Valley Voice Contributor

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On the morning of February 13th, 2021, people who were trying to travel between Alsea Valley and Philomath encountered an obstacle course of downed trees.  A few ran the gauntlet and emerged relatively unscathed, and others elected to stay home.  The Facebook group “Alsea: HWY 34 Road Conditions and Lobster Valley” was the main source of information for people considering the trip, aside from simply calling up their friends and neighbors.  At least fifty trees of varying sizes were blocking the highway, especially through the curves.

The cause of all this chaos was a combination of ice and wind.  For several days, freezing rain had been accumulating on the branches of trees up in the mountains, although we didn’t see much of that down in Alsea Valley. 


Then on the night of February 12th, strong winds came through, toppling the top-heavy Douglas fir trees.  Similar weather conditions were widespread throughout the state, resulting in the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) being overwhelmed and unable to respond to the situation immediately.  The highway remained open, despite being quite hazardous.

Then some local residents decided to take matters into their own hands.  Several members of the Alsea Valley Gleaners (Karl Poage, Bob Gachet, Axel Hendrix, and other helpers) mobilized to attack the hazardous trees and logs.  Starting from the west end of the affected area, they just started cutting, using chainsaws and other tools to clear the wood from the highway. 


Two teenagers helped flag traffic as the work continued.  An ODOT crew did arrive during the day on the 13th, and they started work from the east end.  Unfortunately, their main chainsaw operator was injured, so their work there mostly came to a stop.  They were able to use some heavy equipment to move logs.

As the wood was cleared from the road, some of it was piled along the shoulder, and some ended up as firewood for local elderly and disabled people.  The Gleaners (not just in Alsea, but across the country) are known for making the most of a challenging situation and mobilizing to move resources from where they are found to where they can be used.

However, the main goal that day was to get the highway clear so that it was once again passable, not only to passenger vehicles, but to emergency vehicles.  The volunteers are to be commended for their willingness to get out there in bad weather to help our whole community!  An ODOT representative expressed appreciation for the AVG members who helped clear the road.

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Mobile Vet Service

Now Available in Alsea



Valley Voice Contributor


When you go through our little town, it doesn’t seem like we have much here. But, when you begin to think about things, we have the vitals that make a full-blown town function…a school, a store, a restaurant, a post office, a gas station, a t-shirt print place, a professional herb-garden nursery, a nursery supply store, and now we have just added a local vet service.


Liz Behrenfeld, DVM along with Nova Prince-Kelly, DVM got together and decided to open a Mobile Veterinary Practice. They had both been employed at the same veterinary service in Corvallis, but when it was bought out by Willamette Vet Service and they came in with new ideas of their own, the atmosphere changed and this caused the people to change too – everyone left the place. –


Formerly Liz had thought she’d “Work there through retirement”, but it was not to be. With some time at home, she and her friend Nova decided they wanted to continue working but they’d try it this time on their own terms. They came up with each of them working 2-3 days a week. They have a manager who receives the phone calls and schedules the appointments, but who wears many other hats, such as the billing and supply maintenance and the million small things that happen in the background. Her job has also been worked out to be done from home for her as well.


At this time, they are providing care for small animals only. This is because of the equipment required for the bigger animals being cost prohibitive. Services offered for your cat or dog or other small animal include: vaccinations, removal of lumps and bumps, stitches, caring for salmonella events, euthanasia and sterilization of “boy” cats. The sterilizations are less than ¼ the cost of going into town. Putting your animal down is always painful and the advantage of them coming to you and your special pet passing in the comfort of their own home is a great benefit also.


The fees are arranged by Zone. There are three zones, and all Alseans including “all the way out to Lobster Valley” are in Zone 1, the least expensive. The cost is configured as follows: a travel fee, an exam fee, and a cost for the necessary procedure.


We are happy to welcome these two ladies to our working community. With their mission statement: “To help the community with their pets”, we can all know that we have another great addition to town! And “Dr. O” (Occhipinti) can get one step closer to full retirement.


WHO: Marys Peak Mobile Veterinary

Liz Behrenfeld, DVM and Nova Prince-Kelly, DVM

Contact info: 541-609-6169

maryspeak vet@gmail.com