P ROFILIC POTTER
U NION C OUNTY STOPS SE P ORTLAND
TESTS LOCAL CLAY
AT STATE TOURNEY
WALLOWA LIFE, 1B
THE OBSERVER SERVING UNION AND WALLOWA COUNTIES SINCE 1896
T H U R S D AY,
RESTORING THE UPPER GRANDE RONDE
RED HUBER | Orlando Sentinel
ATLANTIS lands at the Kennedy Space Center this morning, concluding 30 years and 135 space shuttle missions.
Shuttle’s ‘final stop’ brings cheers, tears
LISA MCMAHAN | The Observer
FISHERIES BIOLOGIST JOE PLATZ of the La Grande Ranger District pounds rebar into place to ensure the large woody debris will not move from its designated place in the Upper Grande Ronde River. The trees were removed from the Interstate 84 corridor in conjunction with ODOT’s Hazard Trees for Fish Habitat program.
8 1/2-mile-long river habitat project will help ensure ...
The fish run through it LISA MCMAHAN The Observer
The Forest Service is giving fish a hand in hopes of restoring stream habitat for several threatened or sensitive species. This month, three excavators are working their way up 8 1/2 miles of the Upper Grande Ronde River along Forest Road 51, strategically placing boulders and large woody debris at 43 sites. This stretch of the Upper Grande Ronde was affected by road construction, logging and splash damming, which widened the channel and made it more homogenous, said La Grande Ranger District Hydrologist Ben Rau. “It removed a tremendous amount of sediment from the river,” Rau said of splash
the fish that do make it damming, an antiquated back,” Rau said. process used to transport The Upper To minimize damage logs downstream. caused by the excavators The Upper Grande Grande Ronde themselves, regulatory Ronde is one of the largest is one of the committees set a window undammed rivers in Oregon largest of time, beginning July 1, and is spawning and rearing for construction based on habitat for Snake River Basin undammed the migratory patterns of summer steelhead, Snake rivers in the fish. In this timeRiver Basin spring chinook frame, juveniles have salmon and redband trout. Oregon. gone downstream and It is also migration habitat adults are on their way for bull trout. All are considback upstream to spawn. ered threatened species, “August 1 is our deadline,” Fisheries except the redband trout, which is on the Biologist Joe Platz said. “The fish are coming regional forester’s Sensitive Species List. in right now.” The fish have a long way to travel to return to spawning grounds. See RESTORATION, 2A “Our goal is to really improve habitat for
Hanford cleanup ‘largest, most complex in world’ LISA MCMAHAN The Observer
A presentation at Tuesday’s Rotary club meeting focused on plans to clean up the Hanford site, a large facility that played an even larger role in United States history. “How many of you have heard of Hanford?” asked Jeffrey Dennison, external affairs for Mission Support Alliance, a company contracted by Hanford. Every hand was raised, but numbers dropped as he contin-
W E AT H E R
ued asking who had visited and if anyone had worked there. Regardless of the audience’s connection to the site, Dennison assured them Hanford matters. It matters to those who had relatives fight in World War II, as Hanford was part of the Manhattan Project and produced the plutonium used in the core of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, Aug. 9, 1945. It also matters to those concerned with the environment. Hanford, a site that could easily
contain the city of Los Angeles with room to spare, is located on the Columbia River in Washington, Jeffrey and it operated through Dennison the Cold War, finally stopping production in 1989. Dennison showed the first chapter of “The Hanford Story,”
an overview summarizing the site’s history and future plans. The impact on the environment was secondary to the nation’s need for plutonium, the film said. Perhaps the environmental impact is what resonates most today. In the film, people are asked to describe Hanford in one word. Their responses included words like “massive,” “testing,” “toxic,” “unsustainable,” “unbelievable” and “change.” See HANFORD, 6A
CLASSIFIED / 4B COMICS / 3B CROSSWORD / 5B EDITORIALS / 4A
HOROSCOPE / 5B LOTTERY / 2A MOVIES / 3A OBITUARIES / 5A
RECORD / 5A SPORTS / 8A TELEVISION / GO! WEATHER / 2A
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Atlantis and four astronauts returned from the International Space Station in triumph Thursday, bringing an end to NASA’s 30-year shuttle journey with one last, rousing touchdown that drew cheers and tears. Thousands gathered near the landing strip and packed Kennedy Space Center, and countless others watched from afar, as NASA’s longest-running spaceflight program came to a close. “After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle’s earned its place in history. And it’s come to a final stop,” commander Christopher Ferguson radioed after a ghostlike Atlantis glided through the twilight. “Job well done, America,” replied Mission Control. With the space shuttles retiring to museums, it will be
another three to five years at best before Americans are launched again from U.S. soil, as private companies gear up to seize the Earth-to-orbit-andback baton from NASA. The long-term future for American space exploration is just as hazy, a huge concern for many at NASA and all those losing their jobs because of the shuttle’s end. Asteroids and Mars are the destinations of choice, yet NASA has yet to settle on a rocket design to get astronauts there. Thursday, though, belonged to Atlantis and its crew: Ferguson, co-pilot Douglas Hurley, Rex Walheim and Sandra Magnus, who completed a successful space station resupply mission. Atlantis touched down at 5:57 a.m., with “wheels stop” less than a minute later.
County reminds public about burning ordinance BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH The Observer
With the onset of warmer, drier weather, Union County and area fire protection agencies are reminding residents about rules regarding open burning and the use of incinerators and burn barrels. A county ordinance regulating burning outside city limits has been in place since 1991. It was passed to minimize threat to property and human life. Among its provisions, no open burning is allowed on public and private lands within rural fire protection districts during the annual fire season.
The county ordinance applies to lands in Union County not protected by city, state or federal agencies. It does not prohibit agricultural field burning or the use of charcoal barbecues at residences. The use of incinerators or burn barrels for the burning of trash is to be done between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. All other times are unlawful. Annual fire season is defined in the ordinance as between July 1 and Sept. 30, or See BURNING, 3A
Bill to benefit heritage site moves forward WALLOWA — In a move to boost tourism in Eastern Oregon, legislation to transfer federal land to the cities of La Pine and Wallowa passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee July 14. One of the bills, the Wallowa Forest Service Compound Conveyance Act, would transfer a Forest Service ranger station to the city of
Wallowa to be used as the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center. Director Gwen Trice has worked closely with Sen. Ron Wyden for two years on the transfer of property. “Sen. Wyden first introduced the land use bill in 2009, the same year it was nominated and registered as a
HOW TO REACH US 541-963-3161 lagrandeobserver.com Three sections, 32 pages La Grande, Oregon
See MAXVILLE, 3A
NEWS ON TWO
2 A The Observer
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Trees uprooted from Interstate 84 corridor, placed in stream cutting them down in an effort to keep root wads intact. “That’s the most dangerous job I’ve ever done,” Platz said of working in such close proximity to the freeway. The woody debris provides cover and helps carve out pools for fish, diversifying the river in the process. Contractors submitted bids for all steps of the process. “Most of these guys are local contractors and have worked with the Forest Service for a number of years,” Rau said, adding that the project helps pump money back into the local economy. Hanging Rock Excavation and Construction, a La Grande company, was awarded the instream work portion of the project. IT’S A TRICKY, DANGEROUS and sometimes downright slippery job. “It’s kind of a risk game,” said Platz, who directs the excavator drivers via radio as they hoist huge Douglas fir and spruce trees to strategic locations in the Upper Grande Ronde. The excavators operate from the middle of the river,
RESTORATION from 1A Platz increased the crew’s workday from 10 to 11 hours in order to complete the project on time. The project is facilitated by the Forest Service, the Grande Ronde Model Watershed and Bonneville Power Administration. Bonneville funds watershed projects that directly contribute to threatened and endangered species in the basin. “It’s the most unique opportunity I’ve ever seen,” Rau said. The Forest Service took advantage of another unique opportunity to acquire the trees that would be placed in the stream, uprooting them from the Interstate 84 corridor as part of ODOT’s Hazard Trees for Fish Habitat program. The Forest Service knew the stream could be fixed with trees, but wasn’t able to find everything it needed in the area, Rau said. Contractors removed trees that were within the 100-foot freeway right of way zone, pushing them over rather than
LISA MCMAHAN | The Observer
ENGAGING IN SOME RISKY RIVER BUSINESS, excavator operators move logs into place on the Upper Grande Ronde River. Working in stream helps minimize damage to riparian areas, and crew work is limited to the month of July, when juvenile fish have already gone downstream and before adult fish return to spawn. The project will help restore stream habitat and diversify the river.
Excavator fuel tanks are double covered, and drivers use biodegradable Chevron Clarity hydraulic oil. They must also be conscientious of water levels to prevent engine damage. Before moving on to the next site, Platz pins down some logs with rebar to increase the likelihood that the woody debris will stay in place.
which actually minimizes damage, especially to riparian areas, Platz said. “The stream is always in disturbance,” he said. “It will recover next spring from high flows.” The crew places boards and tires along the river’s edge to limit damage and to provide traction on a bank they described as an “ice rink.”
The crew also ensures that they repair any damage that was done. “We clean up everything and erase all track marks,” Hanging Rock Owner Jason Hedgepeth said. The areas with disturbed soil will also be re-seeded. “They’re doing a lot of good work here,” Rau said. “I think it’s worked out pretty
DAILY PLANNER Today in history Today is Thursday, July 21, the 202nd day of 2011. There are 163 days left in the year.
Highlight On July 21, 1861, during the Civil War, the first Battle of Bull Run was fought at Manassas, Va., resulting in a Confederate victory.
Newspaper late Every effort is made to deliver your Observer in a timely man-
well for everyone.” Despite the long hours, Hedgepeth said he would continue the work — helping the environment and making a living — year round if he could. “We bid (the Forest Service) cheap, that’s how much we like them,” Hedgepeth said. “I’d rather be doing this than anything else.”
ner. Occasionally conditions exist that make delivery more difficult. If you are not on a motor route, delivery should be before 5:30 p.m. If you do not receive your paper by 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, please call 541-963-3161 by 6 p.m. If your delivery is by motor carrier, delivery should be by 6 p.m. For calls after 6, please call 541-975-1690, leave your name, address and phone number. Your paper will be delivered the next business day.
ing Saturday: $20.7 million. Wednesday’s numbers: 08-12-16-18-31-41 POWERBALL Nobody won the $76.3 million jackpot. Estimated drawing Saturday: $92 million. PP: 04 Wednesday’s numbers: 01-04-38-40-42-PB 17 WIN FOR LIFE Wednesday’s numbers: 06-27-49-70
7 p.m.: 3-7-7-0 10 p.m.: 3-9-8-7
Grain report PORTLAND GRAIN Today Soft white wheat — July, $6.95; August $7.03; September, $7.05 Hard red winter — July, $8.02; August, $8.07; September, $8.17 Dark northern spring — July, $10.37; August, $10.17; September, $10.07 Barley — $205 Bids provided by Island City Grain Co.
Lottery numbers MEGABUCKS Nobody won the $20.2 million jackpot. Estimated draw-
PICK 4 Wednesday’s numbers: 1 p.m.: 2-3-6-1 4 p.m.: 2-1-2-3
108 at 12,680 Broader stock indicators Standard & Poor’s 500 Index — Up 13 at 1,339 Tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index — Up 12 at 2,826 NYSE — Up 104 at 8,386 Russell — Up 7 at 840 GOLD AND SILVER Gold — Down $5.20 at $1,596.70 Silver — Down 56 cents at $39.55
Quote of the day “Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student.”
— GEORGE ILES
WALL STREET AT NOON Dow Jones average — Up
Union County Circuit Court Criminal Dispositions Chase Tyrel Kirkland, 24: Convicted May 11, after entering guilty plea of driving under the influence of intoxicants. Sentence: jail, probation, driver’s license suspended for one year, 20 hours of community service, not permitted alcohol or entry to bars. Ordered to submit to random blood, breath, saliva, and urine tests, undergo alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and possible treatment, attend Victim Impact Panel; to pay fines (some suspended), offense surcharge, state obligation, fee to Intoxicated Driver Fund, assessments. Donald M. LaPrelle, Jr., 50: Convicted May 23, after entering guilty pleas of possession of methamphetamine, tampering with drug records, and felon in possession of a firearm. Three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance were dismissed. Sentence: jail, probation, driver’s license suspended for eighteen months, not allowed contact with co-defendant, not permitted weapons, firearms, or dangerous animals. Ordered to submit to random blood, breath, saliva, and urine tests, undergo alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and possible treatment, become gainfully employed, permit searches and inspections, participate in mental health evaluation and recommended treatment; to pay fines (some suspended), offense surcharges, assessments.
W E AT H E R WEATHER AT A GLANCE PLEASANT RATE THE DAY: 9 Friday’s weather
F R I D AY
UNION COUNTY FORECAST
LA GRANDE TEMPS Wednesday’s high: 75 Low this morning: 52 Average high/low: 86/53 Record high/low: 101/43
PRECIPITATION 24 hours ending 4 a.m.: .00 Month to date: .66 Normal: .43 Year to date: 16.83 Normal: 10.03 Today’s record: .11 of an inch State’s wettest: .06 of an inch at Astoria
SUN Sunset: 8:34 p.m. Sunrise: 5:24 a.m.
Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms
WA L L OWA C O U N T Y F O R E C A S T TONIGHT
Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms
LG COMFORT FACTORS As of 8 a.m. at La Grande airport Wind — WNW at 10 mph Misery index — 61 (feels like 61)
POLLENCAST Grass — moderate; Trees and Weeds — low
OREGON TRIVIA In 1979 the Legislature designated the Oregon Swallowtail as Oregon’s official insect. — “Oregon Blue Book”
Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Nation: 115 at Bullhead City, Ariz. Oregon: 85 at Rome
Waning: 63 percent visible
Nation: 28 at West Yellowstone, Mont. Oregon: 38 at Meacham
Across the region Temperatures indicate previous day’s high and overnight low to 4 a.m. Hi Lo Prc The Dalles 82 63 .00 Joseph 72 45 .00 Eugene 77 56 .00 Newport 64 57 .00 Portland 76 61 .00
Salem Hermiston Meacham Pendleton Redmond Pasco Walla Walla Baker City Ontario
77 82 69 80 77 82 80 77 83
57 61 38 56 42 58 60 41 57
.00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00 .00
Across the nation Temperatures indicate previous day’s high and overnight low to 5 a.m. Pacific time. Hi Lo Prc Sky Anchorage 70 54 Cdy Boise 82 59 Clr Boston 91 73 PCdy Chicago 99 81 PCdy Denver 92 59 PCdy Honolulu 87 77 PCdy
Houston 94 Las Vegas 107 Los Angeles 80 Miami Beach 95 New York City 89 Phoenix 109 Salt Lake City 86 San Francisco 80 Seattle 74 Washington, D.C. 94
77 PCdy 83 Clr 60 PCdy 80 1.08PCdy 75 PCdy 88 Clr 61 Clr 55 Cdy 58 Rn 80 Clr
Published on Jul 21, 2011
Story and photos by Lisa McMahan. The Forest Service is giving fish a hand in hopes of restoring stream habitat for several threatened or se...