Winter of Our Discontent

By Jim Morris

The announcement that came through that Sunday afternoon brings me a chill to this day. Although I wasn’t part of the massive evacuation due to the Oroville Spillway emergency, my heart sunk at the news and am eternally thankful the worst fears imaginable weren’t realized.

This winter has been the proverbial double-edged sword; replenishing water for our environment, cities and farms. The mammoth rain and snowfall has also damaged levees, crumbled riverbanks and frayed nerves throughout the valley.

Much work will continue for the next several months, as repairs continue at Oroville and levees and riverbanks are closely watched as runoff from a massive snowpack winds its way down from the Sierra.

There have been bright moments through it all. Neighbors helping neighbors, schools, Churches and Sikh Temples opened their doors to evacuees, and the Maxwell community shined as it provided the resources and manpower to get Kim’s Country Café reopened following significant flood damage.

As I drive through our valley, signs of spring are popping up. There are blooming orchards with vibrant mustard, rice fields are drying and farmers are prepping equipment for spring planting. Good signs that we’re moving on.

Our valley has persevered through past challenges and will do so again.

It’s our way.


Jim Morris is Communications Manager for the California Rice Commission. Jim has worked in communications for more than 20 years. When he’s not on the job, he enjoys his family, faith, football, outrageous monster stories and running marathons.