Power plan fizzles

By Jayson Jacoby / The Baker City Herald

Rock Creek Power Plant owner Mark Henderson moving, and resigning from Baker School Board

By Chris Collins

ccollins@bakercityherald.com

Just when it looked like the Baker School Board had come together to form a new and more cohesive version of itself, director Mark Henderson has announced his resignation.

Henderson, 45, who was elected to a four-year board term in May 2011, will step down effective June 30. That's a year short of when his term expires in 2015.

Henderson announced his resignation near the end of Tuesday's two-hour meeting, which was preceded by a brief Budget Board session.

He said he and his family will be moving from their home on Rock Creek Lane about five miles west of Haines to the Salem area.

"We moved here nine years ago with every intention of making a go of the hydro plant," Henderson told his fellow directors. "But we've been unable to negotiate for right of way or water and we have had to put the project on hold."

Henderson and his brother, Doug, had hoped to return the historic Rock Creek Power Plant to operation. The 1903 plant, previously owned by the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative, was closed in 1995 and sat idle for 13 years before the Hendersons bought it.

Mark Henderson said he and his brother thought that years of working to meet environmental and regulatory requirements were about to reach an end. But recent negotiations with the U.S. Forest Service regarding right-of-way access to a diversion point on Rock Creek and the volume of water that he would be allowed to use to operate the plant fell through, thwarting the brothers' ability to make the project profitable.

See more in Friday's issue of the Baker City Herald.

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