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The Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon has been without safe drinking water all summer. Some people don’t have running water at all. In May, a burst pipe led to a cascade of infrastructure failures. That leaves around 4,000 people improvising for an essential human need. Mobile sinks and showers have been set up on the reservation.

A kick in the pants to federal and state authorities in the aftermath of the water crisis on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon.

The reservation may be a sovereign nation but the water crisis there — which began in May — should be a subject that makes everyone stop and take notice.

The area has been without safe drinking water for a long time after a pipe burst and created a series of failures with an aging system, leaving nearly 4,000 people to make due. The list of problems related to the issue is long. Firefighters can’t count on hydrants to work and sprinkler systems, cooling systems, air-conditioning systems, restrooms, toilets are all affected by lack of water.

The Oregon Legislature recently earmarked money to help alleviate the problem but federal authorities have been slow to react to the crisis.

The Environmental Protection Agency has threatened to fine the tribe nearly $60,000 a day if it doesn’t get safe water pouring through faucets by October.

Whether the issue revolves around a sovereign nation or a local township, the fact that nearly 4,000 people have to rely on donations for water is a sad commentary on where we are as a nation.

Federal and state authorities need to work together to help the tribe solve this problem. Enough is enough. Surely, we can do better.

A tip of the hat to all the volunteers and fair employees that have worked to make the Umatilla County Fair the go-to place for fun this year. The fair has delivered on an unspoken promise to put a cap on the summer season with entertainment, fun and good food.

A tip of the hat to the fire crews that worked to contain dozens of fires within the HK Complex south of Monument in the Heppner Ranger District. The fires consumed 2,455 acres before containment and the fire crews that battled the blaze should be commended for ensuring the fires did not scorch any more terrain.

A tip of the hat to the crew from the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps’s summer program that recently finished a project to create a database of Pendleton’s trees. The effort will help the Pendleton Parks and Recreation and Tree Commissions evaluate the health of our little urban forest. The four local teenagers involved in the program and their leader — Adam Charlton — made a difference for their community.

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