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Aircrafts slowing Phillips Creek Fire

Portions of the 1,500-acre Phillips Creek Fire, about seven miles northwest of Elgin, remain near Highway 204, but officials do not believe this is cause for undue alarm.


Phillips Creek Fire meeting set Wednesday

ELGIN — Details about the Phillips Creek Fire will be presented Wednesday night when the Oregon Interagency Incident Management Team 2 holds a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Elgin Community Center.


Chainsaw use prohibited and campfires allowed in designated areas

Some restrictions will be implemented beginning Thursday on the Malheur, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman Naitonal Forests due to extreme fire danger, the potential for human caused fires and concern for public safety.


Phillips Creek Fire now 5 percent contained

The Phillips Creek Fire expanded by about 400 acres Monday but there is encouraging news to report this morning.

UPDATE: Phillips Creek Fire threat growing

Story updated at 5:30 p.m.

The number of homes threatened by the 1,100-acre Phillips Creek Fire is growing.


BRIEFLY: July temps slightly above normal

According to preliminary data received by NOAA’s National Weather Service in Pendleton, temperatures in La Grande averaged slightly warmer than normal during the month of July.

The average temperature was 71.1 degrees, which was 1.5 degrees above normal. High temperatures averaged 87.2 degrees, 1.8 degrees above normal. The highest temperature was 99 degrees on July 6. Low temperatures averaged 55.0 degrees, which was 1.2 degrees above normal. The lowest temperature was 45 degrees, on July 28.

On 12 days, the temperature exceeded 90 degrees.

Precipitation totaled 0.69 inches during July, 0.01 inches above normal. Measurable precipitation — at least .01 inch — was received on three days with the heaviest, 0.64 inches reported on July 13.

The highest wind gust was 39 mph, which occurred on the July 8.

The outlook for August from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. Normal highs for La Grande during August are 85.7 degrees and normal lows are 52.4 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 0.85 inches.


GRH acquires Elgin and Union health clinics

Grande Ronde Hospital added two new clinics over the weekend, though the clinics have been established for quite some time.

City council to discuss pre-sale of pot

The first reading of an ordinance to prohibit the pre-sale of recreational marijuana will be heard at Wednesday’s La Grande City Council meeting.

On high alert: The Phillips Creek Fire

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The Phillips Creek Fire, which grew from 30 acres Saturday to 1,142 acres as of Monday morning, is still burning and the Level 1 evacuation notice for Sanderson Road and Ruckle Road remains in effect. The blaze is listed as 0 percent contained by the Interagency Blue Mountain Dispatch Center. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
SUMMERVILE — Ray and Mary Brown will never forget the sight or the sense of terror.

Man serving time for burglary escapes Oregon prison

PORTLAND — A man serving time for a burglary conviction has escaped from an Oregon Prison by breaking a kitchen window.


Road Closures implemented on the Phillips Creek Fire

ELGIN — The Phillips Creek Fire has burned approximately 30 acres, seven miles northwest of Elgin near Indian Point. The fire is burning in timber and grass on the Umatilla National Forest.


Grande Ronde Hospital takes over operations of health clinics

The Grande Ronde Hospital announced today it's taking over the Elgin and Union health clinics' operations to help the two health clinics focus more on its patients and less on the administration requirements of running the clinic. 

Dog days of summer

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One of J.D. Platt’s 11 dogs is Holiday, a border collie. One of several tricks Holiday performs at Platt’s show is Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Memories of Michael Jackson are being rekindled at this week’s Union County Fair by a surprising source — a 12-year-old border collie.

Officials: Don’t leave pets alone in hot vehicles

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Michael O’Connor’s German shepherd Angel, a rescue dog from Tennessee, patiently waits for her master’s return from JaxDog Cafe in La Grande on a recent afternoon. O’Connor says Angel is his “closest companion,” and he takes her everywhere he travels. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Temperatures in the Grande Ronde Valley are expected to creep back up close to triple digits this weekend. 
Along with the heat is the concern of leaving animals inside vehicles without their owners — and without air conditioning.

Drought declaration may help local farmers

Gov. Kate Brown signed a drought declaration for Union County earlier this month, which means farmers in the area can now access relief funds for crop loss.

BRIEFLY: General Dischord performs concerts

General Dischord, a small group made up from within the 234th Army Band of the Oregon National Guard based in Clackamas, will give a series of free concerts in the local area next week. The group is composed of nine woodwind players and a French horn, based on the instrumentation of a traditional woodwind quintet. The concerts are at 7 p.m. Monday at the Elgin Opera House; at noon Tuesday at the Summit Grill at the top of the Wallowa Lake Tramway; at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Wallowa County Courthouse gazebo in Enterprise for a children’s concert as part of the culminating event in the public library summer reading program; and at 
5:30 p.m. Thursday, again in Enterprise for the Courthouse Concert Series at the farmers market.

ODF Fire Update for July 30

This is the Oregon Department of Forestry fire update for Thursday, July 30, 2015.

Suspicious letters lead authorities to Eugene


Visiting Eastern Oregon

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Eastern Oregon University Outdoor Program Coordinator Michael Hatch, far right, and EOU student Megan Volk prepare Chinese exchange students for rock climbing at the climbing wall Monday. The students had time to climb to the top of the climbing wall as well as other activities at EOU. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
A group of 16- and 17-year-old high school students from China is getting an up close and personal experience of Eastern Oregon this month through an exchange program with their high school in Shiquan, China, and the Grant Union and Baker City school districts.

Island City well drilling project underway

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Riverside Inc.’s Jeff Hash, left, inspects the machinery of a well being drilled near the Island City Cemetery as Kieran Riley collects sediment samples. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
ISLAND CITY — Well drillers expect the unexpected — and for good reason.

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