Pamplin Media Group – 1996: North Unit Irrigation District celebrates 50 years of water



New Central Electric Cooperative lines begin to serve Plains Agency ranchers and Willowdale, Paxton and Gateway in 1946


October 20, 1921

A coincidence of more than ordinary interest occurred in Madras last Sunday evening. Eligah Straub of Medford, accompanied by his son-in-law, Clarence Sweeney of Kennewick, Wash., Arrived in Madras that evening with a group of horses which they were taking from Medford to Kennewick, and camped at the western end of the city ​​. After dark, they were drawn to the light of the belfry of the Church of Christ and decided to go there to attend services. They were very surprised, upon entering the church, to find Rev. Walter L. Straub, the evangelist, preaching. He is the nephew of Eligah Straub, who was the twin brother of the preacher’s father. The only other time they’d met in fourteen years was at the funeral of the preacher’s father two years ago. They had a splendid visit that evening.


October 24, 1946

“It was something that I have been waiting for for 43 years,” said AD Anderson, the Plains Agency’s ranching pioneer, as he shopped in town on Friday, reporting that his home was the first under a new unit of Central Electric Cooperative, the REA organization of Redmond. , to secure the electrical service the day before. Lines for the new unit, powered up Thursday, began in August 1945. Plans called for maintenance early last summer, but Homeguard Construction Co., was forced to cancel shifts at the time. at the end of May, when the delivery of the transformers failed. Huenegard resumed work in August and the new lines now serve ranchers at Agency Plains and residents of Willowdale, Paxton and Gateway.

The new lines run for approximately 60 miles, bringing the total line mileage of the system, which secures its power to the Pacific Power & Light Co., to 360. The southern part of Jefferson County is served directly by the company. electricity with a vast rural system.

AL Chaplin, director of the electric cooperative, said the materials have been obtained for the extension of a unit in the Ochoco district east of Prineville. He also reported that an investigation is underway for an extension in the western part of Jefferson County along the Metolius River, serving ranchers and summer residences in that area. The cooperative is negotiating, he said, with the US Forest Service for a right of passage through a wooded part of the area.


October 21, 1971

The Madras flour mill, which has installed new machinery and made other necessary improvements for several months, plans to resume operations in ten days.

Among the new machines installed are five new rollers for grinding wheat, a new separator, a scouring machine, dust collectors, a screen, gravel collectors, and all new elevators and conveyors.

The chief miller, EL Milner, has had experience in some of the largest factories in the country for the past twenty years and he without hesitation told a Pioneer reporter the other day that the Madras factory, for its size and capacity, was equal to any other on the coast.

All the machinery of the old mill was removed and huge silos for the storage of wheat, with a capacity of about 40,000 bushels, were built. Another large bin to store the finished product was built on the new mill. It has a capacity of about 1,600 barrels of flour. Garbage cans and storerooms are mouse-proof.

Currently, the mill company has about 13,000 bushels of wheat in the old warehouse and has been forced to stop buying because of lack of space to store the wheat. As soon as the mills start up, they’ll be able to process the wheat probably as fast as it gets.


October 23, 1996

Howard Turner, one of Madras’ founding fathers, spoke last Friday at the Northern Unit Irrigation District’s 50th celebration via a recording of the 1946 radio show made on the day the water arrived in Jefferson County.

The 16-speed recording of the KALE Radio water festival broadcast had been kept in the North Unit vault for half a century and was recorded on a tape to be played at the celebration. of Friday’s anniversary, which was attended by some 160 farmers and citizens.

In a room surrounded by historical photos and newspaper clippings of the attempt to bring irrigation water to the Madras-Culver area and the final construction of the NUID, participants were treated to a lunch, a cake and various speakers.

It was reported that 8,000 people attended the first water festival in 1946. The governor of Oregon also spoke of the old recording, predicting that Jefferson County would soon be a “garden” and that the electrical service would follow soon.

Max VanDenberg, regional director of resources for the recovery office, spoke at Friday’s meeting, noting that the construction of the NUID has been good for this region as well as for the federal government for its progressiveness and its programs of water efficiency.

“This district has been willing to do a lot of things on its own without the help of Uncle Sam… The construction of the project cost $ 13.5 million, and in this district users pay 93.5% of this cost, which is almost unheard of. ” said VanDenberg.

The project had an economic impact on the county. In the six years between 1949 and 1955, NUID water created $ 735 million in harvest value. The current average gross value of crops per year is $ 15.5 million, he said.

South Central Water Resources Department Regional Director Bob Main also addressed the crowd, saying, “Northern unity is what other districts aspire to. The canal’s water conservation effort is bold and it’s wonderful to see it happen.

Main was referring to the $ 8.5 million bond levy that NUID adopted in June to cover 12 miles of main canal with concrete to prevent water leaks.

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