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About The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 12, 2020)
Blue Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
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“At that speed, we can get the most snow off, and
it throws the snow far enough on the sides,” he said.
“What we will do is pass up the middle both ways,
and then we have to take the snow on the edge and
throw it over (the shoulder). For a highway, you have
to go around it four times to get all the snow off and get
it out of your way for the next time.”
Gangler said the process requires patience: It takes
him two hours to go from Prairie City to milepost 205
at the chain up area in one round trip, and then he has to
repeat that trip to cut the edges.
“When it’s snowing like this, it can get frustrating
because, by the time you get back around and make a
full circle, it doesn’t even look like you did anything on
the other side,” Gangler said. “It’s hard sometimes, and
you want to make it go away, but you just can’t. You
can’t wish it away, I tried.”
As the temperature began to rise, the truck slowed to
about 20 mph because of the added density of the wet,
slushy snow. The plow in front runs on the ground but
is built to help preserve the pavement life.
“It’s sitting on the pavement, but we have what we
call shoes that run on both sides of the plow that won’t
let it go any farther than what we set it at,” Gangler
said. “They kind of act like a squeegee. The carbides
cut into the snow and get as deep as they can without
actually damaging the pavement.”
Gangler looks out for drivers behind him and tries
not to slow them down so they do not lose momentum
driving in the snow, especially semi-truck drivers. At
one point, Gangler slowed down and signaled a semi
to pass because the plow was creeping up the hill at
the 2019 legislation. By 2050, the Car-
bon Policy Office estimates the cap-and-
trade plan would eliminate 43.4 million
metric tons of carbon annually from the
Critics, however, point out that amount
represents just 0.12% of global green-
house gas emissions. Advocates say every
Estimates provided by the nonpartisan
Legislative Revenue Office estimated the
program would raise prices by 22 cents
per gallon in the first year of the program,
according to state Sen. Bill Hansell.
Inside the building, protesters did not
Swarms of protesters visited legisla-
tors’ offices. Truck horns echoed even
inside hearing rooms.
Brian Iverson, the husband of state
Rep. Vikki Iverson, R-Powell Butte, said
his wife described being inside the Cap-
itol before protesters streamed in as the
calm before the storm, with subdued ten-
sion, excitement and angst.
At 9 a.m., Gov. Kate Brown met
with 10 Timber Unity leaders as part of
her continued effort to speak with rural
The meeting was closed to the press,
but former legislator Julie Parrish, now a
Timber Unity member, said the meeting
with Brown and her policy advisers was
The governor, she said, listened to pro-
testers’ concerns but made no commit-
ments on bill alterations yet.
Parrish brought her own proposals to
deal with climate change without hurting
“Taxing the behavior of pollution will
The motivation and people to think about
Plowing snow requires patience and being aware
at all times, multi-tasking between the road and radio
calls from fellow workers and the dispatch center in
Bend. The job provides its trials, but Gangler said that
the team fights to keep the roads in their best condition.
“It’s a challenge first of all because we are fight-
ing against Mother Nature, and none of us want to get
beat,” Gangler said. “We bust our butts to give people
confidence to travel, and our biggest concern is that we
all have kids and they are riding buses, going to sports
events, and we want to keep them safe.”
Being able to help somebody in a bad situation on the
road and witnessing the finished product after hours of
plowing snow are also motivating factors.
“Snow is beautiful, but it’s a lot of work to us,” Gan-
gler said. “When this storm is done and everything is
white and the roads are as wide as we can get it, peo-
ple are driving on it without any problems and without
His experiences and advice to drivers
Gangler has experienced some intense moments
behind the wheel.
“Things can get interesting really fast, and I had a
person this year ... the car was coming around the cor-
ner and for some reason he slammed on his brakes when
he sees me and slid into my lane,” Gangler said. “I had
to try to get my wing plow (on the side of the rig) up and
maneuver around him, and I barely missed him with the
The Eagle/Rudy Diaz
Toby Gangler, a transportation maintenance coor-
dinator for ODOT, cleans his windshield because
the wiper did not get all the snow.
front of my plow, and I got my wing up just in time to hit
the side post, but nothing was damaged.”
Gangler recalled another incident involving a car and
snow on the guard rail. During a snow storm, snow tends
to build up at the end of the guardrail and creates some-
what of a ramp, he said.
“A car was coming around the corner and hit the end
of the guard rail, and it didn’t do any damage to the car
and it jumped — I mean they had to have been five or six
feet up in the air — and landed and kept driving,” Gan-
gler said. “I didn’t see the car, but I saw where he hit the
guard rail, and the car went Dukes of Hazard over the
guardrail and back on the road and kept going.”
Gangler said he’s also learned how drivers can bet-
ter prepare for traveling in the snow. Don’t follow other
drivers too closely to provide time to react if something
happens, he said, and travel with water, snacks, blankets
and road flares — and a full tank of gas if traveling long
distance. Most of all, he said, avoid the mentality of try-
ing to get somewhere quick in the snow.
“Be patient with the plows and people working on the
road and be mindful and give us plenty of space,” Gan-
gler said. “We are not deliberately trying to hold any-
body up. We are just trying to get the snow off the road
and make it safe for them.”
The ongoing fight against Mother Nature
The 16-mile commute between Prairie City and the
ODOT shop took an hour and a half, but that’s just the
beginning of the job, Gangler said.
After plowing the snow, the next priority is to push it
back and clear out wide areas for people to pull off and
trucks to pull over. The team then places sand on hills,
corners and trouble spots to create friction for vehicles.
They also make sure that snow banks and other places
where snow is stored are under control. The team then
makes repairs to snow poles.
When the temperature rises and the snow melts, the
focus is on draining the water from the highways.
With so much to do, Gangler is proud of his ODOT
“We really do have a hard-working, dedicated crew
up here, and I honestly couldn’t have asked for better
guys,” he said.
The ride-along ended, but Gangler continued to
work until 5 p.m. — when the night crew took over and
began their fight against Mother Nature.
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“I was very impressed by how peace-
ful the demonstration was,” Cates said.
“We left the area cleaner than when we
Cates said the protesters were mind-
ful of being perceived as radicals or
“We (Timber Unity) are not like
Antifa,” Cates said.
Cates said it was a positive, upbeat
rally and that commissioners from rural
counties came out and visited with the
Cates said the organization has repre-
sentation from rural counties across the
state, but currently, Grant County does
not reduce pollution,” said Parrish. “We
can do better. We need other solutions.”
In front of the Capitol, Jeff Leavy,
one of Timber Unity’s founders, told the
crowd that the movement has grown into
something larger than just about fight-
ing one bill. He said it’s now about chal-
lenging overregulation, getting citizens
engaged with government and trying to
have a voice in the legislative process.
“A legislator inside said you guys are
shutting down the legislature and not let-
ting people’s voices be heard,” said Sen.
Denyc Boles, R-Salem. Surveying the
crowd, she added, “I’d say this is the leg-
islative process. We can hear the people’s
Sen. Herman Baertschiger Jr.,
R-Grants Pass, urged the crowd to con-
tinue on its mission.
“Now you must build an army to defeat
those in this building who want to take
away your way of life. It’s a fight for free-
dom. It’s so much bigger than one bill,” he
said, adding that “it’s now about all kinds
of freedom: religious freedom, gun rights,
the freedom not to be overtaxed.”
Timber Unity is a heterogeneous
group: Some members believe climate
change is a real issue and others don’t.
What they agree on is that hurting rural
Oregon businesses is not OK.
Timber Unity invited scientists, called
“skeptics” by some and “climate deniers”
by others, to speak.
“The whole concept behind this bill
is a big fraud,” said meteorologist Chuck
Wiese. “If you really want this, I would
say to the legislators, put it to a vote. But
they know if they do, folks like you with
common sense are gonna shut it down.”
“We’re not having a climate cri-
sis,” added environmental scientist Bob
Zybach. “We’re having a government
not have a fully participating Timber
Cates hopes that, after the rally, some-
one in the county will step into the role.
He said he might if there is no interest
from anyone else in Grant County.
While Cates traveled alone from
Grant County, he was not alone in his
opposition to the carbon cap and trade
Jim Hamsher, Grant County commis-
sioner, said the bill is tax and should be
referred to voters statewide.
“We need to promote the advantages
of forestry and wood products as Ore-
gon’s best option to carbon-capture and
carbon life-cycle calculations,” Hamsher
said. “I would like to refocus Oregon’s
carbon on greater active forest manage-
ment. Any solution should grow Oregon
forests, farms and working families.”
The Summit X- Country Shootout
Saturday February 29, 2020 • Summit Prairie
All racers must be 18 years or older to race.
Pre-register & Meet and Greet at 1188 Brewery, February 28, starting at 5 P.M.
Registration in site at 7 A.M. Driver meeting at 8:30 A.M. and first flight by 9:30 A.M.
For more information call Tim 541-792-0677