1946: North Unit Irrigation construction project faced abandonment
100 YEARS AGO
September 1, 1921
The second serious accident on a Jefferson County grade occurred Monday morning when Wib Culp drove the big Nash-Quad truck used by the county for hauling gravel off the Agency Plains. Wib had just started working on the truck job that morning, taking the place of Jack McTaggart. The accident occurred about seventy-five yards from the foot of the grade on a horse-shoe curve.
Either the steering gear stuck, or the wheels got in the soft gravel and Culp was unable to hold it on the road. It left the grade and turned over twice. Culp staying with it and getting but scant protection from the seat and steering wheel and post. A member of the road crew was riding up the grade with Culp but jumped in time to save himself injury. Culp was brought to Madras on the evening train where two X-Ray pictures were immediately taken. It was determined that seven ribs on his right side and two or three on his left side were torn away from his backbone and that his collar bone was broken. His right ear was severely torn, and he had received a bad cut in the right upper arm. He is now at the home of his father, A.W. Culp, where he is resting fairly easy.
75 YEARS AGO
September 5, 1946
Jefferson County faces dire calamity. All facts indicate that construction of the North Unit Irrigation project will be permanently abandoned or postponed indefinitely. Regardless of politics, color or creed this emergency should bring every person in the county out fighting for their rights.
Money has already been appropriated by the congress to complete this project. But by presidential proclamation issued (2 August 1946) quoted in part as follows: "For a period of sixty days, until October 1, 1946, there will be a moratorium â€“ on federal public works; after October 1, 1946, there will be a screening of federal construction programs before any new commitments of federal funds can be made" all work on our project has been stopped.
Every irrigation project in the nation will be re-considered before October 1. Some will go on, some will be abandoned, and others will be postponed. If our project is to continue it must be one of those that is favorably re-considered before the first of next month. It is our move, right now, we are out in the cold; we must act; all of us at once.
Write a personal letter to your congressman and senator. Tell them, your personal stake in this project. Tell them how much you personally will lose if the government breaks faith with you now. Demand that the North Unit project be completed.
You were promised time after time that 50,000 acres of land would be "put under water" in this county. The government has already spent about two-thirds of the money necessary to complete this job; and at present about 17,000 acres have water available. Common business judgement demand that this project be finished. By spending a little over one-third more money than has already been spent the entire 50,000 acres will be irrigated. Thus, the expenditure of only one-third more money will irrigate twice as much land as the millions already spent. A house half finished is of no value and as all of us well realize, an irrigation project abandoned with the completed goal in sight is not economy, it is gross waste. If the project is completed most of the money spent by the government in its construction can and will be repaid by all without ruinous charges being placed against the relatively few settlers whose lands are under irrigation at this stage of the game.
Relying on the integrity of our government to carry out the solemn promises made by its authorized agents hundreds of good American citizens invested their life savings in Jefferson County's future. These good citizens are you my dear reader. That future which a few short days ago was so bright stands or falls with the North Unit Irrigation project. Be you farmer, businessman, laborer, professional man, builder, whatever may be your means of livelihood your prospects are inescapably bound to the fate of Jefferson County irrigation.
If this irrigation project folds up many of you (or should I say, us) will fold right up with it. Are you going to stand idly by and watch your savings of a lifetime fly out the window?
Organize, scream your opposition to this outrage to heavens; but most of all do something constructive; write to any politician of influence that you may know anywhere in the United States, flood your state officials with protests; but first of all, do this and do it now; write Lowell Stockman your congressman at Pendleton and your Senator Guy Cordon at Roseburg. Tell them, don't ask them. They work for you. Tell them that you do not want promises or soft soap you want results from them. Tell them that if they permit the North Unit Project to halt that they need not expect any help from you in the forthcoming elections this November. Don't postpone your action whatever it is, the next few days will tell the tale for Jefferson County irrigation.
Wake up Jefferson County, you are about to hold a big empty sack!
50 YEARS AGO
September 2, 1971
Burlington Northern Railroad officials Tuesday afternoon were still searching for the cause of a three-car train derailment which occurred at 7 a.m. the same day about one mile north of Metolius.
Metolius freight agent Ted Matylinski said the train had just left Metolius and was traveling only about five miles-an-hour when three open-top cars loaded with wood chips overturned. Approximately 240 feet of rail was twisted loose by the force of the derailment.
25 YEARS AGO
September 4, 1996
The 509-J Board of Directors made decisions about PERS payments and where school administrators should reside at its Aug. 26 meeting.
On June 21, the Oregon Supreme Court over-turned Measure 8, which had said employees, not their employers, should pay a six percent portion of Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) fund.
The 509-J board was asked at this meeting to decide whether or not to also pick up that six percent payment for supervisors and administrators not covered by union contracts, as teachers were.
Since board policy is to allow administrators and supervisors the same benefits as teachers, and it doesn't look likely that the PERS issue will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, board members voted to pick up the PERS payments, plus make them retroactive back to 1995, when Measure 8 was first enacted.
The cost estimate at $2,600 for the 1995 payments, and $5,850 for 1996 payments. Five employees will be affected.
The board also passed a new policy which will require all administrators to reside within the school district.
The policy notes: "The board believes that both the individual and the district benefit when school managers reside within the district's boundaries. The board therefore requires that all administrators and supervisors hired after July 1, 1996, shall reside within the district."
Newly hired administrators must establish residency within 90 days from being hired.
The board did reserve the right to allow extensions or waiver of the policy in rare cases with extenuating circumstances.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.