Willamette Valley News, Monday 6/17 – The Cedar Hill Fire Near Pleasant Hill a Quick Reminder to Get Prepared for the Dry Season Ahead & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Monday, June 17, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

The Cedar Hill Fire Near Pleasant Hill a Quick Reminder to Get Prepared for the Dry Season Ahead

The fire was first discovered on Friday afternoon, and grew to over 9 acres by Saturday morning. It was spreading uphill in heavy brush as well as being driven by slight wind.

According to Oregon Department of Forestry, the fire is now fully lined and plumbed with water. Pleasant Hill, Goshen and other rural fire fighting departments responded with ODF joining the efforts. Mop up operations in place and monitoring.

ODF says mutual training across various departments ensures crews can respond quickly and effectively, while combining tasks. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

This is a good reminder that even though we saw some rain over the last few days, we are going into the dry season and it is important to be prepared. Oregon experiences its heaviest wildfire activity during the summer months, but fires occur all seasons of the year.

Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies, will be spreading the word about the steps we all can take to prevent the start of careless, unwanted wildfires this summer, and encouraging Oregonians to create defensible space around homes and outbuildings. 

More information for getting prepared can be be found here on our blog: https://willamettevalleymagazine.com/2024/05/14/may-is-wildfire-awareness-month-keep-oregon-green-encouraging-oregonians-to-create-defensible-space-around-homes/

Lane County Firewise Grant Program open for applications

Lane County’s Firewise Grant Incentive Program is accepting applications from residents in unincorporated Lane County beginning May 31 through 4:00 p.m. on June 27, 2024.

Firewise grants provide rural property owners with funding to help complete projects that reduce the risk of wildfire, such as clearing vegetation, replacing wood shake roofing, fire-resistant landscaping materials, noncombustible exterior siding, chimney spark arrestors, and more. Up to $15,500 in grant funding is available for each qualifying property. 

Apply online at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/firewise. Paper applications are also available at the Lane County Public Works Customer Service Center (3050 North Delta Highway, Eugene). 

Firewise grants are funded through Title III of the Federal Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Program – Section 601 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. 

Lane County Ranks No. 1 On List Of Oregon’s Healthiest Employers For Fourth Year In A Row

Lane County has been recognized as the #1 healthiest employer in Oregon (1500-4999 employees) by the Portland Business Journal. 

The County’s dedication to wellness: 1) supports the reduction in health care related costs, allowing Lane County to invest more of its limited resources into direct services for the community, and 2) increases employee productivity, engagement, recruitment and retention. 

The Live Well Center, Lane County’s employee health and wellness center, continues to help employees maintain and improve their overall wellbeing at a reduced cost to the County. The County is continuously looking for low-cost, creative and effective ways of engaging employees in their personal wellbeing. Also, highlighted in the award is Lane County’s proactive approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion by examining internal structures, policies, and experiences through the lens of equity. 

“If, as an organization, we are going to be able to show up and provide critical services to our community, we need to also take care of our employees who provide those services,” said Lane County Chief Human Resources Officer Alana Holmes. “Lane County has consistently been investing in the health and wellbeing of our employees. From our employee wellness clinic, to physical activity challenges, to behavioral health supports, to improved childcare access, we have created a culture of wellness and belonging that seeks to meet every human need.”

In 2017, 2018 and 2019, Lane County was ranked third healthiest large employer in Oregon, and in 2018 was listed within the top 100 healthiest employers nationally. In 2020, Lane County was ranked second healthiest larger employer. In 2021, 2022 and 2023, Lane County was ranked the #1 healthiest larger employer and in 2022 was listed sixth on the healthiest 100 workplaces in America. 

Employers are ranked on six categories which include: culture and leadership commitment, foundational components, strategic planning, communication and marketing, programming and interventions, and reporting and analytics. There are five employer size categories: small (2-99 employees), medium (100-499), large (500-1499), larger (1500-4999), and largest (5000+).  —- For the full list: https://bizj.us/1qlfmp

Fire Crews Respond to Car Fire West of Eugene

Eugene, OR.  Eugene Springfield Fire responded with one engine and one water tender, responded to a vehicle fire at Fisher Butte Wildlife viewing area West of Eugene Friday afternoon.  Firefighters were called at 12:15 PM on June 14th and arrived to find the vehicle fully involved.  The vehicle was extinguished without extending to the vegetation.  There were no injuries.  

Lane County to Auction Six Properties

Lane County is conducting a sealed-bid auction of real property now through 11:00 a.m. PST on Monday, July 22, 2024. Bids will be opened at 11:00 a.m. on July 23, and winners will be notified by telephone and email. The opening of bids will be livestreamed on Lane County’s YouTube channel

Included in the auction are lots located in Springfield, Florence, Triangle Lake, Fall Creek and Pleasant Hill. The Springfield property includes a single-family home, one Florence property includes a manufactured home, and the remainder are vacant lots. The properties up for auction range from a $3,500 minimum bid to a $150,000 minimum bid.

The properties have minimum bid amounts and will not be sold for less than the minimum bid. The properties will be sold on an as-is basis using a quitclaim deed, which passes any title, claim or interest in the property to the buyer without making any representations regarding other claims or liens. 

Payment must be made with cash, cashier’s checks or certified back checks payable to Lane County. No personal or business checks, debit and credit cards or financing will be accepted. A 20 percent deposit of the minimum bid amount is due within 24 hours of the bid opening. The remaining balance, plus a $100 recording fee, is due no later than 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, 2024. 

For more information including a complete list of auction terms, property descriptions and registration information, visit www.LaneCountyOR.gov/PropertyManagement under the “Available Properties” section. 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Albany listed in National Register of Historic Places

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Albany, Linn County is among Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places.

Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the property’s nomination at their February 2024 meeting. The National Park Service—which maintains the National Register—accepted the nomination on May 20, 2024. 

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was constructed in 1892 and enlarged in 1917 by and for the congregation of Mt. Pleasant Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The property is locally significant under National Register Criterion C as an excellent example of a Queen Anne style church. Queen Anne architectural design was not commonly used in churches. Cumberland Presbyterian is extensively decorated with shingles, ornate mouldings, frieze boards, sunbursts, rosettes, and colored glass windows. After a lengthy community effort, in 2021 the church was moved three blocks east of its original location. Before, during and after the move, extreme care was taken to preserve the structure and its character defining architectural features. The building is now operated as the non-profit Cumberland Community Event Center.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is one of 23 individually listed historic properties in Albany. The National Register of Historic Places was established as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. 

More information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings can be found online at www.oregonheritage.org (listed under “designate”).

Get Ready for U.S. Olympics Track And Field Team Trials at Hayward Field

The U.S. Olympic team trials are just around the corner. At the end of June, hundreds of top athletes will compete for a spot in Paris, but only so many will qualify and it all comes down to what happens at Hayward Field.

The trials begin June 21 and conclude June 30 at Hayward Field in Eugene. At least one final race will be held during each evening session.

VIEW SCHEDULE HERE: https://www.usatf.org/events/2024/2024-u-s-olympic-team-trials-%E2%80%94-track-field/schedule

While the track and field trials are a long event, held over eight days, there’s no better place to see Olympic athletes compete than Hayward Field.

Here’s how to get tickets for the competition: https://am.ticketmaster.com/haywardtrackandfield/buy — MORE INFO: https://www.usatf.org/events/2024/2024-u-s-olympic-team-trials-%E2%80%94-track-field

Praxis Health is Expanding in Eugene with a New Medical Clinic – Pearl Street Medical

Eugene, OR – Praxis Health is pleased to announce the grand opening of Pearl Street Medical, a new Primary Care location in Eugene, Oregon that will expand our team and provide more high-quality healthcare services for the Eugene & Springfield community. This expansion marks the continued growth of Praxis Health (gopraxishealth.com), Oregon’s largest, independent medical group.  

Pearl Street Medical will officially open to new patients on August 1st, 2024, and will be located at 1835 Pearl St, Eugene, OR 97401. Pearl Street Medical will be our 5th location in the Eugene and Springfield area, whose locations already offer a number of services including primary care, internal medicine, allergy, and endocrinology. 

Pearl Street Medical is focused on providing the highest possible level of compassionate, individualized care. As an organization that is family-owned and operated, we believe in the importance of delivering community-oriented care through accessible services that optimize the health and quality of life for all persons. We recognize that patients’ trust in their healthcare professionals is extremely valuable to clinical practice, ensuring that their personal needs are placed at the forefront. 

Praxis Health is rooted in our local communities and our goal is to remain connected to the people and places as we continue to grow. We promise to continue to deliver outstanding, personalized care to all of our patients while honoring the needs of each community that we serve. For more information about us, please visit our website at PearlStreetMedical.com 

Quote from our Regional Administrator:  Our commitment to supporting our community drives us to open the new Pearl Street Medical clinic. Since 1997, our founders, Drs. Kirk and Kraig Jacobson, have been at the forefront of community healthcare. They combined practices and expanded facilities to create what is now known as Oak Street Medical Clinic and Oregon Allergy Associates. Recognizing the growing healthcare needs of the community at the time, they made it their mission to support its growth. Recognized as a 5-star medical home for the highest quality care and reducing healthcare costs, we focus on caring for patients through a variety of acute and chronic illnesses with the idealism of community and compassion. 

Now, in 2024, they see the need to act again and help increase access to healthcare in our community. With Pearl Street Medical Clinic, we continue their legacy of commitment and service with the support of Praxis Medical Group, striving to improve the health and well-being of those we serve. 

We welcome all those looking for a new healthcare home. – Dr. Viet Tran – Regional Administrator

Lane County targeted by Automated Phone Scam

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office has received dozens of reports this morning from our community about an automated phone scam claiming to be our agency.  The scam is originating from or providing a callback number of 541-361-3786, and all options on the phone tree result in the caller being asked to send an email to a fraudulent email address, usually some variation of “info” at “civil service agency”.  

Residents are advised not to call the scammer back or email any address provided. If you are contacted by this scam, please report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.ic3.gov

We will NEVER ask for money by phone, text, or email.  We will NEVER call you about missed jury duty. Scammers usually claim there are warrants, missed jury duty, or unsettled legal issues.  The scammers then ask for payment or personal information, often to avoid arrest.  In some instances, the scammers appear to call from official phone numbers or provide fraudulent callback numbers with official-sounding voicemail inboxes.  They often already have some personal information based on the phone number they called.

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a Lane County Sheriff’s Office employee and you think you are being scammed, please hang up and contact our dispatch center at 541-682-4141. — Please share with your friends and family!

Eugene Police Department – My PD Connect

May be a graphic of ‎text that says '‎資樂 EUGENE POLICE COURAGE حي 5 80060N EST. MY PD CONNECT Online reporting made easy What is My PD Connect? My PD Connect is for reporting commonly occurring types of property crime, such as theft from vehicle, stolen bicycles, fraud or scams, damaged property, graffiti. Schedule virtual meetings with Community Service officer Upload photos and videos for your report Mobile friendly Reduces call hold times and frees up time for 911 Provides data 'heat maps help EPD track takers and Eugene police officers trends Languages include: English, Spanish, French, Geran, Italian, Chinese and orean 541-952-3210 epd.mypdconnect.com‎'‎

  · My PD Connect – a user-friendly online reporting system from Eugene Police Department! https://epd.mypdconnect.com/CSOs, our trained, unarmed, civilian officers, handle non-emergency calls, assisting patrol and focusing on property crimes and traffic incidents. My PD Connect is a game-changer in community safety!

Housing and Community Needs Survey

2025 Consolidated Plan image

Are you familiar with the challenges of finding, maintaining, or paying for housing in the Eugene-Springfield area? Do you have insights into the local need for housing, human services and community/economic development programs? Please help identify our local housing and community needs for low- and moderate-income people by completing the short survey below.  TAKE THE SURVEY

CAHOOTS and HOOTS Workers Rally for Wage Increase and Other Contract Issues

It has been more than a year since White Bird Clinic and its unionized crisis workers began negotiations and they still haven’t reached an agreement on a new contract.

Support CAHOOTS and HOOTS Workers Win a Fair First Contract NOW — PETITION

Did you know the $18/hr starting wage for CAHOOTS and HOOTS workers hasn’t changed since 2018? Sign this letter of support to help CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets) and HOOTS (Helping Out Our Teens in Schools) unionized workers win their first fair union contract with White Bird Clinic.

CAHOOTS medics and crisis workers have been proudly supporting their fellow community members on the streets and in the houses, schools, businesses, shelters, hospitals and healthcare offices of every neighborhood in Eugene since 1989. CAHOOTS later expanded service into Springfield in 2015 and soon founded its sister program HOOTS in 2017. These programs provide free crisis intervention, mental health and medical aid to whoever is in need (for CAHOOTS that’s an average of 20,000+ calls a year; HOOTS provides 28 clinics in 12 high schools). 

Today, their workers need your support. Show your commitment to sustaining workers and protecting the integrity of the CAHOOTS model that has been called “the gold standard”* for alternative response models nationally. Sign here to ensure crisis workers and medics who are dedicating their lives towards helping others win a living wage. Learn more about our campaign

https://www.change.org/p/support-cahoots-and-hoots-workers-win-a-fair-first-contract-now

Providence, Union nurses prepare for possible largest nurse strike in Oregon History

More than 3,000 nurses at the Providence St. Vincent, Newberg, Willamette Falls, Medford, Hood River and Milwaukie facilities will strike on June 18.

More than 3,000 nurses across six different Providence Health facilities plan to strike on Tuesday. The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) gave Providence a 10-day warning. ONA said they are overworked, understaffed and underpaid.

Expressing their [ONA] desire for more affordable healthcare after the pandemic took so much out of them.

The strike is set to last three days, impacting: Providence St. Vincent, Newberg, Willamette Falls, Medford, Hood River and Milwaukie.

Providence said their facilities will remain open during the strike. They said they are putting a pause on negotiations in order to find replacement workers.

On June 14, ONA sent a cease-and-desist letter to Providence, claiming they were violating safe staffing laws which require a certain patient-to-nurse ratio.

Providence said they are working to build out those plans and plan to follow the law as written.

Both Providence and ONA encourage people to come in and seek care despite the strike. Providence said all of their sites will be open and serving patients during this strike.

As for the nurses going on strike, they won’t be too far from work. They will use this time to picket at their relative hospitals throughout the three days. (SOURCE)

Missing California Woman Rescued And 9 Men Arrested In Human Trafficking Mission In Portland

A missing California woman was rescued, a Gresham man was arrested on a theft warrant, a Portland man was arrested on gun charges, and seven other men were arrested on prostitution-related charges during a human trafficking mission in East Portland on Tuesday, June 11.

According the Portland Police Bureau, the woman was reunited with her family in California. Six other providers were contacted by advocates and offered services.

Daniel J. Harding, 24, of Gresham, was taken into custody for a Clackamas County warrant for second-degree theft. He was caught up in a wave of arrests from the Portland Police Bureau’s Human Trafficking Unit, as it conducted a targeted patrol along Southeast 82nd Avenue.

Shauntae D. Kindred, 46, of Portland, was arrested for felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public, first-degree theft, unlawful possession of a firearm, and parole violations.

Seven men were arrested or cited for commercial sexual solicitation:

Ismael Gonzaga-Pedroza, 22, of Forest GroveRobert Casper, 45, of Onalaska, WashingtonBraulio L. Lazaro, 50, of VancouverGuerner Ramirez Fuentes, 44, of PortlandAlejando Ibarra, 41, of VancouverFiraol Gecho, 22, of Portland,Habtamu Egata, 51, of Milwaukie

During the mission officers also towed four vehicles.

If you or someone you know is being sex trafficked, call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report tips to humantrafficking@police.portlandoregon.gov. (SOURCE)

Former ICU nurse pleaded not guilty to 44 counts of second degree assault in case involving suspicion of replacing fentanyl with tap water at Asante in Medford

Medford nurse Dani Marie Schofield on Friday pleaded not guilty to an
indictment charging her with 44 counts of second-degree assault on
suspicion of harming nearly four dozen patients in Asante Rogue
Regional Medical Center’s intensive care unit by stealing fentanyl
prescribed to them to ease their pain.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Laura Cromwell told Schofield that she
didn’t qualify financially for a court-appointed lawyer and no defense
lawyer was present as the judge kept Schofield’s bail at $4 million despite
a pretrial officer’s recommendation to lower it to $1 million.

Schofield complained to the court that she’s been locked down in
isolation in jail, hasn’t received her medication, has had no contact with
anyone and barely has running water.

She said she believes her family has contacted a lawyer to represent her
and asked the judge how they should inform the court.

The judge instructed Schofield to file a grievance with the jail about the
conditions and that a retained lawyer should contact the court. A pretrial
conference was scheduled for June 24.

Police and prosecutors say Schofield took patients’ fentanyl for her own
personal use and replaced the liquid drug with non-sterile tap water,
causing them to develop life-threatening infections.

Of the 44 patients identified, 16 died — most in the hospital but others
after they were discharged, Medford Police Chief Justin Ivens said during
a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Schofield, 36, was lodged by Medford police in the Jackson County Jail
after she was arrested about 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the 5000 block of
Rogue River Drive outside Eagle Point.

Jackson County Circuit Court clerk Emily Kaplan denied Schofield a
court-appointed attorney, citing her equity in a 2019 Acura MDX, $348,780 equity in residential property in Medford and $20,000 in a bank account, according to court records.

—————————- Dani Marie Schofield, who worked at Asante Rogue Regional Hospital in Oregon, faces 44 counts of second-degree assault, according to police.

A former intensive care unit nurse has been arrested for allegedly swapping patients’ pain medication with tap water, police in Medford, Oregon, announced Thursday.

Dani Mari Schofield faces 44 counts of assault in the second degree, charges that “reflect the total amount of patients that this investigation revealed to have been affected by Schofield’s criminal actions,” the Medford Police Department said in a statement.

Assault in the second-degree charges are filed when an individual “intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury to another,” the statement said.

The arrest comes nearly seven months after officials at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, a 378-bed hospital in Medford, contacted police with concerns about a growing number of central line infections among patients. Central lines are tubes put into large veins to administer medication.

“There was concern that Schofield had been diverting patients’ liquid fentanyl for her personal use and then replacing it with tap water, causing serious infections,” Thursday’s police statement said.

Police did not say how many of the patients that Schofield allegedly mistreated had died. In March, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estate of Horace Wilson, an Asante patient who died after he was admitted to the hospital with a lacerated spleen and broken ribs following a fall off a ladder in January 2022.

The lawsuit alleged that while hospitalized, Wilson’s pain medication was replaced with nonsterile tap water, introducing bacteria into his bloodstream that led to his death.

The lawsuit named both Asante and Schofield as defendants, accusing them of negligence. Neither responded to requests for comment at the time.

The allegations of drug diversion — a term that refers to misappropriating prescribed medications, sometimes to abuse or illegally sell them — were first reported by NBC affiliate KOBI-TV in Medford in December 2023. The station said that at least one patient at Asante had died after a nurse allegedly diverted their pain medication.

An attorney for Schofield, who police said left Asante in July 2023, did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

Records from the Oregon State Board of Nursing show that Schofield voluntarily agreed in November 2023 to a nursing license suspension, “pending completion of an investigation.”

In an internal memo sent Thursday to Asante employees after police announced Schofield’s arrest, President and CEO Tom Gessel thanked law enforcement for its “tireless work since our team brought concerns forward to them.” (SOURCE)

Oregon’s psilocybin industry, a year old, seeks customers

Advocates say they need to spread the word about the benefits of taking a psychedelic trip under supervision

A year in, Oregon’s experiment with the first regulated psilocybin mushroom market in the world is short on customers.

Oregon allows consumption up to 50 milligrams of psilocybin at a time. (Courtesy of Satya Therapeutics)
Oregon allows consumption up to 50 milligrams of psilocybin at a time. (Courtesy of Satya Therapeutics)

To attract them, advocates say the industry needs to get the word out about its benefits.

“We think everybody knows that psychedelics can help them because we’re in this little bubble. But 99% of people have no idea what they could get out of a journey,” said Heidi Venture, founder of a Hood River mushroom center, Vital Reset, where customers undergo supervised “trips” on psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms.

She was among about 100 local psilocybin entrepreneurs who attended a recent industry conference in Portland. Attendees included business owners like Venture who run state-licensed centers where customers can trip on mushrooms, and trained guides, known as facilitators, who accompany them on the hours-long journey. 

The conference was hosted by the Psilocybin Assisted Therapy Association, a nonprofit that’s trying to raise awareness of the health and spiritual benefits detailed in studies on the supervised use of psychedelics like psilocybin. 

Panelists recalled a year of challenges, red tape and waning interest in guided mushroom trips under Oregon’s pioneering legal model, but also life-changing experiences for clients. They pledged to share information and lobby lawmakers for regulatory improvements.

A majority of Oregon voters in 2020 approved Measure 109, which directed the Oregon Health Authority to create a legal system for offering psilocybin. Unlike marijuana, customers can only buy and use psilocybin mushrooms under the watchful eye of a state-licensed facilitator and in a service center like Vital Reset. Prices usually range between $800 and $2,500 for a trip and two therapeutic sessions with a facilitator – although advocates say discounts are often available. Activists in other states are watching Oregon’s experiment closely, including in Colorado, which is debuting a more relaxed system. Like Oregon, that state will license centers and facilitators but has also decriminalized the use and sharing of psilocybin and other psychedelics. 

When Oregon’s first psilocybin center opened in Eugene in June 2023, it was the first in the nation to offer access to the drug in a licensed setting. The drug is still illegal by federal standards, categorized as a Schedule I substance, meaning that it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.  

To date, roughly 3,500 clients have taken a supervised trip in one of Oregon’s 25 psilocybin centers. 

The nonprofit Healing Advocacy Fund, which advocates for psilocybin policy and supports entrepreneurs, estimates that number to increase to about 7,000 by the end of the year. That’s lower than some observers expected, who predicted a surge of interest in the nation’s first legal opportunity to use a psychedelic drug. 

‘It’s going to get over-saturated’ — Oregon has 25  licensed centers, but not all of them have made it. In March, The Journey service center in Portland became the first to fold for a lack of customers. 

“Unfortunately we’ve seen one service center close down. I imagine there will be more, because very quickly it’s going to get over-saturated,” said Tori Armbrust, owner of Satori Farms PDX. Armbrust grows psilocybin mushrooms and sells them to about half of the service centers in the state. 

She said competition will intensify next year, when out-of-state business interests can begin launching their own psilocybin ventures in Oregon.

“Overall, marketing seems to be a big challenge. But places are doing well, and there’s product going out to a lot of people,” Armbrust said.

Courtney Campbell, founder of the center Chariot in Northwest Portland, recently told a Capital Chronicle reporter that a steady stream of customers has kept his business afloat, but not lucrative. 

Oregon has also seen a spike in the number of training programs, which are pumping out hundreds of facilitators. Coeli Dwivedi, owner of the Entheogen Institute, has only been able to give herself one paycheck despite graduating about 70 students in the last year.

“I’m looking forward to having a real salary as well,” she said in an interview. 

Grassroots advertising  — Venture, who owns Vital Reset in Hood River, is trying to attract more customers. Like many centers, Vital Reset is offering discounts to people from underrepresented communities. 

However, she said she’s hamstrung by strict rules on online advertisements for psilocybin services. According to the Healing Advocacy Fund, magic mushroom businesses must prove that their advertisements aren’t reaching too many children or consumers under 21 years old. Plus, Venture and others believe that social media companies subtly suppress content related to psilocybin mushrooms. So Venture is relying on word-of-mouth and open houses to bring in business. She recently spoke about her business to members of  an local Lions Club.

Facilitators also say they are navigating a competitive market. About 325 facilitators have obtained a state license so far. Many have found that there are limited opportunities to work in service centers. It’s common for more experienced facilitators to find their own clients and work underground, illegally supervising psilocybin trips at homes and in Airbnbs.

Marlin Hofer, a facilitator at Brain Brew PDX and an instructor, said he carries a stack of business cards with him wherever he goes to raise awareness among the public. 

Matthew Wissler, another facilitator, said he would provide his services almost for free to certain low-income customers, such as those receiving food assistance, but he hasn’t been able to find any who fit the bill. Initially, Oregon’s model attracted wealthy tourists and people seeking treatment from other states and countries. 

While some facilitators are struggling to find work, some have found the work very lucrative, according to interviews with 10 facilitators. 

Despite the business challenges, Oregon’s psychedelic entrepreneurs are often floored by the positive impact felt by customers who use psilocybin, particularly people with treatment-resistant depression, addiction and trauma. 

“If we just hang in there, stay positive, it will evolve into something we can all be proud of,” said Mary Nielsen, owner of Brain Brew PDX in Beaverton.

To keep service centers financially sustainable, Armbrust suggested that the Oregon Health Authority limit the number of licenses it approves.

Jesse Sweet, an Oregon Health Authority policy analyst, said the agency doesn’t have that authority. The agency is kicking off another round of rules on a law requiring that centers collect certain data on their customers and will seek public input this year. Its new rules could tweak the current regulations, and lawmakers are expected to revisit the issue perhaps next year.  (SOURCE)

Renee Miereanu will be Presenting “The Miracle of Psilocybin” at Oregon Hypnotherapy Association Summer Conference… June 22nd 2024 —

🔹 Renee Miereanu – “The Miracle of Psilocybin” Explore the profound and miraculous benefits of psilocybin with Renee Miereanu. This session will offer fascinating insights into how this powerful substance can significantly alter the landscape of therapeutic practices.Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to advance your knowledge, network with like-minded professionals, and discover innovative approaches to mental health and personal growth.🌐

Renee Miereanu is a highly accomplished Master in Neuro-Linguistics, Counselor, Master Clinical Hypnotherapist, Oregon State Certified Psilocybin Facilitator, Happiness Coach, Relationships Coach, and an expert in nicotine cessation. With over 30 years of experience, Renee has dedicated her career to helping individuals overcome challenges, transform negative beliefs, and create lasting changes in their lives. She is the founder of The Breathe Center, a renowned institution that offers a holistic approach to personal growth and well being. MORE INFO: https://mushroomguide.org

Oregon Hypnotherapy Association Summer Conference…June 22nd 2024 12:30p – 5:00p Best Western Hotel 29769 SW Boones Ferry Rd. Wilsonville, Oregon — Register: https://ohanw.org/product-category/registration/

You can read more at: https://willamettevalleymagazine.com/2024/06/14/renee-miereanu-will-be-presenting-at-oregon-hypnotherapy-association-summer-conference-june-22nd-2024/

Costco Recalls Some Tillamook Cheese Products Sold in Northwest

Costco is recalling some Tillamook cheese products due to the possible presence of plastic materials.

In a letter to Costco members who purchased the recalled product, a Tillamook executive said the cheese may contain “gray and black plastic pieces.”

A 32-ounce twin-pack package of Tillamook Colby Jack and Tillamook Monterey Jack cheese slices, with item number 651195, is among the recalled products, according to the company. The company said that the cheese was available at Costco locations in the Northwest from May 9 through May 31. The best before date for the recalled product is October 22, 2024.

Costco stated the cheese was made for its Northwest region sites, but it did not say which retail locations the recalled goods had been shipped to. Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Montana, and Idaho are states in the Northwest region.

It’s unclear, however, how many products or Costco stores in total the recall impacts. The Tillamook letter noted the recalled cheese was only produced for Costco locations in the Northwest region.  

According to the letter, the cheese slices impacted are “in a limited quantity” and the presence of plastic, if consumed without issue, “is very minimal.”

Bever notes that Costco members who still have the product should return the affected cheese slices for a full refund, however. 

Douglas County Awarded FEMA Grant for Emergency Radio Communications System

            (Douglas County, Ore.) Douglas County Commissioners Chris Boice, Tim Freeman, and Tom Kress, along with the Douglas County IT & Radio Director Nancy Laney and the Douglas County Information Technology Departmentwere notified this week that Douglas County was awarded grants totaling over $16.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as a part of FEMAs Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to help in the upgrade of the 30-year-old outdated Douglas County Emergency Radio Communications System (ERCS). FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding to government entities following a presidentially declared disaster so they can develop hazard mitigation plans and rebuild infrastructure that reduces or mitigates future disaster losses in their communities. Douglas County Commissioner Tom Kress and Douglas County IT & Radio Director Nancy Laney first submitted the application for this grant in September 2020 and have diligently worked with State and Federal agencies over the last four years to acquire the much needed and critical grant funding. 

The ERCS, often referred to as our Legacy Radio System, is our vital public safety communications link between our 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Dispatch Center and the 55 local law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service agencies who provide critical, time-sensitive, and life-saving services countywide. 

Douglas County is ecstatic that our due diligence has paid off!  I am incredibly thankful for the foresight and resolve of our Douglas County IT & Radio Director Nancy Laney for working with me to get through the federal process of applying for this unique federal grant,” stated Douglas County Commissioner Tom Kress.  “In Douglas County, over half of our land is owned and managed by the Federal Government, thus receiving financial support to help fund projects that supply vital services to our entire county is imperative.  The process to overhaul our 30-year-old outdated Emergency Radio Communications System (ERCS) has been a multi-year, multi-faceted, and financially challenging endeavor. The initial assessment and scope of the ERCS project has been completed. We are currently in the process of conducting an engineering study.  With this grant from FEMA, once the engineering study is complete Douglas County will be able to definitively establish project timelines and bring the necessary and critical upgrades of our ERCS system to fruition.” 

Douglas County listed the following on our grant application to FEMA for our project description, mitigation efforts and overall objective, “This grant will fund the upgrade of the existing emergency radio system infrastructure supporting the Sheriff’s Office and 911 communications for Douglas County Public Safety, Law, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services. The proposed upgrade will allow each radio tower to continue to function independently, even if not able to communicate to other towers or the mothership, allowing emergency responders in the vicinity of a tower to continue to communicate and respond during emergencies. The hazards that will be mitigated are coastal storms, dam/levee breaks, droughts, floods, freezing, human causes, mudslides, severe ice storms, snowstorms, special events such as windstorms/seismic/wildland fires, tornados, tsunamis, and volcanos. This project increases resilience and reduces the risk of injuries, life loss, and property damage and destruction, including critical services and facilities.”

Providing support, securing funding and applying the necessary resources for our public safety programs continues to be a top priority for the Douglas County Commissioners.  Given our rugged topography supplying effective communications to our large network of first responders from sea level to the 9,182-foot crest of Mt. Thielsen through swooping valleys, up steep terrain, and along our cadre of winding rivers has always provided a challenge.  Douglas County has been in the process of slowly overhauling our current VHF simulcast conventional analog ERCS system consisting of 19 relay transmitting towers strategically located across our county for the last six years.  Our ERCS system was the pinnacle of technology back in the 1990’s, but just as time keeps ticking, advancements in technology continue to outpace annual budgets. The Commissioners and current Radio & IT Director inherited the outdated 30-year-old ERCS system when they came on board at the County.  The initial engineering report from 2018 estimated that it would cost approximately $15-20 million to completely replace the aging ERCS system; a price tag that was not feasible within our budget constraints unless we acquired outside financial support.  Realizing that we must prioritize building capacity for and maintaining public safety communications systems that continue to meet the ever-increasing needs of serving and protecting our citizens, the Commissioners, Sheriff Hanlin, IT Director Laney and Douglas County Management and Finance Director Dan Wilson worked together to develop a strategic plan for ongoing maintenance and repairs, while steadfastly researching and applying for as many grants and funding opportunities as possible to upgrade our Legacy Radio System.  This grant is a direct result of our collaborative efforts. 

Governor Kotek Visits Coquille Tribe

Visit with Coquille Indian Tribe marks fourth visit of commitment to visit all nine federally recognized Tribal nations of Oregon this year

This week, Governor Tina Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson spent the day with the Coquille Indian Tribe. The visit is part of Governor Kotek’s commitment to meet with all of Oregon’s nine federally recognized sovereign Tribal nations in 2024.

“It was an honor for the First Lady and I to spend such a fulfilling day with members and staff of the Coquille Indian Tribe,” Governor Kotek said. “We were impressed with the Tribe’s early learning center, youth council, wellness center, and so much more. The sense of community was incredible, and we appreciate getting the opportunity to learn more about the Tribe’s history and culture.”

“I want to thank Governor Kotek and the First Lady for spending a full, beautiful day with the Coquille Tribe, getting to hear, first-hand, from so many of our tribal members about the good works being done by and for our members and our neighboring communities,” Coquille Indian Tribe Chair Brenda Meade said. “Visits like this can only help Oregon and our sovereign nation continue to improve our growing relationship as partners in improving the lives of our citizens, now and in the future.”

After having breakfast with the Coquille Tribal Council at The Mill Casino, the Governor and First Lady toured the Tribal Learning Center and discussed shared goals around education. The learning center is home to the Tribe’s Head Start program and afterschool and summer programs.

Following the conversation, the Governor and First Lady toured the Coquille Tribal Plankhouse, a traditional cedar-built gathering place for ceremonial, cultural, and community events. Discussions centered around culture and language revitalization, including with members of the Tribal Youth Council, which aims to create opportunities for Coquille Tribal youth to connect with their community, gain leadership skills, and learn more about their government and culture.

After lunch at the Plankhouse, the Governor and First Lady traveled to the Ko-Kwel Wellness Center (KWC) for a tour and discussion about health care and behavioral health. The center promotes a holistic approach to healing with the integration of Indigenous social determinants of health embedding their own Indigenous knowledge, values, and traditions, in a comfortable, inclusive environment focused on belonging. The wellness center serves the Coquille Tribal family, other American Indians and Alaska Natives, tribal employees, and the general public. The Tribe is partnering with Bay Area First Step, a Coos County-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing peer-based substance use disorder treatment/recovery and housing.

Finally, the Governor and First Lady spent an hour learning about the Tribe’s work on habitat restoration on the Coquille River, as well as the progress on their recent cooperative partnership with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) to protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife populations and their habitat within a five-county area of southwest Oregon.

Note to Editors: The Coquille Indian Tribe contributes to the economy of Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson and Lane counties through its timber operations; the Mill Casino-Hotel and RV Park on Coos Bay; the Ko-Kwel Wellness Centers in Coos Bay and Eugene; a hotel, golf course and bowling center in Medford; and diverse enterprises operating nationwide under the Tribal One banner. The tribe is Coos County’s second-largest employer.

More than 1 million acres of ancestral homelands in southwest Oregon were ceded to the U.S. government in the 1850s. The U.S. Senate never ratified the treaties, and a promise of reservation land never materialized. The federal government declared the tribe “terminated” in 1954, but the tribe regained federal recognition in 1989 after a determined struggle. Since its restoration, the Coquille Tribe has sought self-sufficiency for itself and its members, emphasizing education, health care, housing and elder services. Cultural preservation efforts include teaching oral histories, traditions and ancestral languages to members of the tribe.

Congress restored 5,410 acres of forest land to the tribe in 1996, and the tribe has nearly doubled that acreage through strategic purchases. Today it manages its forests under certification standards of the Forest Stewardship Council. In 2022 the tribe entered an agreement with the state for cooperative management of fish and wildlife in the tribe’s five-county service area. The Tribe has been recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for our sustainable Forest management practices.
(SOURCE)

Razor Clam Harvest Ban Lifted For Northern Oregon Coast Amid Shellfish Toxin Scare

A freshly-dug razor clam is tossed into a net.

Oregon fish and wildlife officials reopened the northern Oregon coast for razor clamming last week while keeping a prohibition in place south of Yachats and continuing a coastwide ban on harvesting bay clams and mussels.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had closed the entire coast to shellfish harvesting earlier this month because of a potentially deadly toxin, paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, that had sickened at least 20 people who had eaten Oregon coast mussels.

No one is reported to have died in the outbreak, but some were hospitalized, according to Oregon health officials. Naturally occurring marine toxins are not eliminated by cooking or freezing.

Officials said Friday that two consecutive tests had shown razor clams in the newly reopened area were below the threshold at which harvesting is banned due to biotoxins. They said the earlier closure was precautionary, and that testing had not detected biotoxin levels above the closure threshold.

However, razor clamming is closed from the Yachats River to the California border, where tests have detected high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning and domoic acid.

Harvesting bay clams and mussels remains prohibited along the entire Oregon and Washington coast.

The state also has reopened commercial oyster fisheries in Tillamook Bay and Netarts, while the Umpqua River/Winchester Bay commercial oyster fishery remains closed. Crab harvesting is open for the length of the Oregon coast.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture operates a toll-free shellfish biotoxin hotline 800-448-2474​ and maintains a list of closures on its website. (SOURCE)

Keeping Oregon Accountable Summary Report Shows Significant Corrective Action, but Ongoing Control Weaknesses at Federally Funded Programs

In their report, the Oregon secretary of state’s office identified $2.9 billion in accounting errors, which they concluded were unintentional mistakes.

The Oregon secretary of state’s office has published a massive report detailing the audits they conducted on state government programs in 2023, monitoring the billions of dollars in extra tax money gathered by the state over the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the report, titled “Keeping Oregon Accountable,” state auditors identified $2.9 billion in accounting errors, which they concluded were unintentional mistakes, and proposed ways to fix those mistakes.

Auditors also combed through the books of 18 federal programs spread between 11 state agencies, issuing a total of 31 findings and recommendations.


Every year, the Secretary of State Audits Division conducts two major financial audits: the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report and Statewide Single Audit. Auditors also draft and release a report summarizing both of these audits. The summary report for fiscal year 2023, called Keeping Oregon Accountable, was released today.

Last year’s summary report was somewhat of an anomaly, including the first adverse opinion and disclaimer of opinion issued by the Audits Division in more than 20 years. Auditors followed up on the findings that led to the unmodified opinions and found the agency had successfully taken corrective action to address the adverse opinion.

“This year’s Single Audit came with both good and bad news,” said Audits Director Kip Memmott. “I was very pleased to see the substantial corrective action to address last year’s adverse opinion. But there are still serious control weaknesses at other important programs that must be addressed, many of which have been ongoing for 10 or more years.”

The federal government requires audits of the state’s financial statements and compliance with federal program requirements for Oregon to continue receiving federal assistance. In the past, this funding has usually ranged from $11 to $12 billion each year, but federal funding has ballooned since the pandemic, exceeding $20 billion each year since fiscal year 2021. In fiscal year 2023, Oregon received $20.4 billion in federal aid.

Auditors found serious control weaknesses that, in some cases, have persisted for years. For fiscal year 2023, auditors issued six qualified opinions and a single disclaimer of opinion. No program was given an adverse opinion.

chart

When an audit shows controls are sufficient and the program is generally in compliance with federal requirements, auditors issue an unmodified or “clean” opinion. Modified opinions — including qualified and disclaimer of — speak to the level of concern auditors have about the quality of internal controls.

A disclaimer of opinion was issued for the Emergency Solutions Grant Program at Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). A disclaimer of opinion means there was not sufficient, appropriate evidence for auditors to even issue an opinion on program compliance. This program also received a disclaimer of opinion in fiscal year 2022.

Qualified opinions are less severe but indicate that internal controls are still inadequate to prevent or detect significant noncompliance. Auditors issued qualified opinions for six programs at three agencies: OHCS, the Oregon Department of Human Services, and the Oregon Health Authority. Two of these programs — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program — have been issued qualified opinions for several years now.

The federal granting agencies are responsible for following up on audit findings, as they have the authority to enforce grant requirements. Failure to address critical control weaknesses could include punitive consequences, like sanctions or a change in future funding, or it could be an opportunity for the granting agency to clarify its requirements. — Read the full report on the Secretary of State website.

Oregon still fixing state employee payroll system after problems last year 

State auditors could not get complete information from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services about the $21 million system 

Auditors were unable to completely review Oregon’s new $21 million payroll and human services system that plagued thousands of state workers with inaccurate paychecks in early 2023, records show. 

The finding is contained within the Secretary of State’s statewide single audit, released this week, that looks at a variety of state government agencies and programs. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services implemented the payroll system, called Workday, in December 2022 for about 44,000 state government employees after years of planning to replace an older system. 

Immediately, thousands of state workers began experiencing problems with their paychecks. Some didn’t receive their full pay and turned  to food banks, credit cards or borrowing money to stay afloat. Others received paper checks instead of direct deposits and had to float bills with credit cards while waiting for checks to clear, and some employees who were overpaid had large sums subtracted from future checks without notice. 

In May 2023, Oregon Department of Administrative Services officials said they did not identify any systemic problems with payroll that month but declined at the time to provide the Capital Chronicle with an estimate of how many errors the system had.

Nearly a year later, state auditors said they struggled to get full and complete information from the department, which prevented them from fully assessing the system. 

“Given the lack of availability of key system documentation and the department’s inability to provide timely responses to audit requests, we were unable to complete our audit procedures intended to identify and test internal controls,” auditors wrote. 

For example, auditors said they received incomplete and outdated records when they requested documentation that would demonstrate the agency’s due diligence when planning a project of this size. 

In other instances, auditors said they faced long waits for information such as the number of employees impacted and the total dollar amount of overpayments or underpayments. Those delays also hampered their ability to complete the audit, they wrote. 

“The information was not readily available to provide to auditors, indicating a lack of organization expected of a project of this magnitude,” they wrote.

Based on the available data, auditors said the results suggest a lack of adequate testing to flag problems before the rollout. About 4,500 state employees – or roughly 10% of the workforce – were underpaid or overpaid in January 2023, auditors said. In each of the next two pay periods, more than 2,000 state workers were improperly paid. 

“The number of employee paychecks impacted, and the variety of underlying causes identified by the department, indicate testing of the configuration was either not sufficiently scoped or not properly conducted,” auditors wrote.

Auditors recommended the state put proper controls in place for payroll processing, take steps to eliminate errors in employee pay and provide and communicate better guidance about the system to agencies.

Agency response 

In their response to the audit, Oregon Department of Administrative Services managers said the agency worked with state employees and payroll offices to correct underpayments and recoup overpayments. 

“Efforts remain underway, and significant progress has been made to track and resolve the issue,” the agency wrote in its response. 

They said the agency plans to fulfill all the audit’s recommendations by Dec. 31. 

The agency has refused to provide numbers about the scope of the problem to the Capital Chronicle. Agency spokesperson Andrea Chiapella refused to answer questions about how widespread the payroll issues currently are or detail what remaining work is left to resolve the issues, citing ongoing litigation about the issue. 

In January 2023, state employees filed a class-action lawsuit about the payroll system’s problems, which is ongoing. The lawsuit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, currently is scheduled to go to trial in April 2025.

Last year, the agency declined a public records request from the Capital Chronicle for the estimated number of payroll errors, saying those figures were compiled for litigation.   (SOURCE)

Oregon’s 2024 Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect July 1st

A 50-cent hike to Oregon’s minimum wage will bring baseline pay in the Portland area just to the doorstep of $16 an hour this summer.

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries announced Tuesday that the minimum wage in the Portland area will rise to $15.95. In urban counties outside the Portland area, the minimum wage will be $14.70 an hour. And in rural counties, the minimum will be $13.70. The change takes effect July 1.

Oregon has had a tiered minimum wage since 2017, when the state Legislature approved a series of minimum wage increases but kept the minimum lower in more rural parts of the state, reasoning that the cost of living was lower, too.

Since 2023, annual increases in the minimum wage have been tied to the rate of inflation. The Consumer Price Index, the inflation measure used to calculate the increase, rose 3.5% over the past year.

The increases announced Tuesday range from 2.9% for the Portland metro to 3.8% raise in rural areas.

The average Oregon hourly wage is much higher than the minimum, $31.17 last year, according to the state employment department. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009. (SOURCE)

The Oregon Health Athority is rasising awareness for one of the most common forms of financial fraud: Medicare fraud. 

OHA says Medicare loses $60 billion a year to fraud, errors and abuse. 

Raising awareness on 6/5 and the week after signifies the 65-yr-old and older population since most people become eligable for Medicare at 65-yrs-old.  To learn more, read the OHA blog here: https://ow.ly/VIRu50Sc7pS

Oregonians Targeted By Text Tolling Scam

A new nationwide texting scam is targeting Oregon drivers now. Ellen Klem, with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office says the phishing scheme started in the midwest earlier in the spring. “I’m honestly not surprised it’s happening now, because now is the time where everyone is gearing up to drive.”

The text claims to be from “Oregon Toll Service” and says the recipient owes an $11.69 outstanding balance; they face a $50 late fee if they don’t click on a link and pay up. Klem says some people may identify the fraud right away, because Oregon doesn’t have tolling, “But, we live next to all these other states that have tolls.” And she worries some will fall for it. 

“They are not interested in the $11,” says Klem, “They are interested in much, much more.” She believes the scammers want your personal information, and clicking on the link could allow them to access other data on your phone.

The text has all the markers of a scam, like contact out of the blue from an unknown agency. “There’s a lot of really cheap or free technology out there that allows the scammers to pretend to be somebody they’re not. So, in this case, they’re pretending to be associated with an agency that administers tolls in the state of Oregon. But that doesn’t exist,” says Klem, “Second sign: There’s some sort of emergency. In this case, you have an unpaid bill; that’s frightening to a lot of people.”

She suggests not being in such a rush to respond to every text or email, “These phones, they’re everywhere and we have this sort of automatic response to click on a link or to pick up every phone call. And, I want to remind people just to slow down and think before you click on anything.” Klem adds, “Really, at the end of the day, this is a text message that you can and you should ignore.”

If you get a text, email or phone call you’re not sure is legit, call the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer hotline at 877-877-9392. Volunteer experts are available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Come to the World Beat Festival to Experience Global Cultures: Ukraine is the 2024 Featured Country

Salem Multicultural Institute is excited to celebrate Ukraine as the 27th annual World Beat Festival’s featured country. World Beat is one of Salem’s premier community traditions, offering a vibrant two-day program of international music, dance, song, theater, food, crafts, customs, rituals, and folklore. This year’s festival will begin Friday evening, June 28, and run through Sunday, June 30, at Salem’s Riverfront Park.

Kathleen Fish, Executive Director, emphasizes that this is the only festival of its kind honoring the Salem/Keizer community’s rich tapestry of cultures. “There are 107 languages spoken in our school district. The festival recognizes and explores the cultures of many of these families.”

The festivities kick off Friday, June 28, from 5 to 10 p.m. with “Friday Night at the Beat,” featuring vocal performances and fire dancing on the Main Stage. 

The festival opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, with the Children’s Parade. Kids who want to participate in the parade will assemble at the Pavilion at the North End of the park. 

Each child who attends will receive a passport at the entrance gate to collect stamps from each World Village. Village tents will feature kid-friendly cultural games and activities. This year’s activities include making cherry blossoms in the Asian Pacific Village, Pysanky (traditional egg decorating) in the European Village, Arpilleras (traditional Chilean textile art) in the Americas Village, and crafting Nguni Shields in the Africa & Middle East Village.

Adults can enjoy beverages in the beer garden while listening to live music. Boating enthusiasts can cheer on their favorite teams during the World Beat Dragon Boat Races

“We had over 25,000 guests attend last year, enjoying performances on seven stages representing more than 50 different countries and cultures. Our visitors come from all over the Northwest and even Canada,” added Fish.

Organized by the volunteer-driven Salem Multicultural Institute, the festival requires 400 volunteers annually to manage setup, stage operations, and cleanup. Volunteers contributing at least four hours receive an event T-shirt and free entry to the festival.

Admission to the festival is $10/1-day pass/adult or $15 for the weekend. Children 0-14, SNAP card holders, and Veterans are free. 

You can view a complete schedule and vendor list or sign up to volunteer atwww.worldbeatfestival.org or call (503) 581-2004. 

About the World Beat Festival: The World Beat Festival originated in the late 1990s and was conceived by two young mothers, Mona Hayes and Kathleen Fish, who wanted a space to celebrate cultural heritage. Starting with a small gathering in 1998, the festival has grown into Oregon’s largest multicultural event of its kind. www.WorldBeatFestival.org, 503-581-2004.

About the Salem Multicultural Institute (SMI): The vision of the Salem Multicultural Institute and the purpose of the World Beat Festival and World Beat Gallery are to create an environment of openness for all people. In all our activities, SMI aims to be family-friendly, economically inclusive, and culturally authentic. Visit the gallery located at 390 Liberty ST SE, Salem. www.salemmulticultural.org.

State holding open house meetings on community wildfire programs

SALEM, Ore. — A series of six open houses about the state’s new community wildfire risk reduction programs are scheduled June 3 through July 1 across Oregon. These events will offer opportunities to learn about new defensible space and home hardening standards, as well as the draft wildfire hazard map. 

The resource-fair style open houses are being held in the communities that have some of the greatest levels of wildfire hazard within the wildland-urban interface. Each open house will begin with a short presentation and introductions, but visitors may stop in at any point during the event to get questions answered about the draft hazard map and associated community wildfire programs. 

Representatives from multiple agencies will be present to have one-on-one or small group conversations to help people understand Oregon’s statewide wildfire programs.

  • Oregon Department of Forestry representatives will address questions on administrative rules and hazard zone assessment appeals.
  • Oregon State University representatives will address questions on wildfire hazard science, statewide data sources, and updates to the draft hazard map made over the last two years.
  • Oregon State Fire Marshal representatives will address questions regarding defensible space standards, code adoption process and implementation.
  • Building Codes Division representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home hardening construction standards, related code provisions, and implementation.
  • Division of Financial Regulation representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home insurance market and requirements of insurers under Senate Bill 82 (2023).
  • Wildfire Programs Advisory Council members will address questions on statewide policy direction for wildfire programs and council business.

Meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Redmond—Monday, June 3, Deschutes County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, South Sister Hall, 3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond, OR 97756
  • La Grande—Tuesday, June 4, Union County Fairgrounds, Mount Emily Building, 3604 N 2nd St., La Grande, OR 97850
  • Central Point—Monday, June 17, Jackson County Fairgrounds, Mace Building, 1 Peninger Rd., Central Point, OR 97502
  • Grants Pass—Thursday, June 20, Grants Pass High School, 830 NE 9th St., Grants Pass, OR 97526
  • Klamath Falls—Monday, June 24, Klamath County Event Center, Hall #2, 3531 S 6th St., Klamath Falls, OR 97603
  • The Dalles—Monday, July 1, Oregon Military Department Armory, 402 E. Scenic Dr., The Dalles, OR 97058

Find more information on ODF’s wildfire hazard webpage.

To subscribe to information related to updates on the statewide wildfire hazard map, visit the ODF website.

Background: The 2021 Legislature passed Senate Bill 762 that required the Oregon Department of Forestry to develop and maintain a comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk that included wildland-urban interface boundaries and five fire risk classes by June 30, 2022, in collaboration with Oregon State University. After the initial version of the map was rescinded August 4, 2022, ODF and OSU began gathering feedback and incorporating it into future mapping efforts. 

The 2023 Legislature passed Senate Bill 80 that made several changes to the map including changing the name from a “risk” map to a “hazard” map, reducing the number of hazard classes from five to three, and changing the appeal and notification requirements. 

Written comment or questions about any aspect of the implementation of Senate Bill 762 and Senate Bill 80 may be submitted by email at any time to ehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov“>odf.wildfirehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov.

Oregon’s Missing Persons

Many times you’ll see postings without case numbers or police contact. There is rarely a nefarious reason why (the nefarious ones are pretty obvious). Usually the loved one tried to call to report their missing person and they are either refused or told to wait a day or two by people who are unaware of SB 351 and the laws that they are bound to when answering the phone. Many people don’t bother calling LE if their loved one is homeless or in transition because they believe LE won’t care. The biggest myth is the 24 hour rule.

In Oregon we don’t have those rules and an officer or person answering the phone is not allowed to decide. The law decides. We have Senate Bill 351 and it states that the police CANNOT refuse a request for any reason and they must begin working on it within 12 hours. The person making the report does not have to be related to missing person either.

Here is SB 351 written by families of the missing here in Oregon in conjunction with Oregon law enforcement officers. This should be common knowledge, please make it this way. https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/…/SB351/Introduced

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