winter weather and water conditions, as well as sexually developed fish, create some of the most demanding conditions any angler will encounter anywhere. Sandy River winter steelhead are bottom hugging denizens of a cold, often rain swollen river. Most seasoned anglers use two-hand fly rods of 13 to 14 feet so that large expanses of water can be covered efficiently.

 Fly speed, pattern and depth of presentation are very important. Because of their mating instincts, winter steelhead, especially the males, can be territorial and will attack a fly to drive it from their hold. Large flies dressed in steelhead spawning colors can bring jolting strikes. 

Steelhead that have freshly returned from the ocean, often retain an acute search image of the marine organisms that nurtured them. Flies dressed in the form of squid, shrimp or krill can trigger a feeding response. 

In most cases the fly must be presented deep and slow. A Skagit style shooting head line with interchangeable sinking tips is most useful when covering large expanses of water.  Many different depths and speeds of water might be encountered in a single run. Line tips and flies are changed as necessary.
Leaders attached to sinking tip lines are usually short and stout. Big flies fished on the swing are the choice of most experienced anglers.

Although a 45-minute drive from Portland International Airport will put you on any stretch of water, the basic nature of the Sandy River is wild. Fishing from a boat is excluded in many parts of the river. The Sandy is a demanding river to wade, even at summer levels. Its water can be very cold for the majority of the year. A dunk can be extremely unpleasant and a wading staff and traction devices are highly recommended.

Next month:
– Seasonal changes on The Sandy
– Tips on winter clothing
– Winter steelhead flies

A house heads downstream.
50 Years Ago: Destruction by Roaring Rivers posted on 12/02/2014
Fifty years ago this month, Oregon – and in particular the Mountain community – experienced a flood that few had seen before and none have seen since. The “100-year” flood (just a one percent chance it could happen in any given year) destroyed houses, cut off communities, separated families and made Governor Mark Hatfield declare Oregon a disaster area.

In capturing the aftermath of the flood, Don Hom, writing for the Sunday, Jan. 3, 1965 edition of The Sunday Oregonian, set the stage for the flood starting with the previous night, Sunday, Dec. 20, 1964:

“Late that night the warm, spring-like Chinook wind … swept over Western Oregon. The next morning the streets ran deep with water, ponds appear where there had only been snow drifts. Low spots in the road were puddles. The first reports of slides and wash-outs came over the car radios."

This day, Monday, Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter, also turned out to be the most important day of 1964.

It was the day that marked the beginning of the worst disaster to hit Oregon in at least 200 years.”
Holm noted the buildup to the flood started on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 1964, when snow flurries first hit Oregon. At the same time, a mass of cold air formed over Alaska and the Yukon, allowing commuters in the Portland area to hear signals emanating from Alberta, Canada (known as “skip” to ham radio operators).

On Wednesday, snow was on the ground in Portland while temperatures averaged 15 degrees, and the cold front grew to cover an area from Bellingham, Wash. to Texas and Detroit. At the same time, another storm formed over the Pacific Ocean with warm air and moisture.

When the western edge of the cold front collapsed, cold air and high winds surged into Oregon and lowered the temperature in Portland to eight degrees, a new record,  and making December 1964 the coldest since 1879.

Snow continued through that weekend, as a two-truck collision on the Columbia River Highway caused a backup involving 100 cars, and Oregon retailers complained about low sales.

By Sunday night, the ground in western Oregon was completely frozen and also covered with snow. On Sunday night, the storm from the Pacific began to move in (now known as a Pineapple Express) bringing in the moisture that would form a torrent of rain to melt the snow and unleash the flood.

Gene Murphy, a special correspondent writing for The Oregon Journal on Monday, Dec. 28, 1964, detailed the conditions on the Mountain before the rain arrived, with Rhododendron experiencing a temperature of zero for three days prior and at least a foot of snow on the ground. After the flood, Murphy, an employee at the Zigzag District Ranger Station who lived on Still Creek, wrote, “At the west edge of Rhododendron, where the river and the creek come together, there are four channels now instead of two.”

According to The Sunday Oregonian on Jan. 3, 1965, all the railroads leading into Oregon were blocked by damage from the flood, while half of the streamflow at the Bonneville dam was due to runoff from the Columbia River’s tributaries. 

In that same edition, Robert Olmos reported the statewide impact included “between 4,000 and 4,500 families statewide estimated to need Red Cross assistance,” and “more than 6,300 homes received major or minor damage.”

Other papers shared the details of damage and loss on the Mountain, as The Sandy Post from Jan. 7, 1965 noted the severity of the flood in the Wildcat community, where 28 of the 30 dwellings that received damage were destroyed, 100 people were left homeless and included the Mountain’s sole casualty, A. Harry Engols.

An earlier edition of the Sandy Post, from Dec. 31, 1964, included a message from Clackamas County Sheriff Joe Shobe, who estimated between 500 and 750 homes were lost on Mount Hood, noted the Rhododendron bridge lost both approaches and Hwy. 26 was closed between Alder Creek and Government Camp (passes for residents and others were issued at the Zigzag District Ranger Station). 

In an unattributed story in the same edition, the paper revealed the Sleepy Hollow bridge was also damaged, while the new bridge at Brightwood, still under construction, served as a dam for all the debris that was washed downstream. The Salmon River bridge remained, the story noted, as damage on that river was less severe than on the Sandy or Zigzag rivers.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Bad Potty Habits Initiate CPO Response posted on 12/02/2014
Spurred by a flurry of emails that rained down from the area, the Rhododendron CPO seized the initiative.

At their Nov. 22 meeting, the CPO members discussed what action could be taken regarding the urination habits of certain individuals at the Mt. Hood Express drop-off and pick-up site across Hwy. 26 from the Still Creek Inn.

It was noted early on in the meeting by CPO President Steve Graeper and Bob Reeves of the Mt. Hood Transit Alliance (MHTA) that they had no authority to curtail the activity.

In fact, Oregon public urination law is a bit murky on the subject as well:
5.125 Public Urination
(1) No person shall urinate or defecate in public view or in a public place other than a restroom.
(2) Violation of this section constitutes a violation.

The question then arises, what are the consequences of a violation? 

It obviously falls somewhere below the misdemeanor bar.

Attention then turned to what could be done, if anything at all. 
The 19 attendees went to work.

The first suggestion was signage, which prompted Dave Lythgoe to weigh in, saying “I don’t want to see any signs saying ‘No Public Urination’ on the Mountain.”

All agreed, and the idea of erecting a sign indicating public restrooms were available across the highway at Mt. Hood Roasters and the Dairy Queen.

MHTA member Jon Tullis, unable to attend the meeting, assured CPO members that the alliance was taking the issue seriously and wrote in an email read aloud by Graeper:

“I can assure you that we are taking steps to address it (urination at the drop-off and pick-up). 
We are evaluating the idea of discontinuing this Rhody stop, but want to find a suitable replacement before making any such change. We are not ready to do that yet.”

Teresa Christopherson, administrative services manager of the county’s Social Services, was contacted and wrote, in part, in an email to the board:

“I’ve been actively involved in several steps to discourage this inappropriate and illegal activity. The property owner, Anna McKinney, has posted no parking signs on her privately owned property (the property used by the bus). This should help. 

“Our bus drivers have been communicating with riders not to park in this area. We have also requested if any of our drivers hear about any public urination that they immediately inform our operations manager.

“I have informed the sheriff’s department that there have been concerns about public urination in this area.”
The CPO, MHTA and the county will continue to put a stop to the problem.

In other business, the CPO:
– Listened to a presentation by Coni Scott regarding her effort to place a sign near the Arc Motel identifying the area on Hwy. 26 between Alder Creek and Rhododendron as “The Hoodland Corridor.” Scott asked the CPO for a sign of support for her sign effort and the board agreed to submit such a letter; and

– CPO member Barbara Novinger addressed the potholes on Road 20 and said as soon as the snow was gone a representative from the Forest Service would be in contact with the board.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Crow strutting through snack time.
Mountain Wild: CROWS posted on 12/02/2014
Imagine a devoted parent able to speak to his or her child, communicating in perfect speech patterns, often even in several dialects, regarding the dangers and misfortunes that await them as they grow into adults. And imagine the parent being able to pass on the information as to what these dangers might actually look like.

Then imagine these very parents not looking anything like you. Rather, imagine them as crows.

Humans have a long history with crows, fearing them as symbols of death. This ill-begotten belief has been fueled by the crow’s scary nature – which usually is defined by their dark appearance and baffling intelligence.

Take note of a much-reported experiment held by researchers at the University of Washington.

But first, think of a time when you gazed at a group of crows. Is there any way you could tell them apart the next time you saw them? As David Dietle wrote in a report he penned about crows: “Every last one of them very likely remembers you as the weird human who kept staring at them.”

The UW experiment entailed the researchers capturing seven crows on the grounds of the campus, banding them, letting them go. They did this wearing creepy skin masks, according to them “because it was funny.” They were testing whether crows could recognize them.

They did.

When the researchers strolled around the campus with the masks on, the crows would “scold” and dive-bomb them. And the crows didn’t just recognize them, they passed the information to other crows who had never been captured. These other birds started dive-bombing the scientists as well.

Further, the crows weren’t just telling the others to get the guys with the masks. When other humans donned the masks they left them alone.

How did they know?

Simple: they were told.

And it didn’t stop there. Ensuing generations of these crows were able to pick out the capturing culprits and displayed the same antagonistic behavior toward them.

Dietle went on to write: “Crows have been known to change their entire migration pattern to avoid farms where even a single crow has been killed in the past … Sure, they’re only avoiding those houses for now … but there’s just something deeply unsettling about the possibility that there are millions of crows out there right now that know your address.”

A Murder of Crows
There are many versions of how a group of crows became known as a “murder.”

One old yarn has it that crows will hold a meeting to determine capital punishment against a wayward crow.
Another is that crows were an omen of death, associated with dead bodies, battlefields and cemeteries.

The most likely reason, however, dates back to the times when collective nouns were applied for more poetic reasons, such as a pride of lions, an ostentation of peacocks or a parliament of owls.

Social Characteristics
Crows mate for life. They have tight-knit families. They are respectful of other crows’ “territories” but will often roost in large numbers to protect each other from predators such as hawks, owls and raccoons.

They are found all over the world except in Antarctica.

They are scavengers and will eat almost anything. They are expert thieves and will steal food and anything else they can get their beaks around.

A Local Tale
Mountain resident Mike Nelson enjoyed a long-term relationship with our local crows.

Nelson would often be met by two crows that would hang around the pro shop at the Resort. They would spot him when he drove into the parking lot and they would follow him around the pro shop grounds. He always had peanuts in the shell at the ready.

“When I played Pinecone – the nine-hole course closest to the pro shop – they would follow me to the first green, never farther,” Nelson told The Mountain Times. “That next hole belonged to another family of crows, and one male would walk with me on that hole and first half of hole No. 3, less than three feet away from me which is strange because they are the most wary of birds.”

But that’s not Nelson’s most interesting golf-crow story. There was a crow on Nos. 7 and 8 that would meet up with him.

“He and I go back six or seven years,” Nelson said. “He would not come down while I was teeing off (editor’s note: Anyone who’s seen Mike drive suggests even a crow would know better), but as soon as I started walking to my drive, down he would come, hopping along with me.

“I’d throw him a nut and he’d crack it while I continued along the fairway. By then other crows would arrive, but I always tried to give my buddy the first nut.

“He would then fly directly over my head and actually bump me on top of my head with his breast. Then he would glide down to the grass about six feet ahead of me and look up, assuming he would get the next nut – which he always did. He didn’t nudge me every time, just when a lot of competitors were around.

“Interesting birds.”

by Larry Berteau/MT

Ludeman and his work.
Art Exhibit Features Local Artist posted on 12/02/2014
The Wy’East Artisans Guild and the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce will hold an art exhibit “Northwest Impressions” featuring the work of Welches artist Steve Ludeman.

The public can take in the exhibit during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Dec. 4 through Dec. 30.

Ludeman draws his inspiration from the scenic beauty and remarkable natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest.

Through his sketching  pencil and paint brush he shares his love of nature and tells stories of his outdoor adventures – hiking, skiing and kayaking.

In 2013, Ludeman was honored with the “Artist’s Award of Excellence” from the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce.

Multiple art galleries and gift shops display his works including the Gallery at Timberline Lodge, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Mount Hood Cultural Center and Museum and Vista House at Crown Point.
His paintings are included in permanent collections at Timberline Lodge and the Oregon Health and Science University.

To view examples of his work go to his website at www.steveludemanart.com.
Hoodland Fire District Calls for Volunteers posted on 12/02/2014
For a number of years, the yearly volunteer academy at the Hoodland Fire District brought in up to 12 applicants, according to Fire Chief Mic Eby. 

But he noted only half would finish the academy and half of those who finished would leave after the first year.

But the trend has reversed in the past two years, with 18 applicants yielding up to 12 active volunteers. Now the district is accepting applications for its 2015 volunteer academy.

“We’re getting much better people; committed, devoted,” Eby said. “We’re hoping to have that trend continue on this coming academy.”

The district will accept applications through 5 p.m. Friday, January 9, 2015 and the academy is expected to take approximately five months to complete.
The training will cover fire suppression, fire prevention, emergency medical and rescue responses and assisting during district wide emergencies, such as flooding and high winds.

Eby notes that call volume has increased in the district, while the district’s ranks feature approximately 30 active volunteers. 

Eby would like to see that get to 55, adding that the volunteers “run the place” between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day.

“We have less people, but we have higher quality people,” Eby added. “People are seeing that and they want to be a part of that team.”

The academy will meet up to three times per week and on some weekends, and applicants must be at least 18 years old with a valid Oregon drivers license, have no criminal background, be able to pass the drug test, pass the physical agility test, pass the background search and live or work in the fire district.

“The big commitment is the first five months,” Eby said. “That’s the hardest part.”

Applications can be picked up at the Main Hoodland Fire Station, located at 69634 Hwy. 26. 
For more information, call 503-622-3256.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Author Mark Pomeroy
'The Brightwood Stillness' posted on 11/02/2014
Mark Pomeroy wrote the first draft of “The Brightwood Stillness” when he was 27 years old. He’s now 45.
And now, his novel has been published by OSU Press.

“I know what it’s like to put something in the drawer for good,” Pomeroy wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “But with ‘The Brightwood Stillness,’ the characters and the story kept pulling me back.”

The Journey
The author started visiting in Brightwood when he was 3 years old at his grandparents’ (Bob and Bev Pomeroy) cabin. 

“My mother and I would drive up there often to visit,” Pomeroy wrote on the OSU Press website. “And … that mountain land began to seep into me. The moist woods, the Salmon River, the small dark cabins. The shadows.”

Pomeroy was raised partly by a Vietnam veteran stepfather who terrified and intrigued him with his silence and anger of the war.

“What had happened to him in that mysterious far-off land?” Pomeroy wrote. “What had he done? What was so difficult for him to talk about?”

So Pomeroy began reading about the war. In high school he tutored Vietnamese refugees – whole families in some cases – and visited in their apartments and listened to stories about their lives in Vietnam.

“Here were actual Vietnamese people, offering me cashews and tea, sitting across from me, trying to sound out strange vocabulary words,” he wrote.

Much later, he and his wife – to whom he had proposed to on Thanksgiving Day, 1999, beside the Salmon River – went to Vietnam.

“I had to see it with my own eyes, finally,” he wrote. “Had to smell it. Here were the places I’d read about, seen on TV, heard about from Vietnamese students and veterans willing to share their stories. Everything could become an enemy in this forest, fast. And yet, of course, for other human beings it was home.”

The Novel
“In light of the concerted campaign during the Vietnam War to dehumanize the Vietnamese, I felt it important to show the humanity of a Vietnamese character,” Pomeroy wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “And what better way to learn about someone’s true character than seeing him when his back’s up against the wall.”

That character, Hieu Nguyen, is a Portland school teacher who is accused of sexual misconduct by two students. At the same time, Nate Davis – a close friend and fellow teacher – tries to lend support but is deep in his own personal problems.

Davis launches on a search for his uncle, a drifter and Vietnam veteran.

Hieu is driven into solitude amid a police investigation, and he reflects on his year during the war that included service in the NLF (Viet Cong).

Their stories run in parallel as both confront the ways in which their pasts – each so linked to a mysterious far-off country – have left them isolated men.

“The Brightwood Stillness” is a riveting story of love, betrayal, and ultimately, redemption.

“It’s been a long, memorable road,” Pomeroy wrote in his email. “And the thing about it is, even though parts of that road have been harrowing, as it is for all writers of course, I think that the novel is better for it. Call it forced revision.”

The novel can be purchased for $18.95 at the website: osupress.oregonstate.ed/book/brightwood-stillness.

by Larry Berteau/MT

The Beleaguered Dorman Center
Town Hall: Candidates and the Dorman Center posted on 11/02/2014
More than 50 local residents filled the Trees Room at the Resort for the October Town Hall Meeting. 

They listened to political hopefuls make their final pitch for the Nov. 4 election, and they made their voices heard as well on critical local issues.

David Robinson made his case for the county clerk’s position, while incumbent Sherry Hall tried to fend him off.

Incumbent State Sen. Chuck Thomsen defended his record in Salem against an insurgency mounted by hopeful Robert Bruce.

And State Rep. Mark Johnson held his ground against the attempt by candidate Stephanie Nystrom.
Hall had problems overcoming the shaky track record she has piled up during her tour of duty as county clerk. Robinson’s inroads were thoughtful and incisive.

Bruce and Thomsen squared off in a refreshing display of civility, but Bruce’s comments about Thomsen’s record scored significant points. Several in the audience indicated that Bruce was getting another look.
Nystrom made her case of the need for change in representation for HD 52, but Johnson’s smooth style set a high bar for any withering attack.

The candidates forum was lively and informative, and the Villages at Mt. Hood board of directors should be applauded for hosting the event.

Community Survey
High on the list during the public forum was the future of the Dorman Center. The Hoodland Women’s Club’s valiant effort to create a community center fell $700,000 short in its attempt to fund the center.

In response, the Villages Board is soliciting opinions from local residents as to what the next step should be. A community survey appears in the print edition.

Options in the survey include: a community center with meeting space; senior center and day care; assisted living center; park and ride for Mountain Express; or a rest area with restrooms.

Regina Lythgoe, of Merit Properties in Welches, spoke during the public forum and suggested another alternative: a community park.

“We don’t have places to push our grandchildren on swings,” Lythgoe said.

Later, in an email to The Mountain Times, she wrote: “I am hoping to have some kind of park on the Dorman Center land which is the county parks department land. AKA Park. People can write on Line 5 (of the survey) other ideas. I envision a community park with picnic tables, covered area, playground equipment like swings, slides, jungle gym, some kind of parking, and keep the community garden area where it is.”

Community member Don Mench pointed out that the county’s insistence that the Dorman Center is unusable is false. “We can’t lose what we have,” he said, noting that the community has to step up.

Rep. Johnson supported Mench’s position, pointing out there were no county commissioners at the Town Hall forum, suggesting their lack of interest in local issues.

“What should happen is you (community members) take charge of it (Dorman Center) yourselves,” he told The Mountain Times.

The survey also asks local residents of the importance of bicycle tourism in Hoodland, and where would be the most likely places for bicycle-pedestrian pathways. Options include Welches Road, Lolo Pass Road, Barlow Trail Road and Salmon River Road.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Hwy. 26 Construction Takes Winter Break posted on 11/02/2014
October’s rain delayed restriping the construction area on Hwy. 26 as work concluded for this year for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project.”
Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted the restriping was expected to take place on Monday, Oct. 27 and Tuesday, Oct. 28, weather permitting, which would restore the highway to its original configuration for the winter.

“We’re hoping the weather will cooperate to allow us to do that,” she said.

Dinwiddie added that workers are expected to pin a mesh restraint on a slope west of the Mirror Lake pull off in order to stabilize it. 

And while that work may go into November, it will only require closing the highway’s shoulder and result in no impact on traffic.

ODOT and the contractor, K&E Excavating, will monitor the slope throughout the winter, according to Dinwiddie.

The project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, will not restart before April 1, 2015, but a firm start date is currently unknown.
“We do have Oregon spring break in late March,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s always a bonus when we’re not mixing construction with spring break traffic.”

Dinwiddie added that more information on when the project will resume should be available in March. 
The project is expected to run each year between April and October through 2016.

Dinwiddie added that ODOT received no reports on accidents on the worksite.

For more information, please visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Negotiations to Start on Sale of Cedar Ridge posted on 11/02/2014
An appraisal of the Cedar Ridge Middle School campus, performed by Integra Realty Resources in Portland for the Oregon Trail School District (OTSD), valued the property at $3.4 million, including the two school buildings and 43.65 acres of land. 

The district is expected to enter into negotiations shortly with the City of Sandy on a sale of the property, with the city eyeing a possible recreational hub that would also include the Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center.

City representatives are expected to take a tour of the property by the end of November.

This summer, an appraisal done for the city valued the property at $2.2 million for the land and $230,000 for the buildings. Despite the gap in numbers, Sandy City Manager Seth Atkinson noted a few differences in the appraisals, such as the city’s appraisal not including a value for timber while the district’s did and the district’s appraisal assumed that street easements had been vacated when they have not been, which result in valuations that are closer.

“I think there’s a couple factors when taken into account, really we’re not far off; we’re pretty close,” said Atkinson.

Atkinson noted the city is expected to revisit it’s urban renewal plan before entering into formal negotiations. He added that legislation from 2009 has made it difficult for cities to extend an urban renewal area, which could make the sale more challenging.

“It’s not as easy as just identifying projects, increasing debt limit,” said Atkinson. “It’s not going to be that simple.”

Atkinson added the urban renewal process would likely be the only funding mechanism for the purchase, since a general obligation bond would be “another obstacle.”

The OTSD’s appraisal noted the property is suitable for single family residential and timber uses, while the school building could be utilized by a church or other organization. However, when asked about the possibility of the district seeking a different buyer, Julia Monteith, OTSD Communications Director, wrote in an email, “Currently the district’s intent is to enter into an agreement with the city that is mutually beneficial.”

If the city and district cannot agree to a deal on the property, the future of the aquatic center could be up in the air. Atkinson noted the city, which is interested in taking over pool operations, could find it difficult to run the aquatic center while dealing with parking issues and rules about being on campus with Cedar Ridge Middle School and Sandy Grade School on either side of it.

“I think it would be very difficult to operate a facility like that sandwiched between two school facilities,” he said.

The district, which currently operates the facility, implemented an exit strategy in November 2013 limiting the district’s support for the facility to $400,000 or until Nov. 30, 2015, whichever comes first.

When asked about the status of pool funding and the Nov. 30, 2015 deadline, Monteith noted, “If we know we have a transaction in the works, we will sustain the pool through the completion of that transaction.”

by Garth Guibord/MT

Western Gray Squirrel
MOUNTAIN WILD: Nuts n Squirrels posted on 11/02/2014
They don’t get much respect, but they don’t give much either.

They can be shooed away, but they’ll come right back.

They’ll act cute and eat out of your hand, then they’ll eat out of your plate when you’re not looking.

They’ll pose for a picture, then steal away to their splendid new apartment – which bears an odd resemblance to your attic.

Let’s face it. They’re adorable, pesky and just plain nutty.

There are four native tree squirrels in Oregon. The western gray, Douglas, American red and northern flying squirrels all call our Mountain environment home.

While they are members of the rodent family, they enjoy a much more attractive outward appearance.
They have hefty incisors that remain sharp by their continuous gnawing.

They are somewhat active throughout the seasons, they are particularly busy this time of year as they forage on the ground gathering and storing food.

The squirrel’s food gathering plays an important role in forest regeneration by spreading fungi mychcorhizae – microbes essential for soil health and composition.

Besides their teeth and nimble front paws, the squirrels greatest asset is their bushy tails. They provide balance, enabling them to maneuver quickly without falling. If they should make a misstep, the tail spreads like a parachute cushioning the fall. The tail also acts as a winter coat in cold weather, and can be used to communicate with other squirrels.

Tree squirrels can carry disease and host parasites that carry pathogens that can potentially be harmful to humans. However, there are precious few reports of disease transmission to humans.

Tree squirrels may also be susceptible to rabies, but none have tested positive in Oregon.

Squirrel bites are the most common wildlife bite reported to ODFW, and nearly every one can be traced to feeding of the offending squirrel.

The western gray is classified as a game mammal and the only native tree squirrel that may be legally hunted. (See Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations on ODFW’s website for season and restrictions.)

Western Gray Squirrel
This is the largest native tree squirrel in Oregon and can reach 2 feet in length, including the tail. It is easily spotted, sporting a creamy white belly and silvery gray fur.

They prefer larger patches of forested habitat, usually away from human contact. However, the green forests of the Mountain community bring them in closer contact than many other regions.

They eat a variety of foods including fungi, acorns, fruit, berries, insects and conifer seeds and cones.
When disturbed, it will issue a hoarse barking call.

Douglas Squirrel
Sometimes called a chickaree or pine squirrel, the Douglas has grizzled brown and gray fur with an orange underside. It’s about a foot long including a dark reddish-brown tail.

Its distinctive loud, chattering cry can be heard throughout our Mountain forests.

Their numbers have been declining in recent times, suffering pressure from invasive squirrels and the decline of its preferred habitat – mature mixed-conifer forests.

The Douglas is prevalent in our area and can be found as far east as The Dalles, John Day, Burns and Lakeview.

The Douglas’ preferred diet consists of fir, pine, spruce, berries, mushrooms, and hemlock cones and seeds.

American Red Squirrel
They are found most often in our higher elevations in semi-open forests. They are about a foot long with fur that ranges from dark red to grey with a cream-colored underside.

The American red is best known for being extremely loud and raucous.

They prefer conifer seeds in the winter, but during the spring and summer they add flowers, berries, eggs, nestling birds and insects to their diet.

Northern Flying Squirrel
This is our most distinctive of all Oregon squirrels, but because of its nocturnal nature, it is seldom seen. They have dark brown fur and can reach up to a foot in length.

Contrary to its name, this species doesn’t actually fly – unless you consider its unique skin folds that extend from foreleg to hind leg that allows it to glide from tree to tree as actual flight. This ability requires it to live in heavily forested areas, such as our own.

The bulk of their diet consists of fungi and lichens, but they will also eat seeds, nuts, insects, bird eggs and nestlings, and conifer cones.

Eastern Gray and Eastern Fox Squirrels (nonnative, invasive species)
The effects of these two squirrels on Oregon’s ecosystems are not fully understood. However, there is enough evidence to consider them a threat to native squirrel populations.

They aggressively compete for food and nesting habitat and require far less territory to persist – and they can spread disease to native squirrels.

Unfortunately, they have a high reproductive potential, diverse food habits and a high tolerance of human activity which allows them to expand their range.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Maintaining Recreation Sites and Protecting the Watershed posted on 11/02/2014
A concerted effort is underway to shift the focus of land management in Mt. Hood National Forest (MHNF) from logging to watershed health, wildlife habitat and recreation.

The tip of the effort’s spear is Russ Plaeger, program director at Bark, of Portland.

Plaeger pointed out in an Oct. 22 letter to Lisa Northrop, forest supervisor for MHNF, that the most damaging activities in the forest are silent and subtle: the vast network of crumbling roads slowly leaking sediment into streams.

“Roads in the forest are a key topic in the letter,” Plaeger wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “They’re important to people who want to access recreation sites. But unfortunately, this year, the Forest Service only had funding to maintain 15.8 percent of its approximately 3,000-mile road system in Mount Hood. That means that some roads to popular trailheads are in bad shape. With a deferred maintenance backlog of just under $52 million, things aren’t going to get better anytime soon.”

With this in mind, Plaeger urged the Forest Service to quit wasting money rebuilding old logging roads. He pointed to the $229,000 spent rebuilding previously decommissioned logging roads for the Jazz Timber Sale
The rebuilding of old logging roads also damages watershed restoration efforts that Plaeger managed as a member of the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council, prior to his position at Bark.

“We advocate that the Forest Service invest in fixing neglected roads that lead to campgrounds and trailheads, repairing trails forest-wide, and removing – instead of maintaining – unneeded, ecologically harmful roads,” Plaeger wrote in his letter.

The letter went on to urge a shift in priorities that: 1) substantially invest in recreation infrastructure; 2) significantly involve the public to create a Travel Analysis Process that right-sizes the Forest Service road system; 3) commit to increase road decommissioning efforts to improve watershed health and wildlife habitat; and 4) do not rebuild decommissioned roads.

To that end District Ranger Bill Westbrook is hosting a public open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6, at the Zigzag Ranger Station.

Letter signers
Plaeger’s letter to MHNF was co-signed by numerous organizations and individuals throughout the country, including the following members of the Mountain community:
Christy Slovacek, owner of a music studio in Zigzag;
Tom and Sonya Butler, owners of Mountain Sports in Welches;
Don Mench, chairman of Mt. Hood Stewardship Council in Zigzag;
Amber Spears, owner of Sissy Mama’s Bistro in Welches;
Tracie Anderson and Tom Baker, owners of Skyway Bar & Grill in Zigzag;
Hidee and Ryan Cummings, owners of Wraptitude Restaurant inWemme; and
Brenda Taylor, owner of Zig Zag Zen Chiropractic & Yoga Studio inWelches.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Improvement Abound as Skibowl Preps for Season posted on 11/02/2014
Besides the normal off-season preventive maintenance and sprucing up, several larger projects guarantee a positive impact for this winter’s visitors to Mt. Hood Skibowl.

New Conveyor Lift
The parking lot rope tow has been replaced with a new 210-foot conveyor lift (photo, right) that introduces new technology. New skiers and riders will have a much better experience learning the sport with this installation.

“This conveyor is a great addition to Skibowl,” said public relations chief Hans Wipper. “Many people who grew up with the rope tow will be sad, but I think everyone can agree that learning to ski or snowboard on a conveyor lift is much easier.”

Fusion Pass and Powder Alliance
The Fusion Pass on Mount Hood is back, uniting the best of both Skibowl and Timberline Lodge ski areas for the most ski terrain at one low price. This season the Powder Alliance welcomes the 13th resort – Silver Star Mountain in British Columbia.

“This is the best season pass on the Mountain,” Wipper said. “You get America’s largest night ski area at Skibowl and the longest ski season in America at Timberline. The areas really compliment each other.”

Snow Tube 
and Adventure Park
New this winter is the Tree Top Action Zone featuring a five-story Tarzan Freefall Swing and the six-story Tarzan Plunge. Both attractions are accessed by a series of balance bridges that increase in difficulty the higher you go.

Cosmic tubing has been expanded to include 200,000 more LED lights, plus an expanded laser light show and 100 new snow tubes have been added to the fleet.

“Cosmic tubing has really become popular,” Wipper said. “People love all the lights and music and having a fun activity to do in the evenings … and you’re never far from a warm fire or hot drink.”

Warming Hut
The favorite mid-mountain stop received some much needed TLC (photo right). The Zigzag Ranger district was instrumental in providing funds for the repairs.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Ambassadors Offer a Student Voice posted on 11/02/2014
Last month, 10 students from Welches Middle School ventured up to Sandy High to hear a speaker discuss technology and how it interacts with their brains – both the benefits and the detriments.
But their mission was more than just an educational one; the students are the school’s new student ambassadors, who were tasked to report back to administration to see if the speaker would be worthwhile to bring to Welches and speak to the entire student body.

Their answer: a resounding “yes.”

The student ambassador program started this year as a revamped leadership program. In past years, the school offered a leadership class as an elective and, more recently, as a club.

Principal Kendra Payne noted the leadership group, consisting of approximately 30 students, played a large role in planning activities, including the harvest festival, dances and more. 

Student ambassadors, however, will serve as more of a conduit between students and staff, facilitating information and giving the student body a greater voice.

“We were just finding it too hard to run it as a class,” Payne said, adding that she sees the ambassadors potentially attending staff meetings and serving as mentors and mediators for their peers. “I think this model will be a better match for us in the next couple years.” 

Ambassadors were selected at the beginning of the school year, with interested students filling out applications and then a vote by the student body. After teacher input, the ambassadors were selected (three for each grade with one alternative), led by the school’s new science teacher, Alison Conner.

Conner noted the new program is more student centered, rather than project centered, and that is part due to the support the school receives from the Mountain community.

“Because the PTC (parent teacher club) is so involved up here, these kids actually have an opportunity to talk about kids and what they think and what they feel ... and what they would like to see happen as far as improving student success,” she said.

The students have found the new program a different experience so far, including fewer meetings, but are eager to do their part.

“It’s really cool being able to help the school,” said eighth grade ambassador Aubrianna Covington, who participated in the leadership program before. “There’s so many things you need to help make better. I like helping out; it’s good to put yourself to use.”

Sixth grade ambassador Riley Andersen, as others did, noted that she hasn’t changed how she goes about the school day, but she does have a plan when it comes to her classmates.

“We can start asking the kids in our class, ‘What do you think we should do in the school?’” she said.

And despite a shift away from the projects the leadership class has helped out with in the past, the ambassadors are eager to continue helping out with them.

“I really like being part of the school, to decorate for dances and help be a part of things,” said eighth grade ambassador Savannah DiMicoli, who was also in the leadership program.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Blast Off!
Hillside Crumbles as Contractors Blast Rock on Hwy. 26 posted on 10/01/2014
Three explosions, one of which was a test, rang out over the Mountain in September as part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project.” 

Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted one blast included approximately 6,000 pounds of explosives to remove approximately 15,000 cubic yards of solid rock from a slope near Mirror Lake.
Dinwiddie added that 120,000 total cubic yards or rocks and dirt had been removed from slopes along Hwy. 26 so far.

The success of the blasting also meant the cancellation of two days when blasting was scheduled, according to Dinwiddie.

“That means less closures for the trail users and the traveling public,” said Dinwiddie, adding that the project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, is proceeding as expected.

Work on the project will wrap up by Friday, Oct. 31, Dinwiddie noted, with all lanes reverting to their original configuration, but no firm date has been set. Dinwiddie added the weather will play a large role in that decision, but that erosion control measures are already on site and will be installed to fully stabilize all the slopes.

Another blast could potentially occur just west of Mirror Lake in early October, according to Dinwiddie. She added that all blasting necessitates the closure of nearby trails in addition to the highway and that hikers and pedestrians should keep away when explosives are being used.

“Blasting is not a spectator sport,” Dinwiddie said. “We’re not closing the road and the trails and the surrounding area for our own convenience, we’re doing it for people to stay safe and alive.”

Dinwiddie reported traffic through the construction area has lessened since the beginning of the school year, while fewer trucks have hauled soil on Lolo Pass Road than earlier in the summer. 

She added that when the project starts up again in April 2015, the Lolo Pass dump site could be used again.
The project is expected to run each year between April and October through 2016.

For more information, visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Villages, Coalition Secure Grant for Safety Project posted on 10/01/2014
A $150,000 planning grant has been received by the county’s transportation department on behalf of the Villages at Mt. Hood Board of Directors and the Mt. Hood Bicycle/Pedestrian Coalition. 

Coalition organizers George Wilson and Petr Kakes met in September with County and Oregon Department of Transportation officials as well as Villages board members to discuss which projects should be focused on and prioritized. 

“As the traffic on Hwy. 26 continues to increase, so do the safety concerns for local and visiting pedestrians and cyclists,” Wilson said. “Our community must be proactive, and begin planning an effective strategy to improve our infrastructure to ensure children have a safe route to school, and that pedestrians and cyclists have safe access throughout our Mountain communities.” 

On that note, in conjunction with County Transportation Supervisor Karen Beurig, County Transportation Project Leader Lori Mastrantonio, and ODOT Grant Manager Gail Curtis, the coalition identified the following projects to be pursued with the grant monies: 
– Bicycle/Pedestrian overpass on Hwy. 26. – Controlled pedestrian crossing on Welches Road (Thriftway Shopping Center, Doctor’s office, Post Office). 
– Signage-paving of Still Creek Road as an alternate cycling route to Government Camp in order to avoid riding on Hwy. 26. Local bicycle and pedestrian projects recently became eligible for state lottery funds through ConnectOregon 
– an initiative that ODOT uses to provide grants and loans to public and private entities to invest in, among other things, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to ensure Oregon’s transportation system is strong, diverse and efficient. 

The initiative is lottery funded through the legislature on a biannual basis. 

The Mt. Hood Bicycle/Pedestrian Coalition’s main focus it to promote and educate, as well as outline project goals for the enhancement of bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure and safety for the villages of Mount Hood. The coalition’s website can be accessed at www.mthoodbikeped.com. 

“We have included an easy search tool to conveniently locate local businesses of your choice while cycling or visiting throughout the villages of Mount Hood,” Wilson said. “We are currently adding local ride maps for both road cyclists and mountain bike riders.” 

Wilson also noted that brochures are on the way, and will be placed in the visitor’s information center and local businesses. 

If a local business wishes to be listed send information to info@mthoodbikeped.com and be added to the website for free. 

by Larry Berteau/MT
Town Hall Offers Candidates Forum posted on 10/01/2014
Ballots for the November mid-term election will be arriving the second week of this month. The voting deadline is 8 p.m., Nov. 4.

Those still up in the air over some of the candidates will have an opportunity to see them face-to-face Oct. 18.
The Villages at Mt. Hood Town Hall will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 18, in the Trees Room at the Resort at the Mountain.

The Town Hall will feature a two-hour candidates forum and offer members of the Mountain community a chance to meet the candidates, ask questions about policy and opinion, and have their own voices heard.
The forum includes:

– Incumbent Chuck Thomsen, State Senate District 26;
– Candidate Robert Bruce, State Senate District 26;
– Incumbent Mark Johnson, State House of Representatives District 52;
– Candidate Stephanie Nystrom, State House of Representatives District 52;
– Incumbent Sherry Hall, Clackamas County Clerk;
– Candidate David Robinson, Clackamas County Clerk.

The Villages Board is also interested in polling the community as to the ultimate fate of The Dorman Center. The repurposing of the property – now owned by the County – remains undetermined at this point in time.

by Larry Berteau

Warming Hut Gets a Facelift.
Historic Skibowl Warming Hut Gets Much Needed Restoration posted on 10/01/2014
Skibowl’s Warming Hut is about to get warmer.

Petr Kakes, the manager of the historic Warming Hut at Skibowl,  said the building has seen very limited maintenance since its construction in the 1930s – the biggest fix since then was the addition of some paneling inside to prevent snow from blowing through the walls when Kirk Hanna purchased the ski resort more than 20 years ago.

“I have been noticing, especially on rainy winter events, the water was accumulating from the surrounding area underneath; basically a river running through it,” Kakes said.

This fall, however, the Warming Hut (located mid-mountain at the bottom of the Upper Bowl) is being restored by the Mount Hood National Forest and Skibowl, including replacement of sill logs, repairs to log posts and repairs to the foundation.

The 32-feet by 22-feet hut, featuring one large open loft room and an enclosed porch and storage area, was originally constructed by the Forest Service through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1937 and offers a warm respite and refreshments to skiers. 

At first, the plan was for the hut to be built from stone, like warming shelters of a similar design throughout the Northwest, but another nearby project kept stone masons too busy to do more than one section. 

“One theory is that all the stone masons were up at Timberline, so they decided to use wood instead and made one side a masonry chimney,” said Alexandra Wenzl, Mt. Hood National Forest historian. 

The hut has seating for 40 and thanks to its picturesque location, with a perfect view of the summit of Mount Hood, also is the site of nearly 20 weddings per year during the summer. Its location at the Upper Bowl also allows skiers and snowboarders to pop in for a break without going to the bottom of the mountain.

 “The warming hut is packed every night, even during the week, especially during a good snow event,” Kakes said. 

The U.S. Forest Service contributed $50,000, including $22,000 for materials and a preservation team, plus donated staff time, while Wenzl noted Skibowl staff has helped move rocks during the restoration. 

Kakes pointed out that Zigzag District Ranger Bill Westbrook helped get the ball rolling for the project, adding that the building was a lower priority for his predecessors. Wenzl estimated the hut is one of possibly six remaining in Oregon and Washington and added that it still is fulfilling its original purpose, to promote skiing and recreation on the Mountain. 

After work is complete this fall, Wenzl said the hope is to repair the wood storage area and replace the roof sometime in the future, depending on when funding is available. 

“Then it will last another 75 years … hopefully longer,” she said.

by Garth Guibord
Literacy Programs Help Students Get a Jump on Reading posted on 10/01/2014
Becky Fortune, Title-1 Family Liaison and Little Steps program coordinator at Welches School, still has her copy of Watty Piper’s “The Little Engine That Could.” 

And now copies of that book could be on the shelves of preschool children all over the Mountain and throughout the school district, thanks to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. 

The program, now in its second year, is free for any children ages 0-5 who register, and families with multiple qualifying children can enroll them all. Every month, each child will receive a free hard-cover book until their fifth birthday. 

“It’s really good if you can instill a love of reading early on,” Fortune said. “It makes learning to read so much easier.” 

Fortune notes that kids who get read to on a regular basis typically pick up the alphabet quicker, and kids can benefit from even just sitting and looking at pictures or retelling a story based on the pictures. 

“Kids that are read to at home do better when they start school,” Fortune said. T

he program, now in its second year in the school district, is sponsored locally by the Oregon Trail Education Foundation. 

For more information or to register, visit oregontrailschools.com/otef/. Fortune also noted the first meeting for Little Steps to School Success, a yearly program that introduces preschool students to the school setting, will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Welches School, 24901 E. Salmon River Road. 

The program is free and open to children who turned three by Aug. 31, 2014 and meets four times during the school year. 

Meetings last one hour and feature a kindergarten teacher reading to the children, a free book for each child, activities for parents and children, plus strategies for parents to help enhance their child’s reading experience. For more information call 503-622-3165.

by Garth Guibord/MT
Welches Elementary Drops a Level in State Assessment posted on 10/01/2014
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released report cards on school districts throughout the state last month, the second year in which schools are rated on a scale of 1-5 (five being best). 

Welches Elementary School dropped from a level 4 in the 2012-13 school year to a level 3 in the 2013-14 school year, while Welches Middle School stayed at level 4 and Sandy High School rose from level 2 to level 3 (the high school lost a level in the 2012-13 school year due to a failed participation target in a subgroup).

Ratings are based on standardized test scores in reading and math, student achievement, the academic growth of subgroup populations and individual student growth over the prior year. Twenty-five percent of the rating is based on the percent of students who met or exceeded standards, another 25 percent on growth of students in subgroup populations and the remaining 50 percent is based on all student growth.

Oregon Trail School District’s Director of Teaching and Learning Debbie Johnson noted in an email to The Mountain Times that the state increased the threshold for schools to reach level four, which resulted in Welches Elementary School dropping to a level three despite improvements in reading and math. 

She added that the staff is working diligently to address the academic needs of students in both the middle and elementary schools.

“In the elementary, this is done through targeted tiered intervention for reading and math where students receive additional instruction in a small group setting,” Johnson wrote. “In the middle school, students who are not at grade level in reading and math are placed in ‘lab’ classes to address their needs. Our goal is that all students are on track for their grade level by the end of the year.”

The district is also stressing student attendance this year and Johnson noted ODE changed its method for tracking attendance, moving from a “daily attendance” that counts how many students are present each day to the percentage of students who attend 90 percent or more of school days. 

According to Johnson, last year the daily attendance averaged 94.5 percent and 94.45 percent for Welches Elementary School and Welches Middle School, respectively, but when totaling the number of students who attended school for 90 percent or more of the days, the numbers drop to 81 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

Similarly, Sandy High School attendance rated at 94.47 percent for “daily attendance,” but just 36 percent of students attended school at least 90 percent of the time.

“The (School) Board took a strong stance on the impacts attendance has on student achievement in June when they approved the updated attendance policy,” Johnson wrote. “If attendance impacts a student’s ability to demonstrate mastery of content standards, then the child can be retained or be required to repeat a course.”

Johnson noted the district utilizes a variety of assessments for student progress, including the developmental reading assessment for elementary students, embedded assessments within the new English language arts curriculum, writing work samples and unit tests in math for all grade levels. The district is also considering an interim assessment aligned with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (testing based on the Common Core State Standards) performed twice a year for students in third grade through eighth grade and in 11th grade.

“We have to remember that state assessments, regardless of what it is, is a snapshot of what students know and can do,” Johnson added. “The classroom assessments tell the bigger picture of student progress.”

For more information and to view the full reports, visit www.ode.state.or.us.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Evan Jarvis, HFD Firefighter/Paramedic.
Rescue Units Save 23, One Man Swept Away posted on 09/01/2014
A bolt of lightning, a clap of thunder, and a killer cloudburst fell on the Sandy River at Ramona Falls just before 3 p.m. Aug. 12.

The river level rose immediately, collapsing the footbridge at Ramona Falls, and the raging rapids swept away Brent Ludwig, 34, of New Lenox, Illinois. He was washed off the bridge and his body was discovered one mile downstream. He had drowned.

Twenty three other hikers were stranded on the opposite side of the river – including four members of Ludwig’s family – and after several hours they were brought to safety by a swift water rescue employing rapid deployment crafts of the Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium.

Several teams of rescuers were sent to the scene following a 911 call. Other units searched the river bank downstream for the missing hiker, including Evan Jarvis, 25, of Welches, a firefighter-paramedic of the Hoodland Fire Department.

On receiving the alert, Jarvis, along with volunteer firefighter Luke Fortune, took off in the Rescue 251 vehicle with rescue packs, life preservers and throw bags.

“We knew of stranded people upriver, but our job was to focus downstream for the man in the water,” Jarvis told The Mountain Times.

From the Brightwood trailhead the pair started upstream under miserable conditions.

“There were no radio communications, it was pouring rain, and the Sandy River looked like a chocolate fountain,” Jarvis said. 

“There was no walking room due to the swollen river and we had to go up embankments, through ravines, over fallen trees, and even had to hack our way through a stand of alder that were no more than a foot apart.”

All the while, concern grew from knowing they might be missing the endangered hiker as their course necessarily took them out of sight of the river.

“Also, when we got near the river, there were trees flying by and the river was so fast, so dark, we knew he could go by,” Jarvis said.

After more than two hours into the search, finally in radio communication, Jarvis received word the hiker had been found.

Cold, wet and tired, Jarvis and Fortune abandoned the search, with new respect for nature’s power.

“The rushing water, the sound of boulders striking together, it was an incredible show of force,” Jarvis said.

Responding agencies included Hoodland Fire, Sandy Fire, Clackamas County Search and Rescue, Clackamas County Dive Rescue, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Lake Oswego Fire, Gladstone Fire, Tualatin Valley Fire, Clackamas County Fire District 1, US Forest Service, Oregon State Police and Mountain Wave Communications.

by Larry Berteau/MT
Hwy. 26 Blasting Expected Early This Month posted on 09/01/2014
Blasting of rock faces on Hwy. 26 for the “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project” did not occur in late August, as expected, but was set to begin in the first week of September, according to Kimberly Dinwiddie, Oregon Department of Transportation Community Affairs. 

Dinwiddie noted the contractor, K&E Excavating, was able to remove much of the rock without blasting.

Dinwiddie added that the project, which will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents, was also delayed due to stopping all work for the safety of runners during the Hood to Coast relay. 

Work will stop again for Labor Day, but the contractor is expected to work longer days through this month and early September to make up the lost time.

They are still hopeful to complete work on the north slope of the project before it stops for the winter season in November. 

Construction is expected to take place between April and October through 2016.
For more information, visit us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Lynette Xanders spearheads effort.
Mountain Artisans Launch New Website posted on 09/01/2014
A common take on artisans is they are a madcap group of disorganized genius.

Lynette Xanders, of Brightwood, and a merry band of Mountain artists are brushing that notion aside, having created an e-gallery website and have a hard-copy book set to launch in December.

Xanders is founder and CEO of Wild Alchemy, a Portland-based company that crafts information into brand positioning, marketing and innovation strategies.

She also paints, renovates children’s furniture, likes her Mountain home, and has the vision to reinforce her artistic desires.

“I’m more selfish than altruistic,” Xanders told The Mountain Times. “I want the double luxury of living up here as an artist.” 

She also noted that sales outlets for artists have been limited in the past, and the website and book are an attempt to solve this problem. “It has to be easier than this,” she said of the present state.

The website, MtHoodArtisans.com, provides viewers the opportunity to see local artist’s portfolios and be able to purchase work through links to artist websites or their contact information. 

“This site is being created by a local group of people as a service to the local artist community,” Xanders wrote in a concept overview. “It is intended to bring awareness, access and customers to artisans in the Mount Hood area … The site itself is being created through donations and volunteerism. It is not set up to be profitable, but it must be sustainable.”

Xanders’ husband, Chris Martin, is managing business operations, and Lisa Riversong, a Mountain artist and teacher, is in charge of outreach and community relations.

The MHA website is designed to showcase artists across multi-media platforms, including but not limited to photography, jewelry, knitwear, furniture, glassworks, paintings – whether a full-time or part-time pursuit. All participants must be majority owners of their businesses.

Current MHA members include Xanders, Riversong, Jen Andersen Fibre, Aaron & Caleb Gabbert Glass, Pete Bady Photo, Jerry Cave Jewelry, Andunn Einarsson (Seaburg) Paint and Steve Ludeman Watercolor.
New additions, “Hopefully soon,” Xanders said, include John Smith, Judy Cave, Jason Johnston, Mel Mutterspaugh, Sue Allen, Allison Collins, Josh Frazier, Patty Chesla, Danielle, Gary Randall, Ryan Peloquin, Jard and Mark Dulcie.

Other artisans should contact Chris Martin at 503-622-1776 or info@mthoodartisans.com.

The upcoming book, slated for December, will be a 4-color catalogue to be placed in restaurants and rental units in the Mountain area.

“This is a way to showcase our local artists,” Xanders said. “It’s a way for locals to buy from locals, and to bring in outside dollars to our community.”

by Larry Berteau/MT
Boulder Timber Sale Moves Forward posted on 09/01/2014
At a July 29 meeting, Clackamas County Commissioners voted 4-0 (one excused) to decline an offer by Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) to purchase approximately 140 acres out of a larger 340 acre parcel, and gave the go ahead to start the bidding process for eventual logging.

WRC submitted a proposal at the end of May to purchase the smaller section, and the county postponed sending the harvest out to bid for one month in an attempt to strike a deal. 

Clackamas County Parks and Forests Manager Rick Gruen noted the deal was contingent on getting a value that met the market value for the price of timber on the land and the value of the land itself, giving the county the opportunity to purchase other property.

“We couldn’t do either satisfactorily,” Gruen said. “It’s very important to us to pay for acquisitions out of capital dollars.”

Gruen declined to reveal how much WRC offered for the property, but the county did not submit a counter offer. 

He added the county has been in “open communication” with WRC and would consider a new offer from the organization in the future.

“They know where they need to get to,” Gruen said.

The project is expected to go to bid as early as late September or early October, and Gruen noted the likeliest start time for logging on the property would be in the summer of 2015. 

The sale would represent three years of timber harvest and should yield approximately 6.4 million board feet, with money from the sale going into a county fund used to run its parks and forest programs.

Gruen added the county expected a geotechnical report from an outside consulting firm in late August, further detailing slide potential on the site and impact on Country Club Road from logging trucks and offering recommendations.

“If they do find evidence of that, we’ll adjust accordingly,” Gruen said, adding that the county has already adjusted the logging plan to increase buffer widths, create a 12-acre no-cut zone to preserve the view from the Mount Hood Village RV Resort and modified hours of operations.

The WRC did not respond to a request for comments. 

by Garth Guibord/MT
Boulder Timber Sale Moves Forward posted on 09/01/2014
At a July 29 meeting, Clackamas County Commissioners voted 4-0 (one excused) to decline an offer by Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) to purchase approximately 140 acres out of a larger 340 acre parcel, and gave the go ahead to start the bidding process for eventual logging.

WRC submitted a proposal at the end of May to purchase the smaller section, and the county postponed sending the harvest out to bid for one month in an attempt to strike a deal. 

Clackamas County Parks and Forests Manager Rick Gruen noted the deal was contingent on getting a value that met the market value for the price of timber on the land and the value of the land itself, giving the county the opportunity to purchase other property.

“We couldn’t do either satisfactorily,” Gruen said. “It’s very important to us to pay for acquisitions out of capital dollars.”

Gruen declined to reveal how much WRC offered for the property, but the county did not submit a counter offer. 

He added the county has been in “open communication” with WRC and would consider a new offer from the organization in the future.

“They know where they need to get to,” Gruen said.

The project is expected to go to bid as early as late September or early October, and Gruen noted the likeliest start time for logging on the property would be in the summer of 2015. 

The sale would represent three years of timber harvest and should yield approximately 6.4 million board feet, with money from the sale going into a county fund used to run its parks and forest programs.

Gruen added the county expected a geotechnical report from an outside consulting firm in late August, further detailing slide potential on the site and impact on Country Club Road from logging trucks and offering recommendations.

“If they do find evidence of that, we’ll adjust accordingly,” Gruen said, adding that the county has already adjusted the logging plan to increase buffer widths, create a 12-acre no-cut zone to preserve the view from the Mount Hood Village RV Resort and modified hours of operations.

The WRC did not respond to a request for comments. 

by Garth Guibord/MT
Sandy Residents Show Support for Pool posted on 09/01/2014
A survey conducted by Moore Information for the City of Sandy between July 14 and 22 revealed a total of 82 percent of respondents believe the continued operation of the Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center is either “very important” or “fairly important.” 

Fifty-five percent of respondents also supported the idea of the city purchasing the Cedar Ridge Middle School campus, Sandy skate park and the pool to create a recreational hub.

Two hundred residents were surveyed via cell phones and land lines.

“I was actually pleasantly surprised by the level of support,” said Sandy City Manager Seth Atkinson, who presented the survey results to city council Aug. 4. “We could tell that even amongst those people who didn’t want to fund anything, continued operation of the pool was a big priority.”

Atkinson also noted the property was appraised at $2.2 million for the land and $230,000 for the building (the appraisal did not include value of timber on the land, value for the track or furnishings or fixtures in the building). 

Atkinson added that it was assumed any renovations needed for the pool and skate park negated their value.
The council also instructed Atkinson to create a schedule of events to extend the urban renewal area.

Julia Monteith, Oregon Trail School District Communications Director, noted the district expects to have an appraisal of the property performed by sometime in early September. 

After that appraisal, Atkinson said the two entities will have to come to a final figure if the sale is to go through, adding that any sale would be a large transaction for both parties with some logistics to be worked out.

“It’s a slow moving train, but it’s moving,” Atkinson said. “We can’t make a purchase like this quickly. I would hope taxpayers wouldn’t want us to. We both want to take our time and do it right.”

Atkinson added that if the sale goes through, the city will still need to figure out what kind of fee city residents might see on their utility bill to help pay for pool operations. As it stands, the fee could be between $3 and $7, which had differing degrees of support from residents in the survey (73 percent and 53 percent of respondents had either “strong support” or “support” for $3 and $7 fees, respectively).

“We think we’ll be able to do it for something within that range,” Atkinson said.

Monteith noted the district is enthusiastic about the support from the city’s residents for the pool and recreation hub and about a potential sale.

“We are pleased with the results of the survey,” she wrote in an e-mail to The Mountain Times. “A good percentage of our community supports paying a small fee to allow the City to operate the pool, and they support the concept of a recreation campus. 

“This is an exciting opportunity that we will continue to discuss with the City in hopes of reaching an agreement that best serves our students and community.”

by Garth Guibord/MT

Black bear and her cub.
Mountain Wild: BEARS posted on 09/01/2014
Black bears are not always black. Often, they are brown, blonde, and sometimes cinnamon. But all bears that roam our Mountain community are black bears. If you’re still confused, just call them bears. But refrain from calling them to dinner.

The black bear is the most common of bear species in the U.S., and the only one found in our area. It is estimated there are about 30,000 in Oregon, and they thrive on the Mountain. 
They vary greatly in size based on where they live. Our black bears average between 130 and 190 pounds and five to seven feet in length – but can occasionally top out at as much as 500 pounds. The record size was recorded in New Brunswick at 1,100 pounds.

The black bear is clever and can use its paws and claws to open screw-top jars and door latches. Their physical strength is remarkable, with cubs able to flip over 300-pound rocks. They are sure-footed, and can reach speeds of 30 mph. They are strong swimmers, and besides looking for fish, will often swim for pure pleasure.

As indicated in Gary Brown’s “Great Bear Almanac,” they make 20 different sounds, including growls, woofs, snorts, bellows and roars. The black bear has much better eyesight and hearing than humans, and a sense of smell seven times keener than dogs, according to Brown.

The black bear breeding period usually occurs between June and July. Both sexes are promiscuous. The gestation period lasts 235 days with litters typically of two or three cubs being born in January or February.
The average lifespan of our local bear is 18 years.

Typically, they enter their dens in October or November after putting on up to 30 pounds of body fat to get them through the 3-to-5 month hibernation.

Biologist Susan Barnes of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, has encountered bears during her adventures in the woods. While participating in a population study in the Bull Run Watershed she came across a mother and her cubs.

“The sow reared up on her hind legs,” Barnes said. “This allowed the cubs to climb a tree.”

That was apparently the end of the confrontation, as Barnes is around to tell the tale. 

She also noted that a bear rearing up is not usually a sign of aggression, rather an attempt to get a better view of the situation and to pick up a scent.

The black bear without doubt has the ability to kill a human, but they tend to avoid us whenever possible. They rarely attack, instead resorting to mock charges, digging at the ground with their forepaws and making aggressive blowing noises. 

However, they can be motivated by hunger, especially if they have become habituated to humans, as around campgrounds, garbage dumps, and natural feeding grounds like berry patches.

They are omnivorous, with grass, fruit and berries supplying the bulk of their diets. They will include the occasional mammal and amphibian, and, according to Barnes, enjoy the odd insect as well.

Humans should never allow our black bears access to food, garbage, or outdoor pet feeders. Once they find such a feeding ground they can become a real threat to human safety – often leading to the bear needing to be destroyed.

In short, they belong in the wild and we should never provide the bear with the temptation of becoming habituated.

Safety Steps
Keep pet foods indoors;
Hang bird feeders from a wire at least 10 feet off the ground and 10 feet from the trunk;
Add lime to compost piles to reduce odors, and never compost meat, bones, fruit or grease;
Secure garbage cans in a garage or shed;
Take garbage with you when leaving a vacation home;
Don’t leave scented candles, soap or suntan lotions outdoors or near open windows;
When berry picking, don’t go alone, make noise, even carry a whistle.
When camping:
Keep you campsite clean;
Sleep at least 100 yards from cooking areas;
Keep pets on leashes;
Give any bear you encounter a way to escape, step off the trail and slowly walk away, stay calm, avoid eye contact;
In the unlikely event of attack, fight back, shout, be aggressive, use rocks, sticks and hands to fend off the attack;
Pitch your tent away from dense brush and avoid what might be an animal trail to a river or stream;
Use a flashlight at night; and, don’t camp alone.

Bears figure prominently in the culture of nearly every American Indian tribe. 

They are considered to have magical powers and are symbols of strength and wisdom and are associated with healing and medicine.

A bear’s claw was one of the talismans frequently included in medicine bundles, and warriors of many tribes wore bear claw necklaces to provide power and strength.

Some tribes also tell stories about monsters resembling man-eating bears the size of elephants which prey on innocent people and must be slain by heroes.

The devoted maternal behavior of female bears is often noted in folktales with mother bears sacrificing themselves for their cubs or adopting human children.

by Larry Berteau/MT

Jean Ludeman gets doused for ALS
Mountain Resident Takes Bucket Challenge posted on 09/01/2014
Jean Ludeman, of Welches, took the ice bucket challenge with good humor and a serious desire to raise money for research in the battle against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Getting donors to make pledges for the research, the national phenomenon has raised more than $80 million. Ludeman did her part, getting doused and picking up more than $600 in contributions.

“It wasn’t too bad,” Ludeman said, even after getting a surprise second bucket from her husband, Steve Ludeman, while doubling his pledge. “But the slow pour wasn’t so nice,” she added, noting that Steve had begun with an excruciating trickle from the bucket.

Jean’s connection to ALS is a personal one. Her former husband, Dennis Obert, died of the dreaded disease.
Donors are still pouring in, even after the pouring of the ice water, and her goal is to raise $1,000. In that effort, she has challenged Obert’s daughter and family in Eugene.

“They’re next,” she said, adding, “I appreciate all the support from everyone.”

by Larry Berteau/MT

The Big Dig
Traffic Slows, Construction Gains Speed on Hwy. 26 posted on 08/02/2014
The Oregon Department of Transportation began work on the “U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Highway Safety and Preservation Project” last month, establishing a temporary work zone, reducing traffic to one lane and starting to remove trees and the overburden to prepare hillsides for later excavations. 

The project, expected to run between April and October through 2016, will expand the highway and add a 1.6-mile concrete median barrier to prevent crossover accidents.

Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs, noted the work has caused some expected disruptions for members of the community and travelers, but no major disruptions in the early going. 

She reported that the high temperatures in mid July did not stop the work.

“Our crews are tough and they worked through it,” Dinwiddie said.“It’ll have to be a really major event for us to pull work off of this project.”

Dinwiddie added one early aspect of the project includes trucks transporting some of the material removed from the highway hillsides to Lolo Pass Road. She is aware of the safety concerns, including pedestrians and bikers who use the road, and noted the area where the material is being taken is the most likely one ODOT will use ahead of winter weather, so it will be filled first.

Anna M’Kinne, who lives on Lolo Pass Road, expressed her concerns about the lack of available information regarding the trucks, noting she was unaware of the expected truck use and the increased danger to everyone who uses the road.

“It is reasonable to expect advance access to information-data that we can proactively use  (if we choose) to do our best to stay safe,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Mountain Times.

The trucks are expected to use Lolo Pass Road Monday through Saturday during daytime hours, with no hauling on Sunday. 

Similarly, trucks are expected to haul material on Trillium Lake Road to another site during the weekdays, but ending at noon on Friday with no further hauling over the weekend so as not to disturb campers.

Dinwiddie noted the project’s contractor, K&E Excavating, is expected to try and limit the blasting of rock faces and utilize other methods of excavation when possible.

“That’s better for everybody, it’s better for the community and travelers,” Dinwiddie said, adding that it will be sometime in mid to late August when blasting would begin.

K&E expects to complete work on most of the slopes on the north side of the highway and attempt to start drainage work before work shuts down for the winter months, according to Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie reported early traffic delays on Hwy. 26 in the 10-minute range, but she expects when the blasting begins it will lead to road closures of up to one hour between 5:30-7:30 p.m. on up to three days per week from Monday through Thursday. 

Traffic will back up for approximately one and one-half miles in the eastbound direction (but traffic is not expected to reach Rhododendron) and approximately one mile in the westbound direction.

Hoodland Fire District Chief Mic Eby has driven through the construction zone, but did not experience any delays. 

He does have concerns about potential delays to accidents on the east side of the project when the blasting occurs and will request a system to notify ODOT when HFD responders are heading up the mountain to stop blasting and allow safe and quick passage through the construction zone.

For more information, please visit the website us26mthoodsafety.org and tripcheck.com.

by Garth Guibord/MT

HWC hands over the check.
Learning Center to Open in August posted on 08/02/2014
The Hoodland Women’s Club made good on its promise to contribute to the community in the wake of its foiled attempt at creating a new community center.
Out of the ashes rises the Mt. Hood Learning Center.

The HWC redirected $15,253 from donors and foundations to finance the learning center and pre-school program and daycare facility at Welches School. Fittingly, the check was presented July 25 on the school’s playground.

“We are grateful for these monies that have been donated by several organizations,” said Alicia Sperr, president of Mt. Hood Learning Center. “We are excited to put these monies to good use and to create a very needed program for our community children.”

In the spring of 2013 the HWC saw its 12-year dream of building a new community center come up short as costs exceeded monies raised by $700,000. But the club was determined to make certain their efforts were not in vain, and sent letters asking donors if they would redirect their contributions to other projects.
Many donors agreed, and the learning center took flight.

“As a retired educator and grandma of school-aged children, I feel having the pre-school program and the before and after-school daycare located in the Welches School building is a great option for parents,” said Kay Baker of the HWC. “The transition between pre-school and kindergarten will be more seamless. Having before and after-school daycare available on site … will open options for working parents.”

The Mt. Hood Learning Center is a non-profit organization that was formed in January 2014 by four local mothers who saw a need to provide a pre-school and childcare program to be located at Welches School.

The community lost its facility a few years ago and Sperr, along with learning center board members Maria Burke, vice president, Jocelyn Van Hee, secretary, and Jessica Tagliafico, treasurer, contacted Welches School Principal Kendra Payne, then approached Liz Claussen of the HWC, to assist in their program.

“Once the Hoodland Women’s Club made the decision to cancel the plans on the new community center, it was great to hear that they listed us as a program to redirect those already donated funds to,” Sperr said. 

The learning center is now enrolling and will open the doors Aug. 4. An open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Aug.13, at Welches School.

For more information e-mail mthoodlc@gmail.com, or call Alicia Sperr at 503-816-3389, or go to the website at www.mthoodlc.com.

by Larry Berteau/MT

American Beaver
Mountain Wild: BEAVER posted on 08/02/2014
Our forest community is host to the American beaver and mountain beaver. The former is the largest rodent in North America – top logging weight averaging 40 pounds – while the latter is half that size.

In fact, the mountain beaver is not a beaver at all. Known affectionately as “Boomer,” the mountain variety is referred to as a beaver due to its beaver tendencies. They gnaw bark and cut off limbs like their American cousins.

The mountain beaver is thought to be the world’s most primitive living rodent species. They are about a foot long and resemble overgrown hamsters. Their tails are rudimentary, but they maintain the sharp teeth and claws for gnawing, digging and climbing.

They are not particular about their diet, feasting on ferns, vine maples, salmon berry, rhododendrons, dogwoods, maples, alders and conifers – just about anything that grows in the Mountain community.

Unlike the American beaver, this smaller version does not build dams across waterways, preferring to burrow into homemade tunnels that can extend 10 feet underground across a territory of two acres or more.

“They are more secretive (than American beavers) and spend most of their time underground,” said Susan Barnes, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist. “Landowners will sometimes complain they chew newly planted seedlings.”

But Barnes was quick to point out the benefits far outweigh the shortcomings.
“Their burrowing aerates soil, their scat acts as fertilizer, and their gnawing becomes space for woodpeckers.”

The American beaver is the hefty cousin that can top 40 pounds into a 3-foot frame. They are not only master loggers, they are extraordinary engineers.

The nose and ears seal out water, the hind feet are webbed, large incisor teeth are used to cut down trees and peel bark while eating. They have poor eyesight but a keen sense of sight and smell. They are territorial and will mark their areas with a pungent oil called castoreum.

The sound of flowing water is all this beaver needs to stimulate its damming instinct. Their structures can be as high as 10 feet and stretch more than 150 feet. Utilizing their engineering expertise, they will often leave a leak in their dam to allow the flow of water, especially during times of high water.

They constantly repair their dams and can rebuild them in quick fashion.

Beavers choosing habitats of calm water – lakes, ponds or marshes – do not build dams.

Beaver dams provide a deep water hideout from predators, an area to store food, stay warm, and give birth and raise their young – called kits.

Mates live together for many years, and often for life. They breed between January and March, have litters of as many as eight kits between April and June, and the kits are weaned at 10 to 12 weeks of age. Most kits will hang around until two years old before going off in search of mates and areas to create new colonies.

Most of the conflicts with beavers are caused by human activity. Barnes cited roads and houses being built too close to streams and under-sized culverts as examples.

“But the advantages are many,” Barnes said. “Dam building creates valuable wetlands and habitats essential to a healthy environment – including habitats for fish to grow and hide, and basking areas for turtles. Wetlands are like sponges, absorbing moisture, reducing flooding and providing important nutrients.”

Back in the 1800s beaver became nearly extinct due to trapping for pelts. The collapse of the fur market helped rescue the valuable rodents.

A trapping season still exists, from Nov. 15 to March 15. Common predators include coyotes, owls, cougars and bears. Large numbers of the mountain beaver are often trapped to prevent damage to newly seeded or planted commercial forests. Occasionally, they are relocated.

Beaver are not aggressive by nature, but they are not without weapons.

Barnes told The Mountain Times there are a couple incidents that have been reported on the east coast of beavers having bit the butts of swimmers.

There have been no such incidents reported on the west coast, suggesting our Mountain beavers have a healthy amount of derriere respect.

by Larry Berteau/MT
'Bite' Money Serves the Community posted on 08/02/2014
More than 1,000 people attended the Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Bite of Mt. Hood” in April, according to the chamber president Coni Scott, but it turns out the event did more than feed the hungry masses while bidding on various auctions. 

The chamber also fed back into the community the proceeds from the event, giving $11,600 to 14 area organizations and groups, plus more than 1,600 food items for the Neighborhood Missions, at the chamber’s July 1 meeting.

“I have really strong feelings about us all working together as a community,” said Scott, who noted the chamber’s board decided not to release the specific amounts of each donation. “We’re not a town, we don’t have paid people. I think it’s just marvelous that our community can pool our personal strengths together to create the best.”

Scott said she solicited suggestions from board members on which groups to help. Last year, money went to support tourism at the new information center at the Zigzag Ranger Station.

Recipients of the funds did not know of the donations in advance, but the reactions were joyful, as expected. Judith Norvall, Chairwoman for the Friends of the Hoodland Library, said she was “amazed” at the money, noting it would be used to increase the library’s DVD collection and for magazine subscriptions.

“The staff at the library was absolutely thrilled,” Norvall said. “(We were) wondering where money was going to come from to renew subscriptions.”

Cris Crislip, Executive Director of the Hoodland Emergency Action Response Team, said his group has had to use paper as a stand-in for bandages during training exercises recently, making his team “visualize or pretend to put a dressing on.” The money they received will go toward new medical supplies and new student manuals to help with basic certification classes.

“I was pretty overwhelmed because I had no idea we would receive funds,” Crislip said. “I think it motivates us to want to be more professional, more involved and more community minded.”

Other organizations receiving money were the Welches School, which will expand technology resources; Mt. Hood Lions Club, used for Christmas baskets and testing for glasses and hearing aids; Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp, which will make kitchen and phone upgrades; Girl Scout Troop #40268, which will help pay train tickets to attend summer camp; the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind, which will support a confidence building workshop; the Mt. Hood Learning Center, to help start up preschool and daycare; the National Alliance on Mental Illness Clackamas Education and Support, which will offer training for law enforcement and community education; the Hoodland Volunteer Support Group, which will purchase bicycle helmets for young in the community; Clackamas Women’s Services (Rural Outreach), to upgrade office equipment and rural services; Mt. Hood Hospice, which will help assist families with their pets during the dying process; Boy Scout Troop #173, which will help 10 scouts go to summer camp; and the Hoodland Senior Center, which will be used toward a budget shortfall of 750 meals within the nutrition program.

by Garth Guibord/MT
School Adds Two Administrators posted on 08/02/2014
The Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) announced the hiring of Rachael George as the new principal of Sandy Grade School. George is the second new administrator to join the district this summer, following the hire of Nicole Johnston as the new principal at Cedar Ridge Middle School in Sandy.

The district was expected to also announce a new principal for the Oregon Trail Primary Academy during the last week of July, following the departure of principal James Miliken, who previously served as the Teacher on Special Assignment at Welches Schools.

Julia Monteith, district communications director, noted the search process was a little more challenging due to resignations occurring later in the summer than what is ideal.
“We are fortunate to have found such a highly qualified candidate in a rather short period of time,” added Superintendent Aaron Bayer in a press release about the George’s hiring.

George has experience teaching in elementary, middle and high school and most recently served as the principal at Lorna Byrne Middle School in the Three Rivers School District in Grants Pass.

Johnston grew up in Sandy, attending Cedar Ridge Middle School and graduating from Sandy High School, and has experience as a language arts teacher, instructional coach and substitute administrator at Centennial High School in Gresham.

Pool update
The OTSD and City of Sandy recently concluded a phone survey to gauge the interest of city residents in taking over operations of the Olin Bignall Aquatic Center, including a possible utility fee of up to $7 per month (with city residents receiving a reduced rate for use of the pool).

City Manager Seth Atkinson is expected to address the city council some time in August with the results, and declined to share any specifics from the survey before he did so.

“Overall I can say the response was generally positive feedback,” Atkinson wrote in an email to The Mountain Times.

by Garth Guibord/MT
School Adds Two Administrators posted on 08/02/2014
The Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) announced the hiring of Rachael George as the new principal of Sandy Grade School. George is the second new administrator to join the district this summer, following the hire of Nicole Johnston as the new principal at Cedar Ridge Middle School in Sandy.

The district was expected to also announce a new principal for the Oregon Trail Primary Academy during the last week of July, following the departure of principal James Miliken, who previously served as the Teacher on Special Assignment at Welches Schools.

Julia Monteith, district communications director, noted the search process was a little more challenging due to resignations occurring later in the summer than what is ideal.
“We are fortunate to have found such a highly qualified candidate in a rather short period of time,” added Superintendent Aaron Bayer in a press release about the George’s hiring.

George has experience teaching in elementary, middle and high school and most recently served as the principal at Lorna Byrne Middle School in the Three Rivers School District in Grants Pass.

Johnston grew up in Sandy, attending Cedar Ridge Middle School and graduating from Sandy High School, and has experience as a language arts teacher, instructional coach and substitute administrator at Centennial High School in Gresham.

Pool update
The OTSD and City of Sandy recently concluded a phone survey to gauge the interest of city residents in taking over operations of the Olin Bignall Aquatic Center, including a possible utility fee of up to $7 per month (with city residents receiving a reduced rate for use of the pool).

City Manager Seth Atkinson is expected to address the city council some time in August with the results, and declined to share any specifics from the survey before he did so.

“Overall I can say the response was generally positive feedback,” Atkinson wrote in an email to The Mountain Times.

by Garth Guibord/MT

Organic Sandy's new digs.
Food, Art and Music Feed the Soul posted on 08/02/2014
When Studebakers ruled the road, and apple pies cooled on window sills, mom and pop run corner stores displayed pesticide-free fresh fruits and vegetables where granny wandered the aisles seeking the perfect melon. 

Organic Sandy, located at 39750 Hwy. 26, Sandy, has created such a place after its modest debut in the summer of 2013 when it offered local produce from a $60 popup tent on a corner in Sandy.

“I just wanted enough food for us to eat, I was not intentionally wanting to start a business,” owner Jennifer Davis said. 

Since the humble beginnings of the corner tent, Davis has succeeded in creating a welcoming store selling produce which is mostly organic and where her goal is to have 80 percent organic goods available. 

Fifty percent of her produce comes from local farmers and the remainder from the Organically Grown Company in Portland.  She pointed out that some produce is certified, and some is not, as local farmers don’t always have means for organic certifications, but there is no use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or GMO seeds in any of her produce. 

To pass Davis’ muster, products sold in her store must meet those