It was over 30 years ago that Keri Roid first dreamed of growing her own lavender. She loved everything about the plant — the smell, the way it felt when it brushed against her hand, the buzz of the bees collecting pollen from the purple flowers — everything. And after many years of working in the corporate world, she returned to Roseburg from California in 2016 to make her dream come true.
Today she owns and operates Growing Miracles Lavender Garden with her husband Howard. The couple grows 3,500 lavender plants along with 6,000 hazelnut trees on their farm in Roseburg. This weekend they opened up the property to the public for the first ever Lavender Festival and Farm Tour at 508 Lower Garden Valley Road in Roseburg.
From Friday to Sunday, the facility is open for people to shop at several vendor booths and to harvest lavender for themselves. Each day of the festival at 11 a.m., Keri Roid will give a tour of the farm and answer any questions people may have about the agricultural lifestyle.
“This just feels like a little piece of paradise,” she said,” and I like to share it with people.”
On Friday, people with scissors harvested their own branches of lavender for $5 a bundle. Kat Johnson and her mother-in-law, Lori Combs, were two of those people. Combs recently moved to Roseburg from California a few months ago and said that the Lavender Festival was the first event she attended since moving to the area. Johnson explained that she likes to make oils out of the lavender plants and other plants like sunflowers.
At one of the stations, visitors could make wreaths out of the flowers. At another, where Noel and Belle Nibblett sat, lavender wands were being made by hand. Small bundles of lavender are woven together with ribbon in order to help preserve the flower’s fragrant scent for years. Belle Nibblett said that the whole process takes about 15 minutes and that she finds the weaving to be quite meditative.
The couple grow 600 lavender plants of their own on their property in Lookingglass. They started growing the drought-tolerant crop for its beauty. While they admit it’s just a hobby, they enjoy how selling their plants at the local farmers’ markets have given their daughter, Nolia, a chance to improve her entrepreneurial skills.
On Friday and Sunday, a local chapter of the Oregon FFA Association will be running a hot dog stand fundraiser at the festival in honor of Lee Sand, Roid’s father-in-law who past away last February. On Saturday the hot dog stand will be replaced by the food truck Wrappin and Rollin.
One of the 20 vendors at the festival was Leon Glaser of JosephJane Winery. Established in 2017, the winery is right next door to Roid’s farm. Glaser said that the Roids proposed the idea of the winery producing a lavender wine a few months ago, which Glaser was selling at the festival. He said the sweet, chilled refreshment was the perfect drink for the warm weather.
“This is my first time doing something like this and I’m really happy with the results,” Glaser said about the lavender wine. “Either we got lucky or we’re that good — some combination.”
Oregon Lavender Association, of which Growing Miracles Lavender Garden is a member of, sponsors a weekend each year to promote lavender growers. Eighteen farms with OAL hosted similar lavender festivals across the state this weekend, Keri Roid said.
She said she hopes that her festival encourages other local lavender growers to open their farms to visitors next year as well. Her goal is to turn Roseburg into a destination for lavender enthusiasts everywhere.
“I knew somebody had to do it first and I was ready,” she said. “So I’m hoping that next year that they’ll open their farms to the lavender festival. If we can get three or four farms in Roseburg, or in the county, it makes us a destination, too. Which can’t do anything but help our area.”
A far-off vision became reality for Harold Youngs when he finished the crossover from Brutke’s Wagon Wheel to the new Garden Valley Grill last month.
Youngs bought the Wagon Wheel from the Brutke family in 2013 and kept it the same, not wanting to immediately alienate the customer base, but listened to what the community wanted and changed the atmosphere when they were ready.
Now, five years later, Youngs is changing the name and everything else about the restaurant and is hoping the change will be more permanent than IHOP’s temporary change to IHOb.
“Wagon Wheel has been in town for 62 years and I felt it was time to make it my own and change basically everything about the place,” Youngs said. “I wanted the customers who knew the Wagon Wheel to still keep coming and roll with us through the years as we decided to change and look at what the community wanted.”
Years of listening and waiting led to a top-to-bottom remodel valued at $16,000 by the Douglas County Building Department. The 4,000-square-foot building was built in 1954 and was last assessed at just under a $500,000, according to county records.
David Cooke is an economist with the Oregon Department of Employment and attributed the perceived bump in renovations to a growing economy, business tax breaks, and a drop in real estate vacancies.
“Part of the theory was businesses would increase their capital expenditures on new equipment and renovation,” Cooke said. “As commercial real estate vacancy drops, there are less available buildings that are vacant to lease or buy so companies are more likely to expand or renovate existing structures.”
Craig Jackson works across the street from the grill. He used to go to the Wagon Wheel and said the grill was “lighter.”
“You can see,” he said. “It’s good food. It’s convenient for us.”
He said he likes it enough to come about once a week.
Along with the physical renovations, Youngs said the menu changed, too.
“We’ve added quite a few new items,” he said. “We’ve removed about half of the old wagon wheel items and went with some newer additions — lobster, seafood, different kinds of fish and fresh-cut meat that’s cut in-house.”
Youngs said the response to the overhaul has been positive, keeping many old customers and finding new ones. He wants to have a grand reopening in August, but has not set a date yet.
A young Salem-area couple is behind bars after leading police on a high-speed chase in Canyonville, according to court documents.
A deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was patrolling Interstate 5 early Friday morning when he checked the license plate of a silver 1996 Honda Accord traveling southbound near milepost 103, Myrtle Creek. During the check, the deputy found that the Honda had been reported stolen out of Keizer, Oregon, a few miles north of the state capital.
The deputy, who was waiting for other law enforcement units in the area to arrive, followed the Honda, which was driven by 22-year-old Kameron Lee Flanigan and occupied by Mariah Lynn King, 21, until the couple exited the freeway near milepost 99.
The deputy turned on his emergency lights, which caused Flanigan to immediately accelerate and drive away, according to court documents.
Flanigan continued speeding past the entrance of the Seven Feathers RV Resort before pulling a U-turn on Creekside Court and turning onto North Main Street, sliding into the opposing lane of travel and nearly hitting a Dodge truck head-on, according to court documents.
Flanigan reached speeds of 80 mph while driving south into town until the road come to an end at a gravel turnaround. At that point, both Flanigan and King ditched the vehicle and fled on foot, according to court documents.
King was detained a short distance from the vehicle, but Flanigan continued running west, across a creek and up a steep embankment toward the highway, according to police. Eventually, the deputy tracked Flanigan down and handcuffed him.
Flanigan initially denied stealing the Honda, telling police he had purchased it from a drug dealer in Salem, according to court documents. Soon, however, Flanigan told police he had stolen the car the day before using a shaved key.
Flanigan told police there was a loaded gun underneath the driver’s seat that belonged to a man named “Kane” who Flanigan left behind at a Eugene Walmart because the man was trying to “get his girl.”
During the arrest, officers also located a small amount of heroin in Flanigan’s possession.
He was arrested on suspicion of unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, two counts of attempting to elude a police officer, recklessly endangering another person, interfering with a peace officer, reckless driving and unlawful possession of a firearm.
He was lodged at the Douglas County Jail in lieu of nearly $350,000 bail.
King was also arrested for an outstanding warrant and lodged at the jail.
Police identified, but were unable to contact the owner of the Honda.
ELKTON — C.A.S.T. for Kids will hold an event for children with special needs age 6 to 15. Guests are given the opportunity to explore outdoor recreational experiences through fishing.
Participants will meet at the home of event coordinator Todd Harrington, owner of Living Water Guide Service, at 286 Riverwood Lane, Oakland.
Kids will receive a new rod and reel, tackle box, T-shirt and hat. At the end of the event, they will be given a plaque to commemorate the day.
Registration can be found at castforkids.org/event/umpquariver. More information can be obtained by contacting Harrington at 541-459-2276.