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Salem Keizer We Stand Together Education Forum
Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 7:30 am
Celeste Guptill has been involved in some facet of alternative education for over twenty years. She has participated with several different homeschool methods, researched and advocated in Salem-Keizer for charter schools. She is going to present several options for alternative education models available and give tips on how to access those, to help you find what will work best for your family.
The Rec, 3500 River Road North, Keizer



Oregon State Fair
Friday, August 26, 2022 at 10:00 am
Which part of the Oregon State Fair are you most excited for? We'll keep adding to the fun all summer long!
Salem, Or



Washington County Candidate Meet and Greet
Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 6:30 pm
Join our Washington County State House and Senate Candidates and Oregon State and National Candidates to discuss issues that are important to you, your family, and your community. Refreshments provided.
King City Clubhouse 15245 SW 116th Ave. King City, Oregon 97224



Linn County GOP Gala and Auction
Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Keynote Speaker Dave Sanderson, 2009 "Miracle on the Hudson" survivor.

linngop.com/galatickets
Linn County Expo Center



Washington County GOP Reagan Dinner
Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 6:00 pm
Tickets for Reagan Dinner 2022 in Hillsboro September 17th, now on sale at www.washco.gop, featuring former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.



Oregon General Election
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 8:00 pm
Statewide


View All Calendar Events


Brown to Attend Climate Summit in Scotland
“We ensure that communities hit by climate change due to structural racism are not left behind”

Governor Kate Brown Outlines Goals for 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties Governor Kate Brown will travel to Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties. In a press release, she said that the reason for her attendance is "to discuss the impacts of climate change on Oregonians, as well as to highlight the actions Oregon has taken to reduce carbon emissions, transition to clean energy, and ensure that Oregonians disproportionately impacted by climate change are not left behind."

“I have been Governor since 2015, and it was about that time that Oregon took a front row seat to climate change,” said Governor Brown. “Nearly every year the extreme weather has been worse than the last. We are a warning for the rest of the world.

“We must continue to move urgently and with focus -- and we can tackle climate change and grow our economy at the same time. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Oregon is a shining example of how it can be done.

“What is clear is we cannot leave behind our historically underserved communities. In Oregon, we have worked to ensure that our communities hardest hit by climate change due to structural racism and systemic disparities are not left behind.

“Future generations will judge us not on the fact of climate change, but on what we have done to tackle it. The time is now, we can’t afford to wait.”

In addition to Governor Brown, State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) is already at the convention. He sent out an email describing the work of the conference.

I'm here with a delegation of U.S. elected officials across the country to show the importance of America leading the world to protect our communities and nation from the climate emergency.

I'm writing to you because next week we will deliver a letter from more than 350 state and local elected officials from dozens of states calling for a federal climate emergency declaration and plan.

For the health, security, and prosperity of Oregon, our country, and our planet, we must take urgent action to address the climate crisis.

Congress passing the Build Back Better Act and President Biden declaring a Climate Emergency is a vital first step to address what President Biden described as an "existential threat" at COP26 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as an imminent danger that is "one minute to midnight."

Both officials are attending at taxpayer expense.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 10:54:52Last Update: 2021-11-05 11:20:29



Teachers’ Union Sues Newberg School District
Does flagrant political indoctrination belong in the classroom?

The teachers' union for the Newberg School District, the Newberg Education Association has filed a lawsuit against the school district claiming that the banning of Black Lives Matter and Pride flags has violated teachers' rights of self-expression as described in the Oregon and US Constitutions.

The suit names the school district and the School Board members who personally participated in the adoption of the resolution at issue in this case, David Brown, Brian Shannon, Renee Powell, and Trever DeHart.

According to the complaint, filed in Yamhill County Circuit Court:

On or about August 10, 2021, at the next District Board meeting, Board members and individual defendants Brown, Shannon, DeHart, and Powell voted to: “direct the Superintendent to remove all Black Lives Matter (a.k.a. BLM) signs, flags, placards, apparel, buttons, and all other modes of display, and all instances of the symbol known as the Pride flag from District facilities immediately, and direct the Policy Committee to draft policy language prohibiting the display of political signs, flags, apparel, buttons, and placards, and all other modes of display from District facilities, with the sole exception of the American flag and the Oregon state flag, with exemptions as it sees proper. The language contained in this directive shall only apply to District staff and faculty while in the performance of their official duties as District employees.” District Superintendent Joe Morelock indicated that he would need guidance from legal counsel before implementing the directive.

The teachers' union sets up the complaint by describing the political landscape.

In May of 2020, the killing of George Floyd by police, caught on video, sparked outrage throughout the country, prompting many, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, to take to the streets in protest and to issue public statements both acknowledging the harm caused by systemic racism and calling for the education necessary to combat racism in all its forms. Statements acknowledging the public importance of the issue were published not just by private corporate entities, but also by public agencies, including the Oregon Supreme Court.

The complaint asserts that teachers "displayed BLM posters and Pride flags, and/or other paraphernalia without disruption to the education environment and in support of and in solidarity with fellow teachers and students who are Black and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Questioning (“LGBTQIA+)."

In the complaint, the plaintiffs maintain that the policy violates their rights under Article I, Sections 8 and 20 of the Oregon Constitution and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

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Article 1, Section 8 is the free speech guarantee of the Oregon Constitution. It says, "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right."

Article 1, Section 20 is the equality guarantee of the Oregon Constitution. It says "No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens." For some, this allegation is interesting and ironic, as many of the objectionable issues involve violations of equality -- favoring minority and non-traditional gender identity students over others.

According to the complaint:

The District policy prohibiting plaintiff Association members from “hang[ing], post[ing], erect[ing], or otherwise display[ing] any posters, signs, flags, banners, pictures or other digital or physical image that depicts support or opposition relating to a political, quasi-political, or controversial topic,” is vague and overbroad in its scope, leaving Association members without guidance as to what speech is prohibited and potentially a violation of District policy leading to potential discipline by the District and/or their licensing through the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (“TSPC”) in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of due process of law.

If nothing else, this suit will shine a light on public schools and make a statement about whether they exist for the students or for the teachers and whether flagrant political indoctrination belongs in the classroom.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-05 10:09:53Last Update: 2021-11-05 10:54:52



Drazan: Governor Traumatizes Victims
Democrats bumble juvenile crime policy during a crime wave

It started in 2019 -- a session where if one didn't know any better, they might think that the criminals had some powerful lobbyists. Among other bills, the legislature passed SB 1008 including sentence reductions for some juvenile crimes, which -- under Measure 11, the mandatory sentencing rule -- required a two-thirds majority to pass.

Though Democrat Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) voted against it, two Senate Republicans -- Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) and Dallas Heard (R-Winston) voted for it, passing it with exactly two-thirds.

It needed all the Democrat votes plus two Republican votes to pass the House. In the end, four House Republicans joined the Democrat caucus -- Representatives Lynn Findley (R-Vale), E. Werner Reschke(R-Klamath Falls), Greg Smith (R-Heppner) and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford).

It was widely understood that the bill was not retroactive. Testimony on the floor of the House assured that. Even Representative David Brock Smith issued a vote explanation following his yes vote, noting that the bill "is not retroactive, applies only to sentences imposed after January 1, 2020, and no currently incarcerated youth offenders will be released by its passage."

The Oregon District Attorneys' Association begged for a no vote, saying,

"SB 1008 makes sweeping changes to Oregon's juvenile justice system, including removing mandatory sentences for 15, 16, and 17 year-olds who hurt others with guns, commit violet rape, and commit aggravated murder.

While ODAA agrees that Oregon's juvenile justice system needs improvement, overriding a ballot initiative with a legislative super-majority is not the answer. Legislative amendments to a criminal justice ballot initiative...

Recently, Governor Brown announced her intention to commute the sentences of several Measure 11 felons -- most now adults -- who were sentenced under the old Measure 11 sentences for violent crimes as youths a move that many read as contradicting the promise that SB 1008 would not be retroactive.

This week Governor Brown’s commutation list for prison sentences was made available to the media before victims were notified, prioritizing violent offenders and harming victims and their families.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement in response to Governor Kate Brown’s commutation of sentences:

“The Governor continues to abuse executive power and is now minimizing the voices of victims. Voters passed Measure 11 to give victims of violent crimes the security of justice and safety with truth in sentencing. The Governor is circumventing voters and the Legislature to clear the path for these violent offenders to be released, despite the trauma it causes victims and their families as they’re forced to relive these crimes.”

The Department of Corrections said it has identified a total of 248 people who meet the governor’s criteria for commutation.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-04 20:45:01Last Update: 2021-11-04 20:58:07



Oregon Provides Free Well Testing
Low income and communities of color will be prioritized

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is offering free domestic well water testing to about 2,000 households affected by wildfire that rely on wells for drinking water.

The Oregon Legislature allocated funds for free well testing in response to the devastating wildfires of 2020. Many communities and households were still digging out from ash and debris when the original program’s funding expired in June 2021.

Oregon Health Authority states that people with low income and communities of color will be prioritized.

Well users whose properties were affected by wildfires can find steps needed to access the funds, which became available Nov. 1st. Well owners will find guidance on how to assess damage, take action to protect their well, and test their well water to confirm it is safe to drink.

Curtis Cude, manager of the Oregon Health Authority’s Domestic Well Safety Program, urges well owners to “follow recommendations in the well damage assessment.”

“Make sure you know what work you are authorized to do and when you need to hire a licensed professional,” Cude said.

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Actions may include: OHA will provide testing vouchers to well users through May 15, 2023. To ensure that all 2020 wildfire-affected domestic well users can receive free testing, OHA can offer one voucher per affected well.

Well users can select from a list of approved environmental laboratories in Oregon that will honor the vouchers for testing services. The tests will look for presence of bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, lead and chemicals that are hazardous by-products of fire.

Applications can be found online.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2021-11-04 16:34:41Last Update: 2021-11-04 16:48:45



Oregon Kids Can Get the Vax
“It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines”

In the wake of CDC suddenly changing the definition of vaccine, Governor Brown endorses the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup’s conclusion to vaccinate 5- to 11-year-olds. In an effort to change how we understand the concept of vaccines, the CDC changed their definition to “A preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases.” Previously, it read, “A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.” It is no longer a preventative but a stimulating agent that doesn’t produce immunity.

Governor Brown ignored these implications in her announcement. “This is great news for Oregon children, parents, and families. Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, Oregon parents and children can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5-to-11-year-olds. It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines -- I urge you to reach out to your family doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup is made up of 18 medical personnel from four states: 12 from California and two from Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The workgroup was formed to review the federal process for recommendations to ensure safety of the COVID-19 vaccinations. They independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine approved by the FDA for distribution.

Governor Kate Brown said, “The independent review conducted by this panel of doctors, scientists, and health experts will ensure that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone, especially communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this disease.”

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In the November 3 report, the workgroup concluded that a thorough review of the evidence presented to the FDA by Pfizer from their clinical trial in children ages 5-11 years of age was 90% safe for that age group, and therefore, they deem it safe. How did they come to that conclusion?

The Workgroup carefully assessed the safety data for the vaccine, including the absence of any severe adverse events among vaccine recipients in the clinical trial. Reactions were mild, self-limited, similar to those seen in adolescents and adults and with other vaccines routinely recommended for children and were less common in those ages 5-11 years than in those 16-25 years. Based on the substantial experience in older children and adolescents, the Workgroup concluded that the risk of myocarditis following receipt of the lower dose vaccine in children 5-11 years of age is likely to be low. How likely?

Pfizer’s website says, “The landmark Pfizer-BioNTech Phase 3 clinical trial began in late July 2020, recruiting participants aged 12 and over. Close to three thousand participants were adolescents: 2,259 participants were between the ages of 12-15 and 754 participants were 16 and 17 years old. In March 2021, Pfizer and BioNTech dosed the first healthy children in a global Phase 1/2/3 continuous study to learn if the vaccine can produce an immune response against COVID-19, and if it is safe, in children aged 6 months to 11 years.” It appears they never did tests on children under 12, but if they did, however many healthy children they tested, it was only a six-month study.

Oregon is one of a few states that is below 10% likelihood that your kids will get COVID-19, and since September the cases have been dropping for kids nationwide, according to NBC News. Those getting COVID-19 have reported flu-like symptoms. Governor Brown would have you think otherwise.

“The Workgroup concluded the vaccine is safe and effective in this age group, because substantial numbers of children of this age remain at risk of COVID-19 illness and its complications, including hospitalization and death, the Workgroup is confident that the benefits of this vaccine for children ages 5-11 years substantially outweigh any known or likely risks. Therefore, the Workgroup supports its use under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a two-dose series of 10 μg per dose given three weeks apart.”

The take away is verification that 17 out of 18 medical professionals on the workforce can read FDA documents. It is baffling why these four state governors question the FDA findings when the workforce looks no deeper than the FDA, and then publishes uncommittable recommendations.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-03 18:51:10Last Update: 2021-11-03 21:20:08



Rose Quarter Vaccine Mandates Vary
It depends on the event

The two Rose Quarter venues -- both the Moda Center and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum -- home to the Portland Trailblazers basketball team of the NBA and the Portland Winterhawks of the Canadian Hockey League -- has differing policies requiring proof of vaccination to attend some events, including some concerts. For instance, an upcoming Andrea Bocelli concert describes these requirements:

Rose Quarter requires all guests ages 12 and up are required to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event or a negative lab-based rapid test within 48 hours of the event.

Acceptable as proof of vaccination:

Acceptable as proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or lab-based rapid test:

The Ticketmaster link for Blazer basketball games has a notice which reads: "The Event Organizer is requiring proof of a negative test or COVID-19 vaccination to attend this event. Please check their website for details."

The Portland Winterhawks hockey team does not seem to require vaccines.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-03 11:03:22Last Update: 2021-11-03 10:40:51



Negotiations and Threats Produce Forest Deal
Look for legislation in the 2022

Governor Kate Brown -- trained as an environmental lawyer -- has announced that nearly ten months of negotiations between private forestry representatives, small forestland owners, conservation leaders, and fishing organizations has resulted in a historic proposal for new regulations on over 10 million acres of forestland in Oregon. The proposal seeks to meet the federal standards for a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan. The changes to the Forest Practices Act agreed to by the parties will be brought before the Legislature.

In 2019, environmental groups created pressure by filing three ballot measures each of which increased the regulatory scope of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. IP 35 increased regulations on logging and aerial spraying near waterways. IP 36 and IP 37 each increased regulations on clearcuts and made changes to the Oregon Board of Forestry. These ballot measures brought the timber industry to the table and talks resulted in an agreement between environmentalists and the timber industry which resulted in the Oregon Legislature passed SB 1602 during the first special session of 2020.

Governor Brown made this statement:

“Today’s historic agreement is a perfect example of the Oregon Way -- coming together at the table to find common ground, to the mutual benefit of us all,” said Governor Brown. “Together, this agreement will help to ensure that Oregon continues to have healthy forests, fish, and wildlife, as well as economic growth for our forest industry and rural communities, for generations to come. I would like to thank everyone involved for their role in making this agreement a reality today.”

The parties agreed on a framework for: On January 12, the parties began a series of meetings in which they discussed proposed changes to forest practices, pursuing a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan from federal agencies for threatened and endangered species, which would provide more regulatory certainty for landowners and long-term conservation benefits to designated wildlife species. The parties worked intensively throughout the year towards formalizing an agreement to bring before the Legislature.

Legislation will be brought forward to the Oregon Legislature to solidify the Private Forest Accords in statute. The State will bring forward the proposal for consideration by NOAA Fisheries and the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Habitat Conservation Plan.

These deals come at a time when lumber prices are at historic highs and housing availability is in crisis, and these regulations will surely put more pressure on these factors.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-03 10:40:04Last Update: 2021-11-03 10:25:17



Nothing to See Here. Move Along.
Courts are likely to approve of the Oregon redistricting plan

The challenge to the validity of the Oregon Congressional redistricting map -- including the new 6th congressional district -- as described in SB 881 has received a hearing. Martha Walters, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court has appointed a Special Judicial Panel to hear the petition. The redistricting plan was created in part by Representative Andrea Salinas, who chaired the House Special Committee On Congressional Redistricting and drew herself into the newly created 6th district -- which has no incumbent -- and has since announced a run for that district.

The Special Judicial Panel, in turn and pursuant, requested and received appointment of a Special Master, Henry Breithaupt, Senior Judge, to receive evidence and to prepare recommended findings of fact in this case. It is considered to be predictive of how the case will be decided.

The report focuses on the requirements for the creation of a congressional district. It notes that they are contiguous, contain very nearly equal population and notes that "each district utilizes existing geographic or political boundaries. The districts utilize boundaries including county lines, city lines, state borders, highways rivers, shorelines, and the boundaries of the Warm Springs Reservation."

It considers split counties. The report says that "According to the statutory references to “portion[s]” of counties, there are 11 counties that fall within two or more districts" and concludes that "the vast majority of the lines that SB 881 draws across Oregon follow existing geographic or political boundaries.

Districts are not permitted to divide "communities of common interest", though this is not defined in statute. Most of the 78-page report is recounting testimony of witnesses who described how the proposed boundaries impact communities of common interest.

Likewise, Oregon law provides that "each district, as nearly as practicable, shall be connected by transportation links," and the report concludes that the proposed map complies.

The report considers whether or not the proposed redistricting plan favors "any political party, incumbent legislator or any other person."

Some Service Employees International Union Local 503 members testified before the legislature in connection with congressional redistricting. There was also an ongoing conversation between SEIU and particular legislators about redistricting that included Portland, the largest city in Oregon.

The Executive Director of SEIU Local 503, Melissa Unger, had ongoing conversations with two members of Democratic Leadership, Representative Salinas and Speaker Kotek, along with a chief of staff for Speaker Kotek, Lindsey O’Brien, during the weekend before the vote on SB 881-A that were focused on whether the map could pass through the representative legislative process, with a particular focus on drawing a map that Republicans would show up to vote on (as opposed to denying a quorum), which was SEIU’s primary interest.

According to testimony from Unger, “I was not involved in the details of the map, the actual, like, districts. I was involved in the strategy of which map would be acceptable to get the Republicans to show up and vote for it.”

Expert testimony from various academics with credentials in political science were considered.

In expert testimony, Dr. Jonathan Katz, a professor of social sciences and statistics at the California Institute of Technology who holds a Ph.D. in political science, countered Petitioners’ assertion that the Enacted Map contains five Democratic seats and one Republican seat, emphasizing that “this is not how we should think about fairness, which should be based on partisan symmetry” rather than proportionality, and determining that “it is not an accurate assessment of the map” since “Democrats are expected to win [on average] 3.85 seats assuming all seats were open.”

Similarly, Dr. Devin Caughey, a tenured professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who holds a PhD in political science from the University of California–Berkeley said, “There is, in short, little compelling evidence that the Oregon districting plan substantially favors the Democratic Party.”

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On the contrary, Dr. Thomas Brunell, a Professor of Political Science and the Program Head for Political Science at the University of Texas at Dallas was dismissed by the report when he "reported that Democrats are “likely” to win in five of the six congressional districts under the Enacted Map, but he could not describe with any specificity or confidence how likely such a scenario would be."

The report concludes,

"No person testified to the legislature or has asserted in this proceeding that they are denied the privilege of voting for a Representative in Congress based on an immutable characteristic.

"No person testified to the legislature or has asserted in this proceeding that SB 881 prevents them from uttering and publishing their views on candidates for office in any of the Congressional districts created under SB 881.

No person testified to the legislature or has asserted in this proceeding that SB 881 prevents them from assembling with others, petitioning their representatives for redress of grievances, or instructing their representatives.

If this report is any harbinger, the congressional redistricting plan will be approved by the courts.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-11-02 17:46:42Last Update: 2021-11-02 22:12:47



Umatilla National Forest Wildfire Restoration Update
2021 wildfire interactive story map provided

As the smoke clears from the unprecedented wildfire activity on the Umatilla National Forest this year, Forest officials will be considering several options to restore the landscape within the burned areas moving forward. Fires burn at different intensities in different areas, so specific actions will vary.

Three large wildfires burned more than 150,000 acres total and approximately 105,000 acres on the Umatilla National Forest this summer. While all the fires are now contained, some hazards may still exist including burned or dead trees, stump holes, loose rocks or logs, or isolated areas of burning material.

After any major wildfire, the landscape is transformed from the soil up to the tree canopy. Post-fire recovery work and timelines are greatly influenced by the size and severity of the wildfire. Some activities, such as suppression repair, occur prior to containment to restore impacts from suppression operations, including rehabilitating hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones, and drop points. Additionally, erosion control measures are implemented during suppression repair, such as constructing water bars (angled trenches) to route water and planting native seed.

Forest Service officials also assess hazards that remain in burned areas after fire, such as fire-weakened trees, rock fall, and areas of high erosion potential that can lead to landslides. These assessments are completed by a Burned Area Emergency Response Team (BAER) that comes in to evaluate imminent post-wildfire threats to life, safety, property and critical natural or cultural resource needs. BAER Teams have assessed and identified emergency treatments on the Lick Creek, Green Ridge and Elbow Creek fires that burned on the Pomeroy and Walla Walla Ranger Districts. Over the next several months, Forest staff will conduct emergency treatments, which include placement of roadside and recreation safety signs, replacement of damaged boundary and travel signs, repair of road and trail drainage structures, seeding around threatened and endangered species, and treatment of noxious invasive plant species.

In addition to these efforts, the Forest is developing long-term restoration strategies to help the landscape recover and become more resilient to future disturbances. Scientists and other specialists assisted Umatilla National Forest staff in identifying the ecological damage and making recommendations on specific actions that could help the area rebound naturally. Additionally, Forest staff are developing proposals for potential areas to conduct salvage harvest and replanting. Since the fire has burned in a mosaic pattern, there may be very different biodiversity impacts at different locations and elevations.

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The Forest is also evaluating infrastructure damage from this summer’s wildfires, including campgrounds, day-use areas, bridges, roads and trails. The most significant impacts identified are to the numerous trail systems within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Trail maintenance and reconstruction, as well as removal of fallen trees, will be a recurring need for several years following the wildfires. This type of work will be part of the Forest’s long-term post-wildfire restoration strategy. Falling trees and unstable trail surface are currently potential hazards in the burned areas and the public should use caution when recreating in areas that have recently burned.

To keep the public updated on post-fire recovery and long-term restoration, the Umatilla National Forest has developed an interactive story map.

Updates on fire-related projects and restoration will be posted on the story map as they are developed. The story map also provides a summary of the 2021 wildfire season, interactive maps highlighting this year’s wildfire activity, photos and maps on treatments that aided in firefighting efforts, and continued restoration activities moving forward.

Some roads remain closed. Umatilla National Forest officials are evaluating fire closures regularly and will modify or lift closures as soon as it is safe to do so based on fire activity and suppression operations. Sites directly impacted by wildfire may remain closed after fire activity has subsided while the Forest assesses hazards. Falling snags and limbs, stump holes, unstable ground, rock falls, downed trees, debris flows, and landslides can all occur in a post-fire landscape.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-01 13:46:22Last Update: 2021-11-01 16:35:49



Low Barrier Shelters in Oregon
Eliminating barriers such as sobriety standards

There are homeless and then there are unsheltered. In 2020, Oregon reported a total of 14,655 homeless, a decline of about 1200 from 2019. Out of the total, there are 4,123 whom are chronically homeless individuals, and 35-40 percent of homeless suffer from some form of mental illness. While national homeless numbers increased by 2%, Oregon saw an 8% decrease. Since 2020, Oregon has taken significant steps to further help the homeless.

The Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) established goals in 2019 for ending homelessness that includes encouraging low-barrier, safe and housing-focused shelters. A “low-barrier” center operates 24/7, and provides intensive case management to connect people to public benefits, health services, and permanent housing, through a Housing First philosophy. Shelters ensure immediate access by lowering or eliminating barriers such as sobriety standards, pet restrictions, restrictions based on identification, income, background checks, and requirements for participation in programs. Storage is required for weapons and drugs, however, they can be retrieved upon exiting the shelter. When they show up, the doors are open providing a safe, warm place for those who may not have other options.

In 2021 session, Speaker Kotek passed HB 2004, which appropriates $7 million in General Fund to OHCS, and $2 million for technical assistance for low-barrier emergency shelters or transitional housing to accommodate the unhoused from wildfires. Moneys went to establish navigation centers in the following jurisdictions: $1.5 million to the City of McMinnville; $1.5 million to the City of Roseburg, $2.5 million to the City of Bend; $2.5 million to the City of Medford; $5 million to the City of Salem; and $5 million to Lane County for a navigation center in the City of Eugene. Navigation centers are defined as low-barrier emergency shelters open seven days per week with the purpose of connecting homeless individuals and families with health services, permanent housing, and public benefits.

Many cities have also received funding from the federal COVID-19 relief funds received last year. It has provided startup and maybe the first-year operations, but various options for long-term funding is still on the table.

Salem opened Tanner House as their first low-barrier veterans housing project. Tanner House offers mental health support, peer support, and drug and alcohol case management. A front office accommodates veterans that walk in off the street that need linked to services.

The City of Bend converted their winter shelter into a year-round low-barrier homeless shelter. As with most cities, a nonprofit runs the 70-bed shelter. The nonprofit, Shepherd’s House Ministries, also provides case management and supportive services. The Council’s goal is to expand to 500 beds in a three-year action plan. There are nearly 1,000 homeless in Central Oregon reported in 2020.

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Outside of Portland, Eugene may have the next biggest issue with homeless camps. When City of Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis was asked about street camps, she told Northwest Observer, “The folks who are disaffected from society and unwilling to change their transient lifestyle are much harder to persuade to move into any kind of shelter or managed site – and I don’t imagine hotels are any better for them than any number of other options, but I could be wrong. They really present our biggest problem.”

Mayor Vinis describes the type of homeless that low-barrier shelters are meant to accommodate. The chronically homeless with physical and mental needs that are not likely to ever be transitioned back into society or a productive life style. They are not suited for micro-shelters or villages. The question is, will low-barrier centers provide a safe shelter and encourage treatment, or will it be a protected drug haven?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-10-31 09:36:55Last Update: 2021-10-30 15:09:57



Governor Brown Gets the Booster Jab
“All three of the vaccines are safe, and incredibly effective”

Governor Kate Brown today issued the following statement after receiving her COVID-19 booster shot and flu vaccine at Salem Health’s Edgewater Clinic:

"I am extremely grateful for the protection the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has given me. All three of the vaccines are safe, and incredibly effective at protecting against hospitalization and death. And now, I am grateful to have received extra protection against both COVID-19 and the flu with the Moderna booster shot and the flu shot.

"Many Oregonians are now eligible for a booster -- I encourage you to have conversations with your health care provider, like I have with my doctor, Dr. Yates, to learn more about the extra protection a booster can offer you. Vaccinations are our way out of this pandemic. If you still have questions about getting vaccinated, call your doctor or health care provider today to get your questions answered."

“The COVID-19 booster is safe and effective in prolonging protection against severe illness. The vaccine remains our only path out of the pandemic and my colleagues and I encourage everyone to get the booster when eligible,” said Dr. Ralph Yates, Chief Medical Officer, Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics. “Flu vaccines are another important way to protect one another, especially as we head into the winter months. An increase in flu cases is anticipated this year, but flu shots can help. Flu shots can be given at the same time as the booster.”

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared their recommendation for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. The Western States Scientific Safety Workgroup followed with their recommendations, which align with the federal guidance, and which Oregon will be following. All Oregonians 18 years of age or older who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose two months after their first shot.

The FDA and CDC also approved the “mix-and-match” strategy. This allows anyone qualifying for a booster to receive any of the FDA-approved vaccines. Individuals may receive either the same or a different COVID-19 vaccine, depending on advice from a health care provider, individual preference, availability or convenience.

These groups of Oregonians who received the Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago are now eligible and recommended to receive a booster shot: All Oregonians 18 years of age or older who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose two months after their first shot.

Additionally, the following group of Oregonians who received the Moderna vaccine may also receive a booster dose after six months:

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-30 10:26:54Last Update: 2021-10-30 11:03:22



Perkins Opposes Payouts for Illegal Immigrants
Asks incumbent Senator Wyden where he stands on payouts?

In a statement, Jo Rae Perkins, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has expressed deep disappointment that President Joe Biden is considering paying illegal immigrants $450,000 per person for being separated at the border.

“We should not be giving away taxpayer money to people who illegally broke into our country,” said Perkins. “What sort of message does this send? Disregard our borders and you win the lottery. That’s insane.”

The Wall Street Journal has exposed that the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health & Human Services are considering paying $450,000 per person to illegal immigrant families who were separated at the border. That means, a family of three, that illegally entered our country could receive over $1 million from U.S. taxpayers.

“Does Senator Wyden agree with this policy of using the tax dollars of hardworking Americans to pay “illegals”? He needs to let the taxpayers of Oregon know where he stands on this crazy idea being proposed by his choice for President,” said Perkins.

“Our country is $28 trillion in debt and each taxpayer owes $226,000 for the debt. Now Biden wants to hand out $1 million to illegal families. It is outrageous. This is taxpayer abuse! Moreover, this will create an even bigger crisis at the border,” said Perkins. “As the next Senator from and for Oregon, I want to tighten up regulations to end illegals receiving taxpayer funded benefits. The thought of giving payouts is un-American.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-10-30 10:13:05



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