Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 3/15 – Chris Peterson Named “Firefighter of the Year” at Klamath County Fire District 1 Dinner

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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Showers likely, mainly before noon. Snow level 6200 feet lowering to 5700 feet in the afternoon . Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Overnight cloudy with a low around 28.

Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 56.
Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 61.
Saturday Rain. Snow level 5400 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51.

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County Fire District 1 held its annual Employee Appreciation Dinner on Saturday, March 12. Chris Peterson was named firefighter of the year for the agency.

Honored at the KF Fire District 1 Appeciation Dinner was Paramedic Leland Ortis, Customer Service Specialist Debbie Fleming, and Firefighter of the Year… Chris Peterson

Peterson was honored for his work in emergency situations, productivity and positive attitude, according to an announcement from the district. He has been with the district since August 2019.

Paramedic Leland Ortis was named, EMS Provider of the Year. He started with the district in January 2021.

The fire district also gave awards to customer service specialist Debbie Fleming as well as paramedic Kyle Keever for outstanding service on a medical incident.

The recipients were nominated by their peers for the awards. The fire district reports responding to more than 9,000 incidents in 2021. That is up from more than 7,600 in 2020 and close to 7,800 calls in 2019.

The 2021 calls included 143 fire incidents and 7,189 medical responses. The latter is up 23% from 2020 when the fire department responded to 5,843 medical incidents. The district, which serves the Klamath Basin, has 63 operational workers including 48 firefighters.

What began as a way for two friends to collaborate has quickly grown into the best-selling monthly live events the Klamath Basin has seen in many years and may just transform entertainment in the region going forward.

Since December the Ross Ragland Theater has hosted monthly Comedy Nights, a showcase of stand-up comedians in which each show has drawn successively larger crowds coming close to selling out all 785 theater seats in a feat rarely achieved in the Ragland’s history since its revival from the historic Esquire Theater in 1989.

Beyond a night of big laughs, the shows are signaling a gaining interest in the community for live entertainment again following several lean years of crowds for venues thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jim Turner shunned a career in retail for a life as a stand-up comic, spending 15 years touring the globe performing on countless stages and making great connections in the industry. It was during one USO tour in Japan that he encountered a fellow comedian from Atlanta, Hurricane Andrew Dandy.

Despite their drastically different backgrounds and styles performing for military audiences the two became great friends and stayed in contact even after Turner was forced to give up his career due to family obligations. Turner and his family discovered the Klamath Basin through a stay at the Running Y Ranch Resort, and quickly fell in love with the area. After several return trips it was decided to relocate to Klamath Falls permanently, but amidst the COVID-19 pandemic it was difficult to meet new people.

First intended largely as a means to make friends and fulfill a lifelong passion, Jim and Sarah Turner last year opened a music store on Washburn Way Retro Room Records.

Its popularity quickly grew as a fun and welcoming place to hang out and fulfill nostalgic connections to analog music collections, and some visitors couldn’t help but notice the many photos on the walls of Jim and Sarah with famous comedians over the years.

With the tremendous success of the first trio of shows, a long-term contract was signed guaranteeing at least a year of monthly Comedy Nights to come. As word has spread about the success of the shows, more recognizable performers have begun reaching out to Turner directly wanting to join in on the fun, leading to some very big names and comedy icons set to perform soon in Klamath Falls.

That growing reputation, according to Turner, will make it easier to bring in bigger names more consistently and at more affordable prices.

The Ross Ragland Theater in partnership with Avista Corporation is bringing a week full of kids matinees to the theater.

The week of spring break will be filled movies for all kids to enjoy. If you’re looking for something to do with the kids while their out of school for the week, help fill your day and stop by the theater to catch one of our matinees March 21 through March 24.

With a second showing of The Last Starfighter at 6 p.m. on March 24.

“The Ragland is here to bring people together, it’s what we do,” said Ross Ragland Theater Executive Director Samantha Burris. “Filling spring break full of movies for the local community to enjoy with their families is a great part of bringing entertainment to the Basin.”

Don’t miss this chance to spend some quality time with the family enjoying some of your favorite kids classics! Tickets start at $5 for students ($10 for adults) and you can reserve yours today by visiting our website at ragland.org.  You can also call the theater at 541-884-LIVE.

Klamath Falls is becoming more bike friendly everyday.

Whether a road cyclist or a mountain biker, a novice or an expert, there is something for everyone to enjoy in our community.

With spring around the corner and the price of gas reaching record highs, it’s a good time to explore cycling. In the heart of Klamath Falls, a separated bike lane was completed in 2018 that serves as a gateway to downtown.

Many multi-use paths and bike lanes provide connectivity from the south suburbs all the way to Moore Park, Steen Sport Park and other points of interest.

The OC&E trail and the A Canal provide great options to ride your bike and avoid roads with heavy traffic. Check out the Ride Klamath section of zachsbikes.com for routes and information.

Avid and new commuters mark your calendars for the month of May. May is Bike to Work Month and on Friday, May 20, Klamath will celebrate Bike to Work Day. A number of community organizations are working together to bring a pumptrack to town. The pumptrack will be located by Kit Carson Park. The pumptrack is a special type of circular trail with berms, jumps and rollers made so that you do not have to pedal, instead using the rollers to “pump” your bodyweight on the downhill portions to provide momentum for the next roller, If you’re interested in contributing to the pumptrack project, then please reach out to bluezonesproject@healthyklamath.org to learn more.

Oregon reports 775 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 16 new deaths

There are 16 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,885, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today. OHA reported 775 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 699,960.

The 16 new deaths and 775 new cases reported today include data recorded by counties for the three-day period between March 11 and March 13.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (3), Benton (4), Clackamas (104), Clatsop (5), Columbia (6), Coos (15), Crook (2), Curry (4), Deschutes (64), Douglas (15), Grant (17), Harney (1), Hood River (3), Jackson (45), Jefferson (1), Josephine (23), Klamath (10), Lane (82), Lincoln (3), Linn (20), Malheur (1), Marion (44), Multnomah (167), Polk (12), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (7), Wallowa (6), Wasco (4), Washington (90) and Yamhill (15).

Oregon reports 460 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on March 11, 177 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on March 12 and 138 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases on March 13.

5 main priorities of Oregon RISE: Protect communities hardest hit by COVID-19. Protect people most vulnerable to COVID-19. Expand access to vital health care and support a thriving workforce. Keep schools safe for students, staff and families and help students recover instructional time. Restore social cohesion by listening to local communities and helping people protect themselves and others. oregon.gov/OregonRise

Last week, OHA launched Oregon RISE (Resilience in Support of Equity), Oregon’s post-pandemic resilience plan.

A five-point plan, RISE outlines near-term priorities Oregon will pursue to monitor COVID-19, shield people at highest risk, reinvigorate communities and repair the state’s social fabric as public health interventions fall away over the coming months.To learn more, visit https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-rise.

Containment on both the Evergreen Fire, burning northeast of Weed, and the Gulch Fire, burning southeast of Dorris, have increased dramatically overnight thanks to rain and snow in the area. 

Smoke from the fire was prevalent in the Klamath Basin over the weekend. According to the Cal Fire Siskiyou Unit, containment on the Evergreen Fire  near Evergreen Lane & Highway 97 had increased to 50% as of Sunday morning. 

Fire crews are reporting that the fire is roughly 12 acres in size and that forward movement of the fire has been stopped. Over towards Dorris, containment on the Gulch Fire has increased to 20% after the fire grew to 113 acres Saturday night. Forward spread on the fire has also be stopped, according to officials.

There are currently no Evacuation Orders or Warnings in place for either fire.

Fremont-Winema National Forest seeks campground hosts for 2022 season

LAKEVIEW, OR – The Fremont-Winema National Forest is currently seeking energetic, good-natured volunteers to serve as campground hosts for the 2022 summer recreation season at one of two locations.

The locations are located on the Bly and Lakeview Ranger Districts.

Lofton Reservoir Campground has 26 campsites and is located approximately 22 miles southeast of Bly.  Cottonwood Meadows Campground has 33 campsites and is located 25 miles west of Lakeview.

Applications are being accepted through April 29 2022. Hosts are expected to be in place at Lofton Reservoir, Cottonwood Meadow’s, and Williamson River Campgrounds as early as mid-May, but no later than Memorial Day weekend dependent on weather. Digit Point Campground will likely start closer to mid-June. 

Hosts are needed through Labor Day weekend. The schedule is Thursday through Monday, including holidays. However, recreation managers note the work week and season length may vary based on the needs of the individual campground.

The most important job of a campground host is to provide an enjoyable camping experience for the public. Hosts are expected to assist visitors with information about the campground and local recreation opportunities. They must work well with people, be personable, maintain a neat appearance and be physically able to perform the following tasks:

  • Clean and stock restrooms.
  • Clean fire rings, picnic tables, and campsites, including picking up litter.
  • Mow and weed-eat campsites and along roadways.
  • Ensure fees are collected.
  • Communicate site maintenance needs to Forest Service staff.

Volunteers must provide their own self-contained RV or other self-contained camping set up. The Forest Service will provide a campsite, propane, gas and a subsistence allowance.

To apply for the host positions at Lofton Reservoir Campground or Cottonwood Meadows Campground, please contact Recreation Specialist Greg Campbell at 541-947-6359 or gregory.campbell@usda.gov.

For more information on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema, follow the Forest on Twitter @FremontWinemaNF or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/R6FWNF.

Around the state of Oregon

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office has arrested one man in connection to a robbery that occurred in Grants Pass over the weekend.

Seven other suspects are still at large. On Saturday, March 12, JCSO responded to a 911 hang-up in the 700-block of Pyle Drive.

When police arrived to the scene, they found multiple victims tied up, with others fleeing on foot through the wooded area. During the investigation, police determined approximately eight Hispanic males arrived to the location armed, dressed in clothing resembling law enforcement and attempted to steal hundreds of pounds of marijuana.

While police searched the location, they located multiple items throughout the nearby wooded area including a ballistic vest, DEA hat, fake badges, and firearms. One suspect, Alan Lopez, 20, was located near the location attempting to hide from police.

Lopez was arrested and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for first-degree robbery, second-degree kidnapping and impersonating a peace officer. According to JCSO, individuals residing in the area of Pyle Drive are encouraged to keep an eye out for items that appear out of place and may be related to this case.

If any items are located, do not touch them and call JCSO immediately. At this time, the investigation is still ongoing.

Portland Tax Preparer Sentenced to Federal Prison for Filing False Tax Returns and Stealing Public Benefits 

A Portland, Oregon tax return preparer was sentenced to federal prison today for preparing and filing false and fraudulent tax returns for clients and for herself.

Elizabeth Munoz, 38, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Munoz was also ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution to the IRS and $82,400 to the Oregon Department of Human Services.

According to court documents, from 2015 to 2018, Munoz operated a federal and state income tax return preparation business from her home in Southeast Portland. Munoz advertised on business cards that she would obtain for her clients the “Biggest Refund Guaranteed.” Munoz prepared more than 1,300 false and fraudulent individual income tax returns for more than 600 clients, resulting in an approximately $1.8 million tax loss through fraudulent refunds.

Munoz used fraudulent tax schedules, tax credits, and filing statuses to carry out her refund fraud. Though Munoz charged her clients up to $150 per tax return, she reported no business income on her own personal income tax returns from 2014 through 2017, causing a $22,764 tax loss. Munoz additionally submitted six years’ worth of false applications to obtain more than $82,000 in public benefits designed to support poor and indigent community members.

On August 5, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 25-count indictment charging Munoz with filing false income tax returns and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns. On December 15, 2020, Munoz pleaded guilty to 13 counts of preparing and filing false income tax returns for clients and four counts of filing false income tax returns for herself.

A convicted murderer from Jackson County, Richard Edward Reeves, Jr., died Saturday morning in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC).

Reeves was incarcerated at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) in Ontario and passed away in the infirmary while on hospice care. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified. Reeves entered DOC custody on April 15, 1999, from Jackson County with an earliest release date of September 9, 2023. Reeves was 70 years old. Next of kin has been notified.

Oregon businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist Gerry Frank has died at age 98. His family owned the Meier & Frank department store in Portland.

His uncle was former Governor Julius Meier and he worked as an aide to Oregon Senator and then Governor Mark Hatfield for two decades. Senator Ron Wyden says Gerry Frank lived the Oregon Way with every fiber of his being, adding that every single day, he cared deeply about making Oregon a better place.

The Oregon Health Authority is warning residents about eating sturgeon caught in the lower Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

Tests show the fish contain potentially carcinogenic PCBs. Sturgeon live long and eat from the bottom of the river, where PCBs settle.

OHA says sturgeon caught in the lower Columbia River aren’t as contaminated, so seven to eight meals per month are allowable. Sturgeon caught in the lower Willamette River are more contaminated, and only one meal per month is recommended.

A Lane County, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today after sexually abusing multiple children entrusted to a daycare run by his wife, possessing thousands of images and videos depicting child sexual abuse, and distributing child pornography.

Eric Wade Rogers, 55, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

All families affiliated Rogers’ wife’s in-home daycare have been contacted by law enforcement. U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement. This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the FBI and the Eugene Police Department.

It was prosecuted by William McLaren and Amy Potter, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon. Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor.

Child sexual abuse material depicts actual crimes being committed against children. Not only do these images and videos document victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when shared across the internet, child victims suffer re-victimization each time the image of their abuse is viewed.

To learn more, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website at www.missingkids.org.

Former Oregon Corrections Official Indicted for Sexually Assaulting a Dozen Female Inmates While Serving as a Nurse

PORTLAND, Ore.—A federal indictment was unsealed today charging a former Oregon Department of Corrections employee with sexually assaulting a dozen female inmates while serving as a nurse at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF), Oregon’s only women’s prison.

Tony Daniel Klein, 37, of Clackamas County, Oregon, is charged with 21 counts of depriving the victims of their constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by sexually assaulting them.

The indictment alleges that from 2016 through 2017, Klein committed various forms of sexual assault, some of which included aggravated sexual abuse and some resulting in bodily injury. Klein is also charged with four counts of perjury for giving false testimony during a 2019 deposition related to a federal lawsuit alleging he committed sexual misconduct while serving as a corrections nurse.

If convicted, Klein faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

Eugene Man Indicted for Illegally Importing and Exporting Live Scorpions

A Eugene, Oregon man who formerly resided in Southern Oregon pleaded guilty today in federal court to violating the Lacey Act by illegally importing and exporting hundreds of live scorpions.

Darren Dennis Drake, 39, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to commit Lacey Act violations, a federal misdemeanor.

According to court documents, between September 4, 2017 and March 21, 2018, Drake imported and exported dozens of live scorpions from and to contacts in Germany without first obtaining an import-export license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). On one parcel intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Drake falsely labeled the package contents as “chocolates.”

Drake also mailed or received several hundred live scorpions from other U.S. states, including Michigan and Texas, in violation of federal mailing laws. 

On February 23, 2022, Drake was charged by criminal information with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act.

Drake faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and three years’ supervised release. He will be sentenced on June 22, 2022 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken.

Car Rolls Down Embankment Near Jacksonville On Top of Old Wrecked Car

Sunday, Jacksonville Fire Department and Applegate Valley Fire District #9 responded to a motor vehicle crash at HWY 238 and Wagon Trail Road.

May be an image of tree and outdoors
May be an image of outdoors and tree

Jacksonville Fire Department said a vehicle had left the roadway and rolled down an embankment. No injuries were reported.

“What makes this crash peculiar,” said Jacksonville Fire Department, “is that it landed right next to the car that has been down there for quite some time growing moss on it.” Anyone who knows about the old wreck can reach out Jacksonville Fire Department on their Facebook page.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Artist-in-Residence Program Seeking Applications 

Officials with the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument are accepting applications for its summer Artist-in-Residence program. Selected artists receive a one to two-week residency at CSNM during early summer. Artists will create while immersed in a beautiful environment, and share their works with the public. All artists are encouraged to apply, and there is no preference given to any particular style or medium.

“Each year we celebrate new perspectives,” said Joel Brumm, Assistant Monument Manager. “Artists have a unique viewpoint on these special areas, and they provide a fascinating window into our relationship with public lands.”

The Artist-in-Residence program is in its sixth year and has translated the monument’s natural and cultural resources into images, objects and performances.

“These artists have brought enjoyment to others and forged a deeper understanding of our nation’s treasured places,” said Brumm.

During their stay, artists share their vision in one public presentation. Following their residency, artists donate at least one digital image of their completed artwork to CSNM. CSNM holds a publishing copyright to donated digital imagery for promotional use to advance the residency program. The artist retains a non-exclusive use copyright.

One artist and one alternate will be selected based on the following criteria: entry materials, residency proposal, professionalism, and creative vision.

Interested artists can learn more information and an application at the Artist-in-Residence website (https://www.blm.gov/get-involved/artist-in-residence/air-sites/cascade-siskiyou), by e-mailing jbrumm@blm.gov, or by calling CSNM at (541) 618-2256. Detailed instructions are on the entry form. Applications must be postmarked by April 4, 2022. Application materials and sample artwork can also be submitted in a single email no larger than 15 mb to jbrumm@blm.gov.

Those wishing to learn more about the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument information can do so on the CSNM’s website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/national-monuments/oregon-washington/cascade-siskiyou 

Hundreds of Nurses along with Elected Officials, Labor Leaders, Faith Leaders and Community Allies will be marching in an informational picket outside Providence St. Vincent Medical Center Tuesday, March 15 from 5 – 8 PM.

WHAT: More than 700 frontline nurses who work within the Providence Health System will participate in an informational picket about raising health care standards for nurses, patients and our communities on Tuesday, March 15. The nurses—represented by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA)—will be joined by Oregon elected leaders, worker advocates and community allies. 

ONA represents more than 4,000 frontline nurses working in 10 Providence Health System facilities from Portland to Medford. Nurses are standing together to raise standards for caregivers, our patients and our communities within Providence–Oregon’s largest health care system and one of the state’s largest companies. 

WHEN: Tuesday, March 15 

  • Informational Picketing from 5-8 p.m.
  • 1st Round of Speakers: 6:00 p.m.
  • 2nd Round of Speakers: 7:15 p.m.
    • Times are approximate

WHERE: On sidewalks outside Providence St. Vincent Medical Center near the intersection of SW Barnes Road and SW Baltic Ave in Portland, OR. (Providence St. Vincent Medical Center Address: 9205 SW Barnes Rd, Portland, OR 97225). 

WHO: More than 700 ONA frontline nurses will be picketing alongside elected officials, worker advocates and community allies. Frontline nurses and current and former elected officials and allies will also be speaking in support of ONA nurses. Scheduled speakers include:

  • Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek
  • Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, MD
  • State Representative Rob Nosse
  • State Representative Rachel Prusak, NP
  • State Representative Wlnsvey Campos
  • SEIU President Mike Powers
  • Faith Leader Fr. Jack Mosbrucker
  • Multiple ONA frontline nurses working within the Providence system

WHY: ONA nurses are picketing to improve patient safety by addressing Providence’s staffing crisis and raising standards to recruit and retain caregivers. Despite nurses’ sacrifices over the last two years serving on the frontlines of a deadly pandemic–Providence has left hundreds of frontline nurses working without the safety and security of a contract. Providence allowed nurse contracts at major Oregon hospitals like Providence St. Vincent and Providence Willamette Falls to expire last year. Other contracts are also close to expiration and are in bargaining–including Providence Hood River and Providence Milwaukie. 

Oregon Nurses Association nurses from 10 Providence facilities and community allies are coming together to put patients first and make much-needed safety, staffing and care improvements for their communities. During contract negotiations, ONA frontline nurses are asking Providence for basic safety standards to protect our patients, our coworkers and our families including: 

  • Stronger patient safety standards to reduce future COVID-19 outbreaks and ensure the highest standards of care for all Oregonians.
  • Safe nurse staffing to ensure high-quality care and patient access.
  • Affordable health care and paid leave so frontline nurses can seek care after COVID-19 exposures and afford health care for their own families.
  • A fair compensation package that allows hospitals to recruit and retain the skilled frontline caregivers our communities need to stay healthy and safe. 

ONA nurses continue to be our community’s primary health care advocates, publicly calling on Providence and other health care giants along with government and industries to prioritize patient and community safety during and after COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, nurses have led efforts to increase access to free COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, upgrade workplace safety standards through state and national OSHA standards, provide free mental health support to frontline workers, improve mask availability and use, and support frontline health care workers by providing proper personal protective equipment (PPE), timely disease exposure notifications, COVID-19 sick leave and worker input on COVID-19 and other key health care issues. 

Now nurses are standing together to address long-term safety, staffing and benefit issues as nurses’ contracts at multiple Providence facilities are expired or up for negotiations in 2022. 

Thousands of frontline nurses are fighting for the basics—safe staffing, better patient care, affordable health insurance and caregiver retention. During the pandemic, Providence turned away ambulances, forced Oregonians to wait long hours in COVID-crowded ERs, and put patients at risk due to low staffing. Now Providence has left frontline nurses working without a contract and with no clear plan to improve care in the future,” said ONA Executive Committee President at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center John Smeltzer, RN.

“The pandemic proved the status quo is unsustainable. Our patients and frontline caregivers deserve more. Providence is Oregon’s largest health care provider. Its decisions impact all Oregonians’ health care. Nurses have been at the bedside over the last two years and we know firsthand the health challenges our patients are facing. That’s why ONA nurses are uniting to raise standards for all Oregonians,” Smeltzer said. 

“While Oregon’s nurses were running into COVID-19 rooms wearing reused PPE we pulled from paper bags–taxpayers handed Providence and other hospitals billions to ensure our hospitals stayed open during the pandemic. Providence alone collected nearly $1 billion in taxpayer bailouts from the CARES Act to add to its $14 billion in cash and investment revenues,” said ONA President Lynda Pond, RN. 

“Frontline nurses have invested in Providence with our blood, sweat, tears and our dollars. Now we’re demanding Providence invest in our communities and put those profits to work as intended. It’s time for Providence to listen to nurses and reinvest in patient safety, safe staffing, and caregiver retention to improve health care for all Oregonians,” Pond said. 

Tuesday’s informational picket is open to the public. While it is an outdoor, rain-or-shine event, all participants are highly encouraged to wear masks, take measures to ensure social distancing and follow guidance from designated picket captains and safety personnel.

Note: An informational picket is not a strike or work stoppage. It is a demonstration of solidarity to Providence’s administrators and a promise to our community that nurses, elected leaders and allies are united to raise health care standards at Providence and throughout Oregon.

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state, including more than 4,000 nurses working at 10 Providence Oregon health care facilities throughout the state. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.

Grant Money Available To Help Those Affected By 2020 Wildfires To Be More Fire-Resistant When Rebuilding

Oregon homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by the 2020 wildfires can get financial help through a state and multi-county partnership.

Eight counties and the Oregon Building Codes Division are coordinating a grant program for rebuilding costs. Examples include $2200 towards roofing, and $350 for ventilation.

Mark Peterson of the Oregon Department of Consumer Business Services says this is all part of what’s called fire hardening.

“Fire hardening can include actions that can be taken to make a home or business more resistant to the damage from a wildfire, such as using materials for siding and roofing that resist ignition during a wildfire,” said Peterson. “Installing fire-resistant windows to protect openings, or using attic ventilation devices to help reduce ember intrusion.”

Peterson adds if someone has already started or finished their rebuilding efforts, they can still apply for over 6-thousand dollars in grant money.

The eligible counties are Lane, Clackamas, Klamath, Douglas, Jackson, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion.

Information can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/bcd/Pages/firehardening.aspx

Respect Nesting Areas March 15-Sept. 15 To Protect Threatened Shorebird

Beachgoers are urged to help recovery efforts of the threatened western snowy plover by staying on the wet sand at snowy plover beaches during nesting season, March 15 – Sept. 15. Beachgoers will see ropes that identify sensitive plover nesting areas, as well as signs that identify restrictions to protect the small shorebirds during this period. 

Plover beaches remain open to foot and equestrian traffic on wet, packed sand throughout the nesting season.  All other recreation on plover beaches is off limits on both wet and dry sand, including walking your dog (even on a leash), driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle, camping, burning wood or other materials, and flying kites or drones.

“We appreciate everyone’s help, it’s making a difference,” said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. “Research shows us that humans play an important role in the long-term success of the western snowy plover; if we can minimize our impact, this species has a greater chance of thriving.” 

These small birds nest on open sand along Oregon’s beaches. Nests, and especially chicks, are well-camouflaged. During the nesting season, human disturbances can flush adult plovers away from their nests as they attempt to defend their young. Left alone too long, or too often, eggs or chicks can die from exposure, predators, or people. 

Recreation restrictions occur in designated plover management areas: small stretches of beach along the entire coastline where plovers are nesting or could potentially nest. These areas collectively comprise about 40 miles of Oregon’s 362 miles of shoreline. 

“Visitors will have access to hundreds of miles of beaches that have no seasonal restrictions,” said Laurel Hillmann, Ocean Shore Specialist for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “By planning your trip, you can enjoy the coast and help keep these special birds safe.”

Detailed maps can be found on the Oregon State Parks website (oregon.gov/plovers) and on the Siuslaw National Forest website (go.usa.gov/xEh2h). Visitors to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area can review maps at  go.usa.gov/xdwYQ to identify unrestricted recreation areas and information on riding motor vehicles on the sand. 

The increase in plover numbers in recent years has resulted in nesting occurring in new or historical nesting sites, including at Sand Lake Recreation Area. Like last year, visitors to Sand Lake may see roped off areas near the lake’s inlet to protect active nests, and may encounter plovers on the beach. Beachgoers are encouraged to protect these birds by limiting recreation activities to wet sand areas near the water’s edge, staying out of roped off nesting areas, packing all trash out, and keeping dogs on leash. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993, when officials counted only 55 breeding adults. The numbers of breeding adults have steadily increased since then, from 107 in 2003 to 604 in 2021. 

Several land managers oversee beach activity for plover protection, primarily the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).

Habitat loss from invasive plants — as well as human disturbances, including litter and discarded food scraps that attract predators — have contributed to the birds’ decline. The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative, saveoregondunes.org, is working with land managers to develop and implement a restoration strategy as well as to raise public awareness about the need to restore the dunes ecosystem for snowy plover, rare plants and animals, and the unique recreation opportunities offered here. 

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