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Full steam ahead: Steamboat Inn owners determined to open on time

After weathering substantial damage from the Archie Creek Fire, the owners of the Steamboat Inn are determined to open on schedule to guests on March 13.

Thanks to favorable weather and fundraising to help pay for the $200,000 in damages from the fire, Travis and Melinda Woodward said repairs to the Steamboat Inn are ahead of schedule.

Melinda Woodward has already sent out notices that the Inn is hiring for the upcoming season.

“We had to start. We couldn’t (afford to) wait,” Melinda Woodward said last week. “We can’t be out of business.”

There was plenty of work to be done after the smoke had cleared. Septic and water systems serving the main Inn and restaurant, the Steamboat Creek cottages and guest and employee housing on the south side of the North Umpqua River had all sustained significant damage.

Melinda Woodward said that each repair has been done “one piece at a time,” and praised a stretch of fair weather which helped them get ahead of the repairs.

“We got lucky,” Melinda Woodward said. “Some of the equipment we were told was going to take six to eight weeks to arrive showed up in two. Everything kind of lined up in our favor.”

As Melinda Woodward spoke to The News-Review on Thursday, a team was attempting to reconnect a water line to the Inn itself, a chore that proved not to be an easy task.

The primary water supply for the Steamboat Inn is located on the top of a ridge across the North Umpqua River from the restaurant and neighboring cabins. The previous supply line — which was cable-tied to a tree on the opposite side of the river — was ripped down when that tree fell as a result of the fire.

When that water line was ripped out, so was the majority of the plumbing in the valve house, which supplies water to the restaurant, cabins and other properties.

So how does someone configure a way to connect and pull nearly 3,000 feet of water line from the ridge top water tank across the river to the property?

Travis Woodward found a location on the south side of the river — across from the Inn — and cast a fishing line to Chip Powers, a landscaper for Steamboat Inn. Powers tied the fishing line off to a corded rope which Travis Woodward reeled back across the river. That rope would be used to pull a long spool of PVC water piping back across to the Inn, with the assistance of a crew from Optimum Environmental.

By Thursday night, the water line — which will be suspended above the river — was in place near the Inn’s valve house.

This week, the Woodwards are hopeful that the necessary plumbing in the valve house will be installed and water will be available to both the restaurant and its neighboring cabins.

Diamond Lake named a top winter fishing destination

Diamond Lake has been named one of the country’s top winter fishing destinations for 2021, according to popular fishing website fishingbooker.com.

The popular rainbow trout fishery in eastern Douglas County was one of seven locations across the United States the website calls a “bucket list” destination for its ice fishing.

“When the winter comes along, Diamond Lake becomes a winter wonderland,” according to the website’s summary. “Besides fishing for tasty rainbows, there’s a lot more you can do around here. Some of the most popular outdoor activities are snowshoeing, snow tubing, and cross country skiing. If you’re an outdoor junkie, you won’t get bored easily around here!”

In addition to trophy-sized rainbows, the lake is stocked annually with both Tiger and German Brown trout. However, those species are strictly catch-and-release as they were introduced to prey on the invasive tui chub.

The lake has fully frozen over for the winter season, and according to reports from visitors and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the fishing has been fruitful.

However, the resort posted a statement on its Facebook page last Thursday that those wishing to go ice fishing should continue to exercise caution. While the combination of ice, slush and snow is up to 16 inches deep in spots, the primary layer of bottom ice is just 4 inches deep.

Other ice fishing destinations lauded by the website included Mitchell and Cadillac lakes in northwest Michigan, Green Lake in central Wisconsin and Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northeast Utah.

For updated ice conditions, contact Diamond Lake Resort at 541-793-3333. Fishing conditions can also be found at www.myodfw.com under the Recreation Report tab.

Legislators reject Oregon Republican Party claim that storming of Capitol was 'false flag' event

Legislators serving Douglas County at the state and national level voiced opposition Tuesday to an Oregon Republican Party statement that condemned 10 U.S. House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and claimed the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol was a “false flag” event.

The ORP garnered national attention this week for a resolution it passed Jan. 19 likening the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment to traitors. The resolution said they had conspired to “surrender our nation to Leftist forces seeking to establish a dictatorship.”

It went on to claim, inaccurately, that the storming of the Capitol was a “false flag” event designed to “advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power, in a frightening parallel to the February 1933 burning of the German Reichstag.”

The reference is to an event that Adolf Hitler used to seize power over Germany prior to World War II.

In a letter accompanying the resolution, the ORP said it demands “a full and transparent public investigation of the actual instigators of the violence” and calls the impeachment process a “sham.”

While no credible evidence has been advanced to support the idea that the storming of the Capitol was led by liberals or antifa, as some conspiracy theorists would have it, many who participated have been identified — some by themselves — as supporters of Trump and of right-wing conspiracy groups such as QAnon.

State and federal legislators serving the Douglas County area voiced opposition to the ORP statement this week.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio said in an email Tuesday it is not in dispute that President Joe Biden was the winner of November’s election. He also said it’s undisputed that the “rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 were pro-Trump supporters — incited by the president himself — seeking to subvert the will of the people and keep Donald Trump in power.

“Nearly all of the insurrectionists have been identified as Trump supporters. Many are long-time QAnon adherents or members of the white nationalist Proud Boys. The attack on the Capitol was no false flag, and for the Oregon Republican leadership to say otherwise shows that they pledge allegiance to Donald Trump rather than the Constitution,” DeFazio said.

He said Trump must be held accountable to the Constitution he swore to uphold.

“We learn something new every week about to his efforts to overturn November’s free and fair election. He must be held responsible for his role in inciting the violence that left six people dead, and he must never be able to hold public office again. We cannot have unity without accountability,” DeFazio said.

State Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, said in an email Tuesday he was not aware of the ORP’s statement prior to its release. But he said it is “unfortunate and not in the best interest of our country.”

“I would encourage my fellow Oregon Republican lawmakers to focus on the many needs of our state and stop issuing proclamations that are outside of Oregon. We have been through a very challenging election and it is time to bring forward much needed bipartisan legislation that will help so many struggling Oregonians,” Leif said.

The Oregon Republican Party is a separate entity from the Republicans in the state legislature.

The Democratic Party of Oregon Tuesday issued a press release saying the ORP resolution was “shocking, but it is not surprising.”

“In the era of Trump, the Oregon GOP has seemingly given up on any effort to appeal to a majority of Oregonians,” the Democratic Party said.

It drew comparisons to Republican legislators’ walkouts that have blocked progress on Democratic legislative proposals.

The Democrats said the Republican “party leadership has increasingly aligned themselves with far-right conspiracy theories.”