Communities, Front Page, Oakridge/Westfir, Outdoors

Unique fly-fishing event gets Westfir council nod; Katherine Bishop chosen to fill vacated position

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The Tenkara Bug Out, a catch-and-release fly-fishing event featuring Japanese rod techniques, seeks to return to Westfir since its first event in 2017. Tankera But Out photo

By DEAN REA/Editor/The Herald — A gathering of unique fly-fishing advocates received tentative permission of the Westfir City Council to use Portal Park for the fifth annual Tenkara Bug Out, and Katherine Bishop was chosen Monday night to fill the council position vacated by Nicole Davis.

As many as four dozen people are expected to participate in a form of Japanese fly-fishing known as tenkara, a technique in which no reel is used, according to Jim Vandagrift, organizer of the July 9-10 event. The council reaction was positive, pending satisfactory answers to application questions.

The July fly-fishing event in the park, which has easy access to the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, is expected to draw 35 to 40 participants from around the country, Vandagrift said during an interview earlier in the day.

In describing the fishing method, Vandagrift said, “You don’t spook the fish because you can make the fly land first without the line striking the water.” The average cost of a rod is $150, and 12- and 14-pound line normally is used,” he added.

Katherine Biship, Westfir city council
Katherine Bishop Dean Rea/The Herald

An expert will explain how to use the fishing rod and then will issue “loaner rods” to participants who need them. Most, if not all of the anglers, will catch fish before the event closes, Vandagrift said.

“I’m happy to see them coming back,” said Mayor Melody Cornelius.

Bishop was the unanimous choice of council members to fill Seat No. 3 until the term ends in November. Other candidates were Derett Huey, who said she has lived in Westfir five years, and Elise O’Brien, a University of Oregon student specializing in planning and public management. Huey said she would consider seeking a seat on the budget committee.

Bishop, who has three decades of public sector experience, is the environmental services program manager for the city of Springfield. She is responsible for budget development, financial analyses, utility billing and rate modeling for stormwater, local and regional wastewate programs.

Previously Bishop was the senior analyst and fiscal officer in the utilities, police and city administrator’s office in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and served as the senior administrative assistant to the Curry County district attorney’s office in Gold Beach.

A supplemental budget increase was authorized to account for grant funds that are due during the fiscal year and to reimburse a new auditing firm.

The council also forwarded a $200 check of appreciation by Oregon Electric to the Oakridge Fire Department, who was responsible for providing service for an event.

Lane County expects to repaint the covered bridge this summer, reported City Recorder Nicole Tritten.

Four employees were granted pay raises based on 3 percent cost-of-living and 3 percent merit standards established by the city.

In addition to Mayor Melody Cornelius, councilors attending the two-hour meeting were Kelly Packard, D’Lynn Williams and Edward Johnstone.


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