Week of July 18, 2024

Spray gets Level 3 "Go Now" Evacuation order

Press Release | Jul 19, 2024

SPRAY, OR (3:30 PM 07/19/24) - The Lonerock Fire has continued to push further south into Wheeler County on Friday afternoon, threatening ranches and homes near Winlock. Residents in the City of Spray received a Level 3 "Go Now" Evacuation Order from the Wheeler Co. Sheriff's Office just after 3:30 PM. Local residents are reporting that the fire is within 5 miles of town. The Lonerock Fire has now burned more than 84,000 acres and is at 40% containment. Firefighters are in... Full story

Lonerock fire burning at nearly 84,000 acres, 40% containment

Stephen Allen | Jul 19, 2024

SPRAY, OR (JULY 19, 2024, 7:28 AM) - The Lonerock Fire continued to grow and remained unpredictable, as continually shifting winds hampered efforts to extinguish the blaze, which is now at 83,922 acres as of 7:28 AM on July 19. There have been reports of dozens of people evacuating in Wheeler County near Winlock and Kahler Basin - and many others who evacuated from Spray on Wednesday night. The good news is that the National Interagency Fire Center has increased containment... Full story

Gilliam County nonprofits, health district brace for reduced grant funding from County Court

Stephen Allen | Jul 17, 2024

The Gilliam County Court will decide whether it should award grants in full or to partially fund requests from nonprofits and special districts at its meeting this Wednesday in Arlington. The Gilliam Co. Grants Committee has recommended significant cuts to requests from key service providers in the county. The Grants Committee recommended to partially fund operations grant requests from the South Gilliam Health District, Summit Springs Village, and the Condon Early Learning... Full story

Lonerock Fire supassed 100,000 acres, barrels towards Spray

Press Release | Jul 20, 2024

FOSSIL, OR - Officials with the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office and the Pacific Northwest 2nd Team held a community meeting at the Fossil Grade School on Saturday evening. Fire officials shared some success stories, but also said that the conditions on the ground continue to be extremely challenging, as the Lonerock Fire surpassed 100,000 acres. The blaze is currently at its worst near Winlock Road, just outside of Spray. Crews are working to protect homes in that area and are racing to block the fire from moving into... Full story

Wheeler County Sheriff issues Spray a Level 3 "Go Now" order; locals told to "Stay Ready" at Level 2

Stephen Allen | Jul 17, 2024

The Wheeler County Sheriff's Office issued a Level 3 "Go Now" Evacuation for Spray at 8:13 PM. However there has been some conflicting information coming in with sources at the scene reportedly being told to "Stay Ready" at Level 2. Fire activity has intensified on the southern end of the #lonerockfire due to increased winds and fire weather. Erratic winds are pushing the fire in a southerly direction, moving it closer to Spray, Oregon. Wheeler County Sheriffs Office has... Full story

Rock Creek Bridge project postponed to at least July 22

Stephen Allen | Jul 17, 2024

ODOT has announced that the new Rock Creek Bridge project has been pushed back until at least July 22. The announcement was made before the Lonerock Fire started and now, Highway 206 is a thoroughfare for firefighters. The new Rock Creek Bridge is expected to be a big project and will shut down the Condon-Heppner Highway for at least three weeks. In total, the project will take several months and will likely finish in mid to late November. Staging equipment has been brought...


Stephen Allen | Jul 17, 2024

LONEROCK, OR - A rapidly escalating grassland fire near the town of Lonerock, in Gilliam County, has necessitated significant emergency response efforts since its outbreak on Saturday, July 13. Initially spanning 4,200 acres, the Lonerock Fire surged to over 50,000 acres within a mere 24-hour period. In this short time, the Lonerock Fire became one of the largest uncontained fires on the West Coast. In response to the escalating threat, the Gilliam County Sheriff's Office...

Gilliam Co. Econ. Development District change impacted by recall election, staffing turnover

Stephen Allen | Jul 17, 2024

Gilliam County's plans to change economic development districts has been put on hold and will possibly not happen at all. Beginning in 2022, the Gilliam County Court worked to modify their economic development district, which was set at the state and federal level, to better serve the area. At the time, the Gilliam Court believed that the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) based out of The Dalles, would better represent the county and its efforts. MCEDD is a...

Merkley announces committee action to invest in Oregon agriculture and support veterans

Press Release | Jul 17, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Oregon's U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced he secured critical investments in Oregon agriculture, rural housing, food assistance, rural business priorities, and veterans' services in the first set of fiscal year 2025 (FY25) government spending bills to pass the committee-a key first step on the road to becoming law. Merkley helped to make sure the investments-including nearly $15 million for seven...

Lonerock Fire 7/18 update

Press Release | Jul 18, 2024

Condon, OR - The Lone Rock Fire is being managed under a full suppression strategy by the unified command of the Northwest (NW) Team 2 and Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Red Team. Yesterday's Activities: Significant fire behavior emerged yesterday afternoon, leading to notable fire growth to the south. The fire's southward growth into timber fuels increases the likelihood of crown fires and long-range spotting. In the northwest area of the fire, firefighters made progress... Full story

Level 3 Evacuation ordered for Lone Rock in Gilliam County

Stephen Allen | Jul 15, 2024

LONE ROCK, OR (4:40 PM July 14, 2024) — A fire in Gilliam County, Oregon has grown significantly this weekend and area residents near Lone Rock are under a Level 3 Evacuation Order from the Gilliam Co. Sheriff's Office. An Emergency Alert was sent out by Frontier Regional 911 at 3:58 PM on Sunday, July 14, urging local residents in the town of Lone Rock and those who live nearby to evacuate. The Memorial Hall in Condon is serving as an evacuation center and will have... Full story

Lonerock Fire to get additional resources and firefighters

Stephen Allen | Jul 15, 2024

CONDON, OR (11:45 AM, July 15, 2024) - A rapidly escalating grassland fire near the town of Lonerock, in Gilliam County, has necessitated significant emergency response efforts since its outbreak on Saturday, July 13. Initially spanning 4,200 acres, the fire surged to over 50,000 acres within a mere 24-hour period. In response to the escalating threat, the Gilliam County Sheriff's Office issued a Level 3 "Go Now" Evacuation order for the town of Lonerock on Sunday, July 14,... Full story

Bank of Eastern Oregon among ICBA's top ag lenders of 2024

Press Release | Jul 10, 2024

Heppner, OR - Bank of Eastern Oregon (BEO) has been named one of the country's top agricultural lenders in 2024 by the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA). BEO ranks 18th on the list of community banks with $300 million to $1 billion in assets and is the only Pacific Northwest Bank based agricultural lender on this list. The article in Independent Banker magazine includes photos of BEO personnel visiting Painted Hills Natural Beef in Fossil, Oregon; a customer...

Larch Creek fire closes Hwy, prompts evacuations in neighboring Wasco County

Stephen Allen | Jul 15, 2024

The Dalles, OR (updated July 15, 2024) - Firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry's Central Oregon District, U.S. Forest Service, local fire districts and landowners have quickly responded to a wildfire in Wasco County. Firefighters are under initial attack and will continue operations into the night. The fire is currently burning with moderate-to-high spread, estimated at 1500+ acres in grass and timber fuel types at this time. Containment is at 0%. The Larch...

Dexter Fincher VFW presents award to Spray's Emily Reed

Press Release | Jul 10, 2024

SPRAY, OR - Emily Reed participated in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary "Get Excited for the Red White and Blue" competition. She submitted a Youtube video of herself singing the US National Anthem. Emily placed First at the VFW State Convention in the 9th to 12th grade level and received a certificate and a $500 check. The check and certificate were presented to Emily in June by the VFW Dexter Fincher VFW Auxiliary members from Prineville, Oregon after a...

Lone Rock fire prompts closures on Heppner Ranger DIstrict

Press Release | Jul 15, 2024

PENDLETON, OR (3:15 PM July 15, 2024) — Multiple agencies are responding to the Lone Rock Fire and officials have ordered a Complex Incident Management Team which will transition with the current Type 3 Incident Management Team. The fire is approximately 9 miles northwest of the Bull Prairie Campground and approximately 8 miles northwest of Fairview Campground in Gilliam County and is growing towards Wheeler County. Forest officials are temporarily closing all Umatilla...

Wilkins prepares to join Gilliam Co. Court on July 17

Stephen Allen | Jul 10, 2024

Grant Wilkins is preparing to join the Gilliam County Court as County Commissioner next week. Wilkins won the election for the position in May with more than 68% of the vote. Normally, Wilkins would start his term in January. But the seat for Gilliam Co. Commissioner has sat vacant since the special recall election ousted former Commissioner Pat Shannon on April 30. Judge Cris Patnode offered the appointment to Wilkins during the June 26 court session, but Wilkins asked for...

Bank of EO second quarter earnings up 13.1% from 2023

Press Release | Jul 10, 2024

HEPPNER, OR - BEO Bancorp (OTCBB:BEOB) and its subsidiary, Bank of Eastern Oregon, announced second quarter 2024 consolidated net income of $3,755,000 or $3.06 per share. Total assets were $852.3 million; Net loans of $563.3 million; Deposits were at $754.7 million. Shareholder equity was at $71.76 million. "Second quarter earnings are up 13.1% compared to the same period in 2023; earnings per share increased 10.9%. Total assets increased 3.9%; deposits up 1.7%; net loans...

Local talent shines as area youth participate in 2024 Silver State International Rodeo

Lynn Wilkins | Jul 10, 2024

The area was well represented at the 2024 edition of the Silver State International Rodeo held in Winnemucca, NV over the 4th of July week. Junior and High School contestants from 10 states saw competition. Leading the way was Tate Turner, Cecil. He and his partner, Ethan Patton won the Junior High Team Roping average. They brought trophy saddles and other awards back to Oregon. Arlington's cowboy, Colt Gronquist won the first go around and ended up third in the average in...

  • OBITUARY: Ken Wad Eddy

    Jul 17, 2024

    Ken Wade Eddy, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, passed away peacefully on June 12, 2024, in Alpharetta, GA, surrounded by his loving family. He was 79 years old. Born on December 10, 1944, in Staten Island, NY, to Melvin and Alice Eddy, Ken spent his formative years in Toppenish, Washington, where he graduated from Toppenish High School in 1963. He went on to attend Yakima Valley Community College from 1963 to 1965 before joining the U.S. Navy. Ken... Full story

  • OBITUARY: John Reed Myers

    Jul 17, 2024

    John Reed Myers passed away peacefully on July 9, 2024, from complications due to gastric cancer. He was 71. He is survived by his sister, Lorraine Smith of Spray, his brother, Bruce Myers of Astoria, and his dog, Billie Howliday, as well as many close friends and relatives. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Remembrances in his honor may be made to either the Animal Rescue Foundation GoFundMe at gofund.me/e9b24264 or to KFSL radio in Fossil, Oregon, both charities he... Full story

  • OBITUARY: David C. Low

    Jul 10, 2024

    David C. Low passed away peacefully on June 22, 2024, in Beaverton Oregon. Born in The Dalles, Oregon in April 1944. David was the youngest born to William and Pearl Low. He was raised and educated in Condon, Oregon graduating in 1962. He participated in basketball and baseball where the team was co state champions his senior year. He was also the senior class president. He married Nancy in 1964, they settled in Forest Grove, Oregon in 1969 and raised their three children... Full story