Headlined "Hanging in the Balance," the story by BBR Editor Kevin Max quotes former lift maintenance manager as saying she quit in disgust in January because management wouldn't let her do her job right and "she didn't want the responsibility of the potential disaster unfolding at Mt. Bachelor."
"I can't work for a company that won't take their guests and employees' safety seriously," the manager is quoted as saying. "Not only that, they have been breaking the law on a regular basis -bypassing safety that shouldn't have been while operating to the public, not doing the proper maintenance - but they've been doing it knowingly. Any time I brought it up, they would just point the finger at me and tell me that I was just trying to cause trouble."
According to the story, the manager kept daily logs of "safety bypasses" on every lift, and the logs "show that the Northwest and Summit lifts, in particular, were running more on hope than health."
BBR says Matt Janney, Mt. B's former manager - who was fired in May - did not return phone calls and e-mails asking for comment on the story, and neither did Powdr Corp, the owner of the resort, or MountainGuard, its insurance company. "Mt. Bachelor insisted it needed more time than the six days given to answer the author's questions, yet Mt. Bachelor did not answer them after more than three weeks," Max writes.
Mt. Bachelor has plenty to say on its website, though.
In its "letter of response" it rips the story's "unfair and unsubstantiated accusations," claims that it "contains a plethora of blanket statements, assumptions, hyperbole, misleading and even incorrect statements" and accuses Max of practicing "tabloid journalism."
Bachelor claims it "provided answers to [Max's] pertinent questions, despite unrealistic and artificial deadlines" and goes on to allege that "throughout his investigation there have been numerous examples of unprofessional, often profane behavior directed toward the current and former employees of Mt Bachelor, POWDR, and our business partners and colleagues."
After going through a rebuttal of some of the points in the BBR story, Bachelor asserts that "the mountain is committed to a proactive and aggressive position with regard to lift maintenance, and ... guest safety is the resort's top priority," concluding: "It is our hope that readers of Bend Business Review will take this story for what it is - a sensationalized story from a journalist with a personal agenda and nothing more."
The Eye has a strong suspicion we haven't heard the last of this from either side.