Page 12A OFF PAGE ONE East Oregonian DEPOT: CDA needs to figure out how it will account for archaeological resources on site Continued from 1A But until the transfer is done, Smith said he is forced to put those companies on the back burner. “We’re really hamstrung until the Army completes its work,” he said. The CDA still has work to do as well. One of the last major hurdles is to figure out how the group will account for cultural and archaeological resources on site, including two branches of the Oregon Trail that cross the depot. Smith outlined a proposal to preserve 50-100 yard stretches of both roads and build kiosks to educate the public about their historical importance. “We believe there is value in protecting and preserving a portion of these resources,” Smith said. “Where the Oregon Trail is undisturbed, we have said we’ll take those best pieces and set them aside for protection.” The CDA also plans to allow hunting and gathering at Coyote Coulee, a portion of the property deemed signif- icant by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Hunting will be opened to tribal members as well as the general public where Coyote Coulee enters the planned wildlife preserve, but not where it crosses into industrial areas. “We have to be prudent,” Smith said. Finally, Smith said the CDA plans to establish 30-yard buffers around a fire pit that was found within the industrial zone on the Umatilla County side, and a prehistoric thinning flake that was discovered on the Morrow County side. The artifacts may or may not be significant, but until they can be studied Smith said they will err on the side of caution. The Army will convene a meeting in Mobile, Alabama to continue negotiating an agreement on cultural and historical resources. Smith said he will attend, along with representatives from the State Historic Preservation Office and CTUIR. In other news, Smith, who serves as a state legislator for the district where the CDA is located, said he was recently notified that the Army has been fined $21,600 by the Oregon Department of Envi- ronmental Quality for failing to submit a sampling report that verifies the land is clean and not contaminated. The fine is for procedural — not environmental — violations, but Smith said it is another example of the Army not meeting its deadlines. “The reason I share this is not to embarrass anyone,” he said. “We’re hoping that communication between the Army and DEQ will be enhanced.” Linda Hayes-Gorman, DEQ Eastern Region admin- istrator, wrote that the Army missed its submittal date “by a wide margin.” Michele Lanigan, who works with the Army’s Base Realignment and Closure office in Umatilla, said another division was responsible for that report. Smith said he will push as hard as he can to avoid any further delays in getting the depot transferred to the CDA. “We’re doing everything we can to move that conver- sation,” he said. WOLVES: ODFW says weather hindered the count Continued from 1A attacking livestock. Other reasons for the small population gain may include “decreased breeder success, diseases affecting pup survival, and dispersal out-of-state,” according to the report. Dennehy, the ODFW spokeswoman, said the 2016 count was hindered by severe winter weather that grounded observation flights at times. Wolves may have been present but not counted, the ODFW report says. Also in the report: • Depredation investiga- tions confirmed wolves killed 11 calves, seven sheep, one goat and a llama in 2016, compared to three calves, 10 sheep and a herding or guard dog in 2015. • The state distributed $129,664 to 13 counties to compensate producers for dead, injured or missing live- Courtesy Baker Aircraft; ODFW After radio-collaring a subadult female of the Chesnim- nus pack, an ODFW biologist double-checks the fit of the GPS radio-collar. The wolf was captured Feb. 23 in northern Wallowa County. stock and to pay for preven- tion and deterrence programs. About $5,000 of the amount was for grant administration. 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Esca- lating rents make it hard for low-income residents to find or keep housing. And now an unexpected electricity shortfall in Crook County could hurt efforts to attract even more new industry. Timber, tires, and now technology The recession hit Prineville especially hard. Unemployment rose to about 20 percent, the highest in the state, and residents started slipping away to other communities. Mayor Betty Roppe said that before 2008, the city’s population topped 10,000, but that dropped dramatically during the recession. “We decided we needed to be diverse,” Roppe said. “What Prineville was is Les Schwab Tires, a lot of mills, a lot of blue-collar workers.” Back then, when Roppe and other community leaders were exploring economic options, data centers were not on their radar. “But once we did some research we did find we saw the potential benefits,” she said. “We want to keep it a healthy place for them to operate.” Facebook broke ground on its first Prineville data center in 2010, followed by Apple in 2012. Once both companies finish new construction that’s currently underway Prineville will have a total of six data centers. Apple is less open about its operations and personnel than Facebook, which regularly gives tours of its facilities to elected officials and media. Data centers sometimes have a reputation for using a lot of water and electricity, but Facebook’s site manager Todd Flack likes to show people the extensive energy efficiency measures the company has in place. Facebook’s 150 jobs in Prineville are far from equaling one of the old lumber mills, but the posi- tions it does offer are diverse, Flack said. “Everything from server repair to electricians to heating and cooling special- ists, landscape specialists, culinary specialists, security specialists,” he said. The company tries to hire locally when possible, and through an agreement with the city, its average wages are 150 percent of the usual pay in Crook County. “And of course they’ve built a lot of buildings in our community,” Roppe said. “That brings jobs through the construction of those buildings. Usually, they have about 400 people working on each one. It’s been a good business to bring to our community.” Construction boom and housing crunch All those construction jobs mean that Prineville’s restaurants are booming. “When you go out to eat on a Tuesday night, I’ve actually shown up and had to wait,” said Crook County Judge Seth Crawford. “If you look at other rural communi- ties across the state, they sure don’t have that problem.” The lines at the grocery stores and the 10-car traffic jams sometimes seen down- town are part of that boom. But so is a dramatic housing shortage. “I’m not opposed to them being here, but it’s hard on the local people who don’t make that much money,” said Mary Sanislo, who works in one of Prineville’s last lumber mills. From 2011 to 2016, rents rose more than 45 percent in Prineville — that’s the second highest rate of increase of any city in the nation, according to a LendingTree study. Home prices have also been on the rise. That’s good news if you’re a homeowner in Prineville. But it’s tough for renters like Sanislo’s daughter, a single mom who she says was recently given 30 days to move out when her landlord decided to sell. “Try to find something in a month,” Sanislo said. “There’s no way. She’s having to move in with a friend in Redmond so that she’s got a place to live. With all four of her kids.” Vacancy rates are near zero, so finding a new rental can be an impossible challenge in Prineville. City and county leaders are well aware of the housing and crunch and are working with nonprofit and other groups on some emergency housing solutions, such as fast tracking approval of new RV sites. Gridlock on the electricity grid Although Roppe would love to see more data centers come to Prineville, the city is also working to bring new manufacturing and other jobs to the area. But a recently realized electricity crunch could make recruiting new companies a challenge. An electricity-intensive manufacturing company was recently exploring opening up a facility in Crook County. Roppe didn’t know the identity of the company, but representatives promised that it could bring more than 300 jobs. It turned out that the company needed more energy than the area could support. City officials assumed that the electricity the Bonneville Power Administration had indicated was available back in 2012 would still be at the ready for new development. But in the years since, BPA made changes to the grid system, and the area can no longer support that additional power demand. The utility retired certain transmission equipment, and plans for certain upgrades to the grid were modified, unexpectedly limiting Prineville’s energy capacity.