Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Sure it was just water.

But it doesn't take much of any liquid to damage, beyond repair, flimsy paper documents.

The water that gushed into the Baker County Courthouse from a broken pipe valve last weekend ruined things that are relatively easy to replace.

Carpet and ceiling tiles, for instance.

We hope, though, that the flood didn't also saturate any of the

irreplaceable historic records stored in the 101-year-old building.

What happened is the nightmare scenario for those who understand the

value of such documents: a valve fails on a holiday weekend when the

building is empty, and the water spews, unnoticed, for many hours.

County officials are still sorting through the mess.

Karen Spencer, the county's information officer, said some historic

records were stored in a part of the Courthouse that wasn't inundated.

But others that were kept in a vault apparently were damaged to some extent.

The county's chief goal, as it should be, is to ensure the Courthouse is safe for both employees and the public.

But it's also vital to save as much of the history of our county, which recently turned 148, as we can manage.