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Crews to start lining sewer pipes Monday

Starting Monday, a city contractor will be lining several wastewater mains.

There won’t be traffic delays, but drivers should expect to see equipment and warning signs in the areas listed below.

Michels Corporation of Salem is the contractor.

The company will use the “cast in place pipe” process, which doesn’t require excavation but helps pipes last 50 years or longer than they would without the treatment.

The work will take up to nine days. Crews are already working to inspect and clean pipes to prepare them for the lining.

More information is available by calling 541-523-2046 or 541-524-2020.

Wastewater Lines to be Rehabilitated

• Alley: First to Second; Madison to Campbell

• Valley Avenue: Resort St. to river

• Alley: Elm to Grove; Grace to Myrtle

• Alley: Elm to Grove; Myrtle to Cliff

• Alley: Elm to Grove; Cliff to Indiana 

• Alley: Grove to East; Grace to Myrtle

• Sixth Street: C to D; B to C

• Washington Avenue - Fifth to Sixth

• Campbell Street: Seventh to Eighth, Eighth to Ninth


Heated Exchange

City councilor chastises city manager for failure to make repairs at city pool


By Pat Caldwell

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A flotsam of good intentions gone awry and miscommunication trail in the wake of an effort to replace the domestic hot water system at the city-owned Sam-O-Swim Center, in a saga one elected official said is evidence the city failed.

The central issue in this nine-month situation revolved around uncertainty regarding what entity was responsible for a grant writing process, and input from the city on the endeavor.

The fallout from the repair project sparked questions from Baker City Councilor Roger Coles and Baker County YMCA director Heidi Dalton regarding whether the city was committed to infrastructure repairs.

The YMCA manages Sam-O, which continues to operate normally.


Couple charged with car theft

Two people were arrested in a motel room in Baker City Thursday night and charged with stealing a pickup truck from a rental agency in Spokane, Wash.

Baker City Police believe the couple might also be involved in a fraudulent credit card scheme.


Senate hopefuls gather

Five Republicans, hoping to challenge Sen. Jeff Merkley, attend forum in Baker City


By Pat Caldwell

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A large crowd greeted a group of Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate Wednesday night at the Sunridge Inn in Baker City.

The candidate forum – sponsored by the Baker County Republicans – showcased five individuals vying for the Republican nomination in the May 20 primary.

The winner will challenge incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, in November’s general election.


Two BMS students arrested for marijuana possession

Two 14-year-old boys, both students at Baker Middle School, were arrested Wednesday morning at the school for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

One of the boys also is charged with delivery of a controlled substance, for either giving or selling marijuana to the other boy, Police Chief Wyn Lohner said.

Both boys were taken to a juvenile detention facility in The Dalles, Lohner said.


County veterans office receives two grants

Baker County will receive $10,500 to help improve services to local veterans.

Last year the Oregon Legislature approved $600,000 to be awarded to county veterans services offices through a competitive grant program.

An evaluation committee met on Jan. 15 to consider applications from 26 of the 34 counties eligible for grants. Nineteen counties — including Baker — will receive the full amount they applied for.


Soroptimist Club to give two awards Feb. 19

Soroptimist International of Baker County will present two awards on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at noon at the Sunridge Restaurant in Baker City.

The Violet Richardson Award goes to Jenna Aldrich, a Powder Valley High School senior.

The award honors young women for volunteer action and celebrates the contributions of women to society.  Aldrich will receive a $250 cash award and will be presented with a $250 check awarded to the Powder Valley Club Volleyball.


Apartment fire displaces three families

No people hurt, but one dog died in Tuesday afternoon blaze 

By Chris Collins

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An electrical short in a power cord is blamed for a fire that displaced three households at the Blue Ridge Apartments Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters were dispatched to the seven-unit apartment complex on Highway 30 on the north outskirts of Baker City at 1:34 p.m. Most of the damage was confined to Apartment E, where the fire started, said Don Taggart of the Baker City Fire Department.

Jenny Wilson, who lives in the apartment with her 6-year-old daughter, Traeh Thronson, and her 4-year-old daughter, Maya Wilson, was not home when the fire started.

The family lost their male pug,Teddy, in the fire. A second dog, Lilo, a female pug mix, was taken to the Baker Veterinary Hospital for treatment and was doing well this morning, Wilson said.


To hire, or not to hire

Baker City Councilors Disagree On Need To Hire New Employees

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Baker City Department of Public Works employees, Justin Plumbtree, left, and Jason Melo, fix a resident’s sewer line break Tuesday morning. Blain LeaMaster, not shown, is at work on the line deep in the pit.

By Pat Caldwell

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Baker City Councilors continue to discuss a draft strategic blueprint for the city’s future but one recommendation in the plan — a proposal to hire more public employees — has so far proved to be a non-starter.

The City Council held a public hearing Jan. 14 on the draft strategic plan and delivered comments and guidance to Stan Foster, president of PARC Resources, the Bend-area firm the city hired to do the study.

PARC utilized a community survey, comments collected at local meetings, and suggestions from the City Council to prepare the draft plan.

The draft proposal includes nine goals or “action priorities."


Snowmobiling still big in Baker County despite the drought

Submitted photo The Sumpter Valley Snowmobile Club’s groomer plied 50 miles of trails late last week. Although snow is scarce at lower elevations, riders say conditions are good higher in the mountains.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Weldon Reedy is so confident in the snowmobiling conditions around Sumpter that he put a video camera right outside his motel to show how much snow is falling.

Or, as has been the case most of this winter, how much snow isn’t falling.

Reedy, who with his wife, Kathy, owns the 14-room Depot Inn in downtown Sumpter, doesn’t deny that snow has been relatively scarce this winter.

But it’s equally true that a snowmobile doesn’t much care whether there’s a foot of snow beneath its skis, or 10 feet.

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