A poem for May Day, remembering the young women who died: “The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire”

This is a true story told in Robert Phillips’ poem.

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

by Robert Phillips

I, Rose Rosenfeld, am one of the workers
who survived. Before the inferno broke out,
factory doors had been locked by the owners,

to keep us at our sewing machines,
to keep us from stealing scraps of cloth.
I said to myself, What are the bosses doing?
I knew they would save themselves.

I left my big-button-attacher machine,
climbed the iron stairs to the tenth floor
where their offices were. From the landing window

I saw girls in shirtwaists flying by,
Catherine wheels projected like Zeppelins
out open windows, then plunging downward,
sighing skirts open parasols on fire.

I found the big shots stuffing themselves
into the freight elevator going to the roof.
I squeezed in. While our girls were falling,

we ascended like ashes. Firemen
yanked us onto the next-door roof.
I sank to the tarpaper, sobbed for
one-hundred forty-six comrades dying

or dead down below. One was Rebecca,
my only close friend, a forewoman kind to workers.
Like the others, she burned like a prism.

Relatives of twenty-three victims later
Brought suits.
Each family was awarded seventy-five dollars.
It was like the Titanic the very next year-
No one cared about the souls in steerage.

Those doors were locked, too, a sweatshop at sea.
They died due to ice, not fire. I live in
Southern California now. But I still see

skirts rippling like parachutes,
girls hit the cobblestones, smell smoke,
burnt flesh, girls cracking like cheap buttons,
disappearing like so many dropped stitches.


Butte County “Water Policy Workshop” – please attend this important meeting.

If you have any concerns, ideas or comments about water, saving wildlife habitat, or rural and urban water use in Butte County, then please attend this important meeting. Some of the items to be discussed are: The Tuscan Aquifer, the proposed Paradise Irrigation District water pipeline, ground water use, surface water use and the proposed new “Tuscan Water District.”  See details below photos.

Paradise Irrigation District reservoir, before the Camp Fire.


Paradise Reservoir during the drought of 2015, compare with above photo, by KarenLaslo.


Sacramento River, Butte County.


Oroville Dam.


Mallard pair on Chico Creek.


Chico Creek, Five Mile, Bidwell Park

Water Policy Workshop
December 17, 2019
Start time 1:00 PM
Board of Supervisors Chambers
25 County Center Drive, Oroville

On December 17, 2019, the Butte County Board of Supervisors will hold a Water Policy Workshop. The workshop will include a presentation of adopted Butte County water resource policies as well as an overview of water supply challenges. Over the past two decades, Butte County has enacted numerous water resource policies and programs. Starting in 1996, through the voter approved Butte County Code,

Butte County Water Policy Workshop

Chapter 33, Groundwater Conservation, a significant policy foundation has been established. In 2010, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Butte County General Plan 2030, which includes an optional Water Resource Element that specifies the County’s water resource policies, programs and intended future actions. Since the adoption of the General Plan 2030, water resource issues in the County have been affected by periods of severe drought, ongoing climate change, implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and water supply impacts from disasters such as the Camp Fire. With these ongoing and emerging issues, it is timely for the Board and community to revisit Butte County Water Policies with an opportunity for Board discussion and/or action, public comment, and Board direction to staff. The Water Policy Workshop is timed for 1:00 p.m. on December 17, 2019, and may be continued to a future date if the Board determines additional time is needed for discussion, public comment, or Board direction.

The agenda for the workshop is listed below.
1) Introduction
2) Policy Foundation
3) County Activities
4) Local Water Supply Challenges
5) Public Comment
6) Policy Discussion and Direction to Staff
Workshop materials can be found at the Department of Water and Resource Conservation web page.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with you. We look forward to continuing our dedication to cooperation, collaboration and keeping control of our water in the hands of locals. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions you may have.
Administrative Analyst
Butte County Department of Water & Resource Conservation