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Eastern Oregon News & Sports
Due to the combination of rainfall and snow melt run off, the National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Union County. Streams, creeks, and the Grande Ronde River are running high and fast, and are expected to crest later today. Some areas throughout Union County have experienced high water onto the roads. As a precautionary measure, do not drive vehicles through high water areas and avoid passage through these areas if at all possible. This is predicted to be a short duration event, and conditions should improve significantly within the next 24-36 hours. Union County Emergency Services urges citizens to exercise extreme caution near waterways.
Officials with the National Weather Service say the Grande Ronde River is expected to crest early this afternoon near Perry, and the high water will slowly recede downstream over the next twenty-four hours. Flooding has been reported near Elgin, Pierce Road and near the Baum Industrial Park near Highway 82. You can also expect to find flooding in the middle of the valley.
Several athletes from Baker County traveled to Mt. Bachelor over the weekend to compete in the Oregon Winter Games along with 200 other athletes from across the state. There was plenty of success from the athletes. Amber Randolph took home 2nd place in the 100 and 50 meter cross country races. Jennifer Glerup took 3rd in the 100 meter cross country race and 2nd in the 50 meter. Emily Moe placed 7th and 6th in the 100 meter and 50 meter snow shoe. Jamie McClaughry placed 4th in the 3 K cross country ski and 5th in the 1K.
The following is an OTEC press release:
We had a string of businesses and a few residential members in Baker and Union Counties contact us regarding scammers this weekend. It appears to be the same scam that was tried a few weeks back. The caller says he’s from OTEC although the number isn’t local. The caller then tells the member they are behind on their bills and that OTEC is going to send people out to shut off their power unless they get a pre-paid debit card for the amount owed and give it to the person who shows up. As far as we are aware, no one has agreed to scammers demands. We have notified the police and they are investigating.
We’d like to remind members that if they receive a call like this to take down what information you can and report it to the police.
This morning (March 10th) at 3:12 a.m. 991 members in Baker City (on the west side) lost power due to a pole fire. The crew was able to isolate the pole and restore power to 937 members at 5:00 a.m. The remaining 54 customers had their power restored at 7:30 a.m.
Officials with the Wallowa Avalanche Center have released their final report on the Baker County avalanche that killed two back country skiers in February:
Avalanche dimensions and type are based on witness accounts. Poor visibility, high winds, and several inches of snow hampered efforts to make necessary measurements. The avalanche was a soft slab that initially broke in storm snow, then stepped down to the ground. It was unintentionally triggered by skiers, was large relative to the path, and destructive enough to bury a person but not break trees (SS-ASu-R4D2-S). It started close to the ridgeline on a south-southwest facing slope near treeline. It ran about 1200 vertical feet, and ended in a gully that acted as a terrain trap.
A shallow, weak early season continental snow pack developed after less than average snowfall in December was followed by a dominating warm, high-pressure system for 16 days at the end of January. A variable snow pack structure consisting of layers of facets and crusts developed. A week prior to the accident, an observer noted a snow pack structure consisting of 50 cm of faceted grains near the ground with 10 cm of recrystallized snow in the Jim Creek drainage, in the same vicinity of the accident on a similar aspect at 7000'. A significant weather change started on 1/29 as the jet stream finally dropped down over the western U.S. and began bringing a series of significant storm events to the area mountains. The Wallowas received over 45 cm of snow and 1.5" snow water equivalent (SWE) with snow levels hovering near 7300'. A Wallowa Alpine Huts employee noted a 190 cm snow pack at Schneider Cabin (7200') on 2/4. A cold front on 2/2 brought cooler conditions to upper elevations with highs in the teens through 2/7. During this time, the winds were light out of the west and the mountains received another 15 cm of low density snow. A series of storms 2/6-2/9 brought another 45-60 cm and 1-2" SWE and moderate SW winds. A warm front on 2/9 and 10 cm of dense new snow created inverted density conditions in the upper snow pack. The warming trend continued through 2/11. Members of the accident party reported 15 cm of new snow in the morning and moderate SW winds throughout the night. Overall, close to 120 cm of snow with 4" of SWE fell at the Schneider Meadows SNOTEL (5400') since 1/29. All this new snow was resting on a very weak and faceted snow pack with several reactive crust/facet layers mid-pack.
A group of six backcountry enthusiasts from the Seattle, Washington area arrived at the Wallowa Alpine Huts Carson House in Halfway, Oregon on Saturday 2/8/14 to go on a guided backcountry trip out of the Schneider Cabin for 4 nights, ending on Thursday, 2/14.
Sunday, 2/9:After a guide briefing, the group accompanied by two guides, were towed in behind snowmobiles then skinned towards the cabin, taking an alternate route due to stability concerns along the normal route. Arriving to the cabin around 1300, the afternoon included rescue practice and a short tour. The group backed off the ideal descent due to wind-affected snow and descended the safest way down back to the cabin.
Monday, 2/10: Sunny, clear skies in the morning. Tour group heads up side of Cornucopia Peak. Stability tests on a north aspect near tree line glean easy results with Q3 shears. Group skis north aspect into West Pine drainage using safe travel protocol: one at a time down 1000' vertical in pitches. Wind-affected snow big concern for guides but conditions permit for two more runs on a similar aspect before skiing a south aspect down to the cabin around 1630. Downhill travel protocol continued to be one at a time and no one interviewed observed any signs of instability throughout the day.
Tuesday, 2/11 (DAY of ACCIDENT): Snowing with 4" of new snow, and windy in morning. Left cabin at 0900, plan is to ski 2 runs on south aspect then head to east aspect. First run on south aspect (off Cornucopia) wind compacted with cross-loading evident across the slope, in thin ribbons. Subject 1 notes wind compacted pillows were tested with no results, no signs of instability noted. Downhill travel protocol is stated to follow Subject 1's tracks, 5-10 turns apart. Group ascends same skin track up to ridge then follow the ridge further to the northwest approximately 1/4 mile. No signs of instability observed, yet signs of wind loading noted. Subject 1 performs a quick shovel shear test with STH-35 cm-Q3 (south) and communicates to Subject 8 it looked good.
RUN of ACCIDENT: At the top of ridge, Subject 1 communicates to clients to stay out of obvious avalanche path, adjacent and left of planned descent,which is obscured by poor visibility. Downhill travel protocol is to follow Subject 1's tracks traversing to the right, traveling 5-10 turns apart, or 5-10 seconds between, dependent on varying accounts. Subject 1 gives clear directions to follow his traverse right, to go slow enough that if Subject 1 stopped the group could stop uphill of Subject 1, until the group got into the low angle trees. Subject 1 wanted to ensure all skiers would be on the tree ridge rather than get sucked left towards the gully. Group is gathered on ridge just right of avalanche path. Subject 1 ski cuts across the starting zone on the convexity, then turns left before descending down the middle of a 100 foot wide apron right of slide path. Subject 1 sees the second skier following him and then 1 took the run all the way down to the regrouping area in an open clearing. Subject 2 descends "fall line" from ridge top location, through a line of trees, along the edge of the no-go zone. Subject 8 restates to follow lead guides tracks, Subject 3 skis just left of Subject 1's tracks, Subject 4 taking a line left of 3's and following closely behind. Subject 5 follows pattern skiing left of 4's. Subject 6 takes a line to the right of Subject 1's tracks. Where Subject 7 and 8 descended is unknown. Subject 3 passes Subject 2 and arrives at the bottom of the planned ski run. Subject 1 gets a radio call from Subject 8 that a slab had broken.
Subject 1 could see “the next few skiers on the slope get hit by debris … though they got taken off their feet it did not appear they had been taken very far. Then I could see the avalanche traveling at high velocity sending a powder cloud flying through the gully to the east of us.” During the rescue, Subject 1 noted the crown line was 5 to 6 turns down slope from his initial ski cut. He estimated dimensions as less than 30 cm deep and less than 100 m wide.
Subject 1 and 3 were at the bottom of the run. Subject 1 established voice contact with Subjects 2, 4, 5, and 6. Subject 6 was not caught in the avalanche. Subject 2 had been partially buried-critical, face-down in the debris, but able to push up, and was uninjured. Subject 4 had deployed an avalanche airbag, and was unburied on the surface of the avalanche debris but sustained two broken legs and a shoulder injury. Subject 5 was partially buried, with head above the debris, and sustained a broken leg.
Subject 1 and 3 immediately put skins on and climb up the slope. Subject 1 instructs 3 to start searching down the slope while 1 heads uphill to begin his beacon search. Subject 3 skins up to 4 and 'marks' 4's position with transceiver, and begins searching downhill. Subject 3 shouts out he has a signal and probes, findinga soft object 1.4 m below the surface of the snow. Using strategic shoveling techniques, they clear Subject 7’s airway in approximately 10 minutes after the avalanche. Subject 7 does not respond to rescue breathing. Subjects 1 and 3 begin searching for Subject 8. Subject 3 gets a beacon signal 150' below Subject 7’s location. They get a probe strike 150 cm down. Using strategic shoveling techniques, Subject 8’s airway is uncovered approximately 20 minutes after the avalanche. Both buried victims suffered obvious and severe trauma.
Subject 1 skins to the ridgeline where there is cell service. He calls Wallowa Alpine Huts who initiate a rescue. Several hours after the avalanche, a helicopter reaches the scene and lands some rescue supplies but is unable to evacuate the injured skiers. Weather will prevent any other helicopter evacuation on 2/11 or 2/12.
Staff from Wallowa Alpine Huts reach the accident site in the afternoon with additional supplies. The injured Subjects are stabilized and sheltered on the avalanche debris. Subject 1 remains with them overnight. Search and Rescue are unable to reach the site with snowmobiles or snowcats, but stage vehicles overnight.
Baker County Search and Rescue personnel, including Wallowa Alpine Huts staff, paramedics, and members of Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol, reach the accident site the morning of 2/12. They began the slow process of evacuating Subjects 4 and 5. The injured skiers reach the hospital the evening of 2/12.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Grande Ronde River near Perry through tomorrow night. Officials say the river level is currently at 6.4 feet- flood level is 6.6 feet and the river is expected to crest at 7 feet tonight before receding tomorrow afternoon. Officials say only minor flooding is expected.
With the OSAA 1A Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School in the books, tournament organizers and volunteers can take a deep breath after another successful year. Colleen Taylor is one of the tourmaments co-organizers along with Dale Curtis. She says planning begins nine months in advance, and it’s all done by volunteers: "Then our actual volunteers- we have meetings throughout the year, and then we are down here from 6:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night."
OSAA Director Tom Welter said the Baker City Community does a great job of supporting the tournament. The OSAA last week made the rare move of signing a four year contract with Baker City to host the 1A. And attendence was at its highest level in five years according to organizers with 12,365 people attending the games this year. Taylor says all those people help Baker City businesses: "Very big impact during a slow time of the year for us."
The Baker County Chamber of Commerce is trying to determine just how big that impact is. They emailed surveys for businesses asking for information on the financial impact. The information they get will be used to try and leverage more grants. If you didn’t get a survey, go to www.visitbaker.com to find the information.
Baker City officials are working with ODOT to improve the safety of Campbell Street in Baker City. With a high number of incidents on the stretch between Main and 10th Streets, officials are looking at several options to help slow motorists and protect pedestrians. The intersection of Campbell and First Street has had the highest number of reported accidents in the past five years, and officials are looking at possibly enlarging the stop sign, adding a flashing stop sign or adding an advanced warning sign. They will also be taking steps to improve visibility in the area.
U.S. Senator from Oregon Ron Wyden will visit Baker City on Sunday according to his staff. He will hold a town hall meeting at 1:00 at the Senior Center on Cedar Street. The public is invited to ask questions of the Senator who will also give a short update on what’s going on in Washington D.C.
The La Grande boys and girls basketball teams are both heading to the OSAA 4A Basketball State Championship Tournament at Gill Coliseum later this week. The La Grande girls will face #1 La Salle Prep Wednesday night at 8:15 while the La Grande boys face Henley Thursday at 3:15. Five schools at the 4A tournament have both their boys and girls teams at the final tournament.
Powder Valley’s Quin Stevens was named to the OSAA 1A Boys Basketball State Championship Tournament All-Tournament first team while teammate Marcus Pratt was named to the second team.
At the OSAA 2A Basketball State Championship Tournament in Pendleton, Union’s Keesha Sarmon was one of two unanimous picks for the All-Tournament first team. Union High School was also awarded the Sportsmanship Trophy.
The Columbia Christian Knights are your 1A Boys State Champions after taking down Horizon Christian Hood River 68 to 49 in Baker City.
It was a comeback for the ages, as Condon/Wheeler was down 38 to 21 at the half before storming back in the second half to take down the Damascus Christian Eagles 57 to 52 in the 1A Girls State Championship game.
The Powder Valley boys fought hard, but came up short in the final game of 2014. The Badgers fell to the Crosshill Christian Eagles 60 to 54. The Badgers were led in scoring by Marcus Pratt with 17 points in the game, followed by Seth Dixon with 10 points of his own. The Eagles had Matthew Gillie drop 25 points in the game joined with 17 rebounds from Dalton Cubitt. Powder Valley takes home fifth in the state with the loss. Crosshill Christian comes away with third.
It wasn't easy, but winning something important never is. The St. Paul Lady Buckaroos were able to hold off a late charge by the Triangle Lake Lady Lakers 46 to 45. The Buckaroos will take home the third place trophy. The Lady Lakers saw a phenominal game come from Kiana Brown, with 30 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. St. Paul was paced by Remy Brentano with 17 points in the game.
The Ione Cardinals come away with a victory over the Imbler Panthers 56 to 51 in the fourth place game in the 1A Boys Basketball State Championship. The Ione Cardinals will walk away with the fourth place trophy while Imbler comes out with a sixth place finish.
The Dufur girls took 4th place at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School with a 46-38 win over Prairie City in a hard faught game. Prairie City took home the 6th place trophy.
At the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School, in boys action yesterday:
Imbler eliminated Jordan Valley 57-52
Ione beat Triangle lake 92-84
Imbler and Ione will play for 4th or 6th place at 10:45.
In the girls consolation finals, Prairie City will face Dufur at 9 am for 4th or 6th place
In girls action, Condon/Wheeler beat St. Paul 62-20
Damascus Christian beat Triangle Lake 62-38
Condon/Wheeler will face Damascus Christian for the state title at 6:30
St. Paul and Triangle Lake play at 1:30 for 3rd or 5th
In boys championship bracket action, Horizon Christian beat Crosshill Christian 70-41
Columbia Christian beat Powder Valley 82-48
Columbia Christian will face Horizon Christian for the state title at 8:30
Powder Valley will play Crosshill Christian for 3rd or 5th at 3:15
Columbia Christian got a fast start against Powder Valley leading 25-5 at the end of the first quarter on their way to an 82-48 win at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Boys Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. Arkadiy Mkrtychyan led the Knights with 24 points while Chace Dixon led Powder Valley with 13. Columbia Christian will face Horizon Christian for the state title at 8:30 tomorrow night. Powder Valley will square off against Crosshill Christian at 3:15 for 3rd or 5th place.
Damascus Christian cruised into the girls state title game with a 62-38 win over Triangle Lake at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. Ana Wakefield led Damascus Christian with 30 points while Kiana Brown led Triangle Lake with 25. Damascus Christian will play Condon/Wheeler for the state title at 6:30 tomorrow night. Triangle Lake will play St. Paul for 3rd or 5th place at 1:30.
The Horizon Christian boys cruised to a 70-41 win over Crosshill Christian in the semi final round of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Boys Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. Matt Totaro led the Hawks with 23 points while the Eagles were led by Ryan DeJager with 18 points in the losing effort. Horizon Christian awaits the winner of tonights Powder Valley/Columbia Christian game while Crosshill Christian will play the loser of tonights game for 3rd or 5th place at 3:15 tomorrow afternoon.
Condon/Wheeler controlled the pace of the game in a 62-20 win over St. Paul to advance to the 1A girls title game at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. They will play the winner of Triangle Lake and Damascus Christian tomorrow at 6:30.
Ione set a blistering pace in a 92-84 win over Triangle Lake at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Boys Basketball State Championship Tournament. The Cardinals will play Imbler for 4th or 6th place at 10:30 tomorrow. Jailin Conboy hit eight 3 point shots on his way to 37 points.
The Imbler Panthers will be playing for 4th place in the 1A Boys Basketball State Championships in Baker City, as they took down Jordan Valley 57 to 52 in this mornings semi-finals. The Panthers were led by Eli Bowers, Kyle Johnson and Joe Griffen, with all three players scoring double digits in the game. Imbler will challenge the winner of Triangle Lake and Ione in the 4th place game tomorrow morning at 10:45 in Baker City. You can listen to that game on NewsTalk 103.
Two girls teams were eliminated from the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School yesterday. Crane lost to Dufur 47-35 and Prairie City knocked out Country Christian 47-46 in overtime. Two boys teams will be eliminated this morning.
Girls: Dufur 47, Crane 35
Prairie City 47, Country Christian 46 (overtime)
Dufur will play Prairie City at 9 am tomorrow for 4th or 6th place.
Horizen Christian 67, Imbler 47
Crosshill Christian 64, Jordan Valley 47
Columbia Christian 97, Triangle Lake 38
Powder Valley 92, Ione 66
Imbler will play Jordan Valley at 9 am
Triangle Lake and Ione play at 10:30
Condon/Wheeler girls take on St. Paul at 1:30
Crosshill Christian and Horizen Christian play at 3:15
Damascus Christian girls and Triangle Lake play at 6:30
Powder Valley and Columbia Christian play at 8:15
The 14 year old boy who is accused of shooting and killing two men is starting to cost a pretty penny for the state. The Baker City teen is accused of aggravated murder in the death of his foster father and uncle. The teen’s trial isn’t set to begin until September 8th, and will determine if he is tried as an adult or a juvenile. In the meantime, the last month of keeping the teen in the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility in The Dalles cost 4,100 dollars, not including medical expenses for the self-inflicted gunshot wound. The teen is being detained by Grant County, and is costing 115 dollars a day for his detention bed.
The temporary UV water treatment system for Baker City has arrived and is ready to be installed by the city. The system should be installed in two weeks and be ready for use before the end of March. The system was brought in for several reasons, with treating water flowing into the city being the top priority. They will also be able to recharge the cities well and save the city the costs of having to have water tested twice a week for cryptosporidium.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has named Bruce Eddy of La Grande in charge of all ODF&W offices east of the Cascades as part of a reconsolidation of its regions. Eddy had been the head of the Northeast Oregon Region for the last two years. The move is to remove some of the administrative costs for ODF&W, cutting down on the regions the department has from four to two.
Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies is a finalist for the President’s position at Murray State in Kentucky - but he says it would take a lot for him to leave La Grande. Davies, who served as President of Eastern for five years, was invited to apply for the position by a friend. He will interview with Murray State Board of Directors on Tuesday.
The future is up in the air for Shelter from the Storm after Wednesday’s County Commission meeting. With the decision official now, the Union County Commissioners and the Shelter can begin working on a site for them to move to now. “All three commissioners are concerned with what’s gonna happen to Shelter from the Storm. We want to make sure that they are continuing work for the good of Union County and their clients.”
Commissioner Bill Rosholt. The commissioners are offering the Shelter the current location of the courts with no rent and utilities paid for.
Warmer temperatures are causing problems with water in some areas. Union County Emergency Services Director JB Brock says people need to be careful around creeks and streams swollen with runoff: "Not only do they get full, but that water is cold. If we ever were exposed to it, certainly hypothermia becomes a very real risk very quickly."
Brock says these types of conditions often last into June and July, and that overflow can cause problems for motorists: "Just a matter of a couple of inches of water moving across the road can move your vehicle, and it can move it into a ditch."
Brock says if you do encounter water across the road, don’t drive through it and notify officials so they can put signs up to warn other motorists. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for parts of Northeast Oregon through 10 am this morning.
The La Grande City Manager is soliciting volunteers to serve on a Police Facilities Committee to review the facility needs of the La Grande Police Department, and develop a recommendation to the City Council regarding a long-term solution.
The La Grande Police Department is currently co-located with the Union County Sheriff’s Department. The current location does not meet the LGPD’s needs for a number of reasons. It is the intention of the City Manager to assemble a committee that includes representatives from the community to evaluate our current requirements, determine our future needs, and identify a variety of alternatives to solve the problem. The Committee’s work will include exploring options for a separate facility as well as potential joint facilities that could include a number of partners. The Committee will also look at potential funding solutions.
If you are interested in participating, please prepare a letter to the City Manager explaining why you would be the best choice to serve on the committee, including any specific skills or experience you have that will help the team be successful. Submit your letter to: City of La Grande, Attention Robert Strope, City Manager, PO Box 670, La Grande, OR 97850, before March 21, 2014. Please include your name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address in your letter.
It is Powder Valley moving on to the semifinals of the 1A Boys Basketball State Championships after taking down Ione 92 to 66. Powder Valley was led byQuin Stephens and Marcus Pratt, who both recorded a double double. Stephens had a game high 32 points along with 12 boards while Pratt finished with 14 points and 14 boards. Powder Valley will now head to the semi's where they will challenge Columbia Christian. Ione will challenge Traingle Lake tomorrow morning in the consolation.
The Columbia Christian boys flexed their muscle at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Boys Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. The Knights scored 34 first quarter points and led 60-16 at halftime on their way to a 97-38 win over Triangle Lake. Isaac Bonton led Columbia Christian with 23 points and four other players were in double figures. Columbia Christian will take on the Powder Valley/Ione winner tomorrow night at 8:15. Triangle Lake will take on the loser at 10:30 tomorrow morning in an elimination game.
Jordan Valley scored the first two points of the game, but from then on it was all Crosshill Christian as the Eagles beat the Mustangs 64-47 at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Boys Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. The Eagles were led by David Brockman who had 19 points and Matthew Gille with 18. Wyatt Troutman led Jordan Valley with 18 points. The Mustangs face Imbler in a loser out game at 9 am tomorrow, Crosshill Christian will play Horizen Christian at 3:15 tomorrow afternoon.
The Horizen Christian/Hood River boys cruised to a 20 point win over Imbler in the 1st round of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Boys Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. Mason Bloomster scored 24 points for the Hawks while Trace Vancleave had 18 to lead Imbler. Horizen Christian will play the winner of the Crosshill Christian/Jordan Valley game tomorrow afternoon while Imbler takes on the loser in an elimination game at 9 am.
The Country Christian girls led nearly the entire ballgame, but Prairie City's Kailey Kell tied the game at 41 sending it to overtime where the Panthers pulled out a 47-46 win in the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball State Championship Tournament. Prairie City play Dufur at 9 am Saturday in the consolation finals, Country Christian was eliminated from the tournament.
The Dufur girls beat Crane 47-35 at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. Crane was eliminated with the loss. Tenielle McDonald led the Lady Rangers with 13 points. Dufur will play the winner of the Prairie City/Country Christian game Saturday morning at 9 am.
Girls 1st round results from the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School:
Condon/Wheeler beat Crane 67-34
St. Paul beat Dufur 42-33
Triangle Lake edged Prairie City 44-40
Damascus Christian beat Country Christian 50-18
This morning's elimination games: Crane faces Dufur at 9 am, Prairie City will play Country Christian at 10:30.
The boys tournament starts this afternoon.
Imbler will play Horizon Christian at 1:30
Jordan Valley faces Crosshill Christian at 3:15
Triangle Lake and Columbia Christian play at 6:30
Powder Valley takes on Ione at 8:15.
It was at the County Commission meeting yesterday that the decision was made final for the new Union County Courthouse to be built on the site where Shelter from the Storm currently sits. Commissioner Bill Rosholt says the decision was not an easy one to come to. “An option that nobody wanted to see happen, but as it came down, it was really the only option that we had with the time restraints and the money restraint that we’re working under.”
Rosholt says none of the commissioners wanted to see Shelter from the Storm move, but the offer of two million dollars from the state for the courthouse isn’t something they could afford to lose.
Baker High School will start a major remodeling project in the gym over spring break. The floor will be replaced, a new PA system installed along with new bleachers and a new ceiling. The $150,000 price tag will be paid through grants and donations. Colleen Taylor, co-director of Baker County Tournaments says the all volunteer group is helping with the project. They will soon be taking donations on their website, email@example.com.
Baker County Tournaments, the group that puts on both the 1A district and state tournaments at Baker High School, has signed new four year contracts to host both tournaments. Director Dale Curtis said the all volunteer group gets rave reviews from the Oregon Schools Activities Association.
As we told you yesterday, Union County Commissioners made the decision to go forward with construction of a new courthouse on the site where Shelter from the Storm sits now. That came after hours of often emotional testimony about the importance of the Shelter, something commissioners all agreed with. Commissioners said they would work with the Shelter board to find a new home and to make the transition as seamless as possible. Commissioners said their biggest fear was turning down the $2 million from the state and then not being able to get the money again in the future.
There is no one who will say giving kids in high school the chance to gain credits for college early is a bad idea. EOU President Bob Davies has played a major role in moving that process along with the Eastern Promise Program, but he says there is a point it can go too far. “I think we need to be very diligent in concentrating on not just building the technical skills, but the mind and body and soul skills, and those are the things that are so very important of a university diploma.”
Davies says they need to find a happy medium between moving kids through the system and building them as productive members of society.
A collared male wolf is on the move- and he remains in Baker County as of late Tuesday. OR-18, who is from the Snake River pack, was near Medical Springs according to officials with the ODF&W who are tracking the wolf and keeping livestock owners aprised of his location.
The Triangle Lake girls moved on to the Friday night winners bracket after beating Prairie City 44-40 at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball State Championship Tournament at Baker High School. Kiana Brown led the Lady Lakers with 29 points in the game while Amy Black led Prairie City with 21. Triangle Lake will play the winner of the Damascus Christian/Country Christian game Friday night at 6:30. Prairie City will play the loser tomorrow at 10:30.
The St. Paul girls will play Condon/Wheler at 1:30 Friday afternoon after beating Dufur 42-33 in the first round of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball State Championships. The Lady Buckaroo's trailed early but came back in the second half to pull out the win. Sara Pierson led St. Pauls with 15 points while Alexa Macias led Dufur with 12. Dufur will play Crane tomorrow morning at 9 am in a loser out game.
The Condon/Wheeler girls advanced to the second round of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tire 1A Girls Basketball Championships with a 67-34 win over Crane. The Lady Knights will play the winner of the St. Paul/Dufur game at 1:30 Friday while Crane plays the loser at 9 am tomorrow. Ellie Logan led the Knights with 20 points.
The 1A girls basketball tournament at Baker High School:
1:30- Crane 34 vs. Condon/Wheeler 67 - Winners play Friday at 1:30
3:15- St. Paul 42 vs. Dufur 33 - Losers play tomorrow at 9:00 am
6:30- Prairie City vs. Triangle Lake- Winners play Friday at 6:30
8:15- Country Christian vs. Damascus Christian- Loser play tomorrow at 10:30
The 1A boys play tomorrow:
1:30- Imbler vs. Horizon Christian
3:15- Crosshill Christian vs. Jordan Valley
6:30- Triangle Lake vs. Columbia Christian
8:15- Powder Valley vs. Ione
The race for the new superintendent for the Imbler School District has one less candidate. James Baldwin, who is the superintendent of Choteau Public Schools in Montana has pulled out of the race. The announcement leaves Beth Burton of the Arlington School District and Kenneth Cox of the Venonia School District to vie for the position. Both educators gave presentations to the Imbler School Board on Monday.
After more than two hours of testimony from a standing room only crowd, Union County Commissioners voted this morning to move ahead with plans to build a new county courthouse on the site where Shelter from the Storm currently sits. Commissioner Steve McClure said it was a tough decision, but it was the only option available given the time constraints placed on them by the state. Shelter staff appealed to commissioners to delay building until they could find more money to build a justice center, but Commissioner McClure pointed out that they had waited twenty-four years to get the $2 million they have now.
The annual spaghetti feed fundraiser for the Angel Fund is coming up on the 13th of this month. The proceeds are all going to the Angel Fund, which helps kids in the La Grande School District who are going through tough time financially. Jerry Mayes is the Title Programs Director for the district, and he says the spaghetti feed is their biggest supporter. “It makes up well over two thirds of our total Angel Fund accounts that we can go out and we can help these students with throughout the entire year.”
Mayes says the funding goes to helping find housing as well as clothing and hygiene products for students who don’t have the means.
PENDLETON, Ore. - The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for parts of northeast Oregon from Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning. The flood watch includes small streams and creeks in the following areas:
- Grande Ronde Valley
- John Day Basin
- Ochoco-John Day Highlands
- The northern Blue Mountains and northern Blue Mountains foothills
- The southern Blue Mountains and southern Blue Mountains foothills
For latest updates on this flood watch, visit: http://1.usa.gov/1crQbo7
Landslides and debris flows are possible during this event. Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can easily travel a mile or more, depending on the terrain. They will transport boulders and logs in a fast-moving soil and water slurry.
People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk. Caution should be used when traveling. According to the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), the most dangerous places include:
- Canyon bottoms, stream channels, and areas of rock and soil accumulation at the outlets of canyons.
- Bases of steep hillsides.
- Road cuts or other areas where slopes of hills have been excavated or over-steepened.
- Places where slides or debris flows have occurred in the past.
Learn more about landslides and debris flows and how to prepare for them:
Debris flow resources: http://www.oregongeology.org/sub/Landslide/debrisflow.htm
Landslide resources: www.oregongeology.org/sub/Landslide/Landslidehome.htm
Landslide fact sheet (PDF): http://www.oregongeology.org/sub/publications/landslide-factsheet.pdf
Statewide Landslide Information Database (SLIDO): http://www.oregongeology.org/sub/slido/
The All Conference awards for the Cascade Collegiate Conference have been released, and Tony Eackles Jr. is the only member of the Mountaineers to crack the team. The 6 foot 3 senior led EOU in scoring with 17.5 points a game and 5.2 rebounds. The men finished the season with a 16 and 13 record.
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into Sunday night's multiple crashes involving commercial motor vehicles along Interstate 84 east of Pendleton that resulted in the death of two men. The victims' names and additional related information are released in this update.
According to Lieutenant Mike Turner, on March 2, 2014 at approximately 7:30 p.m., OSP troopers, ODOT and local emergency responders were dispatched to reports of numerous traffic crashes in the area of Interstate 84 near milepost 221. Several crashes occurred in reported heavy fog on icy roads, most involving commercial motor vehicles.
Updated information indicates a 2005 Volvo truck pulling a semi-trailer driven by VASILIY LOBODYUK, age 38, from Portland, was westbound when LOBODYUK lost control on ice and crashed on the side of the road with the trailer partially resting on the roadway. A series of crashes involving three other commercial trucks occurred associated with the initial crash.
After the secondary collisions, MARIO SANTANA, age 51, from Richland, Washington, was found deceased inside the 2009 Peterbilt truck he was driving. He was pulling two empty milk trailer containers.
A second victim, GERALD ALEXANDER, age 51, from Houston, Texas, was ejected from the 2003 Western Star truck he was operating. The flatbed trailer pulled by ALEXANDER's truck was loaded with metal. ALEXANDER's body was found about Â3/4 mile west of the crash scene after he was drug by another vehicle. Investigators are working with the State Medical Examiner and OSP Forensic Services Division, along with speaking to any witnesses, to corroborate what vehicle may have caused ALEXANDER to travel that distance from the scene.
The ongoing investigation is looking into the possibility that an ODOT snow plow coming through the area after the collision may have accidentally pushed the victim down the road to where his body was found. An ODOT snow plow was examined for any evidence to confirm if this vehicle was involved and then released back to ODOT.
The fourth involved truck driver is identified as ARLINGTON QUARLESS, age 36, from Tacoma, Washington. A 50-year old co-driver/passenger was in that vehicle transporting US mail.
No other involved persons were transported to a hospital.
OSP troopers and collision reconstructionists from the Pendleton and La Grande offices, with the assistance of ODOT's Motor Carrier Transportation Safety Officer, worked the scenes that covered an extensive area. Any witnesses with additional information are asked to contact Trooper Ryan Sharp at (541) 278-4090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OSP was assisted at the scene by ODOT, ODOT Motor Carrier Safety Division, Umatilla Tribal Police Department, Umatilla Tribal Fire Department, Pendleton Fire and Ambulance, and East Umatilla County Health District.
The annual 1A state basketball tournament gets underway this afternoon at Baker High School bringing in a total of sixteen teams and their fans. Baker County Chamber of Commerce director Debi Bainter says all those extra people town is good for local businesses: The state tournament does a great job of filling hotel rooms and restaurants in our community. I know all of the retailers really enjoy the state basketball tournament."
The state tournament is one of the biggest events of the year for local businesses, and this year Bainter hopes to learn the scope of that impact on the local economy: "We’re going to be asking all of our Baker County retailers and restaurants and moteliers if they could give us a quantified number."
Those survey’s will be emailed to businesses who can stay anonymous. Bainter says having that information will help them when they apply for grants in the future. For a list of today’s games and results, log on to our website www.myeasternoregon.com.
While there is no right answer to how Eastern Oregon University will be governed in the future, there are plenty of thoughts on where it should go. University President Bob Davies says he feels the best option for Eastern, is for them to take care of their own needs. “What I am recommending and will begin officially recommending here in the very near future is that we be governed with an institutional board, specifically focused on the needs, objectives, challenges and opportunities for Eastern Oregon University.”
Davies says this would also be joined with a president’s board from the other small universities in the state.
There will be no La Grande City Council candidates on the ballot in the May 20th primary election. With just two contested races, voters won’t see them until the November election pursuant to city charter. Candidates for the Mayor’s position are Steve Clements and Michael Brasure while Justin Rock and Eddie Garcia will square off for position number 7. Gary Lillard and Troy Pointer are running unnopposed.
The girls portion of the 1A tournament gets underway this afternoon at Baker High School. At 1:30 Crane and Condon/Wheeler square off while Dufur and St. Paul play at 3:15. In the evening session Prairie City and Triangle Lake play at 6:30 and Country Christian and Damascus Christian play at 8:15. You will find full results throughout the tournament at http://www.osaa.org/activities/gbx/brackets?div=1a.
At the 2A tournament in Pendleton, Portland Christian plays Regis at 1:30 followed by Lost River and Pilot Rock. At 6:30 Union plays Western Mennonite and Santiam and Douglas play at 8:15. You’ll find full results throughout the tournament at http://www.osaa.org/activities/gbx/brackets?div=2a.
The Army Corps of Engineers is asking for public input on a proposed Catherine Creek project to mitigate some flooding issues, rebuild riparian zones and improve fish habitat. The permit to do the work was applied for by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla. The work will be done near the City of Union and will take place in four phases. The public comment period runs through April 4th. You can find out more about the project and how to comment by clicking on: http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/missions/regulatory/publicnotices/tabid/1889/article/22194/nwp-2013-133-1.aspx
ODF&W officials say the Snake River pack of wolves is likely responsible for the killing of a cow along the Imnaha River the end of February. Biologists examined the cow and found wolf tracks around the mostly eaten carcass. The Snake River pack has been active in the area.
There are plenty of different ways to campaign, but one thing every politician will go through is forums and meet and greets. Greg Barreto, who is running against John Turner for House District 58, says those forums can be great places to learn about topics he may not have given much thought too. “You go back and you start researching them or they give you input on where they’re at, and you know, everyone has an opinion and everyone has good feedback.”
Barreto says those have also given himself and his opponent the chance to speak to people at the same time on the same issues.
The United Way of Eastern Oregon has been around for 25 years, and has been helping non-profits in the area with funding on a consistent basis. Executive Director Miriam Farnum says while they have been here, they have seen an increase in the amount of organizations in the area, but not necessarily an increase in how many they are helping. “So I’d really like to see the support that we give reflect the increase in need so to speak.”
Farnum says she is hoping that would lead to the United Way increasing the amount of donors in the community and being able to give out more money to organizations as well.
After approximately 16 hours of crash scene investigation, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers are continuing the investigation into the manner of multiple crashes involving commercial motor vehicles Sunday night along Interstate 84 east of Pendleton that resulted in the death of two me n. The victims' names and additional related information will be released Tuesday.
According to Lieutenant Mike Turner, on March 2, 2014 at approximately 7:30 p.m., OSP troopers, ODOT and local emergency responders were dispatched to reports of numerous traffic crashes in the area of Interstate 84 near milepost 221. Several crashes occurred in reported heavy fog on icy roads, most involving commercial motor vehicles.
Preliminary information indicates a commercial truck was westbound when the driver lost control on ice and crashed on the side of the road with the trailer partially resting on the roadway. Two commercial truck drivers unexpectedly drove upon the crash scene, both crashing into the first crashed commercial trailer. During the secondary collision, a 51-year old male driver from Texas was ejected and pronounced deceased. A second 51-year old male who is from Washington was found inside his truck and pronounced deceased. A fourth commercial motor vehicle crashed into the two commercial motor vehicles involved in the second collision and its occupants had minor injuries.
Despite other minor injuries reported, no other persons are known at this time to have been taken to a hospital. There is no information indicating passenger vehicle involvement.
OSP troopers and collision reconstructionists from the Pendleton and La Grande offices, with the assistance of ODOT's Motor Carrier Transportation enforcement officers, worked the scenes that covered an extensive area overnight and today.
The westbound lanes were closed following the crashes and re-opened Monday about 2:25 p.m. after two companies removed the involved crashed commercial motor vehicles.
With both Baker and Union Counties seeing higher than normal precipitation in February, the worries about another bad year for drought has been slightly alleviated. Marilyn Lohmann with the National Weather Service says the latest batch of storms really helped to maintain what was in the mountains. “Northeast Oregon [is] still showing the best areas with about 60 to 80 percent. These February storms have done a really good job of bulking up the snow that we did have.”
Lohmann says people can expect stream flows to begin increasing on a regular basis with the month of March here and temperatures expected to rise slightly.
For years business owners in downtown La Grande have been trying to figure out how to attract students from Eastern Oregon University to shop their stores. They may soon have their answer. An EOU business class has been conducting a marketing study to answer those questions according to La Grande Main Street coordinator Saira Sidiqui: "They did a survey of a bunch of EOU students to see what would make the downtown more appealing to them and what they would like to see down there. And that’s just going to feed into the larger study that the city is looking to put on..."
Sidiqui says the study is an important reversal from past practices: "It’s interesting to hear that because I hear a lot of the community perspective on how to get the students down, but it’s really important and imperative to get the students perspective on what they want."
The results of the study will be released next Wednesday morning at 9 am in Zabel Hall room 219.
The comment period on the Blue Mountain Forest Plan revision opens on March 14th. The plan covers the Wallowa Whitman, Malhuer and Umatilla National Forests and will help guide all decisions for the next fifteen years. Forest officials say the plan doesn’t make any closures of roads, trails or recreational areas. The public can view the plan on line at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/bluemtnsplanrevision. There will also be several public meetings on the plan. A meeting will be held in Baker City at the fairgrounds on March 25, and in La Grande on March 26th at the Blue Mountain Conference Center.
The Westbound lanes of I-84 have been reopened more than eighteen hours after ten vehicles were involved in an accident near Deadman Pass. Two people were killed in the accident. ODOT spokesman Tom Strandberg advises motorists to drive carefully and be aware of the potential for rapidly changing weather conditions. If you're traveling in the area and do encounter a patch of thick fog, don't slam on your breaks. Officials will continue to monitor the road conditions in the area.
The support from Right to Life in the race for House District Seat 58 has been extended to both candidates as Greg Barreto has also been endorsed by the group. In a statement, Barreto says he is honored to receive the endorsement and it is one he holds in high esteem. He continues to say he has and always will stand up for the rights of the unborn, elderly, critically ill and disabled.
Oregon State Police (OSP) is still on scene investigating the cause and manner of Sunday night's multi-vehicle traffic crash along the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 east of Pendleton in Umatilla County. Two people were pronounced deceased and the westbound lanes remain closed at this time.
Preliminary information indicates on March 2, 2014 at approximately 7:30 p.m., OSP troopers, ODOT and local emergency responders were dispatched to reports of multiple crashes related to icy conditions in the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 221. Troopers and emergency responders confirmed multiple crash scenes and that two people were deceased from separate vehicles. At least six commercial vehicles were involved in crashes at separate incident scenes.
No other information is being released at this time. Traffic updates can be found by monitoring ODOT's website TripCheck.com.
The monthly climate summary for Baker and Union Counties has been released, and as expected, February was a good month for Northeast Oregon. The month saw above average precipitation for the area, with Baker seeing over half an inch above normal precipitation and Union seeing over an inch of extra water come down. The average temperature for the areas was right around normal, with a cold start to February making up for a warmer end to the month. Looking ahead to March, the Climate Prediction Center is calling for near normal temperatures and near normal precipitation for the month, with average temperatures rising around 8 degrees through the month as we move towards summer.
ODOT officials say the Westbound lanes of I-84 will likely remain closed until this afternoon. The Eastbound lanes will be closed from Pendleton to La Grande about 9:15 to allow crews to access the wrecked vehicles in the Westbound lanes. The Eastbound lanes will be closed for two hours. ODOT officials confirmed there was at least one fatality.
The Westbound lanes of I-84 were closed just before 8:00 last night after several commercial vehicles were involved in an accident near Deadman Pass. ODOT spokesman Tom Strandberg said last night it appears there was at least one fatality. ODOT crews continue working to clean up the wreck. The closure was extended all the way to Ontario overnight.
State economic development officials send out daily leads on companies looking to relocate and the requirments they’re looking for in a community. When the requirments match what Union County has to offer, local officials work hard to attract those businesses- offering incentive packages and tax breaks to the companies. But, more often than not, Union County isn’t successful. Former Commissioner Colleen MacLeod says it often comes down to competition: "We took every lead seriously that came from oregon community and economic development. But then of course, every other county in the state was looking at one of those leads."
Rumors persist that officials in Union County and La Grande have turned away some big companies in the past. MacLeod says people often mention three: "The three one’s I hear the most are- didn’t do anything to try and get Tillimook Cheese, didn’t do anything to get Cabela’s, and didn’t do anything to try and get the Wal~Mart Distribution Center."
But MacLeod said county officials worked hard to land all three with tax incentives but eventually lost to larger or better located communities.
The City of Cove is looking to fill four seats on their city council in the November election, including the Mayor’s seat. The seats held by Mayor Lyndon Rose, Doug Kruse, Regina Kruse and Darlene Rochna expire at the end of 2014. There’s word yet on if any of the councilors will run for reelection. The filing deadline is August 26th.
Baker City work crews spent most of last week preparing for the arrival of the temporary UV treatment system that’s expected on Wednesday. A hole was cut into the concrete valve control vault near the reservoir that will house the sytem. The 1,500 pound unit is expected to be lowered into the hole on Thursday and will be operational soon after.
The La Grande girls basketball team will host Central at 6:00 Friday night in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Central beat Junction City 52-34 in the play-in round. The La Grande boys will host Yamhill-Carlton Saturday night at 6:00. Yamhill-Carlton beat North Marion 53-49 on Saturday to advance to the playoffs.
The Imbler boys basketball team will take on Horizon Christian at 1:30 Thursday afternoon in the openinig round of the 1A state tournament at Baker High School. Powder Valley will play AIone at 8:15 Thursday night.
In the 2A girls tournament, Union will play Western Mennonite at 6:30 Wednesday evening at the Pendleton Convention Center.
La Grande’s Cole Rohan is the 4A state champion at the 113 pound weight class. In the 1A/2A tournament Union/Cove’s Daniel Colton took 2nd at 113 pounds. Pine Eagle’s Blake Butler took 3rd at 106 pounds. Chad Witty from Union/Cove took 4th at 170 pounds.
ODOT officials say up to seven semi trucks are involved in an accident in the Westbound lanes of I-84 at mipepost 224 near Deadman Pass. Tom Strandburg says it appears there's at least one fatality and he expects the road to be closed all night for cleanup and investigation. Standburg says ODOT crews reported icy conditions in the area before the accident happened. For the latest on road conditions, log on to: www.myeasternoregon.com.
On today’s Elkhorn Media Group Facebook Question of the Day, we asked if, after the recent boom of tourism to Colorado, Oregon should consider legalizing recreational marijuana. We received answers on both sides of the question. Some people against said that recreation use of marijuana is not the way to draw tourists to the state. People commenting for the legalization brought up topics from the similarities of it with alcohol and the money that could come from tax revenue. You can comment on our Question of the Day by visiting the Elkhorn Media Group Facebook page.
John Turner has another supporter in his race for House District 58. Turner received a letter from Oregon Right to Life announcing their endorsement of his candidacy. In a statement, Turner says he is honored to receive the endorsement and believes in the sanctity of life. Turner is running against Greg Baretto of Union County for the seat currently held by Representative Jensen.