BEND, OR -- The Ward Road to Gosney section of the Central Oregon Irrigation Canal's nomination to be listed in the National Registry of Historic places has been put on hold.
The Oregon State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation heard from both sides of the issue, but decided 5/2 to table the nomination for further perusal, stating that late information came in and not all the committee members had time to become fully apprised of the issues.
Deschutes County Commissioner, Tony DeBone, says that he and the other Commissioners wrote a letter recommending the site not be granted the designation because it lacked historical significance, but he says they're not opposed to parts of the 100-year-old waterway's being included in the registry. "We're not looking to designate more sections, other than a subset of properties maybe the historical landmarks commission comes up with that should be looked at. if something is designated 'historic,' then when there's major changes or maintenance that goes on, it is required to go through the Historic Landmarks Commission for review."
DeBone says the decision has been put on hold until next February and it's not surprising a decision wasn't reached. "This is an interesting issue. Yeah, this is water, and folks are passionate."
DeBone says he and the other Commissioners sent a letter to the committee, recommending against the historic designation, because they didn't think the Ward to Gosney Road section in question was historically significant, so the amount of maintenance required to maintain the site as historic wasn't warranted. "If there's a breach, water, once it gets flowing through a small hole, it can blow the whole side of something out, so maintenance is a very serious issue in that section."
There are other sections of the Central Oregon Irrigation District canal that are already listed in the National Registry as historic sites.