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Letters 5/25-6/1 

Sunset over Smith Rock State Park. Photo by Steve J. Giardini of Giardini Photography. Follow Giardini on Instagram @giardiniphotography and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured in Lightmeter.

Sunset over Smith Rock State Park. Photo by Steve J. Giardini of Giardini Photography. Follow Giardini on Instagram @giardiniphotography and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured in Lightmeter.

Help Hillary Trounce Trump

When Tom Freedman (May 5) and Don Schuman (May 12) are done celebrating Bernie Sanders' Oregon primary victory, they and the rest of Bernie's movement must quit demonizing Hillary Clinton and elect her to the Presidency.

Tom condemns Hillary as a stealth Republican. This is Naderite false equivalency. No Republican has such specific plans for raising the minimum wage, for promoting solar energy and slowing climate change, for mandating equal pay for women's equal work, for fully funding family leave, or for defending abortion rights.  Her proposal to strengthen the Affordable Care Act through a public option isn't as romantic as single payer, but it's more economical and doable.  

Contrast Clinton with her Republican adversary. Unlike him, she understands and reveres the Constitution. She will appoint excellent justices and realign the Supreme Court, not make it more reactionary. She has real-world, hands-on knowledge of foreign policy. She doesn't have a mutual-admiration thing going with Vladimir Putin or David Duke. And to quote the Firesign Theater, she's "Not Insane!"

Oh, and did I mention the Supreme Court?

Don Schuman says he'd love to elect a woman president—just not THAT woman!  But Don: The Blessed Virgin Mary isn't running this year.  

Sure, Hillary isn't as glamorous as Bernie.  But when she saw that the national Democratic voters had spoken in the 2008 primaries, she gallantly backed Obama. Now it's Bernie's turn to be a true party leader and help Hillary trounce Trump.

~Dorothy Leman

In response to "Liz Lawrence, Bend Police Department's Finest," (5/5)

Thanks Liz for all your hard work, and dedication to the community of Bend. Your friends at NAMI Central Oregon appreciate all that you and CRT provide. Thanks for caring!!!

~Karyn Kotkins, via

In response to "Democartic Primary Endorsement: Clinton, (4/29)

Unfortunately endorsing Hillary now makes me question all of your endorsements. The Clintons turned the Democrat Party into the GOP Lite Party. They did more to destroy workers' rights than Bush or Reagan.

~Randy McBride, via

Restore Deschutes River Flows NOW

I had the opportunity to attend and listen to the historical story of the Deschutes River starting from the late 1800s to present while attending a Coalition for the Deschutes presentation. The focus of the presentation was the upper Deschutes River between Bend and Wickiup Reservoir. It's a complicated story, one that describes success for agriculture and ultimate failure for riverine biological resources.

The Deschutes River, because of the unique geological structure of lava rock and pumice, is one of the most stable river systems in the country. Historically, river flow, measured in cfs (cubic feet per second or 7.5 gals per second) was on average 700 cfs through the year and rarely varied more than 100 cfs. Because of the stable flows, many biological resources responded. Riparian areas flourished supporting innumerable wildlife species, and fish size and density were amazing because of the aquatic insects. The river was considered a "Blue Ribbon Trout River" and early in the 1900s provided residents of Bend an annual fish bake, when over 3,100 fish were caught by as few as four anglers in four days.

That's stunning because most riverine systems are flashy. That means that flows are high during the spring runoff then taper down to low flows in late summer, fall and winter. Essentially, the "flashy" rivers respond to precipitation, either as rain or snowmelt.

As we all know, central Oregon generally has a mild growing season for agriculture. Hence, starting with completion of Crane Prairie reservoir in the 1920s followed by Wickiup Reservoir in the late 1940s, water was stored and then diverted for agricultural crops and the livestock industry. These industries are vital to our local and national economy. However, today much of central Oregon's irrigation water in Deschutes County is distributed to hobby farms where contribution to our agricultural economy is minimal.

Unfortunately, by diverting water, we messed with mother nature and upset the stable Deschutes River ecosystem. The riparian communities along the upper river largely disappeared, the associated wildlife communities diminished, and the abundant trophy sized fish and aquatic insects are so severely reduced that we now have a truly unbalanced river system flowing through Bend.

The unbalanced system is one where flows from spring through fall during the irrigation season average about 2,000 cfs. Starting in October, Deschutes River flows are "turned off" below Wickiup Reservoir and average 20-30 cfs, about 4 percent of the historic flow. Granted, the Deschutes River during the summer is a stunning visual scene. But those summer flows compared to historic flows equate to a 25-year flood event each summer. When summer irrigation flows are shut off, we now have the huge fish stranding problems we've seen the past three fall seasons, which have actually been going on for decades.

The problem is not that we don't have enough water. The issue is water management. We have several central Oregon irrigation districts. Each district has a specific amount of water to allocate to their patrons based on water laws that allow water distribution as "first in time, first in right." In other words, the oldest water right receives their water first and then by water right date others are allowed their water.

The "on farm" efficiency for North Unit Irrigation District farmers who have junior water rights is 87 percent efficient. They are wisely using our public resource. That's smart and ecological sound management! If the other irrigation districts promoted this same level of efficiency, we could have more water in the Deschutes River below Wickiup Reservoir in the winter.

With global climate change occurring, countries like Australia with their dire drought conditions have reconfigured their water systems to make them highly efficient and ecologically sound.

For the Deschutes River, we have the opportunity to restore flows back to ecologically sustainable conditions if we ALL work together. We in central Oregon have had a lot of chatter about "fixing" the Deschutes Rivers for over many decades! I think that the Coalition for the Deschutes can be the catalyst for inspiring the conversations to finally return flows to the Deschutes River.

We the users of the Deschutes River have the opportunity, intelligence and the moral obligation for future generations to use our smarts to restore our local treasure, the Deschutes River NOW.

~Mike Gerdes, retired biologist

Mike ~ Thank you for keeping hope alive for the Deschutes River. Please have a cup of coffee on us; pick up your Palate gift card at the Source Weekly office.


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