Letters to the Editor 07/14/2022 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Letters to the Editor 07/14/2022 

click to enlarge Have you seen a snail more groovy than this? @sageflanneryart had the Disco Snail groovin down at Summerfest this weekend! How did you get out and enjoy the weekend? Thanks for tagging us, we are harnessing the energy of Disco Snail for the rest of the week. - Don’t forget to share your photos with us and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured as Instagram of the week and in print as our Lightmeter. Winners receive a free print from @highdesertframeworks. - @SAGEFLANNERYART
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  • Have you seen a snail more groovy than this? @sageflanneryart had the Disco Snail groovin down at Summerfest this weekend! How did you get out and enjoy the weekend? Thanks for tagging us, we are harnessing the energy of Disco Snail for the rest of the week. Don’t forget to share your photos with us and tag @sourceweekly for a chance to be featured as Instagram of the week and in print as our Lightmeter. Winners receive a free print from @highdesertframeworks.

Guest Opinion: In Response to "The Well's Run Dry," Feature, 7/7

I read with interest Hanna Merzbach's well-researched piece, "The Well's Run Dry" as it confirms some of the concerns that I and many other residents who live along the Arnold Irrigation District's main canal have about AID's plan to pipe 12 miles of it, through over 400 private properties.

I and other property owners on the canal formed the nonprofit organization Save Arnold Canal to advocate for a better solution to the canal's seepage problem than a pipeline, which, as Merzbach does an excellent job of explaining, will negatively affect wells. In our area, over 500 groundwater wells within a mile of the main canal corridor that rely on the canal's seasonal recharge (aka, seepage) will be affected.

The other big environmental cost of piping open canals which Merzbach's piece didn't mention but has been in the news recently is the loss of old growth ponderosa pine trees. AID's plan to pipe the main canal will result in the loss of thousands of trees along the canal corridor, either by removal for pipeline construction or subsequently by choking off the established seasonal water source—the canal is over 115 years old—which the ponderosas have become habituated to. This is a massive loss of bird habitat and shade for other animals as well as another hit to carbon offset.

Irrigation districts in the Deschutes Basin have put all their modernization hopes on piping, but as each completed piping project ages, more evidence of piping's flaws comes to light. Aside from the loss of groundwater wells and trees, residents of Tumalo Irrigation District have found that irrigation water delivery is often less reliable than it was with the open canal or ditch. Irrigators in Three Sisters Irrigation District now have to deal with increasing silt deposits trapped in the pipeline and ultimately in their own irrigation system equipment—a problem they never had with an open canal.

The members of Save Arnold Canal, its supporters and many local residents have voiced their opposition to Arnold Irrigation District's piping plan—over 1,200 formal public comments were submitted on AID's proposal last summer, the most by far for any piping project in the Basin. We are waiting for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington, D.C., to render a decision on AID's proposed plan sometime in August or September, at which time we'll know how our fight may take on a new trajectory.

What would we like to see instead of a pipe? We're asking for a more collaborative approach that utilizes a hybridized solution to seepage comprised of partial piping where it's feasible, concrete canal lining without the use of a geotextile membrane (this method would allow for 30% of intentional seepage to better maintain wells and trees) and water-market-based tactics that could be used to move water from where it isn't needed to where it desperately is (like North Unit Irrigation District in Madras). These are all ideas that AID chooses to ignore, in the same way that it conveniently ignores the real costs of piping.

There are a lot of moving parts to this complex issue that will continue to affect Deschutes County residents for many years into the future. Check out the Save Arnold Canal website, savearnoldcanal.org for some helpful informational videos and important documents available there.

—Mark Elling is a 25-year Bend resident who has been connected to upper Deschutes issues as a raft guide and more recently as a small-acreage irrigator. His views represent those of Save Arnold Canal and its supporters.

RE: Home Energy Score

The proposed ordinance for a home energy score is totally superfluous! Instead of adding to the closing costs, paperwork, possible closing delays and requiring a home energy score which doesn't mean anything to anyone, sellers can provide 12 months of utility bills which show the actual energy costs of operating the home! No need for another layer in closing a home sale!

—Hanne Madsen

Ron Wyden

It was surprising to see that Ron Wyden's "highest short-term priorities" are access to abortion inducing drugs and protecting personal data of those seeking abortion so that it is not used against them. As abortion remains legal in Oregon and there has been a lot of talk about Oregon becoming a "sanctuary state" for abortion seekers, I am unclear why Wyden is prioritizing efforts that would appear to be for the benefit of non-Oregonians. Where was he for the last year when many Oregonians were not given the "my body, my choice" option with regard to vaccination? In many cases it was not possible to keep vaccination status confidential and it was used against people with regard to their ability to earn a living and access establishments. When I look around, I see a lot of other pressing issues that Wyden could be focusing on at the moment. Some possibilities are: the impact of record high inflation on middle and low income Oregonians, insanely high gas prices, supply chain issues, destruction of food processing and production plants, struggling small businesses, seemingly limitless federal funding of foreign war without oversight, etc. Really hoping that Oregonians will look closely at what Ron has and hasn't accomplished for Oregon in the last 27 years. Maybe we can opt for someone different (better) in November? 

—Carole Howe

RE: "The Well's Run Dry," Feature, 7/7

Irrigation uses a large part (80%) of available surface water. A large part of aquifer recharge depends on leakage from canals. Irrigation districts can divert a certain amount of water, when the canals are lined they have more water than farms can use (leave some "in the river" for the HCP) and groundwater users are cut off (wells dry up). Irrigation districts then sell the what can't be used as groundwater mitigation credits. It's a shell game with the objective of controlling for profit all the water in the Deschutes Basin.

—Geoff Reynolds via bendsource.com

Letter of the Week:

Geoff – Thanks for writing in. You get letter of the week! Come on down for your gift card to Palate.

—Nicole Vulcan

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