Good news. Gov. Kate Brown’s budget released last week contains a proposal to fund a new Wallowa Dam. The dam has been inadequate for some years, so this is good new for everyone involved.

It isn’t a done deal. The governor’s budget goes through a minimum of three rounds of hearing in the State House and Senate. As is often said, “the governor proposes and the legislature disposes.”

No line item amount was given, but the budget document does mention the dam specifically.

We began seeking comment on the proposal last Wednesday as quickly as we heard the news. No one in the county had heard a thing about it.

There was also no word from our state legislators on the proposal. Generally, a project of this size is a coordinated effort between the governor, legislature and local boots on the ground.

Obviously, Brown prefers a different type of process. What a great opportunity this would have been to have a “coming together” moment over a vital piece of infrastructure in the county.

We need as many of those as we can get.

HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS continue this week in Wallowa County. Don’t miss all of the activities in Enterprise Friday and Saturday.

In the crush of covering last year’s events Saturday, I never did get a chance to sample the Enterprise Fire Department’s chili. I expect to rectify that this year.

Events continue in Joseph, including a special outreach by Joseph United Methodist Church. See story inside this edition.

The snow that much of the county received has really helped liven the holiday spirit but did a number on area roads. This time of year, you have to slow down and drive more carefully than usual.

TAKEAWAYS FROM our recent holiday trip to Portland:

• If the chef puts enough pickled ginger in your fresh ramen, you can still taste it two days later.

• If you were under the impression that Portland was a collection of 20- and 30-somethings, take the time to attend a performance of Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree at Keller Auditorium. Haven’t felt so young in a very long time.

• The movie “Green Book” is worth going to see. It’s a redemptive story, well-done in all respects and leaves you with a bit more holiday spirit than when you walked into the theatre. I don’t recall seeing Viggo Mortenson on the screen since “Hidalgo,” but he still has the chops.

• Some hotels have finally figured out that the further away from the door you put the bed in the room, the quieter the room seems. We had two perfectly pleasant nights without benefit of yelling drunks in the hallway or blaring televisions. First time in a long time.

• If one gas station in town drops its price per gallon 20 cents lower than anyone else’s, it is impossible to get close enough to the pumps to fill your tank.


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