Employees based out of the Forest Service in Enterprise have been assigned to Texas to help search for pieces of the space shuttle Columbia which crashed while entering into the Earth's atmosphere Feb. 1.

An overhead team, called the Blue Mountain team, plus a number of individuals added to a 20-person work force comprised of Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and Umatilla Forest and Bureau of Land Management personnel made the trip to eastern Texas last week.

Wallowa-Whitman spokesperson Billie Hopkins reported over the weekend that the teams are finding some "significant parts" of the ill fated shuttle.

Assigned to the Consicana Branch near the Louisiana border was the Blue Mountain overhead team, an incident command team which will be coordinating the search for anywhere from 21 to 30 days. The 20-person work crew will be doing actual gridding, looking for the missing parts while covering the landscape a set distance apart. Hopkins said they were assigned for a 14-day stint.

Members of the Blue Mountain team who flew out of Boise April 6 were Nick Lunde, Fred La Chance, Howard Sievers, Bob Both and Lynn Grote. Leaving that Tuesday, April 8, to join the other members of the 20-person search crew were Rob Gump, Brian Reublinger, Shannon Emel, Jim Healy and Lynne Price. They were working on the Palestine Branch.

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