75 years ago
Short court term predicted
Although Circuit Court will convene next Monday, May 15, Circuit Judge Robt. D. Lytle predicts a very short term, if any. The grand jury met last Monday and in brief session found but one true bill. An indictment was returned against William Webb on a forgery charge. Upon a plea of guilty, Webb, who has been employed on the P.O. Nicely ranch at Mt. Vernon, was sentenced by Judge Lytle to a three-year term in the state penitentiary and granted parole under custody of the sheriff.
There being no other indictments and no civil cases to try at this time, it is likely that the only court procedure next Monday will be that of qualifying the jurors so that court may be opened at any time in the future, if necessary.
50 years ago
Steena Pierce to reign as Queen of ’62 Days
Mrs. Steena Pierce of Prairie City, known as affectionately to her many friends as “Aunt Steena,” has been chosen to reign as Queen of the 1969 edition of the ’62 Days Celebration of the Whiskey Gulch Gang in Canyon City, which will be June 6 and 7 this year.
Born in Denmark in 1885, Mrs. Pierce came to this country with her parents in 1892, taking 18 days to cross the Atlantic by ship. The family crossed the United States by train and resided in Eugene for five years.
In 1897, the family moved to Prairie City and Mrs. Pierce has received her mail from the Prairie City Post Office ever since. This past week she was honored by Steuber’s Thrifty Food & Electric for having traded at that store or its predecessors for 72 years.
Mrs. Pierce still recalls her arrival in Prairie City in 1897 from Eugene. It was Halloween evening and the children were all dressed in their costumes. The trip from Eugene to Bear Valley, where the six families first stopped, took 25 days, seven days longer than her family’s crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Travel was by wagon train.
She married Simon McKee in 1902 and lived on a ranch a little up river from Prairie City. A daughter, Ione, now Mrs. Elwood Stanbro of Unity, was born to them in 1912. After the death of her first husband she married Frank Pierce in 1922. They had one son, Darrel Pierce, of Prairie City. Darrell and his mother live in the same house she lived in for exactly 50 years this year.
Before his death in 1943, Frank Pierce was a meat cutter in the Walter Ross meat market, which was located where the Prairie City Pharmacy is now.
Mrs. Pierce has been a member of the Rebekah Lodge in Prairie City for more than 50 years. She was noble grand of the lodge about 40 years ago and has been a member of the Past Noble Grands since it was organized in 1936. She has also been a member of the WSCS of the Prairie City Methodist Church for several years.
An active sports booster, she has missed only 21 home basketball games of the Prairie City team in the last 23 years. In 1967 the school presented her with a free pass to all school activities and sports events in appreciation for her loyalty over the years. Several times she has attended state tournaments when Prairie City was competing, and she served as chaperone on occasions when her son, Darrell, was playing.
Besides her two children, she has one grandchild, Duane Stanbro, superintendent of schools at Colton, and four great grandchildren, Christy of Colton and Grant, Lisa and Lora Standbro of New Mexico.
Mrs. Pierce and her court will be presented at the Pioneer Program of ’62 Days, which will be held at the Fraternal Hall in Canyon City at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 6. “Aunt Steena” is sponsored by the Prairie City Women’s Club, who will be in charge of the Pioneer Program.
25 years ago
Dennis Reynolds hopes race for judge will unite the county
Dennis Reynolds said after traveling the county, listening to residents and hearing their division in support for the county court, he made the decision to seek election as county judge as one means of re-focusing on the issues facing the county.
Reynolds, the only Republican appearing on Tuesday’s ballot, is running against incumbent Judge Kevin Campbell.
Excluding a write-in campaign, both Campbell and Reynolds should advance to the November General Election. However, both are expected to seek write-in votes from outside their party. Should either one receive more write-in votes from the opposition party; they alone would be listed as both the Republican and Democratic candidates on the November ballot.
In addition to re-focusing voters and the county court on the issues confronting the county, Reynolds said he decided to run after being approached by community and civic leaders and asked to throw his hat in the ring.
He said the other factor playing into his decision to run is the ongoing decline in the local timber industry and the erosion of family wage scale jobs.
Reynolds, who holds a degree in forest management from Oregon State University, believes his background in resource issues is important to the county’s resource based economy.
He worked as the road construction supervisor for the Hudspeth Sawmill Co. and believes his background in road design; engineering and construction would be a valuable asset in working with the county road department.
In 1976, he was named general manager of the sawmill where he oversaw the operations of 27 employees and directed a $12 million annual budget.
While working as the mill’s general manager, Reynolds said he was instrumental in working with the Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environment Protect Agency to bring the mill’s air emissions into compliance and avoid mandated closure.
As a union mill, Reynolds also believes his experience in union negotiations would be an asset to the county and its dealings with the road department and sheriff’s office.
An advocate of running the county like a business, Reynolds also believes his experience in staff and payroll management would be valuable assets to the county.
Reynolds embarked on a four-step campaign. The first phase involved telling people who he is. The next step entailed traveling the county and visiting with people.
Through the second step, Reynolds said he has become concerned over complaints that the county often displays a callous disregard to concerns expressed by residents.
He said he would like to develop solutions for dealing with people and restore a sense of professionalism in the county court.
In the third phase of his campaign, Reynolds said he hopes to begin developing answers to the questions he has heard in his travels around the county, and then finally to report back to residents on the positions he has adopted and why he has taken those stances.
Among the most often heard concerns, he said, is the need to protect family wage jobs, and while he agreed that no simple solution exists to the problem, he believes the county must take a more active role in demanding answers on the declining timber supply from the Forest Service, and he pledged his commitment to do all he can to resolve the problems.
Reynolds also agreed with the need to pursue economic development and to diversify the local economy, but he said that development and diversification should not come at the expense of family wage jobs.
In areas of economic development, Reynolds favors a business-like approach with indexing the property available for development with the owner, services and cost. He also believes it’s important to protect existing businesses while trying to promote economic development.
He and his wife Julie, a teacher at Grant Union High School, are the parents to three sons, Beau in the seventh grade; Percy, a senior at GUHS; and Jake, age 22 months.
Reynolds said a perception exists that he is against school funding, and he said nothing could be farther from the truth.
He feels the county will face a looming financial emergency and feels strongly that the county needs to develop a financial emergency plan now to cope with future problems.
Reynolds said the plan, developed by committee, would prioritize budget requests from across county departments with a goal of maintaining the broadest base of services as possible.