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Letter to the editor for December 4, 2008

Making room for canyon campground

Hells Canyon has long been one of Baker County’s main tourist attractions, but the views down there are much more abundant than the amenities are.

A Colorado company hopes to change that ratio.

We applaud the Baker County Commissioners for approving on Wednesday Western Land Management’s request to change the zoning on its 76-acre property. That change paves the way for the company to build an RV park on its parcel beside Hells Canyon Reservoir, about four miles north of Oxbow.

The county planning commission endorsed the company’s plans last month.

Western Land Management wants to construct 10 cabins and create campsites for 25 RVs and 25 tents.

Letters to the editor for December 3, 2008

The right decision

Baker County’s three commissioners made a difficult decision last week when they appointed 11 people to serve on the county’s Mental Health advisory committee.

But we believe it was the right decision.

The controversial part was commissioners’ decision to not re-appoint two incumbent members, chairman Gary Dielman and secretary Ed Moses.

Both Dielman and Moses have publicly criticized commissioners for failing to scrutinize Mountain Valley Mental Health (MVMH), the private contractor the county hires under a million-dollar contract to serve clients with mental health problems.

Many of those criticisms were valid.

State regulators cited more than a dozen deficiencies at MVMH in 2006.

Big future for little wood products

The foundation of Northeastern Oregon’s timber industry used to be the biggest things in the woods: old growth ponderosa pines.

Yellow bellies, they’re sometimes called.

The future of that ailing industry, by contrast, might well depend on a lot of little things that loggers used to pile and burn, if they bothered to do anything with the stuff.

“Slash” is the traditional term for skinny trees, limbs, needles and debris, but nowadays you’ll more often hear about “biomass.”

Members from Baker County’s Small Woodlands Association talked during a recent meeting about using biomass as the basis for an industry that could include a power plant and a wood pellet mill.

Harvesting biomass can also lead to healthier forests where trees grow faster and are less susceptible to insects, disease and fires.

Those prospects are exciting, and could create a new source of income for private forest owners.

But this is not a turnkey operation waiting for someone to twist it into profit-making life.

Letters to the editor for December 2, 2008

Letter to the editor for December 1, 2008

Letter to the editor for November 28, 2008

It’s Civil War week: What better time for a little harmless hatred?

I quite severely, and with considerable malice aforethought, do not much care for the Oregon State Beavers.

Forgive me my lack of directness.

I strive as a rule to avoid murkiness in my writing, although I know of no filter that can grab every bit of grammatical grit before it fouls the page.

But it is, after all, the holiday season.

And it occurs to me that this is perhaps not the most appropriate time to employ unequivocal yet unfriendly verbs such as despise, detest and abhor.

Except it is Civil War week as well as Thanksgiving week.

And I graduated from the University of Oregon.

And the subject, after all, is only football.

Letters to the editor for November 27, 2008

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