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Organizers Ready To Get Started

Bingen council settles on plan for flume

It looks like the section of the historic Broughton flume that resides in Bingen's Daubenspeck Park will be rehabilitated in time for the Community Pride Week event.

On March 7, the Bingen City Council reached consensus on basic details of a plan from the Gorge Heritage Museum, and organizers of the project are ready to get started.

Ruth Winner, manager of the museum, said she has permission from Jason Spadaro, president of SDS Lumber Co., to order the materials needed to enhance the flume display. SDS will also donate some materials needed to execute the design, and the Mount Adams Chamber of Commerce will help with organizing volunteers to do the work.

"This is a community-wide project," Winner said. "Our target date to finish is April 29."

Representatives of SDS Lumber Co. and Broughton Lumber Co. recently agreed to provide funds to preserve the flume and upgrade how it is displayed. In return, they have requested the right to eventually move the flume segment to be displayed at a proposed resort at the site of the old Broughton Lumber Co. mill at Hood, just west of Underwood.

The display, which will cost approximately $3,000, will incorporate the following elements:

The flume will remain where it is;

There will be a pathway leading to the display from SR 14;

There will be no fence around the flume;

There will be an interpretive sign to explain the history and purpose of the flume;

Bark chips will be placed under and around the flume; and

A flag pole with lighting will accompany the display.

Those involved in the decision process offered their own views on what was essential to enhance the flume display.

"I think the pathway is an important feature," said Mayor Brian Prigel.

"I like having a perimeter of bark chips around the flume," said council member Laura Mann.

Winner was adamant about one feature.

"It has to have a sign. It's been sitting there too long without an identity," Winner said.

Prigel said he thought adding a flagpole with lights could add too much to the cost of the project.

However, several council members pointed out that Spadaro had personally suggested the flagpole during earlier planning sessions related to the flume.

Etta Hepner, president of the West Klickitat County Historical Society, attended the March 7 meeting. She noted that the council had earlier voted 4-1 to remove the flume from the park and send it to Stevenson or elsewhere, and thanked council members for listening to the community and reversing that stance.

"When I read the flume was going to be removed, I was without words," Hepner said. "I want to thank Laura Mann for her courage and conviction to cast the only dissenting vote. The mayor and City Council listened to the community's wishes. This will help as an additional tourist attraction, and preserve this history for future generations."

Winner, executive director of the museum, presented the council members with several options of where and how to position the flume and what materials would be used, and the council members took time during the meeting to prioritize them.

"You folks will have to make the decision. SDS Lumber Co. will do the heavy work," Winner said. "We want to end up with something we can be proud of. We're going for community pride. Logging history will be present throughout the project."

Prigel suggested adding a larger sign to attract visitors.

"Consider putting something that can be read from the highway," Prigel explained. "Make it so motorists see it's something of significance and it's readily identifiable."

Hepner thanked the council for its support of the project, and noted that the museum has some interesting displays planned for the future.

"The museum will soon be honoring local police and fire departments, and next year we'll be honoring White Salmon, which is having its centennial," Hepner explained. "The following year, we'll be honoring the railroad -- in 2008, it will be 100 years since the trains came in."

Council member Betty Barnes said she believed the flume project is very positive for the city.

"I'm so excited about this," Barnes said. "I really believe we did the proper thing by turning it over to our museum and to Broughton. They're moving ahead full steam, and I think they're doing a great job."

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