■ A kick in the pants to the bureaucratic red tape that’s keeping Ginger and Brian Afdahl from doing the necessary work to protect their property being further destroyed by floodwaters.
It’s no use kicking Mother Nature’s pants — everyone knows she’s a nudist anyway — but we’d like to think there’s better recourse than watching runaway river water destroy 30 years of development on the family ranch near Milton-Freewater. Once the river jumps its banks there should be a quick remedy to putting it back where it belongs.
There’s good reason people shouldn’t mess with creek beds and river channels without proper oversight, as short-sighted damage can have a serious impact on fish habitats and other ecological concerns. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the know-how, and should be able to provide a quick answer on how a property owner can proceed.
There are also the lingering effects of this flood, including the potential of a new property line once the river resettles. We hope these issues can be solved without unnecessary complications for the Afdahls.
■ A tip of the hat and welcome to town to the city of Pendleton’s newest department heads, Liam Hughes and George Cress.
Hughes has some big ideas for the city’s parks and recreation department and a proven track record of event coordination, a valuable asset for a town that could always use another party.
Cress steps in with some familiarity in the region — he was previously an economic development director for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
We wish them both a warm “howdy” and best of luck in their new jobs.
■ A kick in the pants to Lost Valley Farm, the new mega-dairy near Boardman accused of violating environmental rules just months after opening.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture reported finding two rules violations in December, as wastewater and manure were discharged into places they shouldn’t have been. The dairy also failed to have enough lagoon storage capacity for runoff in case of a storm.
The state fined the dairy $10,640 and a hearing is in the works.
We’ll follow along as the civil penalties are addressed, but it’s disheartening to see an already contentious project fail to comply so early in its lifespan. Plans call for 30,000 cows to eventually reside on the farm, and this does not bode well.
Agriculture is the heart of our region, but every producer must show it can develop its goods in a responsible way.