History of the Linn Soil and Water Conservation District



            The first district to form in Linn County was the Linn-Lane Soil and Water Conservation District which was organized December 23, 1946, and had as its first Board of Supervisors: Randall Grimes, Chair; Reese Janigan; Wilbur Evans; A.B. Herman; and Ben Christensen.  The original secretary was O.E. Mikesell, County Agent.


            Randall Grimes, from that original Board, served on the State soil and Water Conservation Commission for 13 years and was chairman of the Commission during that time, from 1953-1966.  Ben Christensen, of the Linn-Lane Board, was one of the original Board members of the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts, and served as treasurer of the Association from 1954 to 1991.


            A second district then formed in July 1954.  It was the East Linn Soil Conservation District, and had as its first Board of Supervisors; O.R. Griffen, Chair; Leo Metcalf; Elmer Donicht; Joe Schlies; and Stan Lenox.  The original secretary was O.E. Milesell, County Agent.


            The districts in Linn County were very active, particularly in drainage improvement and flood control programs.  They sponsored numerous projects through the Upper Willamette RC&D program and through the Public Law 566 programs.  Projects include the Lacomb Gravity Flow Irrigation System; Albany Montieth Park; Periwinkle Flood control and Recreation Project; and the Little Muddy, Rowland, South Priceboro, Little Oak, Halsey, Peedee RC&D Flood Control measures, and the Grand Prairie Watershed Project.  The original Linn-Lane District was formed around the Muddy Creek Irrigation Project in Linn and Lane counties, and put a considerable amount of effort into improving the irrigation project.


            The Linn-Lane District was also one of the most active districts in equipment programs in the state, and the Linn District has retained a considerable amount of funding in its district treasury as a result of that program.


            The Linn Soil and Water Conservation District was then organized March 7, 1978, through a consolidation of the East Linn and Linn-Lane Soil and Water conservation Districts.  The district now includes almost all of Linn County except a small portion near Sweet Home, and also includes the Coburg community of Lane County.


            The first Board of Directors of the Linn SWCD included Paul Livingston as Chairman; Ernest Glaser; Vice-Chairman; Lynn Barnes, Treasurer; Ben Christensen; Leonard Opel; Glenn Wilson; and Merwin Vannice.  The District Secretary was Kay Burton, who was hired by the district with funds furnished by Linn County.