Environment | Bent | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bend Makes Another List, But Not a Good One

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Yesterday PBS published a study* that found potentially unsafe levels of chromium-6, a known carcinogen, in the tap water of 31 of the 35 cities that were tested. Bend is on the list as nearly .78 parts per billion were found in Bend water provided by Avion Water. In 2011 California set a public-health goal at .20ppb. The EPA is still trying to determine what's an acceptable amount. In 1991 the federal agency set the limit at 100 ppb.

  • PBS

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Waldo Lake Decision to Come Out of Salem on Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Today the Register Guard reported this:

Advocates who want to ban seaplanes from landing on Waldo Lake are organizing a carpooling effort to head to Salem on Wednesday for a hearing on a bill banning motors on the lake.

But critics of the bill also are making themselves heard.

Senate Bill 602, sponsored by 36 lawmakers, including many from Lane County, would add Waldo to the state list of lakes where use of any motor — boat or seaplane — is banned, except by law enforcement and other similar agencies.

The bill would take effect immediately upon the signature of the governor.

It also would finally settle whether seaplanes can land on the lake.

The state Marine Board previously adopted rules banning boats from using internal combustion engines on the lake.

However, the state Aviation Board, under temporary rules, allows seaplanes to land on the lake. The Aviation Board is considering permanent rules that would continue to allow seaplane landings on the lake, with some restrictions.

A state law would override any such rules.

Advocates for a ban on seaplane landings said they plan to head to Salem en masse to testify.

Kayakers, canoers and others have pushed for years to ban fuel-powered motors from the lake, located on the western slopes of the Oregon Cascades east of Oakridge. The motors are noisy and pose pollution risks, advocates say. Plus, people with motorboats can use hundreds of other Oregon lakes where motors are legal, they point out.

Follow the action at Save Waldo Lake.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Steering Committee to Get Serious about River Fix?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:17 AM

UPDATE: The images below were created by mirrorpond.info, a site run by Old Bend Neighborhood Assoc. They were not created by the Mirror Pond Steering Committee, as originally reported.

The Mirror Pond Steering Committee (MPSC) mirrorpond.info just posted the following images, depicting the Deschutes River NOW and what it COULD look like as it flows through Drake Park. Dramatic change.


Wide, warm and shallow makes for an unhealthy river.
  • mirrorpond.info
  • Wide, warm and shallow makes for an unhealthy river.


A more narrow channel means deeper, faster, colder water. Better for river health and better for the community.
  • mirrorpond.info
  • A more narrow channel means deeper, faster, colder water. Better for river health and better for the community.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Push for Plastic Bag Ban in Bend

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Tonight, the Stewardship for Sustainable Bagging, a non-profit organization put together by OSU-Cascades students, will offer a free showing of the documentary "Bag It" to support their proposed plastic bag ban in Bend.

The goal of the organization is to pass an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags at all retailers and apply a minimum charge of 10 cents on all single-use paper bags.


Here's why a bag ban is a legit idea, according to their website:

"More than 260 species of marine animals are effected by plastic debris in the ocean, either by ingestion or entanglement. Laysan Albatross, sea turtles, monk seals, whales and many species of fish have been found with large amounts of plastic in their stomachs. Approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die each year by ingesting plastics."
Sad face, screw bags, save the animals!

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Trapping. This Just Happened.

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 4:48 PM

This photo was taken very near the Phil's trail area. We'll be following up. Stay tuned.

This is lame.
  • This is lame.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Governor Kitzhaber to Approve Tsunami Debris Plan Tomorrow

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Remember the tsunami which rocked Japan in 2011? The 9.0 earthquake, which created the devastating tsunami that claimed thousands of lives and destroyed countless buildings, was one of the most significant events of 2011.

It also had ramifications for the Pacific Northwest. Debris from the catastrophe has made its way across thousands of miles of ocean and has landed on the Oregon coast. According to an Oregon Emergency Management press release, a 188-ton dock washed ashore on Newport's Agate Beach in June. Oregon officials expect marine debris created by the tsunami to continue for the next several years.

To deal with the situation, Governor Kitzhaber has created a "Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris" task force. The multi-agency group, chaired by Brig. Gen. Mike Caldwell, Deputy Director, Oregon Military Department, is charged with handling the debris. Governor Kitzhaber is scheduled to sign off on the state's plan tomorrow at 1pm.

No word yet on exactly how the debris will be handled or if any of it is expected to be radioactive.

Governor Kitzhaber takes on tsunami debris.
  • Governor Kitzhaber takes on tsunami debris.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Explosive Dam Removal Footage

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 7:00 AM

While working on a story about dams I came across the video below—perhaps the most significant dam removal in our region.

This is footage from the Condit Dam removal, which was blown out of Washington's White Salmon River back in Oct. of 2011. Old footage, but worth a revisit. Wait for the 30-second mark.

Other noteworthy dam removals in the Pacific Northwest:
Powerdale Dam on the Hood River (Ore.), 2010
Elwah Dams (2 of 'em) on the Elwah River (Wash.), 2011
Klamath River Dams on the Klamath River (Calif.), 2020 ????

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recycling is for cool kids!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Today is America Recycles Day!
Thousands of people around our country host events to bring awareness to the importance of recycling. It was created in 1997 by Keep America Beautiful, the largest non-profit organization of its kind.
Their focus is waste reduction and recycling, beautification and community greening and litter prevention according to the organization's website.
Since the bottle bill was enacted by Oregon in 1971, approximately 90% of all beverage containers purchased are returned, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Everyone in Bend should be proud of that statistic and work hard to keep the number a continuing trend into the future.
If we don't, the massive island of trash in the ocean know as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is said to be twice the size of the state of Texas, will continue to grow and disrupt our oceanic environment.
If you want to make a stand against this eco-catastrophe, take the pledge to recycle more at http://americarecyclesday.org/


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Monday, May 7, 2012

Controversial McKenzie Logging Plan Faces Lawsuit

A controversial logging project along the McKenzie River faces a potential lawsuit from a trio of Oregon-based Environmental Groups.

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 10:09 PM

A controversial logging project along the McKenzie River faces a potential lawsuit from a trio of Oregon-based environmental groups.

The so-called Goose project on the Willamette National Forest will adversely impact endangered species habitat and unnecessarily targets old growth trees along the McKenize River in addition to expanding logging operations into the Lookout Mountain area, a potential wilderness, according to Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild, which joined Cascadia Wildlands and the Western Environmental Law Center in opposition to the 2,100-acre logging project near the small community of McKenzie Bridge.

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition opposing the project since it was publicized recently, largely because of neighbors who rallied against the project, which they say was kept under wraps by the Forest Service and only scrutinized after the 45-day comment period had lapsed.

The Forest Service has since acknowledged that its notification process, which included a notice in the local paper, Eugene Register Guard and mailers to roughly 70 property owners could have been more robust. Or as McKenzie River District Ranger put it, “We dropped the ball.” The Forest Service said it has since made adjustments to the project to address the public's concerns.

Opponents including Oregon Wild say the Forest Service had a option that put more focus on restoration but opted for a more aggressive approach that shoehorns old growth logging into the plan, despite public objections. 



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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not So Quick: Opponents to challenge Nestle's Gorge bottling plant

Take your chocolate chips elsewhere, say critics.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Opponents that include organized labor, local forest advocates, a physicians group and the Sierra Club are calling on Gov. John Kitzhaber to wade into a controversial plan for a bottled water plant in the Columbia Gorge.

Multinational food corporation Nestle recently won approval from the state’s notoriously lax Department of Water Resources for a bottling plant in Cascade Locks that the company has sold as an economic boon to the small community. (It's worth noting that it was Kitzhaber who thwarted Cascade Locks attempt to build an off-reservation casino in cooperation with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.)

According to The Oregonian, Nestle is promising to create 50 permanent jobs at the roughly 25-acre bottling plant that is expected to double the small town’s property tax base.

Critics, including the D.C.-based Food and Water Watch and the Sierra Club say that’s a poor trade off when considering a permanent surrender of a finite resource like the state’s water. They have successfully defeated similar proposals by Nestle in California and Washington.

Critics have also raised concerns about creating more plastic bottle waste in Oregon where the state just recently weighed a ban on plastic bags because of concerns about litter and pollution. Organized labor is opposing the plant because of Nestle’s plan to use non-union workers at the site.

Not surprisingly Cascade Locks officials are frustrated by the notion of loosing another economic development project. As the excellently named mayor, Lance Masters, told The Oregonian in Thursday’s paper, “they could be dealing a death blow to a town that’s really struggling for its survival.”

A Kitzhaber aide told the paper that the governor has not taken a position on the plant and has not yet given direction to the state agencies reviewing the proposal.

In the meantime, Food and Water Watch’s appeal is set to go before an administrative law judge sometime this spring or early summer.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alder Springs Proposal Draws Formal Opposition From CRR Homeowners

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 6:46 PM

A proposal to create a new 18,000-acre wilderness along Whychus Creek and the middle Deschutes River near Crooked River Ranch has drawn the formal opposition of a majority of property owners in the rural development.

The Crooked River Ranch homeowners association announced this week that roughly 66 percent of residents opposed the plan in a recent non-binding vote. The homeowner’s association said residents are concerned about how a wilderness designation would impact the ability of public land managers to fight wildfire. A recent wildfire that broke out inside that wilderness area and grew to more than 1,500 acres while advancing toward homes and private property, underscored those concerns, the association said in a news release issued Wednesday evening.

“Many Ranch residents watched from their homes the fire's rapid progress into the night and its reawakening two days later. We have heard the arguments from both sides about limits on fighting fires in designated wilderness areas. The bottom line is, we are concerned that the timely and robust effort that checked the advance of this threat to Ranch homes and property would not be allowed in a designated Wilderness area,” the release stated.

The concept of an Alder Springs wilderness area has been around for sometime; the area in question has already been designated as a Wilderness Study Area by the Bureau of Land Management because of its unique characteristics, including ancient juniper stands, slot canyons, pictographs and the area’s unique geology. The ongoing effort to re-establish native fish populations in the upper basin, including salmon and steelhead has added fuel to the discussion about the need for long-term protections of the area, which is seen as a potential stronghold for the fish. This past summer, the Oregon Natural Desert Association unveiled its initial proposal for the wilderness area, which comprises roughly 18,000 acres around the intersection of Whychus Creek and the Middle Deschutes River above Lake Billy Chinook on west boundary of the ranch.

Formally designating the Alder Springs area as wilderness would require a vote of Congress. While ONDA has said that its staff has been in contact with members of the Oregon delegation, no bill has been introduced.


Photo: Brian Ouimette/ONDA

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