At the Crossroads of Back-to-the-Land
By Kevin L. Carson
“You’re making some major upgrades to our power distribution,” I remarked to the rigger as he paused for a moment at the controls of his cable truck.
For weeks, I had observed crews of linemen advancing across the Palouse from a Moscow substation towards Deary. Upgrades included new wooden and metal poles and new power lines for transmission. Boom trucks were replacing poles and setting in breakers and new transformers. In June 2016, when the construction finally reached my house in Troy twelve miles from Deary, my wife Jann and I struck up a conversation with the workers.
“Part of this project is planned maintenance and we have a growing demand for power and service for Deary,” he told us. “We’re upgrading to new transmission lines. There are big plans out there.”
“What kind of plans?”
He shrugged. “New businesses are coming in. I heard something about industrial work and mining. Farms are expanding. That kind of work needs upgraded power.”
In the mid-1990s, I worked with the high school in Deary while doing vocational technical outreach for Lewis–Clark State College in Lewiston. Deary’s high school had an excellent teaching staff and I enjoyed my time there. I remember good kids, eager to learn. Whenever I made the drive to Deary, I couldn’t help but be a bit awed by the sight of the mountains in the distance and the prominence that rises so high above the town.