East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 16, 2017, WEEKEND EDITION, Page Page 12A, Image 12

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    Page 12A
East Oregonian
Saturday, December 16, 2017
FIRE: 3,510 residential fires in Oregon during the holidays from 2012-16
Fire marshal urges fire prevention
Continued from 1A
estimated roughly 10 fires
forced out the occupants.
District Chief Scott Stanton
handled 36-40 residential
fires this year, from kitchen
burns to full-blown blazes
that destroyed homes.
Somewhere in the area of
12-15 of those fires, he said,
displaced the occupants.
Ten people at a house
on East Cherry Avenue,
Hermiston, had to seek
shelter due to a fire from
an electric heating source.
The icy morning of Jan. 24
was the scene for a fire that
tore through the Pendleton
home at 1525 S.E. Alex-
ander Place. Fire on March
6 ruined the home at space
14 of 82276 Hat Rock Road
and consumed the basement
and main floor of 39047
Missouri Gulch Road,
about 16 miles northwest
of Pendleton. The following
day, a malfunctioning
furnace created the fire
that displaced a Hermiston
family of six from their
duplex on the 900 block of
Orchard Avenue.
The East Oregonian
reported on at least a dozen
more local house fires,
including the Whitesells, a
March 10 fire at 2600 S.W.
Goodwin Ave., Pendleton,
that displaced a family and
their 20-pound iguana, and
the July 16 arson at a Pilot
Rock home where one man
The Oregon State Fire
Marshal reported from
2012-16 there were 3,510
residential fires during the
holiday period Nov. 22
through Jan. 15. The fires
resulted in 14 deaths, 194
injuries and more than $61.2
million in property loss.
Dollar losses per residen-
tial fire in 2014 averaged
$16,500, according to the
U.S. Fire Administration’s
latest edition of “Fire in the
Photo contributed by the East Umatilla County Rural Fire Protection District
Fire destroyed a home Thursday afternoon at 55825 Wildhorse Road near Athena.
The East Umatilla County Rural Fire Protection District reported the occupants were
The Whitesell
family lost al-
most everything
in their home
at 45542 Mis-
sion Road near
Pendleton when
a heat lamp fell
into a chick pen
in March. The
family rebuilt
and moved back
into the home in
late October.
Photo contributed by
Jackie Whitesell
United States,”
a 97-page report using fire
data spanning 2005-2014.
The Fire Administration
375,400 residential building
fires each of those years.
show that on average from
2005 to 2014, 96 percent of
residential structure fires,
96 percent of associated
deaths, 97 percent of
injuries, and 95 percent of
dollar losses occurred in
residential buildings,” the
report states.
The most recent local
house fire was Thursday
afternoon at 55825 Wild-
horse Road. The East
Umatilla County Rural
STREETS: 70 percent of maintenance
money goes to streets in good condition
Continued from 1A
and residential/local streets,
are rated “good” with a 59
rating. The lowest score, 57,
is for neighborhood/local
• The street system has an
average remaining service
life of 17.4 years, down by
0.7 from 2016.
Although Green said the
city delayed many street proj-
ects this year while public
works repaired and replaced
aging municipal water lines,
city staff has long maintained
that the $481,000 the city
raised through the street
utility fee would slow the
bleeding rather than stanch it.
Under the city’s current
$781,000 streets budget,
Green said the system would
see its index number decrease
by a half-point average each
year. To maintain the status
quo, the city would have to
spend $1.1 million on street
maintenance each year.
Growing the streets
budget would require serious
council discussion about how
the city would find the money
to bolster road maintenance.
Councilor Dale Primmer
said there are still many roads
in the system in need of major
repair. In the southern Pend-
leton ward he represents,
Primmer said Southwest
Perkins Avenue was in poor
shape before it was repaired
“I don’t know if
there’s an appetite
for it. Maybe there’s
a great idea, but I
haven’t heard it.”
— Councilor Dale Primmer,
on creating a new tax to
bolster street funding
and there are others like it
that haven’t been fixed.
In Councilor Becky
Marks’ Ward 1, she pointed
to streets on South Hill and
the Riverside areas that also
need attention.
The city spends 70 percent
of its maintenance money
on streets in good condition
because staff believes it
makes those dollars stretch
further. Roads in good condi-
tion typically require cheaper
repairs like crack seals and
slurry seals rather than the
full reconstructions poor
streets usually need.
At the meeting, Councilor
Scott Fairley suggested the
city do away with its 70-30
formula, and instead use all
of its money to maintain its
top-rated roads.
Regardless of how the
council allocates the streets
budget, the most pressing
obstacle is making up the gap
in funding.
Green said the city will
receive more road main-
tenance money through
increased state gas tax
approved by the Oregon
Legislature last month. But
the exact amount the city
will receive from the state is
still unknown and there’s no
guarantee it will fully plug
the gap.
As a part of future discus-
sions, Marks said the council
could consider mounting
another campaign for a local
gas tax. The last time the city
sought a gas tax in 2015, it
was decisively rejected by
Pendleton voters.
Given the previous elec-
toral defeats at the ballot box,
Primmer isn’t sure creating
a new source of revenue to
bolster street funding is in the
“I don’t know if there’s
an appetite for it,” he said.
“Maybe there’s a great idea,
but I haven’t heard it.”
Scouring the general
fund for money to divert it
toward streets might not be
any easier, Primmer said,
because most of its dedicated
to public safety as is.
John Turner
doesn’t know how the
council will fill the gap, but
he anticipated there would
be more discussion over the
course of 2018.
Contact Antonio Sierra at
or 541-966-0836.
Fire Protection District
responded and found flames
engulfing the cabin. Chief
Dave Baty said crews could
only protect the surrounding
areas, but the occupants
made it safely to a neigh-
bor’s house.
Jackie Whitesell said
they still have to finish
their home, from shelving
to landscaping to putting
on the back porch. She
said their children did well
throughout the ordeal,
often seeing the event as an
adventure. She credited the
community for all its kind-
ness and for God giving the
family strength.
“My mantra has been we
are victors, not victims,”
she said.
Even so, there have been
moments that knocked
her back, she said, such as
realizing — yet again — an
item she wanted “was all
burned up.”
Contact Phil Wright at
com or 541-966-0833.
With the holiday season
in full swing, state Fire
Marshal Jim Walker wants
Oregonians to remember
fire prevention when deco-
rating and entertaining.
Tree care and deco-
rating tips:
• Choose a fresh, healthy
tree with a deep-green color
and flexible needles.
• When you get the tree
home, cut off the bottom
two inches of the trunk.
This creates a fresh, raw cut
for the tree to soak up water.
• Water your tree daily. A
tree may consume between
a quart and a gallon of water
per day.
• Place the tree at least
three feet away from any
heat source such as a
fireplace, woodstove, space
heater, heating vent, base-
board heater, or radiator.
• Use only noncom-
bustible or flame resistant
materials to trim a tree.
• Always unplug tree
lights before leaving home
or going to bed.
• After the holiday
season or whenever your
tree dries out, promptly
dispose of it and other
dry greenery. Burning a
tree in a stove or fireplace
is extremely dangerous;
proper disposal includes
recycling or pick-up by a
disposal service.
• Never burn wrapping
paper in the fireplace or
wood stove. Wrapping
paper burns at higher
temperatures than wood and
can cause a chimney fire.
Electrical safety
• Maintain your holiday
lights. Inspect holiday lights
each year for frayed wires,
bare spots, and broken or
cracked sockets.
• Do not overload
electrical sockets. Do not
link more than three light
strands, unless the manufac-
turer’s directions indicate it
is safe.
• Protect electrical cords
from damage. To avoid
shock or fire hazards, cords
should never be pinched by
furniture, placed under rugs,
located near heat sources or
attached by nails or staples.
• Make sure all extension
cords and electrical deco-
rations used outdoors are
marked for outdoor use.
Candle safety
battery-operated flameless
candles, which can look and
smell like real candles.
• Never leave a burning
candle unattended. Extin-
guish candles when you
go to bed, leave a room, or
before leaving the house.
• Keep candles at least 12
inches away from anything
that can burn. Keep candles
at least one foot from
clothing, curtains, uphol-
stered furniture, greenery,
and decorations.
• Place candles out of
reach of small children and
• Avoid candles with
items embedded in them
such as twigs, flowers, or
leaves. These items can
ignite or even explode.
General fire safety
• Keep combustibles at
least three feet from heat
• For increased protec-
tion, have working smoke
alarms on every level of
your home (including
the basement), in each
bedroom, and in the hallway
outside each bedroom.
• Make a home fire
escape plan and practice it
with your family and any
overnight guests.
• Keep escape routes
clear of clutter so you can
escape quickly in case of
STANDOFF: Trial began Nov. 14 in Las Vegas
Continued from 1A
as well as likely policy,
ethical and legal violations
among senior and supervi-
sory staff” at the Bureau of
Land Management’s Office
of Law Enforcement and
Wooten wrote that super-
visory agents repeatedly
mocked the defendants;
displayed “clear prejudice”
against the Bundys, their
supporters and Mormons;
booking photos of Cliven
Bundy and other defendants
in a federal office and in an
office presentation.
The memo described
“heavy handedness” by
government officers as they
prepared to impound Cliven
Bundy’s cattle.
He said some officers
“bragged about roughing
up Dave Bundy, grinding
his face into the ground and
Dave Bundy having little
bits of gravel stuck in his
Dave Bundy, one of
Cliven Bundy’s sons, was
arrested April 6, 2014,
while videotaping men
he suspected were federal
agents near his father’s
Wooten also alleged
that supervisory agents
failed to turn over required
discovery evidence to
the prosecution team that
could help the defense or
be used to question the
credibility of a witness, as
required by law.
Cliven Bundy’s lawyer
Bret O. Whipple said the
new information was “quite
a development.” The memo
has not been filed with the
court but was shared with
the defense.
“In my mind, I think the
case should be dismissed by
next Tuesday,” he told The
think I can get my client
home for Christmas.”
Trisha Young, a spokes-
woman for the Nevada U.S.
Attorney’s Office, told the
newspaper Friday that her
office declined to comment.
They’re also accused of
using or carrying a firearm
in a crime of violence,
law enforcement officer,
obstruction of justice and
Their trial began Nov.
14 in Las Vegas.
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