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Year in Review: Flood threat loomed in Canyon City

New businesses, talk of garden.

By Richard Hanners

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on December 26, 2017 3:59PM

Canyon City Public Works Director Les Percy, Grant County Commissioner Jim Hamsher and Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams keep an eye on high water levels at the Inland Bridge in Canyon City in March.

Eagle file photo

Canyon City Public Works Director Les Percy, Grant County Commissioner Jim Hamsher and Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams keep an eye on high water levels at the Inland Bridge in Canyon City in March.

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Canyon City’s basic infrastructure is in pretty good shape, City Recorder Corry Rider told the Eagle.

A chip-sealing project is lined up for 2018, but no improvements are planned for the city’s water system. The city has about 700 people and 300 water and sewer customers. Canyon City is hooked up to the John Day wastewater system.

The big event each year is ’62 Days, which is hosted by the Whiskey Gulch Gang to celebrate early gold miners in Canyon City, Rider said. The theme in 2017 was “Miner’s Eclipse,” and Sharon Livingston was chosen as the grand marshal. The Whiskey Gulch Gang staged a mock hanging as part of the frontier days event.

Pre-evacuation notices were issued in March for residents along Canyon Creek between the Nugget Street bridge and the high school as the creek reached 750 cubic feet per second on March 14.

Flooding concerns in Canyon City had escalated after the Canyon Creek Complex fire in 2015 left a large area devoid of vegetation. The following winter saw a high snowpack with little vegetation to hold back spring rain and snow-melt runoff.

Grant County Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams said the creek could escape its banks if it reached 850 to 900 cubic feet per second. Some bank erosion was seen around the Inland Street bridge, and Driskill Memorial Chapel reported having 4 to 6 inches of water in the basement.

Kim Heathcote opened twin new businesses in Canyon City in June – Mabel’s Cafe and Eve’s Sweets right next door at the corner of Washington and Park streets. Heathcote’s five employees served up hamburgers, soups and salads, egg rolls, chimichangas and chicken wraps at Mabel’s and cinnamon rolls, muffins and cookies at Eve’s.

Stephen Cross approached the county court in March about setting up a community garden in Canyon City. The court offered use of a county-owned lot, but the project is still under discussion, Grant County Judge Scott Myers said.

A transformer caught fire Sept. 12 after a truck knocked power lines onto the ground along Highway 395 in Canyon City near Rebel Hill and Bridge Street. Traffic in the narrow and busy corridor slowed until the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative could repair the damage.



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