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Feds find money to build

With the federal government rolling up billion-dollar annual bills for fighting wildfires, a public building in Baker City that costs a bit less than $1 million might seem mathematically insignificant.

But we think the structure the U.S. Forest Service is building this fall is noteworthy.

Not because the $889,000 in public dollars the agency is spending on the building near the intersection of 11th and H streets will hamper its firefighting campaign in a meaningful way.

Prayers fine, but so is poetry

The debate over whether local government meetings should begin with a prayer, and in particular with explicitly Christian invocations that mention Jesus, has been a divisive one in the past in Baker City.

This need not happen again.

A simple and fair solution exists, and we urge the Baker County commissioners to grab it.

A sad end for an iconic sign

The neon heyday of Baker City’s 10th Street strip faded a bit farther into the past last week.

The distinctive red-and-yellow sign at the In & Out drive-in, at the corner of 10th and D streets, was taken down and hauled out of town Tuesday morning.

Sage grouse risk remains

The specter of the sage grouse continues to loom over Baker County, but today the future seems far less threatening.

The bird, at least for now, won’t be listed as threatened or endangered under federal law.

That means the most dire effect of a listing — severe restrictions on cattle grazing on public land, which is so vital to the county’s economy — is quite unlikely.

City needs to avoid annexation lawsuits

Baker City’s botched annexation agreement with Richard and Lynne Langrell has cost the city about $67,000.

That’s bad enough.

It would be worse yet if the city ends up incurring more legal fees defending the indefensible.

The burning question

In the aftermath of the biggest wildfire in Baker County history, salvage logging is a major topic of discussion.

And a major source of frustration.

We understand why.

Bikes and fire: Not a good mix

Cycle Oregon’s first visit to Baker County since 2008 didn’t go as intended.

Like so much else this summer, the week-long event that brought 2,200 bicyclists and a couple hundred support workers to the county was affected by wildfire.

The Dry Gulch fire, specifically, which was ignited Saturday afternoon when a driver lost control of his pickup truck on Eagle Creek Road near New Bridge and crashed, sparking a vehicle fire that spread into the parched grass and brush beside the road.

Another sunny September

That day was very much like today.

Fourteen years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, there were scarcely any clouds, in Baker City or in New York City, to impede the late-summer sunshine.

In Baker the temperature dipped to 39 degrees that morning, then climbed to 90 in the afternoon.

Today’s forecast temperatures are almost identical.

The similarities, though, between that day and today, end with the weather.

Sept. 11, 2001, was a landmark, a dividing point after which nothing was the same, notwithstanding superficial matters such as the clarity of a blue sky.

State sides with EPA over ag industry

The saddest part of the following question is that we even need to ask it.

Does Oregon’s state government care more about empowering federal bureaucrats than it does about the ranchers and farmers whose operations contribute billions of dollars annually to the state economy?

We don’t blame the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association for posing that query.

A fair deal for fire victims

The idea sounds eminently logical when you hear it.

But somebody had to think of it. And we’re glad Baker County Assessor Kerry Savage did.

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