Sherman County eNews #267


  1. Joseph Clayton Watkins 1965-2017

  2. Wasco School Events Center Open House & Rummage Sale, Sept. 23

  3. Public Meeting Announcement: Sherman County School District, Sept. 11

  4. Eagle Creek/Indian Creek Fire Update, Sept. 7

  5. No ETA to open I-84 or Historic Columbia River Highway due to Eagle Creek Fire

  6. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

1. Joseph Clayton Watkins 1965-2017

flower.rose.starJoseph Clayton Watkins, 52, of Pendleton, Ore., passed away September 2, 2017. A Celebration of Life will be held at Pendleton Pioneer Chapel on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. with a reception to follow at First Christian Church, 215 N. Main St., Pendleton, Ore.

Joe was born on April 7, 1965, in Portland, Ore., to parents Carl Leroy Watkins and Sammie Lyons Watkins. He met the love of his life Kim Ensworth in 1982 while attending Sherman High School in Moro, Ore. They graduated together with the Class of 1983. Then they attended Blue Mountain Community College, Pendleton, Ore., together. Joe graduated from BMCC with associate’s degrees in both diesel mechanics and auto mechanics. Joe and Kim were married in Las Vegas, Nev., January 1, 1988. He was the proud father of two children, Jacob Matthew Watkins and Sarah Jean Watkins.

He worked for Montgomery Ward while still attending college until they closed in Pendleton. He then went to work for Pioneer Implements for a short time. He worked as a mechanic for Twig Zeigler Transmission for 12 years. After that he worked for Oregon Department of Transportation for the last 19 years as part of the “Bridge Crew.”

He belonged to the Grande Ronde Muzzle Loaders and went to many rendezvous, as “Smokn Joe!” Joe was the ultimate handyman; he could make anything happen. Joe was a true mentor, always heavily involved in his kids and including any neighborhood kids’ activities. He became a soccer, baseball and football coach, Boy Scout leader, 4-H leader, horse wrangler and sheep and pig herder, doing whatever needed to be done.

Joe was an avid outdoorsman, which he learned from his dad. He was very passionate about the art of hunting and fishing. He handed down this love to his family and friends. His sense of family and community was strong and will be missed by many organizations.

Survivors include wife Kim Ensworth Watkins, son Jacob Matthew Watkins and daughter Sarah Jean Watkins, all of Pendleton; sister Danita (Kerry) Thamert of Elgin, Ore..; mother-in-law Esther Ensworth; brothers-in-law Dave, Brad, Rich and Jimmy Ensworth; sisters-in-law Ruth, Renee, Michelle, Tracy and Megan; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Joe was proceeded in death by his father Carl, mother Sammie and father-in-law Robert “Bob” Ensworth.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that you donate to your local youth organizations, i.e.: 4-H, FFA, Boy Scouts and Buck Boosters. ~The East Oregonian, September 6, 2017

2. Wasco School Events Center Open House & Rummage Sale, Sept. 23 

Wasco School Events Center Open House. Please come join us in celebrating our Open House and Rummage Sale! It will be held at 903 Barnett Street. September 23, 2017, from 11:00 to 3:00. The first 100 guests will receive a free hot dog and chips. Come to see what we’ve been up to. We will have a raffle, music and games!

3. Public Meeting Announcement: Sherman County School District, Sept. 11

The Sherman County School District Board of Directors will hold its Regular Board Meeting on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  An Executive Session pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(d) to conduct deliberations with persons designated to carry on labor negotiations will precede the Regular Meeting at 6:00 p.m. These meetings will be held in the Sherman County School/Public Library. 

AGENDA-RegularSchoolBoardMeeting 9-11-17

AGENDA-RegularSchoolBoardMeeting 9-11-17-2

AGENDA-RegularSchoolBoardMeeting 9-11-17-3

4. Eagle Creek/Indian Creek Fire Update, Sept. 7

fire2The Oregon State Fire Marshal reported that progress on the Eagle Creek Fire continued overnight. There was some fire growth as firefighters worked to secure fire lines near Cascade Locks and Bridal Veil by conducting burnout operations. Westerly winds picked up in the evening causing a few small spot fires around 8:00 p.m. These were within secondary fire lines, but kept firefighters busy making sure they were completely out.

Most divisions of the fire had low-intensity fire activity, and firefighters continued to prepare and protect homes. Around 4:00 a.m., with winds again gusting to 15 miles per hour, a small spot fire ignited near a cell tower. This spot was also within contingency lines and firefighters worked to keep the fire within those lines.

With the fire now 5% contained, some key transportation functions of the Gorge are beginning to return. Union Pacific trains successfully moved through on Wednesday, and the U.S. Coast Guard is re-opening the Columbia River to night-time passage of commercial boats. Interstate 84 remains closed from Troutdale to Hood River due to debris on the roadway and the potential of rolling rocks and falling trees. The Oregon Department of Transportation estimates that about 2,000 hazard trees must by felled before the road will be safe to re-open.

More burnout operations are planned today to secure fire line near the Bridge of the Gods. This will bring an increase in smoky conditions, but it will help in securing the fire’s edge.

There will be a community meeting at Bowe Theater at the Hood River Valley High School tonight at 6:00 p.m. This meeting will include Spanish-language interpretation. An additional community meeting is being planned for Friday or Saturday in the Troutdale area.

Defending private property, historical structures in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the various State Parks in the area and the Bull Run Watershed continue to be top priorities for firefighters.

A Red Flag warning for potential lightning remains in effect over the fire area through 11:00 p.m. tonight.

For real time and current evacuation information, please contact the Multnomah, Hood River, or Skamania County Sheriff’s Offices.

5. No Estimate to open I-84 or Historic Columbia River Highway due to Eagle Creek Fire

Plans in the works to remove hazards before opening

ODOT is working closely with our partners to determine when the 45 mile section of Interstate 84 and the Historic Columbia River Highway, between Hood River and Troutdale, currently closed by the Eagle Creek Fire can be safely opened.

Safety of first responders and travelers is the number one priority. We are taking the following steps to ensure that the highway is safe for travel:

Assess and remove danger trees: Over 2,000 trees have been identified as being in danger of falling into I-84.  We are working with forestry professionals to assess burned trees and make plans to remove those that are dangerous. Wednesday morning crews began to perform assessments in safe areas. Due to fire conditions, this assessment is only taking place from the road and not along the slopes above the highway. The number of trees is likely to rise and it will take time to remove them.

Assess rock slopes and remove rocks in danger of falling: We are hiring contractors to assess the rock slopes that tower over the highways and remove rocks before they can fall into the roadway. This work is expected to take place over the next few days, as conditions allow.

Evaluate bridges and tunnels:  Our Bridge Inspectors are working to evaluate the bridges on I-84 to ensure that structural damage did not occur in the fire. At this time, bridge damage has not been found along I-84. Crews will continue to look at the Tooth Rock Tunnel along I-84 eastbound outside of Cascade Locks.

As these assessments continue, ODOT is determining the time needed to safely address these hazards. This is occurring as of Wednesday afternoon and will continue as long as needed. Having I-84 and the Historic Columbia River Highway closed is difficult on everyone who lives in, travels through, or loves the beauty of the Columbia Gorge. Once it is safe to complete these steps, we will have the roadways open as quickly as possible.

Check for road conditions.

6. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

bird.owl3Wildfires may be a wakeup call to urban residents

The Last Hours of Humanity: Climate Change

The Federalist Papers – Facebook



Sherman County eNews #266


  1. Sherman County Preschool Has One Opening for 2017-2018 School Year

  2. Sherman County Fair 4-H Basket Raffle Donors, Winners & Support

  3. Notice. Tri-County Hazardous Waste & Recycling Steering Committee Meeting, Sept. 13

  4. Cynicism: Cool or Catastrophe?

  5. The Dalles Kiwanis Club Steak Feed Postponed Until Sept. 14

  6. Discussion, Release of Long-term Services & Supports in Oregon Studies, Sept. 15

  7. Columbia Gorge Community College Offers Free Monthly Electronic Newsletter

“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.” —Joseph Story (1833)

1. Sherman County Preschool Has One Opening for 2017-2018 School Year

Sherman County Preschool has 1 available spot left for the 2017-2018 school year. School is just starting, so if you have a child who is currently 3-5 years old and are interested in sending him/her to preschool please contact the preschool at 541-565-3320 for more information.

2. Sherman County Fair 4-H Basket Raffle Donors, Winners & Support

4-H clover1THANK YOU to everyone who purchased tickets for the themed baskets raffle by the 4-H Assn.  We raised $746 to help send 4-H members to 4-H camps and leadership activities.  For those who donated baskets, WOW!  Amazing baskets and such generosity, thank you so much!


BASKET       –         DONATED BY        –         THE WINNER

Dutch Oven Cooking – “Pans on Fire” 4-H club – Diana Landry

Sherman County Historical Society – Museum supporters – Helen Stanley

Photography – Jean McKinney -Tanya Barrett

Going Camping – 4-H Swine Club – Carol Howard

John Deere Wagon – Larry & Sherry Kaseberg, RDO – Martha Bachler

Golfing – Sheri Sharp – Jessie Fuhrer

Turkey -“Chicken Tenders –  Jamie Wilson

Robots – 4-H Robotics club – Cecil Wilson

Relax  – “Classy Caballos” 4-H club – Lu Shull

Wine – Karen Thompson Umemoto – Nell Melzer

~ Cindy Brown | Educator, 4-H Youth Development & Healthy Living

OSU Extension Service – Sherman County, College of Public Health & Human Sciences

Oregon State University

66365 Lonerock Rd., Moro, Oregon 97039

P: 541-565-3230 | C: 541-993-5291

3. Notice. Tri-County Hazardous Waste & Recycling Steering Committee Meeting, Sept. 13

recycle.blwhThe Tri-County Hazardous Waste & Recycling Program’s next Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday September 13th, 2017, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Wasco County Planning Department, located at 2705 East 2nd Street in The Dalles, Oregon.

Representatives from the member agencies of the counties of Wasco, Sherman and Hood River, and the cities of The Dalles, Hood River, Cascade Locks, Mosier, Dufur and Maupin will hold their meeting to discuss approval of minutes, fiscal & progress reports, lead agency, budget, status of facilities, staffing, grants and other miscellaneous items.

The nine governments signed an intergovernmental agreement in November 2003 to build and operate two permanent household hazardous waste collection facilities in Hood River and The Dalles, and conduct satellite collection events throughout the region.  Wasco County is the lead agency.  The facilities and events collect hazardous wastes from households, businesses and institutions which are Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators, as well as pesticide wastes from farmers and ranchers.

For more information, call Tri-County Hazardous Waste & Recycling Program at (541) 506-2636.

4. Cynicism: Cool or Catastrophe?

Some people think it is smart and sophisticated to be cynical. We see a lot of this in the world today. The trouble is, cynicism does not help solve the challenges before us.

Do you know anyone with a cynical attitude? Most likely, you do. Cynics believe that people are motivated by selfishness. Cynics come off as scornful and contemptuous of anything that looks like virtue or integrity. Cynics pride themselves in having a “realistic approach” and mock those with a more optimistic view. But have you ever noticed that cynics more than likely are unhappy people? They are not only unhappy, but they seem dead to the spiritual values that give life meaning.

You might have heard cynics described as failed idealists who commit a kind of intellectual suicide. Now that may seem extreme, but think about it. Cynics build no bridges, make no discoveries, and expect people to behave badly. They see no room for improvement, so they abandon hope and in the process, give up their power to act and bring about change.

Now, our minds are nourished by a continual supply of new ideas, which we then put to work with a purpose in mind. But if there are no worthwhile new ideas, as the cynic believes, the mind becomes stagnant. A stagnant mind is a danger to its owner and worse than useless to the community at large.

So, refuse to be influenced by the nay-sayers and cynics in your midst. Hold to your hope and humor, your ideals and dreams, your compassion and imagination, for it is these things that give life meaning and bring us all a better world. ~The Pacific Institute

5. The Dalles Kiwanis Club Steak Feed Postponed Until Sept. 14

The Dalles Kiwanis Club is postponing its annual Steak Feed for one week due to the unhealthy smoke situation.  The rescheduled event will take place Thursday Sept. 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Sorosis Park.  The Steak Feed is the club’s major fund-raiser for community projects serving children and youth.  The service club thanks all who purchased tickets and hopes those unable to attend on the new date will pass along their tickets to friends or neighbors.  Tickets are still available from Kiwanis members or may be purchased in the park Sept. 14.  

6. Discussion, Release of Long-term Services & Supports in Oregon Studies, Sept. 15

Salem, OR — The Oregon Department of Human Services (Oregon DHS) Aging & People with Disabilities program (APD), in cooperation with the Oregon State University (OSU) and Portland State University (PSU), will present findings from recently completed studies about assisted living, residential care, endorsed memory care, adult foster homes, and nursing facilities. Researchers with the OSU College of Public Health and Human Services, the PSU Institute on Aging and representatives of APD will participate in a roundtable discussion of the studies’ findings.

The event is scheduled for September 15, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. at Portland State University.

What are we going to talk about? A few highlights from the studies:

I. The costs of assisted living, residential care, and endorsed memory care communities:
– The monthly cost of assisted living is $3,667 and residential care facilities is $3,770 — more than $44,400 a year.
– Memory care communities average $5,410 per month.
– Average nursing facility costs for a bed in a semi-private room is $8,425.
– Oregon has the highest rate of assisted living and residential care communities that accept Medicaid, and the highest percent of Medicaid-financed residents, in the nation.

II. The demand for endorsed memory care facilities has increased during the past decade.

III. The majority of community based care settings employ full-time registered nurses (RNs), though they are not required to do so.

Detailed information about location, phone numbers, and online links will be sent in a separate release. This session will be available live via Facebook, Twitter and a telephone conference line.

The study reports are located at:

7. Columbia Gorge Community College Offers Free Monthly Electronic Newsletter

Information on academic programs, special initiatives, upcoming events at Columbia Gorge Community College are featured each month in “Campus Currents,” a free electronic newsletter produced each month for distribution throughout the region.

The newsletter is being offered to residents throughout the college’s service area, including the general public, students, faculty and staff. Readers will find information on registration, two-year associate degrees in myriad programs, special activities on the Hood River and The Dalles campuses, Community Education offerings and much more. “Campus Currents” also invites news from education and training partners in the Mid-Columbia region.

“Columbia Gorge Community College belongs to the people of the Mid-Columbia region, and our goal in producing ‘Campus Currents’ is to help everyone stay fully informed of the college,” said Dan Spatz, the college’s community outreach manager. “We hope everyone will take advantage of this opportunity to discover the many ways in which Columbia Gorge Community College serves our region by signing up for our newsletter.”

To participate, simply visit the college’s website, and click on the “News” tab to complete the on-line subscription form.

Information of interest to college students and the education community may also be submitted to for consideration.