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About The Record-courier. (Haines, Baker County, Oregon) 1932-2016 | View Entire Issue (May 26, 2016)
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BAKER COUNTY LIBRARY
2400 RESORT ST
BAKER CITY OR 97814-2721
Photo by M.J. Guyer
Est. Haines 1901 ~ Haines, Baker County, Oregon
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Volume 115, Number
HAY 2 6 2016
T orrent S weeps
away B aker county
Memorial Day Concert
By Gary Diel man
Ninety-nine years ago, the residents of Rock Greek heard water
thundering down on the town but thankfully had time to flee to the
hills, when the Killamaque Dam/Reservoir in the Elkhorns burst
sweeping away much of the little town of Rock Creek,
population 100. Flood waters flowed as far as Haines.
(The title and much of the information in this article is from the
June 29,1917, issue of the Oregonian newspaper, supplemented
by the June 30,1917, issue of the Baker City Herald.)
In the path of the torrent was the Eastern Oregon Power
Company’s hydro-electric facility on Rock Creek, a plant that still
exists today, although no longer generating electricity. The plant
itself suffered little damage, but the flume and transmission lines
were demolished. Electricity to Haines and Baker was
interrupted, including knocking out telegraph and telephone
service. Baker’s power was cut off from 8:30 a.m. until noon,
when an auxiliary steam plant was put into service.
Initial reports estimated the wall of water at thirty feet high
containing about 12,000,000 gallons that came roaring down
Rock Creek Canyon carrying huge trees and boulders out onto
the valley floor. No lives were lost, but for a while a fisherman was
feared drowned but later accounted for. Fence lines, livestock,
See KILLAMAQUE on page 8
Local Citizens Launch Effort to Make Baker
County Commissioners Nonpartisan
Citing voter disgust over political rhetoric and wanting every voice to count
in Baker County primary elections, three local citizens have successfully
filed a ballot initiative with the State of Oregon to change the three Baker
County Commissioners from Partisan to Nonpartisan positions. The Initia
tive, 2016-1, niust now secure 427 registered Baker County voters’ signatures
no later than August 1 Oth to be placed on the ballot in November.
Kate Rohner (Republican), Michelle Kaseberg (Republican) and Mike
Rudi (Nonaffiliated) have teamed up to organize the effort. “Kick Politics
Out of Baker County’s Business” serves as the official campaign name for
the group’s effort.
Rohner, who worked on a similar ballot measure in 2015 says she thinks
Baker County voters are really ready for the change this time. “So many
people: have approached me saying they wanted to see it back on the ballot.
They want every voice to be heard in Commission elections - not just those
of one party.”
Under Baker County’s current system, voters can only vote in the primary
election for the candidates in their registered political party. The Initiative
seeks to let voters cast a vote for any County Commission candidate on the
ballot without regard to their political affiliation.
“Voters are sick and tired of jumping from one party to the next just to have
a voice in Baker County Commission races,” said Kaseberg. “It is just ridicu
lous. They are tired of the games.”
Mike Rudi, the group’s nonaffiliated member knows this all to well. “It is
insane that every campaign season so many Baker County voters have to
switch their registration just to take part in our local government. We should
be focusing on running the business of Baker County - not political agen
Today, 27 Oregon Counties elect their Commissioners on a
nonpartisan ballot. Grant, Wallowa and Union Counties are included in that
Contacts: Kate Rohner (541) 523-3785,
Michelle Kaseberg, (541) 523-7790, Mike Rudi, (541) 523-4471
Helen Belle Wirth, 88, of Baker City,
passed away at Saint Alphonsus Medical
Center in Baker City on May 18, 2016.
The funeral service was held Tuesday,
May 24, 2016 at the First Lutheran
Church and was officiated by Pastor Ian
Helen was born in Baker on February
(McConnell) Sipp and William Charles
Sipp. She graduated from Baker High
School in 1947. She received training through Pacific
Northwest Bell and worked for 20 years as a telephone
operator. She also worked as a home health secretary for St.
On March <1950, Helen married Joseph Harold Wirth, Jr,„
in Klamath Falls. They were married 42 years before his
passing on December 11,1992.
Reading, music, camping, working on crossword puzzles,
visiting with friends, and loving animals are a few of the things
She was a member of the First Lutheran Church, Lydia
Circle, and the VFW Auxiliary. During high school, she was
involved in a variety of organizations.
She had many accomplishments through her life, but her
proudest were raising her three children, spending time with
her two grandchildren, and rescuing and adopting numerous
Helen is survived by her daughter Linda Wirth Haynes of
Baker City, daughter Christie Wirth Zerfing of Garibaldi, Ore.,
and son Karl Wirth of Baker City; grandson Adam Wirth of
Baker City and granddaughter Victoria Wirth Tarter of St.
George, Utah. She is also survived by numerous and dearly
Helen is preceded in death by her husband Joseph Harold
Jr. and her siblings.
Memorial contributions may be made to Best Friends of
Baker through Gray’s West & Company, 1500 Dewey Ave., in
Baker City, OR 97814.
To light a candle in memory of Helen, please visit: www.
Editor's Note: Following is a letter written by Victoria (Tori)
Wirth Tarter about her grandma, Helen Wirth.
I was once told that there was no relationship in the world
that could compare with that of a grandparent and their grand
child. Well then, I can't help but think that I am only one of the
two luckiest people in the world.
Grandma was always there. When we hurt, when we were
sick, when we were graduating (even from kindergarten), when
we had embarrassing school plays and concerts, when we lost
a pet or when we lost a game, she was there.
She always served us tomato soup and crackers and
showed me how to plant flowers.
Grandma gave the best hugs, and she always had Kleenex
and Mentos in her pockets, She made the most amazing sweet
potatoes you will ever have in your life, she always looked nice,
and above all, she loved us truly and unconditionally.
She was one of the kindest people, and the most wonderful
friend--to everyone. She loved to visit with you. Just one-on-
one to spend time. She didn't ask how we were to pass the
time, but out of sincere interest and care. She never judged,
and you could be absolutely sure that anything you shared with
grandma would never be repeated.
There was one particular conversation that I had with
Grandma when I was about 17 years old, that I will never
forget. It's a memory I often turn to on particularly bad days.
I had been busy with extra-curricular activities in school, and
my days of being baby-sat by grandma were long over, so
grandma and I decided that we would make time to spend
together by having lunch periodically. So, during my lunch
period, I would pick up some sandwiches or coffee or ice
cream (or all of the above), and I would take it to her house on
The Baker Community
Orchestra will be presenting
a Memorial Day Concert,
Monday, May 30, 3 p.m. at
the the Powder River Pavil
ion in Geiser-Pollman Park
in Baker City. The Orchestra
will be saluting those who
have served our country.
Meet the Pioneers!
Saturday and Sunday May
28 and 29, between 10 a.m.
and 2 p.m. each day,
interpreters will demonstrate
skills such as quilting, black
powder shooting, wheel
wright, and dutch oven
cooking at the National
Historic Oregon Trail Inter
pretive Center in Baker City
Baker High School
Honors ajid Awards Night
will be held Wednesday,
June 1, at 7 p.m. at the BHS
Auditorium. Graduation will
be Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m.
Bulldog Memorial Stadium.
Devil Girls Golf
Baker City native, Dan Brooks,
son of Howard and Colleen
Brooks, is in Eugene this week
trying to capture a record-setting
7th NCAA Championship with his
Duke Blue Devil’s women’s golf
team. Along with this impressive
number of national titles, Brooks
has guided his Blue Devil teams to
18 ACC Championships and 122
team victories, the most of any
women’s golf coach in Division 1
history. His accomplishments as a
golf coach are nothing short of
remarkable. Dan, a Baker High
School and Oregon State graduate,
is slated to be inducted into the
Duke Athletics Hall of Fame later
On Monday, Duke Freshman
Virginia Elena Carta secured the
women’s NCAA Championship
with a record setting performance.
At the time of press, the Blue
Devils women’s team had
advanced to the semi-final round
by defeating the USC Trojans.
They will face the Stanford
See WIRTH on page 4
Senior Meal Menu sponsored by OTEC
Stuffed Bell Peppers,
Rice Pilaf, Mixed
Blend Veg. Three-
bean Salad, Roll,
Lew Bros. Tires
of Memorial Day
Baby Carrots Beet
& Onion Salad Roll,
Senior & Volunteer
Charge $ 6.25
on page 12