Water meters to be replaced or repaired
by Steve Howe
The Hines Common Council met for its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 23. During the meeting, the council heard from those involved in a group seeking to “bring home” a train engine and caboose that ran on the historic Oregon & Northwestern (O&NW) railroad in Hines, as well as a flatbed car, to put on display at Hines Park.
A subsidiary of the Edward Hines Lumber Company, O&NW hauled logs, lumber (and occasionally livestock) between Hines and Seneca from 1929 until 1984.
The project committee, organized by Councilor Hilda Allison, is seeking to raise the necessary funds to purchase the No. 4 O&NW engine and a flatbed car from the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, Calif., (just northwest of Reno, Nev.) and transport them here to be placed permanently in Hines Park. Wayne Monger, co-author of Images of Rail: Oregon & Northwestern Railroad, is considering donating a refurbished, 100-year-old O&NW caboose pending the acquisition of the No. 4 engine.
Monica Newkirk, Mayor Nikki Morgan, and City Administrator Joan Davies presented information from the group’s recent meeting.
Newkirk reported that the engine would cost around $16,000, and would need to be purchased within the year, as it is slated to be scrapped. She said that costs for transporting the engine would come to around $25,000.
Morgan said that the flatbed car is $1,000, and would need refurbishment of its redwood decking. She said that it could be used as a stage for performances in the park. Morgan added that the requirements to have the train engine and cars displayed include a prepared ground surface, new railroad ties and track, and a roof over the engine.
Newkirk said that they will aim to raise $50,000 – $60,000 in total.
Davies said that they are considering placement on the southern edge of the main park, in a dirt area where it would not take away any grass or play area. Davies also noted that the city’s insurance carrier had been consulted, and that there would be no extra cost to the city with the addition of the train engine and cars to the city park.
Morgan also reported that the group includes a high school student, Hannah Rohwer, who will be working on grant-writing and publicity as part of her senior project. She said that Rohwer has met with Desert Historic Theatre owner Tiny Petersen about showing a short film about the train and the mill, and possibly tying it in with a dinner event as a fundraiser.
Councilors Dick Baird and Dick Anderson raised concerns about extra work and maintenance expenses for the city once the train engine and cars were placed in the city park. A discussion ensued about the project in terms of its historical value to the community, as well as tourism.
“The businesses…will benefit when people come through here,” said Morgan.
“We’ll be on the map for those railroad enthusiasts,” she added.
Allison asked if there was any public process that needed to happen before the group started fundraising. Anderson suggested that the city send out a questionnaire with the water bill to gauge public opinion on the matter. Morgan said that time was limited, and it would have to be sent out with next month’s bills.
Hines Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) Chief Bob Spence reported that there had been only two calls since the last council meeting one month ago. He also said that HVFD continues to participate in joint training activities with Burns Fire Department and the Burns Tribal Fire Department.
Spence said although there had been some rain, there will need to be more before the ban can be lifted for burn barrels.
Superintendent of Public Works Pedro Zabala said 10 water meters were replaced or repaired, and 30 are currently in progress.
The council voted to approve Resolution No. 2192, transferring $2,100 from the contingency fund to pay for water meter repairs and replacements.
Hines Police Chief Ryan DeLange was absent from the meeting, as he was attending a training session. Davies delivered his report, which noted that there have been two house burglaries as of late, and that Officer Casey Held has been busy working with the joint drug task-force team.
Davies reported that there was $1,736.37 in the cans and bottles fund for the park.
She read aloud a letter from a resident, thanking the city for cleaning the alley behind her house.
Davies said a resident contacted her regarding the police “cracking down” on illegal use of golf carts and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on city streets. The resident heard that John Day passed an ordinance allowing golf carts. Davies said she checked into that city’s ordinance, and although it makes an allowance for ATVs (i.e., for plowing snow), it does not allow golf carts.
“I believe your position is that we won’t [allow golf carts] either,” Davies said, addressing the councilors. She also noted that it was illegal anyway, and the city couldn’t make allowances for state highways.
In other business, the council:
• voted to award contracts for crack sealing and a slurry seal for Circle Drive to TopLoc (Councilor Ron Williams abstained from both votes, as he was a contractor that bid on the projects).
• approved accounts payable in the amount of $32,757.81;
• approved per diem for Davies to attend the League of Oregon Cities meeting in Eugene, Sept. 25-27;
• approved mileage expense for Davies and city treasurer Rachel Robinson to attend the Chaves Consulting conference in Baker City Oct. 8.