Make project a priority

Although Gov. Ted Kulongoski stopped the Oregon Oasis Project, he says the state has determined it could divert more than 20 times the water the Oasis Project envisioned.

Backers of the Oasis project proposed diverting up to 500,000 acre feet of water annually from the Columbia River to benefit agriculture, industry and municipal uses. In a position paper released earlier this year, Kulongoski said the state departments charged with managing water resources and fish and wildlife had determined up to 11 million acre feet could be diverted from the Columbia each winter for use in Umatilla and Morrow counties.

The problem, Kulongoski said, is finding places to store even part of that water for use when it's needed. To meet that need, the Legislature approved about $700,000 for the governor's Oregon Water Supply and Conservation Initiative. It is intended to develop an inventory of suitable storage sites. The search not only will include places on the surface where reservoirs may be constructed, but subsurface sites as well.

We're encouraged the governor is taking a proactive approach to meeting water supply needs in northeast Oregon and elsewhere in the state. For the parched acres in parts of the Umatilla County Critical Groundwater Area, the results can't come too soon.

Fourth sees little danger

With temperatures hitting all-time highs, low humidity and fireworks going off all week, it's good to see nothing too drastic happened.

There was one fire in which an old garage was damaged in Pendleton. Two boys playing with fireworks accidentally caught some garbage on fire. Though the garage was badly burned, no one was hurt and firefighters had the blaze under control in almost no time.

When the potential for fire and disaster is so high this time of year, it's good to see people take the personal responsibility to make sure they and their kids are safe.

Writers stand test of time

Monday was the anniversary of Ernest Hemingway's death and Friday was the anniversary of William Faulkner's. Both men were Pulitzer Prize winners (Faulkner won twice) and both had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. "Papa" shot himself in the head with a shotgun in 1961, and Faulkner died from a heart attack in 1962.

Both icons of American literature had writing styles as distinctly opposite as their ways to death. Hemingway would pare and cut away words from sentences and paragraphs from pages, leaving terse, direct language and images and scenes, while Faulkner wrote sprawling, complex sentences that threaten to leap from the page and begin another book on their own.

Hemingway and Faulkner also used their styles to a distinct, singular effect: To evoke feelings and ideas in readers, instead of just telling readers what to think and feel.

Their works still speak to us. Both men explored the frailties, pain, humiliation, triumph and beauty of being human. In his Noble Prize acceptance speech, Faulkner said the only thing that makes writing worth the trouble of actually writing is "the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself."

Even in a newspaper, that's a conflict we strive to cover.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board, comprised of Editor and Publisher George Murdock, Managing Editor Steve Brown, General Manager Wendy DalPez, Deputy Managing Editor Dave Sager and East Oregonian Publishing Company Treasurer Kathryn Brown. Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of the East Oregonian.

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