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Brownlee Reservoir levels might dip

The water level at Brownlee Reservoir might drop several feet during April, but most of the boat ramps along the 53-mile-long reservoir should remain usable throughout the spring.

Idaho Power Company owns and operates the dam along the Snake River that forms the reservoir on Baker County’s eastern border with Idaho.


Historic nomination

Executive Director of the Union County Arts Center Annie Eskelin stands in the main hall of the Union County Art and Culture Center, originally the Carnegie Public Library. Eskelin is working to have the building included on the National Register of Historic Places. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

City gives nod of support to Art Center, application will continue on to the state level

More than 2,500 libraries were built with the help of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie between 1883 and 1929. For years, La Grande’s Carnegie Library served the public on Penn Avenue.

Now the building’s occupants seek to have that public service preserved and have the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 


Operation gather information

Of $31.8 million worth of building and maintenance projects, Central Elementary School is at the top of the list for the La Grande School District’s Long Term Facilities Planning Committee. Building and maintenance projects would be funded by a bond that the district may seek in November.

Central Elementary School’s building opened in 1954 and the building is looking its age. 

The building is in need of major repair and renovation work so extensive the La Grande School District’s Long Term Facilities Planning Committee is recommending a new building be constructed to replace the aging Central building.


10 Things to Know for Monday, March 24

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Taking a final bow

La Grande School District music specialist Carla Varland directs applause to Island City Elementary students during their musical program “At the Bandstand” Wednesday. The program was the last for Varland, who will be retiring at the end of this school year, her 16th with the La Grande School District. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Island City Elementary School music teacher Carla Varland led the final school concert of her career, directing Island City Elementary’s annual spring program Wednesday. The school’s fourth- and fifth-graders performed eight songs, all from the 1950s and 1960s for a program titled “At the Bandstand.’’


Council defends audit choice

Decision based on what was best for city, councilors say

At least two city councilors said they stand behind their votes to select a Pendleton-based accounting firm to handle the city’s audits, a decision that has come under fire from the local business community about taking the business out of town.


City approves K Avenue vacation application

Council also places moratorium on permanent street furnishings

The La Grande City Council gave the OK to Union County on its application to vacate K Avenue from Fifth to Sixth streets during a regular session of the council Wednesday night.

The county has applied to the city to vacate part of K Avenue in order to provide ample off-street parking for a proposed courthouse to be sited on the corner of 5th Street and L Avenue, where Shelter From the Storm currently sits. 


BRIEFLY: Literacy Center closes for spring break

Literacy Center closes for spring break 

The Literacy Center at Cook Memorial Library will be closed beginning Monday for spring break. The center will reopen April 1. Hours are 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday. For information on tutoring, call the library at 541-962-1339.


Oregon Connection Academy cleans up Riverside

The weather was not perfect but the timing was.

Seven students with Oregon Connections Academy, a public, accredited online school, did extensive cleanup work at Riverside Park Thursday afternoon. The youths, ranging from grade school to high school students, swept the Riverside Park pavilion, cleaned its tables with disinfectant and picked up litter on the park’s grounds.


10 Things to Know for Friday, March 21

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Street vacation proceedings initiated

In busy regular session Wednesday night, the La Grande City Council voted to move an application for a street vacation forward, place a moratorium on downtown amenities and decided to consider an ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries.


10 Things to Know for Thursday, March 20

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


OSP investigating death of 25-year-old near Pendleton

Oregon State Police, with the assistance of the Umatilla County Deputy Medical Examiner, is continuing the investigation into the death of a 25-year-old Hillsboro man. Preliminary investigation indicates a drug overdose is the apparent cause of death. 

BRIEFLY: 15-year-old cited for alleged assault

15-year-old cited for alleged assault

A 15-year-old was cited into juvenile Monday afternoon after allegedly assaulting a younger student at La Grande Middle School, police said.


Forest access bill rallies support

Rep. Greg Walden announced Monday he has introduced a bill to Congress that would give local governments more control of federal forests. The bill would halt travel management plans and require consensus before roads are closed. (KELLY DUCOTE/The Observer)

Local officials, residents back Walden’s bill, introduced last Friday 

Residents and officials voiced support for U.S. Rep. Greg Walden’s Forest Access in Rural Communities Act Monday morning. 

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