100 Years Ago, Locals Consider Irrigation Projects
100 YEARS AGO
Nov. 28, 1919
We are indebted to C.B. Hysom who has handed us the following article, and the Yakima Commercial Club, who furnished the article, and to R.K. Tiffany, president of the Commercial body, who, we are advised, prepared the article:
The statements and comparative tables herein are calculated to give a brief and accurate pen picture of one of Uncle Sam's irrigation projects in the making. They show that the metamorphosis of the Yakima Valley has been due to water, applied intelligently to the volcanic ash soil which heretofore produced little more than sagebrush and saltgrass.
True, irrigation in a small and somewhat crude scale was practiced in the valley of the Yakima as early that work was started by the Northern Pacific Railway company on a comprehensive canal system, known as the Sunnyside Project. Water was diverted from the Yakima River 7 miles below the town of Yakima, and after several years, the main ditch was extended eastward along the north side of the river until its total length is now 73 miles with 550 miles of branch lines and laterals. The area irrigated is 90,000 acres.
It was really not until the passage of the Reclamation Act and the acquisition of this project by the U.S. Reclamation Service in 1905, that it began to produce to any appreciable extent. Since then, its development has been constant and rapid. Up to this time, the government has expended something over $4,000,000. Right here, however, it might be well to add that the value of crops produced thereon last year more than equaled the entire cost of the project.
Since the success of any irrigation enterprise is wholly dependent upon its water supply, it is proudly emphasized by those familiar the Yakima Project that the combined capacity of its five reservoirs, completed and in contemplation, is 963,000 acre feet, while the total area that can ultimately be water is slightly more than half that amount.
75 YEARS AGO
November 30, 1944
The Jefferson County Water Conservancy District has applied for a complete and comprehensive investigation of the water loss sources on the Deschutes River and from the Crane Prairie Reservoir, according to T. Leland Brown, attorney for the district. A hearing was heard before Reclamation officials at the national association meeting in Denver recently. Reclamation commissioner Harry W. Bashore looked upon the application with favor.
Brown was said to have urged Reclamation officials to investigate and take steps to remedy water losses experienced by Central Oregon Irrigation Districts using the Deschutes River and its tributaries. Seepage into lava rocks and formations were causing some of the losses. The commissioner also favored the construction of the Benham Falls reservoir, which would save some of the water otherwise lost. No opposition was made when the Jefferson district made the application.
An estimated 20% water loss a month from Crane Prairie is giving some concern for the United States Bureau of Reclamation engineers at the main office in Denver, and according to George H. Brewster, attorney for the Central Oregon Irrigation District, there is some consideration of abandoning, at least part, of the up-river storage basin. Officials have indicated that the unexpected balance of Crane Prairie funds will be allocated to the Wickiup dam and that if critical materials are not involved, the height of the Wickiup dam may be raised 2 1/2 feet to care for additional storage. If this can be done, it was explained, water now stored at Crane Prairie can be retained in the Wickiup basin.
It is not planned to abandon Crane Prairie reservoir entirely. At the end of the storage season or when the Wickiup basin has been filled, some water can be stored in the Crane Prairie basin. Highest losses at Crane Prairie occur when there is heavy storage.
50 YEARS AGO
November 28, 1969
The $700,000 bond issue for Central Oregon Community College squeaked by Nov. 18, by a two-vote margin, Pat Ross, COCC business manager, confirmed Tuesday. The final count was 1,971 yes and 1,969 no.
The bond measure, which will make possible construction of a physical education building and a vocational-technical building, carried in Jefferson County by a margin of 194 to 179, largely because of a 38-3 margin at Warm Springs and a 15-6 edge at Camp Sherman.
25 YEARS AGO
November 30, 1994
When Joe Krenowicz becomes mayor of Madras in January, the city government will be going through a few changes.
The biggest immediate change will be in city administration, with the hiring of a new city manager to replace Jo Anne Sutherland, who is retiring after seven years on the job.
"The transition of the city administrator will be a main focus for the next four to six months," said Krenowicz. "We'll find someone with as much determination as Jo Anne. I think we've had about 70 people apply for the job."
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