Letters to the Editor for Sept. 11, 2013

Written by Baker City Herald readers September 11, 2013 07:54 am

City needs to consider all options for its water supply

For over a century, Baker City has enjoyed some of the best-tasting water of any city in Oregon. Collected on the slopes of the Elkhorns from pristine mountain streams, our water has long been a source of civic pride. Well, those mountain streams aren’t always pristine; sometimes they contain nasty parasites that sicken people, as we recently learned the hard way. And so the recent discussion has been, “How do we keep this sort of thing from happening again?” We are told that we have two options: a UV treatment system, which would cost $2.3 million, or a filter system, which would cost $17.7 million.

Recently John Steiger, a friend, brought up a subject which hasn’t been mentioned much. “What will Baker City do,” he asked, “when a forest fire destroys the watershed?”  A good question. An ash-covered but otherwise denuded landscape would put all sorts of undesirable stuff into our tap water, pollutants which a UV treatment wouldn’t begin to remove; it would take a filter system to screen out the mud and ashes. Even if the entire watershed isn’t burned, fire suppression efforts would add another mix of contaminants into the city’s water system.

Notice that he didn’t say, “... if a fire destroys the watershed;” he said, “... when ...” Fires are a natural part of a forest ecosystem, and such fires are even now burning in many parts of the West. A fire in our watershed is to be expected sooner or later.

John thinks that it’s time to think outside the box, and consider finding another source for our drinking water. If several deep wells were dug, their water would not need treatment for cryptosporidium or any of the other nasty little bugs that can cause illness. Then neither of the two alternatives now being discussed would be needed.

What would it cost to drill several deep wells? How would that cost compare to a UV system’s $2.3 million or a filter system’s $17.7 million?

I think that John Steiger is on to something here, and the points he has made should be carefully considered. 

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Remove all gun references from city parks ordinance

According to Oregon Revised Statute, 166.173: Says person licensed to carry concealed can. What about open carry, legal for Oregon residents? Also states United States Department of Agriculture to be able to possess loaded firearm to take wildlife. Isn’t possessing hunting license, make us temporary USDA employees. We lawfully take wildlife off their hands for them. ORS 166.370 exceptions include “school-approved programs.” Only on duty law enforcement,  USDA personnel. All other subject to Class C felonies. And if a person is off duty and desires to help someone on duty, he will be subject to Class C felony arrest and conviction under current statutes. Please stop the stupidity.

When did law enforcement become security/rent a cops? When did Forest Service job, become State Police job? When did city ordinances, become city police job? Might as well hire all private security personnel to police force to accommodate even part of jobs being gobbled up by police city and state. Still not able to be all places at once. City ordinance 3325 should remove ALL references to regulating firearms in city parks in the current rules. There is an ordinance that has been temporarily lifted when it suited  them: “The no shooting in city limits”  AKA parades in past, other special events in past. Also covers everything within city limits including parks. Facts taken from Aug. 26, 2013, Baker City Herald. Don’t need more unenforceable laws.

Carl Koontz

Baker City 

Thank you for help after house fire

Due to our house fire Aug. 10, we want to thank everyone who helped out.

The firemen were great. Also the policemen.

The Red Cross helped out with our needing items at this time. The gift cards, clothing and donations were greatly appreciated. 

We had wonderful dinners from the St. Luke’s Clinic Eastern Oregon Medical Associates and Friends.

And I do want to thank the Lord for getting myself and our puppy out in time.

Our family was wonderful. We could not have done this without them.

Thanks everyone.

Tom and Sharon Oliver

Baker City 

The super nanny state eroding the Constitution

Last month I traveled to Sioux Falls, S.D., to see my grandkids. I had a conversation with the kids’ stepdad about Oregon vs. South Dakota. He told me that in South Dakota they want your car to be stopped before you shoot off the road and if you happen to wound an animal that jumps the fence and dies you can retrieve it. Sioux Falls has 151,00 population and evidently you can ride your 4-wheeler anywhere. I think after dark they want you to have turn signals. Here’s the law I like: You can get a seat belt ticket of about $29 if the cop stops you for something else. It can’t be the reason you were stopped. In Oregon it is used to collect money for the state. The police regularly use the seat belt laws for random fishing trips and I guess sometimes it works out with a big drug bust or something but the Constitution is being eroded.

The super nanny state is everywhere. I recently had a conversation with a young gal at the Department of Corrections. I found out quite by accident that I was a victim. I tried to explain to her that I was actually 65 years old, had been in combat in Vietnam, was fairly well educated and of at least average intelligence and that maybe instead of a nice young lady labeling me a victim I could decide the issue for myself. I got a good lecture on the Internet when I mentioned a primitive technology called a letter. I was informed I could read all about rule 127 on Twitter, Facebook, etc. etc. I told her I had a Skype setting down in the field twittering and tweeting so I shot it.

It did make me remember something Bentz said about trying to get a bill that would make it mandatory to review regulations and do away with the dumb ones. The courts lobbied against it. I guess they figure the nanny state has so many that they would do nothing else. I say it’s time to separate the state into Eastern and Western Oregon. 

Steve Culley

Richland

We need solution to water problem, not scapegoats

It has been known for years by the City Council and the city staff that there have been occasional low levels of cryptosporidium in water samples collected from the city water supply. It has also been known that the current treatment of the water supply does not eradicate the spore producing cryptosporidium and that these past low levels were insufficient to produce symptoms. To assign blame to one or two individuals when these problems were common knowledge throughout much of city government is wrong and counterproductive. 

I have been acquainted with Michelle Owen, public works director, for years and have had official interaction with her on several occasions. She is very knowledgeable, dedicated and a true professional. I would urge the City Council to focus on fixing the water supply and avoid looking for scapegoats.

Neal Jacobson

Baker City