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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 10, 2019)
Saturday, August 10, 2019
KATHRYN B. BROWN
WYATT HAUPT JR.
Founded October 16, 1875
Tip of the hat,
kick in the pants
kick in the pants to federal
and state authorities in the
aftermath of the water crisis
on the Warm Springs Indian Reserva-
tion in Central Oregon.
The reservation may be a sover-
eign nation but the water crisis there
— which began in May — should be a
subject that makes everyone stop and
The area has been without safe
drinking water for a long time after a
pipe burst and created a series of fail-
ures with an aging system, leaving
nearly 4,000 people to make due. The
list of problems related to the issue
is long. Firefighters can’t count on
hydrants to work and sprinkler sys-
tems, cooling systems, air-condition-
ing systems, restrooms, toilets are all
affected by lack of water.
The Oregon Legislature recently
earmarked money to help alleviate the
problem but federal authorities have
been slow to react to the crisis.
The Environmental Protection
Agency has threatened to fine the tribe
nearly $60,000 a day if it doesn’t get
safe water pouring through faucets by
Whether the issue revolves around
a sovereign nation or a local town-
ship, the fact that nearly 4,000 people
have to rely on donations for water is
a sad commentary on where we are as
Federal and state authorities need
to work together to help the tribe
solve this problem. Enough is enough.
Surely, we can do better.
A tip of the hat to all the volun-
teers and fair employees that have
worked to make the Umatilla County
Fair the go-to place for fun this year.
The fair has delivered on an unspoken
promise to put a cap on the summer
season with entertainment, fun and
A tip of the hat to the fire crews
OPB Photo/Emily Cureton
The Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon has been without safe drinking wa-
ter all summer. Some people don’t have running water at all. In May, a burst pipe led to a cas-
cade of infrastructure failures. That leaves around 4,000 people improvising for an essential
human need. Mobile sinks and showers have been set up on the reservation.
that worked to contain dozens of
fires within the HK Complex south
of Monument in the Heppner Ranger
District. The fires consumed 2,455
acres before containment and the fire
crews that battled the blaze should be
commended for ensuring the fires did
not scorch any more terrain.
A tip of the hat to the crew
from the Oregon Youth Conserva-
tion Corps’s summer program that
recently finished a project to create
a database of Pendleton’s trees. The
effort will help the Pendleton Parks
and Recreation and Tree Commis-
sions evaluate the health of our little
urban forest. The four local teenag-
ers involved in the program and their
leader — Adam Charlton — made a
difference for their community.
Michael the Basque
owboy Kevin and I were rolling
transformed into Michael the Rather Crude.
sheep wire off a cliff and into Maz-
At this particular gathering there were
zoni’s draw on the morning of the
three gallons of sheepy punch, five types
Fourth of July. The other option was to be
of guacamole, hillocks of mutton kabob, a
around the main ranch house helping the
spud salad, pasta in several permutations,
boss and her perpetual guests prepare for
and rice-o-rama, all garnished with a first-
the gala party that was to be thrown that
rate assortment of human females.
Michael fired up his act. I had seen it
Kevin was a buckaroo, good with horse
before. The first installment involved going
flesh, wore his pants tucked into his boots,
behind his truck and rearranging his cloth-
ing so that a stick and a glove took the
and didn’t take kindly to stirring marinade
place of his left arm and hand. He began
or folding paper napkins. I’d seen a cou-
ple of holidays come and go on the ranch.
with a whirling dance, singing the French
national anthem and accompanying himself
Risking a hernia was better than listening
on air fiddle. At the apex of emo-
to 10 performance artists trying to
tion in the song, when the French
invent the ultimate wine cooler.
nation was surviving all turmoil,
Kevin’s boon companion was
Michael stopped whirling, stood
a 3-year-old raven named Bro that
in front of the women in his audi-
he’d incubated and hatched some-
ence, and out of his green gabar-
where in the Musselshell country
dine pants fly came his left index
of central Montana. Bro was a full-
finger, which then conducted the
fledged bird and could fly as well
rest of the song.
as a wild one, but seldom needed
Ah, that wacky sheepherder
to take wing, preferring instead
J.D. S mith
humor. Kevin and Bro turned
to ride on Kevin’s right shoulder.
their backs to the stage.
Kevin’s shirt pockets were always
The second act involved a
full of sunflower seeds and Bro
pantomimed sheep castration wherein
helped himself. They both dipped Copen-
hagen. Kevin changed shirts often.
Michael, with the assistance of his dogs,
By mid-afternoon we had tired of watch- jumped a phantom lamb, flipped it over,
ing rolls of wire bouncing down through
cut the scrotum with an imaginary knife,
then stretched out the testicles, bit the chord
the boulder patch, and were sitting in the
in two with his Medicare teeth, and came
shade discussing the fact that we hadn’t
up smiling, with his tongue pushing a big
died young after all, when the big triangle
lump in his cheek.
dinner bell on the ranch house porch called
At this performance, though, things
us to make an appearance at the party.
backfired a little on Michael. Just as he
We hopped in the work truck and gran-
ny-geared down off the precipice.
stood up with the pretend sheep oys-
ter in his mouth, wide-eyed and check-
In keeping with the bosswoman’s theme
ing for hardening nipples in his audience,
of the week, the guest of honor at this
Bro crapped down the back of Kevin’s
party was Michael the Basque, a 75-year-
shirt. This hit a hidden nerve in Michael
old retired sheepherder who was a living
library of sheep information. (“No be ‘fraid the Basque’s stomach. He gagged hard and
sprayed second-hand sheepy punch all over
sheep. We be lucky. Sheep no can bite.”)
the food table. The domino effect set in,
I had partied with Michael the Basque
and half the guests began to wretch. Bro
before, and warned Kevin to go light on
took advantage of the confusion to attack
Michael’s “sheepy punch,” which did bite,
being composed of equal parts of Wild Tur- the Chihuahuas.
key, vodka and lime Koolaid.
That pretty much ended the party. By
Michael was a good, honest, generous
the time the bosslady had sorted out the
person, but, like all of us, he packed around mess, Michael the Basque was passed out
a couple of minor personality flaws. One
in the front yard, his dogs were locked in
was in his choice of dogs. He kept Chi-
the chicken coop, the guests were in their
cars headed out of the ranch, and Kevin had
huahuas, bred the critters, and was always
packed his gear bag, drawn his wages, and
accompanied by an entourage of six or
split for Montana.
eight of the yappy, asthmatic, hairless little
Last I heard, he and Bro were working
His other quirk might have evolved from an auction yard somewhere near Helena. I
finished the cross fence by myself.
his having been born on the French side
of the Pyrenees. When he was half-full
J.D. Smith is an accomplished writer and
of sheepy punch and there was a human
female within 40 acres, Michael the Basque jack-of-all-trades. He lives in Athena.
Letter title misstated
I’d like to apologize to Donna Big-
gerstaff if she got the impression that I
insinuated that the public comments were
intentionally omitted from the July 2 city
council meeting. The East Oregonian
changed the title of my letter, adding the
“or something else,” making it sound like
omission could have been intentional in
Recall efforts a waste of
The current recall against Gov. Kate
Brown is a clear misuse of the recall pro-
cess. The recall should only be used when
there is clear evidence of serious wrong-
doing, such as using your public posi-
tion for personal gain, using public funds
for purposes other than their intended
use, engaging in criminal conduct while
in office, or other serious transgressions.
However, policy disagreements and dis-
putes do not justify a recall, nor does the
current rationale of many of the recall
supporters that the will of the people is
“not being heard.”
In our last statewide general election,
“the will of the people” was to elect Kate
Brown to be our governor for the term.
Those that wish to see Kate Brown leave
office need to get better organized and use
their persuasion skills to convince Ore-
gon voters to vote her out of office at the
next statewide election. A recall will obvi-
ously redirect our current elected state
officials’ time and energy, and resources,
from focusing on current statewide issues
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047
Greg Barreto, District 58
900 Court St. NE, H-38
Salem, OR 97301
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of
the East Oregonian editorial board. Other
columns, letters and cartoons on this page
express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
Greg Smith, District 57
900 Court St. NE, H-482
Salem, OR 97301
Bill Hansell, District 29
900 Court St. NE, S-423
Salem, OR 97301
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for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper reserves the right to withhold
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Pendleton, OR 97801