75 years ago

As The Editor Sees It: Funny Shenanigans

Just what kind of funny shenanigans is the Oregon State Liquor commission trying to pull off?

Last week an order was put into effect, but was later rescinded due to an OPA protest, whereby liquor permit holders of this state might acquire an extra “fifth” of whiskey provided that he or she purchase two or more bottles of (shelf-worn) brandy, rum or gin. A sort of pig-in-the-poke game and, in this writer’s opinion, a direct violation of the state liquor law and indeed a “come-on sucker” deal if there ever was one. Why wouldn’t it be just as appropriate to force the thirsty to buy a sack of flour or perhaps a bushel of prunes, if the prune market should be stagnant.

If the liquor commission has sufficient whiskey stocks to allow every purchaser an extra “fifth” on top of the allotted quart and the bonus “fifth” each month, then let those who want it have it, but for Pete’s sake, forget the circus and carnival sales tactics. The Oregon Liquor Law is said to have been enacted with the idea of promoting temperance. If shoving a lot of unwanted imported gin and rum down the throats of guzzlers in addition to their allotment of whiskey is temperance then we don’t understand the meaning of the word.

50 years ago

Porcupine Race Planned for Fair

Porcupines are going straight. This year at the second annual porcupine races at the Grant County Fair, the porcupines will race in a straight line instead of racing from the center of a circle, reports Dave Traylor, chairman of the event.

Trophies will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners and to the winner of the powder puff race. The trophies are on display at Chester’s Market in John Day.

A dollar entry fee will be charged. The entry fee will be placed in a jackpot. No entry fee will be charged for the powder puff. The event is being sponsored by the John Day Volunteer Fire Department.

10 years ago

100… and counting

Grant SWCD celebrates 16 years of conservation projects

The Grant Soil and Water Conservation District and its partners celebrated a milestone in conservation last week at the new Eddington Ditch diversion project.

The large lay-flat stanchion diversion is the 100th irrigation diversion improvement project completed since SWCD began working with landowners and other agencies on such projects 16 years ago.

The tally is evidence “that a lot of quiet conservation has been going on out here, without court injunctions and lawsuits,” noted Jason Kehrberg, district manager.

He said the work began before the region’s steelhead were even listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

He credited proactive efforts by landowners like the ones served by the Eddington Ditch.

The ditch, west of Mt. Vernon, serves 10 irrigators. The new diversion is fish-friendly, with a ladder spillway on one side to allow passage for migrating fish. The project also benefits the ranchers who won’t have to get into the river to adjust the flow.

The local project had numerous agency partners, with the main funders including Oregon Water Enhancement Board, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the BPA through the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. Iron Triangle was the contractor for the project, which had a price tag of about $195,000 – including design, construction, permitting, administration and other costs.

While the Eddington project is the 100th, the final tally for the season will hit 102, Kehrberg noted. He lauded the staff and board of SWCD as “can-do people” who made this possible.

He also said that as he has traveled the region in his job, he’s discovered that the district’s steady series of cooperative projects seems “unique.”

He said that may reflect former district manager Ken Delano’s theory that all of their work needed to stand up to scrutiny not just by bureaucrats, but in the checkout line at Chester’s.

Delano was on hand for the event, and he cracked a bottle of champagne – carefully bagged to keep shattered glass under control – against the head gate railing to dedicate the 100th diversion project.

“It’s a milestone that’s almost unbelievable,” he said, joking about the old days when the staff would scratch out plans on a scrap of paper.

Jeff Neal of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and members of the SWCD board took turns cutting a red ribbon at the project, as the occasional fish jumped in a pool behind them and killdeers piped their calls from the rocks beyond.

Pay Voigt, chair of the board, lauded the staff and the partners and noted the project as an example where “everybody buys in and does what they can to make it happen.”

“I think it’s something everybody in the whole county can be really proud of,” he said.

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