Tales of Imnaha Canyon: War on the West not wild imagination

Jackie Peart Chieftain correspondent

"When we control the water, we'll control the west"

- Bruce Babbitt

When I arrived in Imnaha, I saw on the wall at the store this sign that said 'War On The West' underneath a round circle with a line through it, the one that means NO. I thought it was someone's' wild imagination. But it a visual sign of what is going on right now.

I have heard from many people, around here, their dismay about owning a railroad they can't afford. Then the next thing I heard was .... 'I don't understand how this could have happened without a vote. The commissioners just signed for the railroad and we get the bill' And an awesome bill it is. Did you know that last year the railroad brought in $54,403.79, ( $10,000 of it was a gift). Do you know it cost us $266,099.52? Some shortfall, huh? And it is going to get better, because in 2006, we get to own all the debts that the railroad owed. Mike Hayward was the chair for this mind boggling acquisition.

Now I feel a hand reaching in my other pocket. This one belongs to big government. I call it the Damn Deal. Our two Senators and Representative Walden won't listen to the tax payers. Letters were written to them and they NEVER even answered. And they have big staffs. Almost as big as their egos.

Do you remember ten years ago when all over Wallowa county their were hundreds of bumper stickers saying 'KILL THE PIPELINE'? Because of the public outcry, the pipeline wasn't put in and the ecology of the county stayed the same. Now it is happening again.

But this time we are being told half truths to justify paying for a dam we won't own, and never will. It is a business, for gosh sakes! About five years ago, the ADC had their own study done on the dam. It would have been repairable for in the neighborhood of $900,000. They declined to do so and turned to the government to fund this project which will service the 40 landowners who are stockholders. The study that was just released by the NRCS Water Resources Staff still has 14 unanswered questions about this project. And we are going to pay for it. If pipelines replace the ditches, the ecology of the whole county will NEVER be the same. It will not change for the better. And no, I don't know what it will really cost. No one does, this is government. It is time for you to get involved. I am because it is my canyon.

Last week I wrote about our Pastor Dan. I totally forgot how modest he is. He was disturbed by being compared to a god. He says I am "just a man as any other. I make mistakes, forget, and loose my keys on a weekly basis. Don't build me up too far, as it is a long fall even off a short pedestal." Like I said... modest. Heck, I didn't even mention his great singing voice.!

The Banana Belt First Annual Yard Sale and Poker Run was a fantastic success. We might have to import more rattlesnakes to keep people from moving down here. The weather was cool but no rain. In spite of bad signing, people found the 11 homes where sales were held. We even had berry and cherry turnovers, cookies and bread.

One gentleman who purchased a loaf of bread said he didn't want it in another wrapper because they were going to eat it. Then, he said with a shy smile, "you wouldn't have any butter would you?" I couldn't resist ... brought him in, set out bread board, knife and butter for him. He sliced, buttered, and rewrapped the bread and left happy as a clam. The winner of the Poker Run was Jim Sandlan, who had a royal flush. They in turn gave me a curly willow with roots when I delivered the prize. We had talked about them when they came to our house.

You probably don't remember, but My Hero and I were married last August. We have lots of doubles of household things he brought with him. They have been crammed in the Goat Shack. With the yard sale drawing near, I got up my courage and started getting into boxes that were still duck taped. As I added things to my yard sale piles, he came up to help. I told him to retrieve anything he didn't want to sell. He casually perused the treasures and all was well until he spied THE SPATULAS!! They were the black plastic ones with huge handles. You know the ones that take up too much room in the utensil jar? He picked them up, clutched them to his chest, turned wounded eyes on me and said: "Not THESE???? These are spatulas!!" I admitted that I, in fact did know this. In a gentle voice, (no laughter in it), I told him there were three others in the saved box of kitchen stuff and there were three more in the house. He considered this fact for a moment, then with a crafty look in his eye told me that he uses these to barbecue because they are strong!

Oh well... we all have to famous for something. I have seven spatulas. How many do you have?

Nick and Sandy Vidan are still doing their Snoopy Dance because their son is home from Iraq. He is Sergeant Bo Vidan from the 1-162 Battalion out of Gresham. The celebration took place in Portland. All the relative were on hand for hugs and kisses.

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