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Carey and Reclamation Acts Irrigation Projects in Oregon 1901-1978
Introduction

On February 16-17, 2017, the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation (SACHP) met in Portland to discuss and make recommendations on nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. At this meeting, among other nominations, the SACHP discussed three segments of irrigation canals and their related features, as well as the
Multiple Property Document (MPD) “Carey and Reclamation Acts Irrigation Projects in Oregon 1901-1978,” through which the nominations are made. Each of the nominated segments is classified as a “historic district” by the National Park Service, which maintains and administers the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). At that meeting, the SACHP approved forwarding the nominations and MPD to the NPS with the recommendation that they list the canal segments in the NRHP, following consultation with the Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) to resolve outstanding concerns that the agency had with the MPD. In the months following, the SHPO worked directly with BoR and revised the MPD such that their concerns were addressed. See below for the current status of the MPD and three canal segment
nominations.
Background

The Central Oregon Project is a large irrigation system in central Oregon that provides irrigation water to approximately 45,000 acres of farmland in and near the communities of Bend, Redmond, Terrebonne, Powell Buttes and Alfalfa. The system is composed of over 700 miles of canals and branches, conveying water diverted from the Deschutes River through two primary canals (Pilot Butte Canal and Central Oregon Canal) and their associated systems of laterals, sub-laterals, and ditches. The system is managed by the Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID).
The Vale Project is an irrigation system serving the Vale, Harper, Willow creek, and Jamieson vicinities along the Malheur River and Willow Creek in Malheur County, Oregon. The system provides irrigation water for just under 35,000 acres of farmland, diverted from the Malheur River and delivered through the primary canal, the Vale Main Canal. The system comprises approximately 365 miles of canal, tunnels, laterals, sub-laterals and ditches. Begun in 1927 and completed in 1939, the system is owned by the BoR, and operated by the Vale Oregon Irrigation District (VOID).
In 2012, the BoR provided the COID with a WaterSMART grant to fund the conversion of a portion of the I-lateral, a large lateral canal branching off of the Central Oregon Canal, from open canal to subterranean pipe, triggering review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). BoR consulted with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), resulting in the finding that the system is historically significant, and that the piping project would adversely affect it. This effect would be compounded by planned future piping efforts anticipated to effectively replace the open system with a piped system. To mitigate these adverse effects, COID and the SHPO signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) outlining a multi-part, comprehensive project consisting of three primary elements: a comprehensive survey and documentation of the entire Central Oregon Project; the development of an MPD for evaluating and nominating irrigation systems or portions thereof in the National Register of Historic Places; and the successful nomination and preservation of two segments of the system, one each on the Pilot Butte Canal and the Central Oregon Canal, that will be preserved and interpreted on-site.
In 2013, a similar consultation between the BoR, SHPO, and Vale Oregon Irrigation District (VOID) took place regarding current and future piping projects. As a result, a similar comprehensive mitigation program was agreed to in a separate MOA.
Multiple Property Document: Carey and Reclamation Acts Irrigation Projects in Oregon 1901-1978

As a part of the mitigation effort, COID developed a multiple property document (MPD) Irrigation Projects in Oregon, 1850-1978, through which the required nominations would be made. In June 2016, the MPD was brought before the SACHP for consideration. At that hearing the Committee felt that, among other concerns, the MPD was too ambitious, and attempted to cover too much, recommending that the MPD be revised to focus only on federal irrigation efforts, broadly defined to include those authorized by or built by the federal government. Due to these concerns and others, the SACHP voted to postpone decision on the MPD
pending revisions and reconsideration at a later hearing.
During the late summer and autumn of 2016, the MPD was revised to address the comments provided by the SACHP, most notably to focus on the period of federal involvement. The revised MPD, Federal Irrigation Projects in Oregon, 1901-1978 was heard at the February meeting of the SACHP in Portland at 9:30am on February 16, 2017, and approved on the condition that the SHPO and BoR consult to address BoR concerns. This consultation was completed, including renaming the document “Carey and Reclamation Acts Irrigation Projects in Oregon 1901-1978,” in order to more accurately reflect the nature of those projects, among other revisions. The MPD was forwarded to the NPS on May 19, 2017 for their consideration, and approved by the Keeper of the National Register on July 10, 2017.
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Central Oregon Canal: Brasada Ranch Segment Historic District

The nominated segment of the Central Oregon Canal is located in Crook County, approximately seven miles south of the community of Powell Butte and 5 miles north of the community of Alfalfa. The nominated segment occurs primarily on land owned by the Brasada Ranch Resort, with a small portion owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This segment is nominated for its association with the development of the Central Oregon Canal system of which it is a part, and is illustrative of the engineering required develop the gravity-fed system. This segment was not brought before the SACHP at the June 2016 meeting, due to the late identification of the small portion of the resource that occurs on land owned by the BLM, too late to notify BLM with sufficient lead-time to meet the requirements of the National Park Service’s regulations associated with National Register nominations. Therefore, this nomination was reviewed and revised to reflect comments made regarding the MPD and Pilot Butte Canal: Downtown Redmond Segment Historic District that were applicable.

This revised nomination was heard by the SACHP on February 16, 2017 in Portland. The committee voted to recommend that the NPS list the nominated canal segment in the NRHP, pending revisions to address SACHP comments. Through consultation with the BLM, which owns a portion of the canal, arrangements were made for the BLM’s federal preservation officer to sign the nomination as well before sending on to the NPS. The nomination was provided to BLM for their signature in July 2017. Once BLM’s preservation officer has signed, the nomination will be sent to NPS for consideration.
--> Post-SACHP revision memo [pdf]

--> Central Oregon Canal: Brasada Ranch Sement Historic District nomination as sent to BLM [pdf]

Property owners' letters of support may be submitted to NPS by regular mail. Original sgined and notarized objections must be mailed directly to NPS located at:
National Register of Historic Places
1849 C Street NW, Mail Stop 7228
Washington, DC 20240
--> Support Form [pdf]

-->  Objection Form [pdf]
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Pilot Butte Canal: Downtown Redmond Segment Historic District

The nominated segment of the Pilot Butte Canal is located in Redmond, Oregon, along the east side of the city. This segment is associated with the irrigation system itself, and is also directly associated with the founding of the City of Redmond. In 1905, Frank T. Redmond settled near what is now the foot of NW Dogwood Ave., building his residence immediately adjacent to the canal, completed the prior year. Redmond laid out his town along the west side of the canal in 1906.

In June 2016, COID nominated a segment beginning near the foot of NW Dogwood Avenue and extending north approximately 0.5 mile to just south of NW Kingwood Ave. for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination was brought forward for consideration by the SACHP at the June 2016 meeting of that body. During that review, the committee generally supported the nomination, but expressed concern around the length of the nominated segment, and the decision to bound the nominated segment where COID’s fee-ownership ended, an approach that is generally not supported by the National Park Service. Due to this, and the postponement of decision on the MPD through which it would be nominated, decision on the Pilot Butte Canal: Downtown Redmond Segment likewise postponed for reconsideration at a later hearing.
Based on the comments provided by the SACHP and NPS guidelines, COID revised the nominated segment to begin where the canal emerges from subterranean pipe at the south near NW Dogwood Ave., extending north for approximately 1.3 miles to where the canal returns underground near NW Quince Ave. to cross beneath Highway 97. This revised nominated segment was considered by the SACHP at the coming meeting in Portland on February 16, 2017. The committee voted to recommend that the NPS list the canal segment in the NRHP, pending revisions addressing concerns raised at the meeting. The revisions were made, and the nomination was sent to the NPS on May 19, 2017. The Keeper of the National Register formally listed the Pilot Butte Canal: Downtown Redmond Segment Historic District on July 10, 2017.

--> Post-SACHP revision memo [pdf]
Vale Project: Lateral 278 Segment Historic District

The nominated segment of the Vale Project is located in the Willow Creek Division of the Vale Project, northwest of the City of Vale. The historic district focuses on the last remaining segment of Lateral 278, which is also the last remaining intact segment constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the late 1930s. The Civilian Conservation Corps was created by the federal government during the Great Depression in an effort to develop and improve national infrastructure while providing employment for citizens during a period of intense unemployment. The nomination also includes approximately 200 feet of the Vale Main canal in order to provide a clear connection to the main element in the system, and clearly place the nominated lateral segment within the overall context of the system. Because the nominated resource is entirely federally owned, this is classified as a federal nomination, and review by the SHPO and SACHP are a courtesy extended by the Bureau of Reclamation. Although property owners within whose property the federally-owned canal and lateral occur will be notified, they are not afforded the opportunity to object.
 
The Vale Project: Lateral 278 Segment Historic District nomination was heard by the SACHP on February 16, 2017 in Portland. The committee voted to recommend that the NPS list the nominated canal and lateral segment in the NRHP, pending revisions to address SACHP comments. Through consultation with the BoR, which owns a portion of the canal, arrangements were made for the BoR’s federal preservation officer to review and sign the nomination before sending on to the NPS. The nomination was provided to BoR’s federal preservation officer for their review in May 2017. Once BoR’s preservation officer has completed their review, and any revisions made, the nomination will be sent to NPS for consideration.
 
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Timeline for Irrigation Canal Segments nomination

The Central Oregon Canal: Brasada Ranch Segment Historic District and Vale Project: Lateral 278 Segment Historic District nominations are currently under review by the federal preservation officers of the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation, respectively. When those agencies complete their reviews, they may opt to sign and forward them unchanged to the National Park Service for review, revise them and return them to our office for continued consultation, or open consultation on revision with our office, with revision to take place subsequently. Unless substantive changes are made (adding or removing a significance criterion, revising the Area or Period of Significance, etc.), these nominations need not be returned to the SACHP for additional comment. Once the nominations are received by the NPS for final consideration, notice of receipt will be published in the Federal Register. The NPS review period extends for 45 days from the date published in the Federal Register, and the comment period remains open until NPS renders their decision to list or return the nominations. 
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Commenting on the Listing of the Pilot Butte Canal Historic District

The commenting period for the Central Oregon Canal: Brasada Ranch Segment Historic District and Vale Project: Lateral 278 Segment Historic District remain open. The comment periods of the Carey and Reclamation Actions Irrigation Projects in Oregon, 1901-1978 and Pilot Butte Canal: Downtown Redmond Segment Historic District are closed. Questions regarding the listing of this MPD and relatd nominations in the National Register of Historic Places may be directed to:

 

Jason Allen, Historic Preservation Specialist
Oregon State Historic Preservation Office
725 Summer Street NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301
 
 
 
THIS PAGE LAST UPDATED DECEMBER 15, 2016