The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Willamette Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s WillametteValleyMagazine.com
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Willamette Valley Weather
Explosion Next To OSU Campus Injures One Person
An explosion took place near the Oregon State University campus on Monday afternoon and a 22-year-old man was injured and taken to the hospital, police said. The man is not a student at the school, according to authorities.
The explosion happened at the 1300 block of Campus Way at McNary Field around 2:30 p.m., police said. Authorities are investigating and asking people to avoid the area.
Corvallis police say a 22-year-old Cottage Grove man was injured following an explosion at McNary Field, a park on the edge of the Oregon State University campus, Monday afternoon. Police did not name the man, but said his injuries were significant. They also said he was not an OSU student.
Police did not release any details about what caused the explosion, but said bomb-sniffing dogs and an aerial drone were deployed in the area. OSU says there is no current threat to the community.
It comes about a week after a bomb threat directed at the university’s food delivery robots caused a temporary scare. An OSU student was arrested in that incident and charged with disorderly conduct.
Suspect Wanted for Arkansas Capital Murder, Terroristic Act, and Aggravated Robbery Arrested in Eugene
At 9:17 a.m. on October 28, a Eugene Police officer was enroute to a call when he spotted a vehicle in a parking lot at 155 High Street that Eugene Police Violent Crime detectives had advised patrol to be on the lookout for.
It was associated with a suspect out of Arkansas named Rickey Lamont Howard, Jr., age 23. Howard had warrants for Capital Murder, Terroristic Act, and Aggravated Robbery.
The officer aired the information about the vehicle on High Street to additional patrol units and multiple officers worked to pin the vehicle and hail the single occupant out using a loud speaker and an air horn. The occupant was later identified as Howard and he was seen sleeping under blankets. He was moving, but not responding.
Officers deployed a distraction device and Howard was compliant. He was taken into custody without incident. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (Arkansas) will be handling the extradition. Case 23-16314
EPD Seeks Witnesses as Pedestrian in Serious Condition After Highway 99 Collision
At 5:16 a.m. on October 30, 2023, Eugene Police Department (EPD) and Eugene Springfield Fire were called for a truck vs pedestrian crash to the 1300 block of Highway 99. When crews arrived on scene the pedestrian was on the roadway, unconscious but breathing.
EPD’s preliminary investigation has revealed that a truck was driving the speed limit south on Hwy 99, and a pedestrian stepped off the curb in front of the truck. The pedestrian has been taken to RiverBend Hospital and is in serious condition.
The driver of the truck that hit the pedestrian cooperated with police, and the scene is under investigation. If you have any information or witnessed this accident please contact the EPD non-emergency line at 541-682-5111.
The southbound portion of the road was closed for several hours while police investigated.
City Of Eugene Seeks Participants In Rental Experience Survey 2023
The City of Eugene wants to know about the place you’re renting, your experience finding a place to rent, and a little bit about you.
The responses we receive will be used to inform the rental housing program in Eugene. What you share is confidential. Who you are and where you live will not be identified in the survey results.
The City will be hosting this survey every two years, along with a survey of Landlords/Property owners to gain a better understanding on the full rental housing experience in our community.
Watch your mailbox in late October – early November for an invitation to participate in the 10-minute survey about your rental experience in Eugene.
You must be a renter in Eugene to participate; if you rent and haven’t received an invitation in the mail by Nov. 3, 2023, or prefer to take the survey on paper, there’s a form to fill out on the website: https://www.eugene-or.gov/5180/Rental-Experience-Survey-2023
Enter to Win!
At the end of the survey, enter into a FREE drawing to win a gift card to a local grocery store of your choice!
OSU Veterinary Researchers To Test Hundreds Of Wild Animal Species For Covid-19
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Backed by a new cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, researchers at Oregon State University will soon begin testing approximately 1,600 wild animal specimens for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
Researchers in OSU’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine want to learn which animal species can harbor and transmit the virus to better predict future zoonotic disease outbreaks, where a pathogen jumps from animals into humans.
They will also be sequencing the full viral genome of SARS-CoV-2 whenever they find it to determine if the strain is related to recent COVID variants that have spread among humans or if it has evolved and spread independently through an animal reservoir.
“There’s always the potential for the virus to establish itself within an animal species permanently, and if that happens, there’s potential for it to be passed around among wild animals and then later spill over into humans,” said Brian Dolan, an associate professor of immunology in OSU’s veterinary college and the lead investigator on the grant.
He said that’s an unlikely scenario, but it would have disastrous implications.
“The reason we’re doing this is that as SARS-CoV-2 transmits among animal species, it could start evolving along its own trajectory and result in a virus that’s sufficiently distinct from the COVID variants currently circulating in humans,” he said. “That would be like a reset of the whole thing.”
It’s more likely that variants circulating among animals will become less capable of infecting humans as they evolve, but Dolan says it’s not worth taking the chance of the opposite outcome.
“While it’s rare, when it does happen, it’s really bad,” he said. “It’s worth keeping an eye on it, to see what’s going on.”
Dolan will work closely with the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory housed at Oregon State. The diagnostic lab tests agricultural and wildlife animal samples for infectious diseases, and in April 2020, began testing human samples for COVID-19, filling a crucial gap in the early days of the pandemic.
“From my standpoint, this project re-emphasizes the ‘one health’ mission of the lab: We don’t deal only with diseases that affect only nonhuman animals; we do lots of work that directly relates to public health,” said Kurt Williams, director of the diagnostic lab.
The research will focus more on wild animal species that may come into contact with humans, such as rodents and bats, as opposed to domestic or livestock animals because existing surveillance measures can detect the spread of SARS-CoV-2 among those groups, Dolan said. He’s partnering with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and wildlife rehabilitators throughout the state for this work.
The two-year, nearly $1 million cooperative agreement provides funding for lab technicians to add SARS-CoV-2 tests to testing panels they’re already conducting on animal samples that have been submitted to Fish and Wildlife or the diagnostic lab for other reasons. The project will only test mammals, no birds or reptiles, as mammals are the most likely animals to be infected, Dolan said.
“It’s a good investment to start looking at these human-wild animal interfaces and monitoring these sorts of diseases,” Dolan said. “It may not result in diseases that enter the human population or spread among humans, but for the relatively small investment of monitoring, we’re much better prepared to deal with it.”
About the OSU Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine: The college serves the needs of Oregon, the nation and the world by training the next generation of practice-ready veterinarians, providing state-of-the-art diagnostic and clinical services and supporting the continuing education of veterinary practitioners. Biomedical research conducted at the college increasingly expands the scope of veterinary medicine to address both animal health issues and the relevance of animal diseases to public health. (SOURCE)
State Health Officials Take Steps To Preserve Mental Health Services And Medical Care In Downtown Eugene
Regulators approve changes at PeaceHealth’s Sacred Heart University District Hospital to avert closures at Gov. Kotek’s direction
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) officials have ruled on a waiver request from PeaceHealth that will enable it to continue delivering inpatient mental health care to patients in downtown Eugene at PeaceHealth’s Sacred Heart University District Hospital.
This is the first of a multi-step process involving both state and federal requirements that PeaceHealth must meet. OHA’s Public Health Division and Behavioral Health Services will have other decision points in the future as PeaceHealth works toward a permanent solution.
In August, PeaceHealth announced plans to close its Sacred Heart University District Hospital (SHUD) facility and the emergency department, and relocate its rehabilitation unit to Sacred Heart Riverbend in Springfield. State officials were concerned that this closure would impact the mental health treatment beds, and could lead to full closure of all services in Eugene.
PeaceHealth has indicated it will open and operate an urgent care center in downtown Eugene. It is offering expanded urgent care services separate from the waiver and the hospital license.
In response, Gov. Tina Kotek directed her staff and OHA officials to work with PeaceHealth to avoid a full closure of all services on the University District campus. While state regulators do not have authority to prevent a hospital’s decision to close, Gov. Kotek’s office and OHA listened to community concerns, including those expressed by local officials about a potential closure’s impact on access to services in Eugene and emergency preparedness.
Gov. Kotek’s priorities, driven by Oregon’s behavioral health crisis and feedback from the Eugene community, were to preserve behavioral health capacity on the University District campus, ensure transitional access to medical services and ensure greater communication with the community.
Following discussions between state officials and PeaceHealth, regulators have issued a waiver regarding operations of the emergency department and radiology services at Sacred Heart University District Hospital. The waiver sets terms that will enable PeaceHealth to:
- Consolidate its emergency medical care resources at the Sacred Heart Riverbend for a period of six months beginning Dec. 1, 2023.
- Continue to operate behavioral health beds at Sacred Heart University District Hospital under a modified hospital license.
- Continue to operate 27 acute rehabilitation beds at Sacred Heart University District Hospital under a modified license.
State regulators also outlined conditions for the approvals. To maintain the waivers and variances, PeaceHealth will be required to notify community members about the changes; ensure adequate patient transportation in close coordination with emergency medical services and law enforcement officers in Eugene and Springfield; and report patient data on a monthly basis to state health regulators.
OHA Interim Director Dave Baden said, “I appreciate Gov. Kotek’s urgent focus on preserving vital mental health and medical care in Eugene and PeaceHealth’s willingness to work with us to find viable solutions. These steps will preserve access to care for Eugene residents in coming months, at a time when we cannot afford to lose health care capacity in our state, especially for people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.”
“Make no mistake. The costs of this decision are high. Eugene Springfield Emergency and Rescue make approximately 4,500 trips to the emergency room every year. Consider the impact to our response time and cost. Our estimates are that every round trip transport will increase by 27 minutes. Think about what that means to people in West Eugene who have a heart attack or a house fire or another life-threatening crisis. Lives will be lost,” said Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis.
Use this easy tool to email OHA and ask them to save Eugene’s hospital and protect Lane County residents: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/save-eugenes-hospital?source=direct_link&
- Learn more at www.SaveEugenesHospital.com.
1st press conference was livestreamed on the Oregon Nurses Association’s (ONA’s) Facebook page here.
The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 16,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout Oregon. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.
Lane County voters: remember to sign the return envelope and return your ballots early
Voters are urged to return their ballots as early as possible to ensure they are received at Lane County Elections by the 8:00 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, November 7.
In order to be counted, ballots must be received at Lane County Elections by:
- Regular mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than November 7, 2023 and received no later than November 14, 2023 to be counted.
- A 24/7 ballot drop box.
- Lane County Elections. Ballots can be turned in directly to the Lane County Elections Office during business hours.
“We have wonderful, secure elections that allow all eligible voters the opportunity to return their ballots in the way most convenient for them,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “Every voter should make a plan for how they plan to return their ballot and ensure their ballot is received on time.”
Voters must also remember to sign their ballot return envelopes before mailing or returning their completed ballot to Lane County Elections.
The signature is a security measure used to verify identity. Election workers who have received training in handwriting analysis compare it to signatures in the voter registration record. A ballot may only be counted if the signatures match.
If you forget to sign the envelope or your signature does not match, you will receive a notice from Lane County Elections advising you of the issue and how to fix or “cure” it. You have until the 21st day after the election to cure your signature issue and have your ballot counted.
What can you do to ensure your signature matches?
- Sign your natural signature. If you don’t usually sign with a middle initial don’t sign your ballot envelope with it. Election workers are trained to look for specific characteristics within each signature. If you think your signature has changed significantly, contact Lane County Elections.
- Don’t sign another person’s name. Even if someone gives you permission to sign, or you have power of attorney, it is against the law in Oregon to sign another person’s name on a return envelope. It’s forgery.
- Request help if you have difficulty signing. If it is difficult for you to sign, on either a temporary or permanent basis, you can complete a signature attestation form and return it to Lane County Elections along with a new voter registration form. Completing these forms will allow you to use a signature stamp or other indicator that represents your signature.
- Correct a mistake if you accidentally sign your name on someone in your household’s envelope. If you and another person in your household sign each other’s return ballot envelopes, simply place a line through the incorrect signatures and sign the correct envelopes.
Voters with questions can email email@example.com or call 541-682-4234.
Voters may return their voted vote-by-mail ballots in one of the following ways:
- Regular mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than November 7, 2023 and received no later than November 14, 2023 to be counted.
- A 24/7 ballot drop box.
- Lane County Elections. Ballots can be turned in directly to the Lane County Elections Office during business hours.
Ballot drop box locations can be found online at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections.
Voters with questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-682-4234.
About the Lane County Elections Office: The Elections Office, located at 275 W. 10th Avenue in Eugene, is responsible for conducting elections in Lane County. The elections office manages voter registration, the processing of mail ballots, recruitment and training of election workers, and certification of elections.
Nov. 5 is Mushroom Day at Beazell Memorial Forest and Education Center
Join Benton County Natural Areas & Parks, Corvallis Parks & Recreation, Corvallis Environmental Center, Oregon State University Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, and The Mushroomery for an introductory exploration of Pacific Northwest mushrooms where participants can learn to identify different mushrooms in a natural setting.
The program is catered to beginners and all ages are welcome. Engage in mushroom themed activities or join a guided walk to identify mushroom species on trails. Activities include a Kid Zone specially designed for young explorers aged 12 and under. Please note that while the event emphasizes learning and appreciation, mushroom collection will not be a part of the activities.
The morning session is 9:00 to 11:30 a.m., and the afternoon session is 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.
- Register for the morning session.
- Register for the afternoon session.
- Register by phone at 541-766-6918.
Date: November 5, 2023
Time: 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Admission: adults $25 ($31 out-of-city). Children 12 and under are free.
Location: Beazell Memorial Forest and Education Center, 37283 Kings Valley Hwy., Philomath, OR 97370
More info: view the City of Corvallis’ website.
Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or email@example.com.
PART 2 – Newsweek Podcast Focusing on The Disappearance of Fauna Frey From Lane County
Here One Minute, Gone the Next —-– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disappearance-of-fauna-frey-pt2-feat-sheriff/id1707094441?i=1000630100040
PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public.
Eugene, Springfield and Lane County to begin leaf pickup
Lane County and the cities of Eugene and Springfield are preparing to kick-off their annual leaf collection efforts. Removing leaves from catch basins, grates and gutters allows storm water to run off and prevents flooding.
Keeping leaves out of the drainage system also improves water quality because decomposing leaves use up oxygen that is needed by aquatic life in local streams and rivers. And removing slippery leaves from streets and sidewalks makes travel safer for people walking, biking and driving.
In all three jurisdictions, property owners are responsible for leaves that are placed improperly in the street or cause safety or localized flooding hazards.
Eugene and Lane County allow residents to pile leaves in the street, while Springfield only allows bagged leaves to be set out for collection.
Leaves are the only items collected. Piles with branches, pine needles, trash, grass and other lawn debris are not accepted and will not be collected.
To get the best information for your property, determine which jurisdiction provides service in your area, and then contact that agency. Here are the details for each jurisdiction:
City of Eugene
Eugene’s leaf collection and delivery program begins Nov. 6. Eugene’s leaf program is funded by storm water fees because proper use and disposal of leaves keeps decaying leaves out of local creeks and rivers and helps prevent localized flooding caused by blocked storm drains.
After an initial focus on the central Eugene area, City crews will break into three groups to focus on designated sections of the city. Each crew has the staffing and equipment needed to collect and deliver leaves and sweep streets after the leaves have been picked up. This puts resources closer to neighborhoods and improves service on unimproved streets.
Online features allow Eugene residents to look up their address and see when they should pile their leaves neatly in a row parallel to the curb, order leaf deliveries, or report hazards such as leaves in a bike lane. People should place their leaves in the street the weekend before crews are scheduled to be in their neighborhood. The second round of leaf collection will start January 2. Safely pile remaining leaves in the street between December 31 and January 1.
For more information about Eugene’s leaf collection and delivery services, go to www.eugene-or.gov/leaf or call Eugene Public Works Maintenance at 541-682-4800.
City of Springfield
In Springfield, the City provides a leaf pickup service to residents within the city limits to help prevent flooding, protect water quality, and keep neighborhood streets safe for people walking, biking, and driving. Leaves are collected in two rounds in two areas — the west and east sides of town with 28th/31st Street as the dividing line.
Sanipac is contracted to pick up, haul, and recycle bagged leaves for residents within the city limits. Leaves must be put in medium-sized bags that contain only leaves. Bags containing other yard debris cannot be used for compost and will not be picked up.
Bags need to be placed curbside, not in the street, by 7:00 a.m. on Monday of the scheduled week for collection in that area. Not all bags will be picked up first thing Monday; it may take several days. Additionally, severe weather may cause delays. Landscaping, yard maintenance companies, property management companies, and residents are not allowed to blow or rake leaves into the streets.
Springfield residents can also pledge to properly dispose of their leaves for a chance to win one of two $100 gift cards from a local home improvement store. Residents can view this year’s informational flier for more details on how to enter.
The first round of leaf collection in Springfield starts November 27 west of 28th Street/31st Street, then December 4 east of 28th Street/31st Street. The second round starts January 8 west of 28th Street/31st Street, then January 15 east of 28th Street/31st Street.
Lane County Public Works will begin its annual leaf pick-up program on Monday, November 13. The County collects leaves in two rounds in two general areas: Santa Clara north of Beltline Highway and several Springfield locations generally just outside the city limits. Lane County crews may be working in your zone prior to official collection dates if time allows; however, crews will return to your zone as scheduled.
Lane County provides a leaf collection information line (541-682-8565) updated at 5:00 p.m. each Friday. It describes where leaf pickup begins on a weekly basis. For more information go to www.LaneCountyOR.gov/LeafPickUp, call 541-682-6905 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leaf Preparation Guidelines
Two priorities that are the same in all three jurisdictions are public safety and operational efficiency. Here are some tips to help meet those objectives:
- In Eugene and Lane County, leaves must be in the roadway but piled at least 15 feet away from parked vehicles. Do not bag leaves.
- In Lane County leaf pickup will be provided for paved curb-and-gutter streets only. In Eugene, unimproved streets are picked up during both rounds but equipment must be able to reach the leaves from the hard road surface.
- In Springfield, leaves need to be put in medium-sized bags that contain only leaves. The bags should be placed curbside, not in the street.
- Do not pile leaves in bike or traffic lanes or on curbs or sidewalks.
- Keep storm drains and gutters clear to prevent localized flooding.
- Do not mix in other debris such as branches, rocks, lawn clippings, pine needles, or trash.
- Leaves are not picked up in private yards.
- Wait to put leaves in the street until the weekend prior to collection.
- Consider recycling leaves as compost or mulch material.
Eugene Leaves Out For First Round First Round Second Round
Central/Core Nov. 4 to Nov. 5 Nov. 6 to Nov. 10 Starts Jan. 2
Zones 1 Nov. 11 to Nov. 12 Nov. 13 to Nov. 17 Starts Jan. 2
Zones 2 Nov. 18 to Nov. 19 Nov. 20 to Dec. 1 Starts Jan. 2
Zones 3 Dec. 2 to Dec. 3 Dec. 4 to Dec. 8 Starts Jan. 2
Zones 4 Dec. 9 to Dec. 10 Dec. 11 to Dec. 15 Starts Jan. 2
Zones 5 Dec. 16 to Dec. 17 Dec. 18 to Dec. 29 Starts Jan. 2
|Springfield (Leaf Pickup Dates)||First Round||Second Round|
|West of 28th Street/31st Street||Nov. 27||Jan. 8|
|East of 28th Street/31st Street||Dec. 4||Jan. 15|
|Lane County (Leaf Pickup Dates)||First Round||Second Round|
|Zone A (Santa Clara west of River Road; see map)||Nov. 13 to Nov. 16||Dec. 4 to Dec. 7|
|Zone B (Santa Clara east of River Road; see map)||Nov. 20 to Nov. 22||Dec. 11 to Dec. 14|
|Zone C (Springfield area (see map)||Nov. 27 to Nov. 30||Dec. 18 to Dec. 21|
Portland Teachers Go On Strike
Public schools in Portland, Oregon, will be closed Wednesday as teachers go on strike with no agreement reached between their union and the school district on a new contract.
“It’s official: We are on strike to ensure the district meets our demands so that every Portland student can attend a great public school,” the Portland Association of Teachers said in a Facebook post Tuesday.
Portland Public Schools – one of the largest school districts in the Pacific Northwest – has more than 49,000 students across its 81 schools, according to the district’s website. The union represents more than 4,000 certified educators in the district, according to its Facebook page.
The teachers in Portland are headed to the picket lines after months of negotiations with the district for a new three-year contract.
The top issues include compensation, student discipline, class size and the use of school resources to provide housing for students experiencing homelessness, according to Portland Public Schools.
Among the points of contentionis the union’s request for a 23% cost-of-living increase over the next three years, according to the district, which is countering with a cumulative 10.9% cost-of-living increase over the same period.
“Educators deserve salaries and benefits that mean they can afford to live in the neighborhoods where they and their students live,” the union said on its website.
A representative said the union received a proposal Tuesday that did not meet its expectations.
“We were told to expect a proposal from the district this afternoon and we had fairly low expectations for this,” the representative said in a video statement posted on Facebook. “And unfortunately, the district’s proposal didn’t even live up to our low expectations.”
The district has not responded on the strike, but posted that it will update families on Wednesday evening on whether schools will reopen or remain closed Thursday.
New Bodycam Footage Released Shows Police Standoff with Accused Oregon Kidnapper
Newly released footage from the Nevada Highway Patrol shows the arrest of Negasi Zuberi, who is accused of holding a woman captive in a cinderblock cell. https://www.kgw.com/video/news/crime/bodycam-footage-police-standoff-oregon-kidnapper-negasi-zuberi-seattle/283-4a974460-bd6d-4911-a2b9-a0dab0846f4f
The trial for a Klamath Falls man accused of kidnapping a woman and locking her inside a makeshift cell will start in December.
Negasi Zuberi’s original trial date was set for 10/17/2023 , but it has since been delayed because his attorney asked for a continuance, Zuberi faces charges of felony kidnapping and transporting a woman with sexual intent from Seattle to his home in Klamath Falls. The new trial date is set for December 12 at 9am
Bat from Butte Falls wins nationwide Bat Beauty Contest
Your local Oregon bats won the annual Bureau of Land Management Bat Beauty Contest for the second year in a row!
William ShakespEAR, a Townsend’s big-eared bat from Butte Falls, took home the crown on the afternoon of October 31, 2023. During the final round, she beat out Gizmo, an Allen’s Big-Eared Bat.
William was photographed by Emma Busk, BLM wildlife technician, while Gizmo was photographed by Dillon Metcalfe from Bat Conservation International.
Each October, the BLM hosts a beauty contest to find the most stunning bat photographed on BLM public lands across the county. The event begins on October 24 and ends on Halloween. It also coincides with International Bat Week to raise awareness about bat conservation and their essential role in the natural world.
Last year, the BLM named Barbara, a canyon bat from Lake County, the 2022 Bat Beauty Contest Winner. Barbara was photographed by Kate Yates, BLM wildlife biologist.
Busk photographed William last year while monitoring a Townsend’s big-eared maternity colony.
“William is actually a female!” said Emma. “Townsend’s big-eared bats form maternity colonies in the spring before they have their pups. Unlike other bats in Oregon, Townsend’s big-eared bats have very specialized habitat requirements. They need open space where they can roost in caves. Not disturbing bats when they’re hibernating is really important and will help keep Townsend’s big-eared bats healthy and thriving.”
Townsend’s big-eared bats can be found throughout Oregon and Washington and are very vulnerable to human disturbance. Their numbers are declining, causing the species to be named an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species.
In an effort to help, BLM wildlife biologists perform regular checks on Oregon caves to keep an eye on bat populations and monitor for symptoms of white-nose syndrome, which can kill hibernating bats.
“It’s important that we fact check what we think we know about bats,” said Busk. “There are a lot of myths around bats, but they’re amazing wildlife and they contribute so much to our ecosystem.”
Bats play an essential role in Oregon. All bats in the Pacific Northwest are insectivorous, meaning they rid our world of pests like mosquitos, beetles, and moths. Just one bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour!
Want to do your part? As we head into winter, avoid exploring mines and caves where bats may be hibernating.
“In your own backyard, you can have a bat house!” said Emma. “It’s a shelter that helps protect bats during the winter. You can also make your garden more bat friendly by planting native flowers to attract insects and turning off any unnecessary lights. Light pollution is not great for bats.”
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The long tradition where all of downtown Ashland is filled with Halloween revelers.
Officials behind a new $1 billion hydrogen hub in the Northwest are now wading into discussions to shape the project.
Leaders from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations and representatives from the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association, a consortium of private and public entities behind the region’s hydrogen hub, held their first public meeting over Zoom on Monday night. They shared details about potential job and community benefits, discussed potential hydrogen production facility locations and talked about potential partners and companies that might use the hydrogen power.
The meeting came about two weeks after the Biden administration announced it was awarding $7 billion to seven hydrogen hubs across the country, with each receiving $1 billion. The move is part of a nationwide effort to begin producing massive amounts of hydrogen energy to decarbonize hard-to-electrify sectors and cut the country’s climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The administration has set a goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The Northwest hub , which includes Oregon, Montana and Washington, is slated to be home to eight “nodes,” where hydrogen is produced, each with “downstream projects” where the hydrogen will be transferred for use nearby or across the region. One facility will be in St. Regis, Montana near the Idaho border, three are slated for Oregon and four for Washington.
In Oregon, one node is likely to be near Portland, one near Boardman and one near Baker City. Jaclyn Perez with the Washington State Department of Commerce said Oregon’s nodes will involve partnerships with the companies NovoHydrogen, Mitsubishi Power, Williams and Portland General Electric, or PGE. The regional hub could spur anywhere from 10,000 to 70,000 jobs, according to officials at the meeting.
The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub could be home to eight hydrogen production facilities supporting the growth of green fertilizer, fuel and energy storage industries. (Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association)
The Northwest hub will produce hydrogen entirely from water and electricity, using a process called electrolysis. If the electricity is powered by wind or solar energy, the hydrogen is essentially “green hydrogen” or emissions free.
What is ‘green hydrogen?’ – Green hydrogen starts with water, which is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. Using a device called an electrolyzer, an electric current is passed through the water, causing a reaction that splits the hydrogen and oxygen from one another. The hydrogen is captured and stored. The production process requires a lot of electricity. But as long as that electricity comes from a renewable source, such as wind or solar power, the hydrogen is “green” and carbon neutral. Hydrogen emits no carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases, just water.
But questions remain about where the large quantities of water and renewable electricity to fuel the hydrogen production would come from. Officials from the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association and from the Washington commerce department would not provide details about whether the bulk of water or electricity will come from the Columbia River, its tributaries or the rivers’ dams.
Negotiations over Northwest hydrogen production projects began in earnest this week, Perez said, and should be complete in early 2024.
Each facility and the related downstream projects that are approved by hub leaders and the U.S. Department of Energy will have to demonstrate environmental, social and economic benefits for people living around them, officials said at Monday’s meeting.
“We’re dedicated to ensuring the benefits of these hubs flow directly to impacted communities,” said Suzy Baker, head of engagement for the hubs at the federal energy department. “This represents a stark break from the legacy of underinvestment and environmental pollution of past energy infrastructure buildouts.”
To reach the 2050 goal, the U.S. will need to produce at least 10 million metric tons of clean hydrogen, according to the federal energy agency. The seven hydrogen hubs could eventually produce about one-third of that, and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by about 25 million metric tons each year, equivalent to taking about 5.5 million gas-fueled cars off of roads each year.
The Northwest hub alone is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.65 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking more than 366,000 gas-fueled cars off roads each year.
According to the federal energy agency, the Northwest hub could produce more than 8,000 temporary construction jobs and more than 300 permanent ones.
Kate McAteer, vice chancellor of academic and student affairs at Washington State University, said Monday she is hopeful the hub will sustain up to 70,000 regional jobs. The university partnered with Washington and Oregon leaders and the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association to go after federal funding for the Northwest hub.
“Our plan is to build a coalition of educational programs and target everything from pre-apprenticeship to apprenticeship to colleges, universities – two-year and four-year programs – to really develop and sustain what we would call an enduring hydrogen workforce,” McAteer said.
Regional hub leaders have identified 200 groups they will possibly work with on their plans along with 28 unions and five regional tribal nations, according to Baker from the federal energy agency. The federal government’s $7 billion investment in the hubs over the next few years could bring in up to $50 billion in investments to local communities, she said.
Cleaner energy — The primary end uses for green, Northwest hydrogen are likely to be large-scale energy storage facilities, fertilizer production, fuel for heavy duty trucks and gas refineries. The largest demand for hydrogen currently in the U.S. is for refining fossil fuels, treating metals and producing ammonia for fertilizers.
Other potential uses of green Northwest hydrogen could include providing fuel for future hydrogen planes, ships and buses, according to the federal energy department.
Hydrogen power lasts twice as long as gasoline, takes up half as much space and is lighter than a lithium battery. Hydrogen fuel cells don’t require time-consuming charges and can withstand cold weather that can eat up electric battery power.
Baker said the Northwest hub will add to a growing partnership among the U.S., Mexico and Canada to develop a North American hydrogen supply chain and a West Coast Truck Charging and Fueling Corridor along 1,400 miles of Interstate 5. This would improve air quality for people living along the major transit corridors, Baker said. Heavy trucks powered by gas are key sources of nitrous oxide emissions, which are unhealthy to breathe over long periods.
Critics have raised questions about whether the Northwest hub will produce hydrogen energy that’s blended with natural gas and allowed to flow to homes for cooking and heating, which would prop up the natural gas industry. Natural gas is 80% methane, a potent greenhouse gas that many environmentalists say should be phased out.
Chris Green, assistant director of Washington’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, said homes are not likely to use the energy.
“From a policy standpoint, for Washington state, I speak on behalf of our governor and our state, we don’t see hydrogen as a home heating source as the most adequate or appropriate use,” he said.
Green said the hub is focused on emissions reductions not profits. “The point of this for us is not just to produce as much as you can possibly produce so you can make money off of it,” he said. “I think a more deliberate approach is to make the correct amount of hydrogen that is needed for decarbonization.” (SOURCE)
Southern Oregon Dam Operators Now Face Water Pollution Fines on Top of Millions for Fish Kills
The operators of Winchester Dam in Oregon face more than $134,000 in fines for water violations on top of $27.6 million for killing lamprey
The operators of a southern Oregon dam and the company that repaired it face additional fines for violating state permits and polluting the North Umpqua River near Roseburg.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality fined the Winchester Water Control District and the foundation repair company TerraFirma on Thursday more than $134,000 for violating a key state water permit and water quality laws while repairs were underway on the Winchester Dam in August and September.
The agency said the water district and company allowed concrete to spill into the river, placed unpermitted mats made of heavy truck tires in the river, potentially polluting it, and failed to provide safe passage for migrating fish.
The North Umpqua is home to endangered and threatened salmon and home to lamprey significant to the nearby Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians. The Winchester Dam is also upriver from a key drinking water source for the city of Roseburg and the Umpqua Basin Water Association.
The latest fines come on top of a near-record fine from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for $27.6 million for causing the preventable deaths of more than half a million juvenile lamprey. The department alleged the company and the water district poorly executed a fish salvage plan when they drew down a reservoir, ultimately leaving the lamprey exposed and dying for days.
Ryan Beckley is owner and president of TerraFirma and president of the Winchester Water Control District. He is named in the penalties from the environmental and wildlife agencies, and told the Capital Chronicle via email that he plans to appeal the fines.
The latest fines from state environmental officials were split into two separate penalties. One, for $106,778, is for at least 10 violations of a state water permit. These include failure to control erosion and sediment, failure to maintain fish passage, exceeding the permitted amount of time to work in the water, spilling concrete into the river and failure to report that spillage.
The other fine, for $27,600,000 is for allowing uncured concrete – concrete not left to set for 24 hours or more – into the river and for using heavy-duty tire mats to make a temporary access road and platform in the river, potentially leaching chemicals and microplastics into the water. Despite environmental officials demanding the mats be removed, water district employees and contractors continued to use them for weeks. DEQ characterized this conduct as “flagrant” and “unlawful.”
The bulk of the latest violations are Class I, the state’s worst violation classification, but rated “moderate” for the magnitude of impact.
Winchester dam — The Winchester Dam was built in 1890 and is made of wood and cement. A former hydropower dam owned by PacifiCorp, it was given for free to more than 100 residents in the late 1960s to enjoy the 1.7-mile-long reservoir as a private lake. Residents are members of the water district, which is responsible for maintenance.
But repairs in recent years have gone awry, including an emergency fish salvage in 2013 and fines in 2018 when concrete got into the water during repairs.
The latest problems have ignited a renewed sense of urgency among environmental groups that have long wanted the dam removed. Doing so would reconnect 160 miles of North Umpqua River and allow unimpeded movement for native migratory fish. (SOURCE)
ODHS and OHA encourage members to protect their OHP benefits
The large number of OHP renewals, along with renewals of long-term services and supports, may cause greater wait times, delays, and possible interruptions to people’s OHP benefits. OHP members are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible after they receive a request for information to avoid any possible delays. The fastest way members can provide an update is by going to benefits.oregon.gov and logging into their ONE online account.
Members can visit KeepCovered.Oregon.gov to learn:
- What to do to protect their medical benefits
- Where to get help renewing their benefits
- How to provide updates when it’s time to renew
- How to explore health coverage options through a job, Medicare or the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace if they no longer qualify for OHP
Community partners and providers can find resources to support members through the unwinding process at KeepCoveredPartners.Oregon.gov.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) are committed to transparency and will continue to send monthly information about medical coverage among Oregonians as the agencies continue to track the programs.
Emergency visits for winter hazards tracked with new OHA dashboard
Interactive graphs offer data on carbon monoxide exposures, falls on slippery surfaces, and asthma-like and cold weather-related illnesses
In June, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) launched data dashboards to help people track common summer-related hazards such as heat-related illnesses and wildfire smoke exposure. Now, winter-related hazards, such as frostbite, wood stove-induced asthma and ice-triggered falls, have their own interactive dashboards.
Yesterday, OHA’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention section published the Oregon ESSENCE Winter Hazard Report dashboard. It provides data on daily reports to Oregon emergency departments and urgent care center visits for four injury and illness categories:
- Asthma-like illness due to poor air quality, smoke from wood stoves and air inversions.
- Cold weather-related illnesses, such as hypothermia and frostbite.
- Carbon monoxide exposure from portable gas-powered generators used indoors, and defective furnaces.
- Falls due to slippery surfaces, such as icy or snowy sidewalks and driveways.
“ESSENCE data help OHA and its local public health and community partners understand the health effects of winter hazards, including extreme weather and other emergencies,” said Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H., deputy state health officer and epidemiologist at OHA. “These data show us what causes people to seek emergency medical care during the winter, which then drives our messaging and resources.”
The data come from reports to the Oregon ESSENCE database. ESSENCE – Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics – allows public health officials and hospitals to monitor, in real time, what is happening in emergency departments and urgent care centers across the state before, during and after a public health emergency.
Users of the winter hazards dashboards can hover their cursor over a section of the interactive graphs in each category to view the number of emergency department or urgent care clinic visits by date in a given year. Users can also select data sets by year, going back to the winter of 2018-2019. The dashboard page under each tab also contains a description of the injury or illness, the groups most at risk, and how it can be treated or prevented.
The dashboard will be updated weekly through the winter.
Oregon Drivers Reminded to Watch for Migrating Wildlife
Oregon wildlife and transportation officials are reminding drivers that it’s migration season for elk and deer. That leads to increased reports of vehicle collisions in October and November because the animals are more likely to cross the roads.
Fewer daylight hours and rainy weather, reducing driver visibility, don’t help.
The Oregon Department of Transportation says its crews collect about 6,000 deer carcasses each year after deer are struck and killed by vehicles. That doesn’t include the ones who are able to walk away from the scene and die or that die on city, county and private roads.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says research with GPS-collars shows mule deer will follow their migratory route no matter how many roads or other obstacles get put in the way.
Here are some tips from ODOT and ODFW to avoid wildlife collisions:
- Animal crossings signs are placed in known crossing hotspots. Be on the lookout when you see one.
- Be alert in areas with dense vegetation along the road or while going around curves. Wildlife near the road may be hard to see.
- If you see one animal, stay alert because others are likely nearby.
- If you see an animal on or near the road, slow down and stay in your lane. Many serious crashes are the result of drivers losing control when they swerve.
- Always wear your seat belt. Even a minor collision could result in serious injuries.
- This is also the time of year when the most road killed deer and elk are salvaged for meat. If you hit a deer or elk (or see one that is struck) don’t forget, you must fill out a free permit and turn the head in within five days so ODFW can test for Chronic Wasting Disease. More info can be found here.
The state has added wildlife undercrossings in an effort to give animals as safe way get across highways. One was built last year under Highway 97 at Vandevert Road near Sunriver.
Employment Related Day Care program opens waitlist for most families applying after November 3 – Eligible families are encouraged to apply now
The Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) reminds families that the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program will open a waitlist next week. The ERDC program helps families pay for child care through state and federal funds. The ERDC waitlist, announced last month, will open after an unprecedented increase in demand and limited available funding. Families should apply by November 3, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. if they think they may be eligible.
“We want to be sure families have had ample opportunity to apply for ERDC before the program opens a waitlist. We also want families to know there are other affordable child care programs they may qualify for,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Director of DELC. “The good news is that the increase in ERDC enrollment means the recent changes to the program allow it to work better for families. We will continue working with the Legislature to identify more funding to support the program.”
Here is what families need to know:
- Families currently receiving ERDC will continue to receive benefits as usual after November 3, 2023.
- Families earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level (e.g., up to $5,000 per month for a family of four) may be eligible for ERDC and are encouraged to apply right away.
- Families can apply in the following ways:
- Families can text the word “children” to 898211 or call 211 if they need help finding their local office or figuring out how to apply to ERDC.
- Some families outlined in Oregon rule can skip the waitlist:
- Families recently or currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Temporary Assistance for Domestic Violence Survivors (TA-DVS)
- Families referred by the Child Welfare division of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS)
- Families reapplying for ERDC within two months of benefits ending.
- After November 3, 2023, families applying for ERDC that do not meet an exemption above will be placed on a waitlist. DELC will regularly follow up with families on the waitlist to provide updates.
- The waitlist is likely to be in place for at least 18 months, depending on the level of investment and the rate at which families leave the program.
- Families who need support paying for child care after November 3, 2023 are encouraged to reach out to 211 or their local Early Learning Hub to learn more about programs such as Preschool Promise and Oregon Prenatal to Kindergarten.
Once more funding becomes available and enrollment drops to a sustainable level, families will be selected from the waitlist based on the date they were added. The first to apply will be the first selected for eligibility screening and potential enrollment. Once a family is selected from the waitlist, they will receive a notice inviting them to apply for ERDC within 45 days. — Go to Oregon.gov/DELC/ERDC to learn more.
Salem Man Shoots Woman, Kills Self
Salem, Ore. — At approximately 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, Salem Police officers responded to the 1300 block of Vista AV SE on the call of a man driving his truck into a residence, then shooting a woman inside the home. The suspect fled the scene. The woman was transported to Salem Health with critical injuries.
Officers learned of a possible threat to the victim’s children who attend Morningside Elementary School near the residence. Out of an abundance of caution, security measures at the school were implemented, including putting the school on lockdown status and deploying officers to the campus to ensure the safety of students and staff.
A description of the suspect and vehicle was dispatched to area law enforcement agencies. At approximately 11:15 a.m., the suspect was located traveling eastbound on Highway 22E by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office who were able to get the vehicle stopped just outside the city limits of Detroit.
Deputies approached the vehicle and learned the suspect was deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Both scenes, in Salem and on Highway 22E, are under active investigation, and no further details, including information about the victim or the decedent, are being released at this time.
Highway 22E outside the city of Detroit remains closed in both directions. Please follow Oregon State Police media channels for updates on the closure.
Audit Reveals Lack of Response to Domestic Violence in Oregon
An audit released Tuesday by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office reveals a lack of response to domestic violence and suggests lawmakers develop a better approach and release barriers to funding services.
According to the audit , domestic violence — which the state defines as interpersonal, family, and intimate partner violence that can include physical, mental, and emotional abuse — is “widespread” in Oregon.
The audit comes as more than one-third of adults in Oregon will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.
The audit also cites data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , which shows from 2009-2019, Oregon’s 393 fatal domestic violence incidents resulted in 532 deaths.
The audit found there are several barriers that can impact whether a domestic violence victim or survivor receives support. For example, the audit says victims may not seek help as they may face stigma, isolation, transportation, or childcare barriers. The audit also states that a lack of housing is a “principal reason” victims and survivors feel they cannot leave.
Additionally, the report found barriers within state agencies that provide services for victims and survivors of domestic violence. According to the audit, resource providers may not have the capacity to serve victims and say agencies face issues with retaining staff — citing low pay and burn-out among employees.
Next, the audit reported that “available domestic violence services do not meet existing needs.” According to the Secretary of State’s office, little financial help goes directly to domestic violence victims. Officials also note that grant funding requirements can be a barrier to addressing community needs.
Oregon also lacks central leadership when it comes to addressing domestic violence, the audit says. While providers and state agencies collaborate, officials said the state could do more to create a centralized approach and could provide data-gathering for domestic violence prevention and intervention-related action.
In a statement, Audits Director Kip Memmott says Oregon can do more to address domestic violence as the audit points out that “domestic violence in Oregon is widespread and damaging.”
The audit reports that in 2019, 15 out of Oregon’s 36 counties had at least one fatal domestic violence incident.
“Domestic violence is pervasive, immensely harmful, and often fatal,” Memmott said. “This is an area where state government can do more to help. As auditors, we are uniquely positioned to provide state leaders with information and offer potential solutions on critical issues of public health and safety.”
The audit says services for domestic violence victims and survivors should be widespread — including emergency housing, help navigating the legal system, childcare, and mental health care.
The audit offers several solutions aimed at policymakers — saying Oregon needs an “overarching strategy” to successfully address domestic violence.
“Currently, many state agencies have roles to play. Unfortunately, there is no single state agency or entity responsible for coordinating a comprehensive statewide response or measuring the overall impact of ongoing efforts,” the audit said.
The audit recommends policymakers develop a statewide strategy to centralize resources and collect data on regional police reports, hospital injury and fatality data, civil protection orders, and agency outputs.
The audit also suggests lawmakers make flexible state funds permanent budget items rather than addressing needs through one-time funding.
“I am horrified at the numbers in this report showing how pervasive and dangerous domestic violence is, both nationwide and in Oregon. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to recognize and reflect on what we can do to address this violence, and the auditors have done just that with this report,” Secretary of State Lavonne Griffin-Valade said in a statement.
She continued “I would like to express my gratitude to the Oregon Audits Division staff for their work, and I encourage state leaders to read the report and consider the actions suggested.”
The Oregon Department of Human Services offers a list of resources for shelters and legal support from the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence website.
Additionally, the Oregon Department of Justice has resources for shelters and other crisis centers.
OSP Fish and Wildlife Division reminds hunters to have the appropriate tags on hand when hunting
Oregon Hunting Licensing and Tag Requirements
OSP Fish and Wildlife Division reminds hunters to have the appropriate tags on hand when hunting
– Oregon big game hunting seasons are well underway and the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division is reminding hunters how to keep their hunt legal. In Oregon, hunters must have a valid big game tag in their possession for the species and area they are hunting. Both paper and electronic tags are recognized.
Over the past few months, troopers have encountered numerous hunters without big game tags in their possession. In many situations, the hunters utilizing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) electronic licensing app had failed to redeem their tag voucher. The most common issues are hunters with a Sports Pac who forget to redeem the appropriate tag voucher or hunters who had successfully drawn a controlled hunt and then failed to purchase the electronic big game tag for that hunt or species.
With Oregon’s general and controlled rifle elk seasons coming up in November, OSP is reminding hunters to double-check the electronic licensing app for the correct tags for their planned hunts. Within the app, valid big game tags will be displayed within each hunter’s recreation portfolio.
For those opting to use paper licenses and big game tags, be sure the tag is legible and in their possession when hunting. Successful hunters must immediately validate the tag per the instructions on the paper tag, or within the ELS application. The MyODFW app is available for download for both iOS and Android phones and allows hunters to validate their tag even when outside of cellphone reception areas.
ODFW license requirements include:
- Valid hunting license.
- Hunting licenses are valid beginning January 1, or from the time of purchase if after January 1, through December 31 of the document year.
- No one may possess more than one valid annual hunting license.
- To hunt big game, an individual must have in their possession a big game tag, either electronic or paper, valid for the dates, area, and species being hunted.
- Any documents in possession, either electronic or paper, must be accessible immediately upon request by ODFW staff or law enforcement.
Oregon Parks and Recreation To Discuss Drone Rules And Maps
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will livestream a virtual meeting Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. to present draft drone take-off and landing classification criteria to be used in future park drone use maps. The agency will then invite the public to share their views on the criteria from Oct. 23 through 5 p.m. on Dec. 29.
The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube for the public here.
Attendees who want to ask questions during the Q&A portion of the meeting must register beforehand here.
Although the formal rulemaking process for drone take-off and landing began in 2021, the agency temporarily stopped in April 2022 to form a work group and explore the matter in more detail.
The work group included various partners including conservation groups, drone users, state and federal agencies and met from June 2022 through the summer of 2023.
OPRD’s region resource and Geographic Information Services (GIS) staff, alongside park managers reviewed the draft criteria and applied them to three sample areas, one from each region of state parks.
Feedback will be reviewed by agency staff and the work group as part of a final report to the OPRD Director Lisa Sumption, who will then decide whether to direct staff to resume public administrative rulemaking or do more work on the proposals.
Individuals who require special accommodations to view the meetings should contact Jo Niehaus at least three days in advance of the meeting at 503-580-9210 or email@example.com .
Endangered in the High Desert Exhibition Opening — 50 Years After the Signing of the Endangered Species Act Learn about Endangered, Threatened and Delisted Species in the Region while Exploring the Past, Present and Future of the ESA
BEND, OR — What do a 100-pound chinook salmon, ten-inch-tall pygmy rabbit and vibrant San Rafael cactus all have in common?
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — a half-century-old law that aims to protect vulnerable species from extinction — all three of these species are currently classified as endangered in some regions of the High Desert. Defined by the ESA, an endangered species is one that is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”
Opening on November 11, the High Desert Museum’s Endangered in the High Desert exhibition will call attention to species in the region that are either facing or recovering from the threat of extinction. This intriguing and informative exhibition is a component of the Museum’s yearlong exploration of the Endangered Species Act, 50 years after it passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 355-4 in the House of Representatives. President Richard Nixon signed it into law.
“Fifty years later, the Endangered Species Act continues to be an influential law that has generated a significant amount of dialogue in its time,” says Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “We look forward to exploring this significant legislation and its many complexities in the High Desert region.”
Visitors will first encounter a floor-to-ceiling map introducing many of the exhibition’s ambassador species — 24 of the 29 featured species that represent the many listed, de-listed and at-risk but not yet listed species in the High Desert — and their locations in the region. A playful mural of the High Desert landscape details each of the ambassador species. This massive mural splits into four distinct sections, first differentiating between endangered, threatened and delisted species at the state and federal levels. The fourth section asks guests to consider the future of several species in the area, including the monarch butterfly, western bumble bee and Pacific lamprey.
With vibrant colors and engaging photography, this exhibition is meant to ignite conversations about these plants and animals – including lesser-known species like the whitebark pine and the Oregon spotted frog – while also calling attention to the ecological connectivity within the greater ecosystem.
“Species depend on access to healthy habitat to survive” says Donald M. Kerr Curator of Natural History Hayley Brazier, Ph.D. “In designing the exhibit, we wanted to depict plants and animals in the context of landscapes and waterscapes. The exhibit’s images and murals convey that endangered species conversation does not happen in a vacuum; the broader ecosystems matter.”
After Museum visitors experience the brand-new Endangered in the High Desert exhibition, they can encounter a handful of the ambassador species in-person. Just a short walk from the exhibition, a bald eagle — a delisted species — lives in the Museum’s care. Six threatened and delisted species currently live in the Museum’s care: the bull trout, Foskett speckled dace, steelhead trout, peregrine falcon, bald eagle and desert tortoise. Small signs placed throughout the Museum will distinguish between these species and others living on Museum grounds.
Endangered in the High Desert is part of a yearlong series of exhibitions and public programs at the Museum to explore and reflect on the ESA’s impact in the High Desert and beyond. This includes the current exhibition Wolves: Photography by Ronan Donovan, open through February 11, 2024, as well as Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, which opens Saturday, December 9.
Endangered in the High Desert will be on display through July 7, 2024. This exhibition is made possible by the Visit Central Oregon Future Fund and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, with support from DoubleTree Hilton and Waypoint Hotel. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/endangered-high-desert.
ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM — The High Desert Museum opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert region. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Missing Yachats Man’s Vehicle Found in North Lane County
On 08/25/2023, Dustin Steyding was reported missing to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office after he left work on 07/22/2023 and hadn’t been located since. Dustin was living and working in the Yachats area.
Dustin was reported to be in good physical condition, having previously worked as a hot shot firefighter in New Mexico. Dustin is very experienced in the woods and commonly goes out for hikes to stay in shape. Without means to locate Dustin, Deputies entered Dustin as a missing person in a national database.
On 09/04/2023, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Dustin’s family after they located his vehicle on Keller Creek Rd, just outside of Lincoln County in Lane County. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputies contacted the vehicle and determined it had been at the location for some time. Deputies were unable to determine Dustin’s direction of travel from the vehicle.
The vehicle having been located in Lane County, Lincoln County Deputies contacted the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team and arranged for their response the next day to started searching the area. After two days of searching, no clues to Dustin’s have been found.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dustin Steyding should contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 541-265-0777 and reference case number 23S-07321.