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A Towering Task

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald These mature trees on Second Street are typical of the age of shade trees in some Baker City neighborhoods.

Managing Baker City’s Aging Trees

By La’akea Kaufman

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As summer temperatures stay, well, summery, Baker City residents might seek relief under the branches of the town’s many trees.

Silver maples, black locusts, flowering dogwoods and lots of other species cast their shade throughout the city, which celebrated its 30th year as a “Tree City USA” this April.

Just five Oregon cities have longer runs as Tree Cities — Salem (39 years), Portland (38), Eugene (36), Sunriver (35), Rogue River (32).

Many of Baker City’s trees have been around for a lot longer, however, and are struggling with the standard wear that comes with old age.

No West Nile so far in 2015

By La’akea Kaufman and Jayson Jacoby

Baker City Herald

Baker County remains officially free of West Nile virus.

Shrinking Reservoir

By Jayson Jacoby

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Phillips Reservoir hasn’t looked this puny, this early in the summer, in more than two decades.

Jeff Colton knows the only thing that can restore the reservoir’s robustness is a deep snowpack, and under the most optimistic scenario that won’t start accumulating for at least four months.

Wednesday cloudburst clogged culvert on Highway 86 between Halfway and Oxbow

Both lanes of highway are open today, but crews still working to clear debris 

Both lanes of Highway 86 between Halfway and Oxbow, about 55 miles east of Baker City, are open today but Oregon Department of Transportation crews are clearing mud and debris from a slide that plugged a culvert Wednesday afternoon between Mileposts 66 and 67.

Judge says county must pay legal fees for Columbia Basin Helicopters

A judge has ruled that Columbia Basin Helicopters (CBH) in Baker Valley is entitled to reasonable legal fees from Baker County incurred while defending a suit the county filed against the business.

CBH owner David McCarty racked up over $200,000 in legal fees, according to the company’s spokesperson Joelleen Linstrom.

She said it was unfortunate that so much money was spent “to prove that David (McCarty) was within the parameters of the law” after the judge initially did not award CBH attorney’s fees.

Coming Up Short

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald Baker City officials have asked residents to limit lawn and garden watering with city water to every other day. Since the city made the request Thursday, water use has dropped by about a million gallons per day.

With Baker City’s Water Supply Low, Residents Are Cutting Back

By Joshua Dillen

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A meager snowpack that all but vanished in the wake of May’s rains is part of the reason Baker City residents might be required to reduce their water use before the end of the summer.

Those May rains weren’t as beneficial for the city’s watershed as one might expect.

Drought foils Eagle Cap Wilderness fire policy

Photo by Nathan Goodrich The Dennis Creek fire in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, grew rapidly last week, but work by air tankers and helicopters has limited the fireís spread over the past few days.

With the fire danger high, Forest Service managers decided to fight, rather than monitor, a blaze in the wilderness

By Jayson Jacoby

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The early onset of severe fire danger has convinced U.S. Forest Service fire managers to try to douse, rather than merely monitor, a lightning-sparked blaze in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

But the risk that the Dennis Creek fire, near the Minam River about 15 miles east of Union, would grow rapidly if left to its own devices isn’t the only reason officials have treated this blaze differently compared with a few dozen fires that lightning ignited in the Eagle Cap over the previous 20 or so years.

Police investigating apparent suicide along Pine Creek Road near Baker City

Oregon State Police troopers and detectives are investigating the apparent suicide of a man this afternoon in Baker Valley whom police had tried to interview as a possible crime suspect.

At about 11:30 a.m., OSP detectives went to a home in the 15000 block of Pine Creek Road, west of Pocahontas Road about 10 miles northwest of Baker City, to interview the man. The suspect fled into an outbuilding and shots could be heard coming from inside. It was known the suspect was alone but due to the safety concerns, more resources, including a SWAT team, were called in to assist.

Around 1 p.m. law enforcement found the suspect, who had injuries consistent with gunshot wounds. At this time it is speculated it was suicide, according to a press release from OSP.

The investigation will be continuing and more information will be released when it is available.

Haines Heats Up

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Joann Wellman watches over iced water bottles outside the Haines Sell Rite store.

On A Sizzling Independence Day, Ice & Cold Water Are At A Premium

By La’akea Kaufman

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Haines Sell Rite store was bustling Saturday morning before the start of the town’s annual Fourth of July parade.

Rows of folding chairs lined the front of the building, and patrons snagged bottles of water and granola bars off the shelves. 

But as they approached the checkout they saw an unfamiliar sign taped across the counter. 

“Due to the limited supply of ice, there is a limit of 5 bags per family,” the note read.

Baker endures longest heat wave since 2001

By Jayson Jacoby

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The temperature has yet to reach 100 this summer at the Baker City Airport, but the current heat wave is by one measure the most severe since 2001.

Sunday was the 10th straight day in which the temperature topped 90 degrees at the airport.

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