Klamath Basin News, Friday, 5/22 – Oregon Tech, City & County Schools Planning for Graduation Ceremonies in Different Ways

The latest news stories in the Klamath Basin and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News.

FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today  Mostly sunny, with a high near 62. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 34 degrees.

Saturday  Areas of frost in the morning hours, otherwise, sunny, with a high near 70.

Sunday  Partly sunny, with a high near 77.

Memorial Day Monday  Mostly sunny, with a high near 82.

Tuesday  Mostly sunny, with a high near 86.

Today’s Headlines

On Saturday, June 13,  “Oregon Tech,” will embark on a new adventure as the university holds its 72nd commencement ceremony—virtually.

Joining the historic ceremony are Oregon leaders Senator Jeff Merkley and Oregon Health & Science University president, Dr. Danny Jacobs, who will serve as keynote speakers.

Representing the Class of 2020, seniors Clark “CJ” Anderson and Nashmy Luna will speak on behalf of the College of Engineering, Technology and Management, and the College of Health, Arts and Sciences, respectively.

As the University continues to adapt to the pandemic COVID-19, a virtual commencement ceremony was announced in April as a way to honor graduates at a time when large gatherings are not permitted within Oregon.

Whereas Oregon Tech typically holds separate celebrations in June for graduating classes from Klamath Falls, Portland-Metro, Seattle and Salem campuses and teaching sites, this year will combine all campus ceremonies.

Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown was joined by a bipartisan group of 26 mayors from across the state in urging all Oregonians, especially Portland metro area residents, to keep it local this Memorial Day weekend to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Brown was joined by the bipartisan group of mayors from across the state today in urging Oregonians to stay close to home, and to support local businesses and communities this this Memorial Day weekend:

The governor was quoted as saying, “If you love the coast, stay home for now and plan your trip in the summer. If you love the Columbia Gorge, keep it local this weekend and visit later on. If you love Central Oregon, it’ll still be there in a few weeks.”

One of the 26 mayors that signed the proclamation was Klamath Falls mayor Carol Westfall.  Mayor John Stromberg from Ashland was the only other mayor in the five adjoining southern Oregon counties to appear on the document.

COVID-19 has claimed one more life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 145, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning.

Oregon Health Authority reported 24 new confirmed cases and no new presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 8 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 3,817.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Coos (1), Deschutes (1), Jefferson (1), Malheur (3), Marion (4), Multnomah (8), Umatilla (3), Washington (3).

The Oregon Air National Guard says its fighter pilots in F-15 Eagles will fly over hospitals across the state and parts of Southwest Washington again Friday and then again Monday to salute frontline workers.

The flyovers are a joint effort between Oregon’s 173rd Fighter Wing, based in Klamath Falls, and the 142nd Wing, based in Portland. They’re part of Operation: American Resolve.

The flights are intended to help lift morale during a time of severe health and economic impacts, and to honor service members. They are aimed at supporting and thanking healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers. The flights are done in conjunction with regularly scheduled training and will incur no additional cost to taxpayers. They are being done in lieu of regularly scheduled training.

Anyone who lives near the hospitals the pilots will fly over will be able to see and hear the jets and they soar through the sky at approximately 400 mph airspeed. The Oregon Air National Guard asks people to watch from the safety of their own homes. These will be the last of the Oregon Air National Guard’s Air Force Salute flyovers in Oregon.

Monday’s flights feature several hospitals in our region, including Sky Lakes in Klamath Falls at about 10:50AM.

It won’t happen in time for the Memorial Day weekend, but there is some good news.  The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will offer limited camping at many state park campgrounds starting June 9.

State park camping closed statewide March 23 in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus and limit travel, especially to smaller communities and rural areas. A list of which campgrounds will open June 9 is still being finalized. That list will be published on oregonstateparks.org by the end of May.

Not all parks and all services will be available. Most of the campgrounds opening accept reservations, but some first-come, first-served state park campgrounds may open as staff and funding are available.

In a move that could help Oregon restaurants and bars comply with state-mandated social distancing guidelines, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has begun fast-tracking applications to expand the sale of alcohol to sidewalks, streets and nearby parking lots.  

Previously, Oregon restaurants and bars hoping to expand their service area were required to go through a back and forth with the OLCC, providing plenty of documentation along the way. The streamlined application, available on the agency’s website since Friday, only asks current liquor license holders to draw or describe the area they hope to annex, and “affirm and attest” that they have received permission from landlords or local government bodies to do so. The application generates an auto reply allowing the business to operate in the new area.

The additional privilege is open to any licensed restaurant, bar, brewpub, wine tasting room or distillery in an Oregon county approved for reopening under the state’s Phase 1 guidelines.

Klamath Union High School will celebrate the class of 2020 with a drive-in-style event in Moore Park, Sunday, June 7, at noon.

Each senior has received two parking permits for the park, required for entrance, which will open at 10:30 a.m. Families are encouraged to decorate their vehicles to celebrate their graduates.  KUHS principal Tony Swan describes a ceremony of 30 to 45 minutes that will include a specially designed video, to be displayed on a JumboTron video board.

Every graduate will be featured, along with speeches by the senior class president (Alex Garcia) and the salutatorian and valedictorians. Graduates will receive diplomas and senior award certificates through their vehicle windows as they exit the park.

Students who do not pick up their diplomas will be notified to make other arrangements for delivery. 

The application deadline for the Oregon Promise is just around the corner, and Klamath Community College says students interested in the college-paying program to apply as early as possible.

High school seniors who are graduating this June must apply no later than June 1. Oregon Promise is a state grant that helps cover tuition at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED completers. The program pays for college tuition, after other state and federal grant aid has been applied, but does not cover other costs, such as books and fees.

For more information about Oregon Promise and how to apply, visit www.klamathcc.edu

A star party to observe the planets Mercury and Venus will be offered by the Klamath County Museum at 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 22.

The event will be in the parking lot of Foothills Christian Fellowship, at the north end of Patterson Street. The two planets will be very close together in the evening sky, just above the western horizon. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring a pair of binoculars. Participants will be required to maintain social distance. The date for Friday’s event has been changed from previous announcements, due to changing weather conditions.

The planets Mercury and Venus will appear at their closest on Thursday evening, but weather conditions for viewing are expected to be better on Friday.

Other astronomy events planned by the museum this year include viewing of the Perseid meteor shower on Aug. 11, and viewing of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars on Oct. 17.

Klamath County Public Works Department Schedule for week of May 25th:

Klamath County and/or other agencies will have work crews at the following locations. Please use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers. If you are able to avoid the work zones, please use an alternate route for your safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and our contractors.

May 25, 2020 – Memorial Day Holiday (no County work unless an emergency occurs)

City of Klamath Falls (Contractor) – Waterline Work Shasta Way/Derby Street/Dayton Street

South Suburban Sanitary District (Contractor) – Sanitary Sewer Pipe Repairs Various locations in Klamath Falls Suburban Area

Misc. Railroad Work on County Road Crossings (includes Weekend and Holiday Work) Tingley Lane (ODOT jurisdiction) Washburn Way Joe Wright Road Cross Road South Merrill Road Malone Road

Crack Seal Misc. County Roads – to prepare for summer 2020 Chip Seals

Safety Upgrades at County Road/OC&E Trail Crossings Altamont Drive – rapid reflective flashing beacon, signs and crosswalks Homedale Road – rapid reflective flashing beacon, signs and crosswalks Madison Street – rapid reflective flashing beacon, signs and crosswalks

Sidewalk Ramp Replacement – Washburn Way at Bristol and Anderson Lane Closure for demo, forming, and concrete placement

In general, flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays will be 0 to 20 minutes for the motoring public. Our goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public. Other minor work is occurring through the County but we are only listing the major items in this announcement. There may be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items outside of the County’s control (breakdown of equipment, material/resource availability, etc.) Please do not contact the County if you do not see work occurring, it could be finished already or will be rescheduled.

Klamath County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners appreciate the motoring publics’ patience during the repair season for our local roads and bridges. If you have any questions regarding work, please contact the Public Works Department at (541) 883-4696.

Around the state

State of Oregon offering 13-week extension of unemployment pay.

Starting today, the Oregon Employment Department is providing unemployment benefits through the CARES Act Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.

PEUC is a 13-week extension of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for claimants who have run out of regular benefits.

PEUC provides the same weekly amount as a claimant’s regular benefit amount. Individuals receiving PEUC also are eligible to receive the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit for each eligible week between March 29 and July 25, 2020. PEUC is retroactive to March 29, 2020, the first payable week of the program, and lasts for up to 13 eligible weeks of benefits through December 26, 2020.

Eligibility
There are two ways to be eligible for PEUC benefits. The first is if someone has used up all benefits from a current claim for regular unemployment benefits, but the period of the claim has not expired, and a person does not have another regular unemployment claim available to them in another state. The second is if someone was unemployed, ran out of regular unemployment benefits after July 1, 2019, and a person does not have another regular unemployment claim available to them in another state.

Those eligible for regular unemployment benefits are not eligible for PEUC until those other benefits are exhausted.

How to Apply
We cannot accept your application for PEUC until you have run out of benefits, or unless your claim is expired. There are three ways to apply for PEUC:

  • Online Claim System – If you have exhausted your regular unemployment benefits, your claim has not expired, and you file weekly using our Online Claims System, you will be presented with an option to file for PEUC when you submit your weekly claim for the first week with a $0 balance. If you select this option, you will automatically be placed into the PEUC program. Make sure you continue filing a claim for benefits each week.
  • Secure Upload – If your claim for regular unemployment benefits already expired and you are eligible for PEUC, you will receive a letter from us instructing you how to complete the PUEC application and how to restart your claim. You can apply using the secure upload.
  • Mail – If you are eligible for PEUC but cannot access our electronic systems you can mail your application. The application is available here on the CARES Act page of our website or by calling 503-947-1563 and leaving a message requesting an application.

More PEUC information and application materials can be found on the CARES Act page.

Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

On Thursday morning Oregon State Police  and Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 900 block of Caves Highway for report of a deceased male.

Responding officers located Devin Tandy (43) deceased from a gunshot.

Tandy’s vehicle was not at the residence and investigators requested an attempt to locate (ATL) on the vehicle by all law enforcement. 

California Highway Patrol and Del Norte County Sheriff’s office located the vehicle and detained the driver – Deymon Edwards (22).  OSP detectives responded to the Del Norte County Sheriff’s office and interviewed Edwards. 

Edwards was lodged in the Del Norte County jail on Murder I, Burglary I, Robbery I, Unlawful Use of a Vehicle and Theft I.   This is an ongoing investigation.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will offer limited camping at many state park campgrounds starting June 9, 2020.

State park camping closed statewide March 23 in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus and limit travel, especially to smaller communities and rural areas.

A list of which campgrounds will open June 9 is still being finalized. That list will be published on oregonstateparks.org by the end of May. Not all parks and all services will be available. Most of the campgrounds opening accept reservations, but some first-come, first-served state park campgrounds may open as staff and funding are available.

Those campgrounds that do open will honor existing tent and RV reservations starting June 9, and will accept new reservations from one day to two weeks in advance, instead of the usual nine months in advance. Reservations will still be made through OPRD’s contracted vendor, Reserve America at https://oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com/.

RV and tent campers without reservations will be welcome at open campgrounds as space and staffing permit.

Reservations for most yurts and cabins, and group camping and group day-use, are still subject to cancellation. Visitors holding those reservations will be contacted if a cancellation is required.

Two main forces determine when a state park campground can open. Some communities, such as the north coast, are not yet ready for overnight visitors from outside their area.

A more widespread factor relates to funding. The Oregon State Park system is not funded by taxes, but by revenue from park visitors, a small share of the Oregon Lottery, and a portion of state recreational vehicle registrations. The revenue needed to operate state parks has fallen drastically since March, meaning one of the most popular state park systems in the country is being operated by about half the usual staff.

With a skeleton crew and limited means to hire more, there will be far fewer staff available to help visitors and address common problems such as noise and pets. Trash, landscaping, and cleaning services will all be reduced. Interpretive activities and ranger programs will be few and far between, if at all. Restrooms are expected to be available at each open park, but some shower facilities may be closed. Service, and whether a park is open or not, is subject to change depending on health conditions around the park, available staff, protective equipment, and cleaning supplies.

Visitors can help state parks stay open:

  • Choose a park as close to home as possible. Don’t travel if you’re sick.
  • Visit with members of your household.
  • Bring everything you need with you: trash bags, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, food, water. Pack out everything you bring in.
  • Be gentle with the trails, restrooms, showers, benches, and picnic tables.
  • Take it easy on yourself by enjoying low-key, familiar activities.
  • Be a good neighbor. Keep your pets on a leash, your site clean, and respect quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day.
  • Keep at least six feet away from people from outside your household, and wear a face covering when you can’t. Avoid crowds even if you have a face covering.
  • Cover coughs, and wash your hands regularly.
  • Watch our Prepare + Care Welcome video at https://youtu.be/IN7qsM08l9k.

“Oregon needs what its parks can provide,” says Lisa Sumption, OPRD Director. “This is less service than Oregonians are used to, and we’re doing our best to stretch the budget, but it will take continued cooperation and support from visitors to make this work.”

Self-serve gas rules changing

The Office of the State Fire Marshal’s temporary rules change allowing Oregon gas retailers to provide self-service on a voluntary basis ends at midnight, May 23.

Starting Sunday, May 24, attendants will again be providing service at gas stations in Oregon where self-service is not allowed. Self-service is allowed in some coastal counties and in eastern and central Oregon.

Initially, a temporary rules change was implemented to address worker shortages at stations statewide because of COVID-19.

“We want to thank Oregonians and the many Oregon businesses who provide gasoline for their patience as we allowed for voluntary self-service at Oregon gas stations where that service had not been available before,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “Starting Sunday, self-serve gas will no longer be allowed in counties where it is already prohibited by state law. Areas of the state where self-serve was allowed, in some coastal counties and areas of central and eastern Oregon, will see no change.”

Pacific Power working to reduce wildfire risk

With wildfire season already underway in parts of the West, Pacific Power is adding new safety measures and system enhancements to continue to help protect the communities it serves while providing safe, reliable power.

“While it is impossible to eliminate all wildfire risks, we continue to invest in our system in high-risk areas to reduce the chance of utility-caused, catastrophic wildfires during extreme weather” said David Lucas, vice president of transmission and distribution operations. “We continue to upgrade our system to mitigate wildfire risk, protect people and property and increase equipment resiliency. This essential work and investment underscores our continued commitment to doing our part in the evolving preventative fight against wildfires.”

Last year, in addition to regular inspection schedules, crews performed 20,000 extra facility inspections system-wide. Other mitigation measures include:

  • Investing in new technologies, such as covered overhead wire to prevent sparks from occurring when debris or branches fall into the line
  • Installing dozens of weather monitoring stations throughout high risk wildfire areas for deeper insight into weather-related threats
  • Enhanced plant and tree clearings around power lines and poles in high risk areas
  • Coordinating with state and local government officials and forestry management groups and other stakeholders to help ensure public safety

Pacific Power recently released an easy-to-use interactive map to view areas where a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) may occur – rare instances when power could be proactively shut off in specific, high-risk areas to prevent wildfire ignitions. Customers can see if a home or business is in a potential PSPS area and view the seven-day status forecasts in these designated zones. These tools help customers stay informed and provide actionable information so they can be prepared and stay safe during wildfire season. Additional resources, along with the web tools are available at pacificpower.net/wildfiresafety.

For more information on the company’s wildfire prevention practices, customers can attend Pacific Power’s Wildfire Mitigation and Safety webinar on May 27, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Hotels in Seaside are opening back up next week.  The Seaside City Council voted five-to-one yesterday to reopen hotels and other lodgings to visitors starting Tuesday, May 26th.  City councilors note that though hotels will be allowed to reopen on that date, hotels will not be required to open.

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A new wolf count shows growth in Oregon’s population, but conservation groups say there’s still a long way to go to recovering the species.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife found there were at least 158 wolves in the state in 2019, up from 137 in 2018. Doctor Sristi Kamal is a senior Oregon representative with Defenders of Wildlife. She says it’s good news that wolves appear to be moving throughout the state, although they still don’t occupy large parts of their historic habitat. But she says the other good news in the O-D-F-W report is that no wolves were removed for preying on livestock, or depredation, and that wolf depredation was down 43 percent in 2019.

Kamal says wolves are concentrated in northeast Oregon. The report confirms seven wolf deaths in the state in 2019, six of which were caused by humans.

On Thursday morning, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a single vehicle crash on Hwy 180 at milepost 1.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Ford F350, operated by William Coolbaugh (63) of Eddyville, was traveling eastbound on Hwy 180(Nashville Rd.) when for unknown reasons the F350 drove over the embankment on the south side of the roadway and crashed upside down in the Yaquina River. 

Coolbaugh sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

An 11 year old male passenger also sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Other passengers Jacob Roberts (37) of Eddyville and a 15 year male were transported for injuries.  

Hwy 180 (Nashville Rd.) was closed for approximately 6 hours following the crash. 

On Thursday May 21, 2020 at approximately 10:01 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a motor vehicle crash on Hwy 99E and SE Claredon St. in Gladstone.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a silver Mercedes G25, operated by David Mauerman (59) of Oregon City, was traveling southbound on Hwy 99E when he struck a pedestrian, Michael Lacy (61) of Oregon City, that was in the lane of travel. 

Lacy sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased while en route to the hospital by ambulance.

On Thursday, May 21, 2020 at approximately 3:15 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 212 at Lani Lane. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a Toyota Landcruiser, operated by Donna Chaney (72) of Boring, was traveling eastbound on Hwy 212 when it drifted into the westbound lane colliding head on with a Honda Accord operated by Michael Laubach (44) of Tigard.

Laubach sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Chaney did not sustain serious injuries and is cooperating with the investigation.

Facts on Oregon Child Welfare

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact daily life in Oregon, yet there are stable foundations and values which guide the work to support children and families during these difficult times.

Much of the way the Oregon Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Program works has changed to keep people safe and well. The pace of information and change is rapid and there have been rumors and misinformation causing confusion in the community about the actions of the Child Welfare Program.

Four facts about the work of the Child Welfare Program during the COVID-19 pandemic follow:

Fact #1: The Oregon Child Abuse Hotline is open and child abuse and neglect assessments are still being done in person.

The Oregon Child Abuse Hotline is still answering calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and Child Welfare staff will continue to respond to reports of abuse and neglect, and work with community partners to maintain support to families.

The COVID-19 pandemic creates many challenges for families, which could impact child safety, including:

  • Economic instability
  • Lack of access to medical care
  • Limited access to regular meals due to school closures
  • Increased mental health issues  

The Child Welfare Program encourages Oregonians to check in with families in their community– including young children, children and adults with developmental delays or other medical vulnerabilities, isolated children and families, and youth and families with severe emotional/mental health needs – through phone, email, or by safe distance, and provide support and resources when this can safely be done. Dropping off groceries, diapers, or sharing information about 211 can make a big difference in a family’s wellbeing. 

 Anyone with concerns about potential neglect or abuse should report it to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).

Fact #2: In-person visits between children in foster care and their biological parents are still happening, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oregon Child Welfare Program is allowing in-person visits to happen in the community with special considerations. These considerations include the health of children, foster parents, parents, and if caseworkers agree there are no health-related concerns around visits and enough room to practice physical distancing.

Sometimes, in-person visits are not able to occur. In these situations, Child Welfare is modifying plans to allow frequent and meaningful phone and virtual contact between families of origin and children; as well as siblings that are not together.

Children of all ages, even babies, benefit from seeing their parents via videoconferencing hearing their voices by phone. Parents also greatly benefit from this contact. When frequent and meaningful contact is maintained, even virtually, parents are more motivated to stay engaged in their case plan and children do better. 

On March 24, 2020 in-person visits at DHS offices were suspended. Since then they have been allowed in the community when possible. The decision regarding in-person visits at DHS offices will be reconsidered in June.

Fact #3: Oregon Child Welfare will not place children in foster care because their parents or caregivers are diagnosed with COVID-19.

There are times when a caregiver is unable to care for their child due to severe illness. In these cases, if the caregiver requests it and when there is no one else who is able to provide a safe environment for the child, it might be necessary for the child to enter foster care until the caregiver’s health allows them to care for the child again.

This would only be done on a voluntary basis and if the caregiver needed and requested it. The Oregon Child Welfare Program would first work with the caregiver to identify any potential friends or family that can provide a safe and caring environment for the child before making the decision that entering foster care was necessary. This type of voluntary placement does not affect a caregiver’s custodial rights and does not involve the child dependency legal system.

A parent or other primary caregiver having a severe illness, including COVID-19, would never be the sole reason for removing a child in Oregon.

Parents or other primary caregivers are encouraged to plan ahead and identify a circle of support made up of friends, family, and their community who can provide assistance in case of emergency.

Fact #4: Not following Governor Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order or not following physical distancing guidelines would never be a reason for a Child Protective Services (CPS) assessment.

When the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline receives a report of suspected abuse or neglect, that report is screened, and then if assigned for a CPS safety assessment, case workers will visit the family and do a safety assessment.

This assessment is very thorough and involves assessing all the factors within the family that can impact the safety of the child. Our caseworkers do a thorough assessment of who is in the home, parenting practices, vulnerability of the child, and much more.

Political activity, protests or beliefs are never a reason to assign a CPS assessment. Additionally, refusing to follow physical distancing guidelines or the Stay Home, Save Lives executive order are never reasons to assign a CPS assessment.

For additional resources and information:

May is National Foster Care Awareness month, and this year’s theme is “Foster Care as a Support to Families, Not a Substitute for Parents.”

  • When biological and foster families work together for successful reunification of children in care, everyone involved experiences long-term benefits. Communication between these families plays a crucial role in creating the support, resilience, and connection that children in care need and deserve.
  • In Oregon, the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) models this by mentoring parents with children in care and changing the stigma around family communication.
  • The PAC, facilitated by Morrison Child & Family Services, is composed of seven parents who have successfully navigated their own Oregon Child Welfare cases. The Oregon Foster Parent Association is also a member, working to increase positive relationships between foster families and parents in Oregon.
  • Says Rebecca Jones Gaston, Oregon Child Welfare Program Director, “All children deserve love and support. The Parent Advisory Council and Oregon Foster Parent Association reflect what we know works for children and society’s long-term success. By supporting families working together and building a strong child safety network, we can strengthen communities.”
  • The PAC believes that foster families play a vital role in healing families and successful reunification and recently developed a training to teach foster families best practices for collaboration from the parent perspective.
  • When the PAC was unable to provide in-person training due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PAC parents stepped up to deliver it virtually to foster families across Oregon.
  • “The humility, support and ongoing mentoring that my resource (foster) family provided me was imperative to my success as a parent and the reunification of my family”, says Daniel Pallas, PAC member since 2016.
  • Here are five proven suggestions for foster families from parents who have successfully worked through child welfare cases:
  • 1) Communication is key: Children pick up on the way foster families communicate with their parents. Encourage a healthy parent-child relationship by modeling a healthy co-parenting relationship and use creative communication tools such as journals or photos.
  • 2) Transitions matter: Ease the pain and trauma for the child and parent when they are separated by allowing them a phone call on the first night and advocating for an early “icebreaker” meeting to make a co-parenting plan.
  • 3) Small acts have big impacts: Some ideas include: asking for the child’s special belongings and cultural practices, putting up pictures of the parents in the child’s room even if they are an infant, and referring to the child’s parents as “mom” and “dad.”
  • 4) Work as a team: Unity and consistency in co-parenting supports the immediate and long-term wellbeing of children. When parents and foster families work together, children experience less detachment, increased attachment resilience, and supportive transitions home.
  • 5) Have hope: Parents can and do change. No matter how challenging things seem right now, every parent loves their child. Convey your hope to the parent! Tell them YOU believe they can change, too.
  • For more information about the Parent Advisory Council, please contact the Council Facilitators: Brittany Kintigh (971) 803-1804 or Leah Hall (503) 313-8959.

Oregon state officials say that they will continue to offer additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in June for families who would normally receive free or reduced-price meals.

The state announced that it would extend SNAP benefits to food insecure students in early May. 

More than 351,000 students around the state were eligible for the grocery benefits. According to Oregon DHS, the state is putting $134 million toward those food benefits. Households will receive food benefits equivalent to the cost of one lunch and one breakfast for each eligible student – $5.70 per normal school day for the months of March, April, May and June.

Beginning in June, these additional benefits will be automatically deposited for SNAP households to their existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) accounts on the regular date. Benefits are sent out between the 1st and the 9th of the month, based on the last digit of the recipient’s SSN. Students who would normally receive free school meals but do not have SNAP benefits will automatically receive an Oregon Trail Card in the mail in the months of June and July.

Parents do not need to apply if their children are part of a school where all students receive free meals.

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