Oregon Beach News, Friday 6/7 – Officials Urge People To Avoid Dead Humpback Whale That Washed Ashore, Shellfish Harvesting Closed Along Entire Oregon Coast, Coastal Community Meetings on Proposed Offshore Wind Leases in Florence and Newport, & Other Local and Statewide News…

The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com

Friday, June 7, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY ISSUED – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM PDT SATURDAY...

* WHAT...North winds 15 to 25 and steep seas 6 to 8 ft at 7 seconds.

* WHERE...All areas.

* WHEN...Until 5 AM PDT Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Gusty winds and/or steep seas could capsize or damage smaller vessels.

* View the hazard area in detail at https://go.usa.gov/x6hks

Officials Urge People to avoid a stretch of the north Oregon coast after a dead humpback whale washed ashore over Memorial Day weekend and Quelling Rumors

The whale came ashore on the sands of Nehalem Bay State Park, just south of Manzanita, prompting warnings from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All three agencies issued warnings Monday on posts to social media as well as signs on the beach. The area where the whale washed ashore is also a protected area for endangered snowy plovers, making it especially vulnerable to intrusions.

A beached whale is not necessarily unusual for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, but the agency has had its hands full since a 34-foot juvenile humpback whale washed ashore at Nehalem Bay State Park on Memorial Day.

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While the whale, which was likely killed by a boat strike, continues to rot on the north coast beach, park officials have been busy shooting down Facebook rumors and fending off visitors who have been straying into restricted areas.

On Wednesday, the parks department posted to Facebook clarifying that it has no plans to blow up the whale carcass, citing a post making the rounds that claimed otherwise. Detonation comes up practically every time there’s a beached cetacean in Oregon, as people relive the infamous exploding whale incident of 1970.

These days, officials typically leave whale carcasses to rot naturally on the beach, allowing the bodies to be utilized by the other creatures of the local ecosystem. Park officials on Wednesday said that after more than a week, natural decomposition has “left nothing but an unrecognizable blob and a horrible stench.” https://www.facebook.com/OregonStateParks

Next Coastal Community Meetings on Proposed Offshore Wind Leases in Florence and Newport

The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) will be hosting a series of community meetings along the Oregon coast related to a proposal by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to lease areas of the ocean off Oregon’s coast to explore possibilities for wind energy development.

The proposed BOEM leases would authorize companies to study the areas off Oregon’s coast for potential offshore wind energy development projects. After obtaining leases, companies would perform activities in the ocean that may include placement of scientific buoys and collection of data about seafloor conditions, ocean habitats, and wildlife.

More information on the proposed leasing actions can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/OCMP/Pages/Offshore-Wind-Energy-Leasing.aspx.

BOEM’s proposed leasing action is not a proposal to permit the construction of an offshore wind project. A BOEM decision whether to approve a Construction and Operations Plan for a wind energy facility would be subject to a separate federal consistency review by the state, after some years of additional site assessment and project design.

As part of the state’s federal consistency review authority under the Coastal Zone Management Act, DLCD’s Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP) staff will review the proposed BOEM actions for consistency with current, enforceable Oregon coastal zone policies. The result of this review would be either to agree with BOEM’s proposed leasing actions, agree with conditions, or object to BOEM’s proposed actions. Enforceable policies in the coastal zone are existing state and local policies that have been approved by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management for use in federal consistency reviews, consistent with national Coastal Zone Management standards.

During the community meetings, OCMP staff will provide information about the proposed activities that are being reviewed and the applicable state policies and

authorities related to a consistency review. Community members are encouraged to provide comments on the consistency review during the 45-day comment period, which ends on June 15, 2024.

The community meetings will be an opportunity to provide comments in person which will be recorded by OCMP staff. The meeting program is as follows:

• Open House 5:30 p.m.

• Presentations 6:00 p.m.

• Public Comment 6:30 p.m.

• Next Steps and Adjourn 8:00 p.m.

June 6, 2024 (Thursday) 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Siuslaw Middle School – 2525 Oak St., Florence, OR 97439

June 7, 2024 (Friday) 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Newport High School – 322 NE Eads St., Newport, OR 97365

All ages and families are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

Comments will be accepted through June 15, 2024.

Email or written comments: Please be sure to address the enforceable policies you believe are relevant in your comments. OCMP staff may review comments on proposed actions for alignment with enforceable policies and potential conditions to enhance consistency. For more information on the federal consistency review and how to comment, visit https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/OCMP/Pages/Offshore-Wind-Energy-Leasing.aspx

Online comments: Comments may be submitted online through a webform here: https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/OCMP/Pages/Federal-Consistency-Review.aspx

In-Person comments: Community members wishing to comment in person should plan to limit comments to three minutes per person. If many people wish to comment, staff may need to limit comment time further as we want to hear from as many community members as possible.

### About The Oregon Coastal Management Program Oregon is one of 34 states to have a nationally recognized Coastal Management Program established by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The Oregon Coastal Management Program aims to protect coastal and ocean resources, and ensure livable, resilient communities on the Oregon coast. The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development is the lead agency in the coastal program network, which also includes 11 state agencies and 42 city and county governments. Financial assistance for the Oregon Coastal Management Program is provided by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, administered by the Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Oregon’s statewide land use planning program – Originated in 1973 under Senate Bill 100, Oregon’s land use program protects farm and forest lands, conserves natural resources, promotes livable communities, facilitates orderly and efficient development, supports coordination among local governments, and enables community engagement.

The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) administers the program in partnership with cities and counties. The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC), a seven-member volunteer board, guides DLCD.

The land use planning program affords Oregonians predictability in the development process and the ability to plan and invest in the long-range by allocating land for industrial, commercial, and housing development, as well as transportation, other urban services, and farm and forest lands.

Under the program, all cities and counties have adopted comprehensive plans that meet mandatory state standards. The standards are based on the 19 Statewide Planning Goals that deal with land use, development, housing, transportation, and conservation of natural resources. Technical assistance in the form of expertise and grants for local jurisdictions are key elements of the program. https://www.newsbreak.com/news/3459593684750-coastal-community-meetings-on-proposed-offshore-wind-leases-to-be-held

Lincoln City Police Department Wins Award

On Tuesday, May 28th, 2024 the Lincoln City Police Department was awarded the LEXIPOL Gold Plaque award.  LEXIPOL is a policy management and training program designed to enhance officer knowledge and to standardize department procedures.

In receiving this award, the Lincoln City Police Department has shown a dedication to updating our policies and procedures, as well as training our officers. It is important for law enforcement agencies to keep up-to-date with the most recent case law, criminal procedures, and ethical standards.

The Lincoln City Police Department would also like to recognize Lieutenant Jeffrey Winn. Lt Winn spearheads the LEXIPOL program at our department and is instrumental in ensuring officers are completing their training.  He also creates and update our policies on a regular basis.  Without his work, our department would not have achieved this award.

D River Beach health advisory lifted June 6

—Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today lifted a public health advisory for contact with ocean water at D River Beach, located in Lincoln County.

The health authority issued the advisory June 4, after water samples showed higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria in ocean waters.

Results from follow-up tests taken by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) showed lower bacteria levels. Contact with the ocean water no longer poses a higher-than-normal risk. Officials recommend staying out of large pools on the beach that are frequented by birds, and runoff from those pools, because the water may contain increased bacteria from fecal matter.

Since 2003, state officials have used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to monitor popular Oregon beaches and make timely reports to the public about elevated levels of fecal bacteria. Oregon state agencies participating in this program are OHA, DEQ and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0440, or call OHA’s toll-free information line at 877-290-6767.

Investigation Continues as DEQ and Other State and Federal Agencies Responding To Report of Mysterious Tar Patties and Oiled Birds Being Found On Oregon Coast

The U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Washington Department of Ecology are working under a Joint Operations Center. They know the tar balls are petroleum based, but they don’t know the source. There have been no reports of spills from ships. Several birds are being treated for exposure to the oil. Three Common Murres were cleaned and released on the northern Washington Coast.

These sightings come aftermultiple birds covered in black oil were found washed up on the coast between Long Beach, Wash. and Lincoln City. They add the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies are working to determine the source of the tar-like product, but it is unknown at this time.

Authorities are encouraging beachgoers not to handle any oil-covered wildlife or touch any tar patties found. However, they say to report any findings to 1-800-22-BIRDS (1-800-222-4737).

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), as well as federal agencies, are responding Thursday to the report of pieces of tar found on beaches along the Oregon Coast.

Tar balls, oiled birds found on Oregon and Washington coasts

Agencies received a report of pieces of tar in patties on Wednesday at Cannon Beach. The Coast Guard confirmed tar patties on Cannon Beach. The ODFW reported finding tar patties on Thursday near Lincoln City on the central Oregon Coast.

The agencies and partner agencies in Washington are forming a unified command to guide response in both states. The report at Cannon Beach and finding at Lincoln City comes after the discovery of multiple birds affected by a tar-like substance along the shoreline in northern Oregon and southern Washington, as well as tar balls in southern Washington.

We strongly advise the public not to handle any tar or oily product found or attempt to assist affected wildlife along the shore, but to report these findings to 1-800-22-BIRDS (1-800-222-4737).

Untrained handling of affected wildlife is dangerous to the animals and any individuals attempting to help. The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies are working together to determine the source of the tar-like substance. The source is unknown.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife — Responders continue to survey beaches along the Oregon and Washington coasts for tar-like patties and impacted wildlife.

The substance has been determined to be petroleum-based. • Report oiled wildlife to 1-800-22-BIRDS. • Call 211 for questions not related to oiled wildlife.

• Please leave cleanup to professional responders who are trained and equipped to handle this type of material. Responders are actively working to clean up beaches.

• If you come into contact with the beach tar, wash the area with soap or degreasing dishwashing detergent and water. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel or similar products.

For the latest updates please visit ordeq.org/beach-tar. This site will be updated regularly.

Shellfish Harvesting Closed Along Entire Oregon Coast

A week after closing mussel harvesting across the Oregon Coast due to high levels of toxins, officials expanded that closure to include razor and bay clams.

Oregon’s departments of Agriculture and the state Fish and Wildlife jointly announced the closure Thursday.

The agencies said people should avoid the types of shellfish because of unprecedented levels of toxins caused by some species of algae.

Oregon health officials last week documented at least 20 people who have experienced paralytic shellfish poisoning from eating contaminated mussels. They launched a survey where people could document their health symptoms after consuming shellfish from the Oregon Coast, but as of Friday morning, that survey was closed.

Crab harvesting remains open to the public, but health officials recommend gutting or eviscerating the crustaceans before cooking. State officials have also closed commercial oyster fisheries in Tillamook Bay, Netarts Bay and Umpqua Bay.

While they are not sampling scallops for biotoxins at this time, state officials advise people not to eat whole scallops because they could contain biotoxins. The scallop adductor muscle does not build up biotoxins and may be safe to eat.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning is among the most serious that stems from shellfish. It can cause numbness in the limbs, upset stomach and in severe cases, paralysis.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with naturally occurring saxitoxins. Many kinds of shellfish can be contaminated by saxitoxins, but they most often affect mussels and clams.

Cooking shellfish will not destroy these poisonous biotoxins. There is no antidote for biotoxin poisoning. If someone starts to experience symptoms, they should contact their doctor.

Toxins in coastal shellfish are becoming more common as a result of warming waters due to climate change. They are tied to algal blooms in the ocean. These blooms are colloquially called “red tides” or “brown tides,” though they don’t always color the water. (SOURCE)

Urgent Health Warning Has Been Issued By The Oregon Health Authority: Do NOT Eat Mussels Harvested From Specific Areas of Oregon’s Coast

At least 20 individuals have fallen ill due to a dangerous biotoxin found in mussels harvested in Oregon. Symptoms of poisoning include numbness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing or irregular heartbeat.

What You Need to Know: 👉Affected Areas: Mussels harvested since May 15, 2024, from beaches between Seal Rock State Park and the Washington border should be discarded immediately. 👉Symptoms: If you or anyone you know experiences symptoms after eating mussels, seek medical attention promptly. 👉Preventive Measures: Avoid consuming shellfish from beaches with biotoxin closures.

📞 If you have concerns or need advice, contact the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222. Your safety is our top priority! For more information, visit: Oregon Department of Agriculture Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closure: https://www.oregon.gov/…/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx…Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish and Biotoxins: https://myodfw.com/articles/shellfish-and-biotoxins…Oregon Health Authority Fish and Shellfish Consumption Resources: https://www.oregon.gov/…/pages/seafood-shellfish.aspx…

OHA asking people who harvested, ate any Oregon Coast shellfish to complete survey

PORTLAND, Ore.—State health officials are asking people who recently harvested or ate any shellfish from the Oregon Coast to complete a survey as part of an investigation of illnesses linked to shellfish biotoxins.

On May 28, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) urged people to throw out mussels gathered from beaches between Seal Rock State Park north to the Washington border after cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning were reported to the agency. The shellfish were harvested at beaches in Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop counties.

OHA is now asking people who harvested or ate Oregon shellfish since May 13 to take a short survey to help investigators identify a possible cause of the outbreak and how many people became sick. Responses are secure and confidential, and will help OHA Public Health Division investigators learn more about the sources and size of this outbreak.

Those who already completed an interview with their local public health agency do not need to complete the survey.

Contact Rosalie Trevejo (osalie.trevejo2@oha.oregon.gov“>rosalie.trevejo2@oha.oregon.gov) or June Bancroft (ancroft@oha.oregon.gov“>june.e.bancroft@oha.oregon.gov) of OHA’s Public Health Division with any questions or concerns about the survey.

On May 23, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) closed a stretch of Oregon Coast to mussel harvesting from Seal Rock State Park north to Cape Lookout due to high levels of PSP. The mussel harvest closure was extended from Seal Rock State Park north to the Washington border on May 26.

People who experience any symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) – numbness of the mouth and lips, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and in severe cases, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat – should immediately contact a health care provider. They can also get advice by calling the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

PSP is a foodborne illness caused by saxitoxins produced by marine algae and caused by eating shellfish contaminated with the naturally occurring biotoxin, including scallops, mussels, clams, oysters and cockles, as well as some fish and crabs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is no antidote for PSP – treatment involves supportive care and, if necessary, respiratory support.

For additional information:

The City of Newport Parks and Recreation   · Jump into some summer fun with Fun Fridays at the Aquatic Center!

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Every Friday from 5:00-7:00 pm starting June 14-August 2, we’ll be having a different event with treats, swimming, and a whole lot of fun 💦🎉💦 Splash Into Summer Pool Party – June 14🦈 Shark Week at the Pool – June 21🍨 Ice Cream Social – June 28🌺 Aqua Luau – July 5🏐 Wacky Water Games – July 12🎬 Dive-In Movie – July 19🎶 Groove ‘N Splash – July 26🎉 Back to School Pool Party – August 2To register, or for more information, visit: https://secure.rec1.com/OR/newport-or/catalog/index/3301ee005323360a4b94841fb832a9b0?filter=c2VhcmNoPWZ1biUyMGZyaWRheXM=

¡Salta a la diversión del verano con los Viernes Divertidos en el Centro Acuático! Todos los viernes de 5:00 a 7:00 pm, del 14 de junio al 2 de agosto, tendremos un evento diferente con golosinas, natación y mucha diversión 💦🎉💦 Fiesta de la Piscina – June 14🦈 Semana del Tiburón en la Piscina – June 21🍨 Social de Helados – June 28🌺 Luau Acuático – July 5🏐 Juegos de Agua Locos – July 12🎬 Cine en la Piscina – July 19🎶 Mover y Chapotear – July 26🎉 Fiesta de Piscina de Regreso a Clases – August 2Para inscribirse o para más información, visite: https://secure.rec1.com/OR/newport-or/catalog/index/3301ee005323360a4b94841fb832a9b0?filter=c2VhcmNoPWZ1biUyMGZyaWRheXM=

OHA Kicks off 2024 Oregon Beach Monitoring Season

Agency shares list of monitored beaches for May-September

—The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program (OBMP) is kicking off the 2024 beach monitoring season by announcing the list of coastal recreation areas it will be keeping an eye on for bacteria during summer and early fall.

The 24 beaches on the list that the OBMP, based at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Division, is publishing includes some of the most frequently visited beaches in Oregon. It also includes beaches where the program has found bacteria present, or beaches for which local partners and the public have requested monitoring due to potential pollution concerns.

The following are Oregon beaches being monitored during 2024, including beach name, and the city and county in which they are located:

Beach monitoring season runs from mid-May to mid-September. Beach advisories are only issued for beaches that are actively being monitored within this sampling window. Other beaches will be investigated for inclusion in the next beach monitoring season.

OBMP works with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to identify beaches that need monitoring based on several established criteria. These criteria include: pollution hazards present; previous beach monitoring data that identify water quality concerns; type and amount of beach use; and public input.

As part of an adaptive sampling plan, beaches and sampling locations are routinely re-evaluated to ensure available resources best protect public health. A copy of DEQ’s beach evaluation is available upon request.

For more information and current beach monitoring conditions please visit: www.healthoregon.org/beach, or contact OBMP at each.Health@odhsoha.oregon.gov“>Beach.Health@odhsoha.oregon.gov or 971-673-0400.

Free Household Hazardous Waste Roundup in Florence on Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8

The free Household Hazardous Waste Roundup will collect up to 35 gallons of household hazardous waste per customer on Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, in Florence. Hazardous waste from businesses, schools, churches, government agencies or non-profits may be subject to disposal fees and those organizations must pre-register for the event.

When:  Friday, June 7, 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 8, 8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Where: Florence Transfer Site (2820 N. Rhododendron Drive)

Who: All community members are welcome to participate in the roundup. 

What to bring:

Up to 35 gallons of paint, household cleaners, lawn and garden chemicals, car care products, arts and crafts products, pool chemicals, fluorescent lamps and other household hazardous waste. Check labels for words like flammable, corrosive, poison, caution, and danger.

Please don’t bring: 

Empty containers, drums, radioactive or infectious waste, asbestos, pressurized cylinders, or explosives. Any empty containers can be safely thrown in the trash. For information about disposal of radioactive waste, asbestos or explosives call 541-682-3828.

What about hazardous waste from businesses?

Businesses that generate small amounts of hazardous waste may pre-register to bring that waste to this event. Businesses must pay for disposal of the waste, but most can save money by using this program rather than hiring a contractor. 

Electronics Recycling

The Cottage Grove, Creswell, Florence, Marcola, Oakridge, Rattlesnake, Veneta and Vida transfer stations accept the following items for free during normal operating hours: televisions, computer monitors, CPUs, printers, phones and laptops.  Maximum seven items per day. No commercial or floor-standing copiers, parts or dismantled units. 

Please call 541 682-4120 for more information about hazardous waste disposal for households or businesses.

Douglas County authorities report that they have issued a warrant for the suspect in last month’s destruction of 18,000 juvenile salmon at the Reedsport hatchery. 

20-year-old Joshua Alexander Heckathorn of Gardiner did not show up at court on Monday. He had been scheduled for his first court appearance on May 16th, but told officials he had transportation issues and couldn’t make it.

But with his failure to make his rescheduled appearance, Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Jason Thomas issued a bench warrant for Heckathorn. 

The warrant allows law enforcement to detain Heckathorn and bring him in on $10,000 bail.

Heckathorn is accused of breaking into the Reedsport hatchery and pouring bleach into a tank with thousands of young Chinook salmon. He’s charged with burglary, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief. 

Lincoln County Announces Low Income Program To Help Spay And Neuter Pets

Lincoln County has announced it will use some of its federal relief funds for a spay and neuter service to help counter dog and cat overpopulation that was substantially worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The program is for local low-income households that cannot afford spay and neuter services for their pets. County staff will work with applicants and participating veterinarians’ offices to coordinate and submit payment for the procedures.

To qualify, people must be a resident of Lincoln County and income eligible, which can be confirmed by showing eligibility for SNAP/TANF; WIC; OHP; Medicaid; housing assistance; supplemental social security income; veterans pension benefits; and surviving spouse pension benefits.

The applications are online. For the English version go here; for the Spanish version, go here.

For assistance filling out the application, call the helpline at 541-270-3393. Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter has volunteered to help answer questions on the helpline and assist applicants who do not have access to computers.

“Our county fell woefully behind in spaying and neutering during the pandemic, when many vets had to suspend elective surgeries altogether, and after the fires of fall 2020, which meant financial hardship for many residents,” said FOLCAS president Emily DeHuff. “These subsidies will go a long way in getting spay/neuter rates back on track.”

People who do not meet the income qualification for the county program can apply for spay/neuter and other veterinary care assistance through other programs administered by the humane society by visiting www.centralcoasthumanesociety.com and completing a request for assistance form. (SOURCE)

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Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay

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New Oregon laws passed during this year’s legislative session took effect Thursday.

They include laws aimed at home affordability, curbing hunger, growing the state’s semiconductor work force and preventing firearm-related suicide.

Producing More Affordable Housing (Senate Bill 1537)

Introduced at the request of Governor Tina Kotek — this new law creates a new revolving loan fund to make interest-free loans to local governments to help finance production of affordable housing and moderate income housing projects. The fund is seeded with $75 million.

The law also grants qualifying cities a one-time expansion of their Urban Growth Boundaries. Cities under 25,000 people can expand by 50 acres, while cities over 25,000 people can expand by 100 acres. In the Metro area, the cap is 300 acres. Cities must display that they have done comprehensive planning and permitting before expansion and demonstrate need for both housing and land.

SB 1537 further establishes the Housing Accountability and Production Office to support local governments as they work to achieve their housing production goals. 

Supporting First Time Homebuyers (Senate Bill 1527)

SB 1527 removes administrative barriers so that more Oregonians can access the First Time Home Buyer Savings Account Program, making it easier to take advantage of the personal income tax subtraction. This program allows low- and median-income Oregonians to use the money deposited into this account for costs associated with buying a home, such as down payments and other closing costs.

Preventing Firearm Suicides (Senate Bill 1503

This new law creates the Community Safety and Firearm Suicide Prevention Task Force, a 17-member panel charged with developing recommendations for ways to reduce suicides by firearm and associated community safety risks. SB 1503 identifies several issues the task force will study, including:

  • How to better support youth and rural Oregonians experiencing suicidal ideation
  • Barriers to suicide prevention support
  • Barriers to implementing best practices for community safety and suicide prevention
  • How domestic violence is a risk factor for community safety threats and suicide
  • Risks to first responders 

Modernizing Oregon’s Emergency Medical Services (House Bill 4081)

This new law works to make sure Oregonians get the emergency medical care they need by: 

  • Establishing an EMS program to administer a statewide program and improve EMS standards. 
  • Creating a State EMS Director position to oversee this program. 
  • Forming an EMS Advisory Board to develop the program and provide advice and recommendations.
  • Starting Regional Advisory Boards to develop plans to implement best practices, informed by local resources and capacity within hospital trauma regions.

Growing Oregon’s Semiconductor Workforce (House Bill 4154)

In a more recent report, the Semiconductor Workforce and Talent Assessment found that the semiconductor and related manufacturing industry employs nearly 31,000 workers, with an average annual wage that’s approximately two and a half times the average statewide wage. HB 4154 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to create a statewide semiconductor industry consortium, establishes the Semiconductor Talent Sustaining Fund to build an education-industry pipeline, and promotes STEM in education. 

Reducing Hunger, Ensuring Equal Access to Hot Food (Senate Bill 1585)

SB 1585 creates a task force to work to reduce hunger and ensure equal access to hot food for Oregonians who are elderly, experiencing homelessness, or have a disability and receive support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) via federal programs like the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). The RMP is a federal option program that states can sign up for to allow SNAP participants to buy meals from restaurants that choose to opt-in to the program. Nine other states already participate in the RMP.

Oregon launching Summer EBT food benefits program for school-aged children

Summer EBT Logo

Need to know: 

  • Summer EBT is a new federal food benefits program to help families buy food for their school-aged children during the summer.
  • Oregon will provide more than $35 million in Summer EBT food benefits to around 294,000 school-aged children beginning in late June 2024.
  • Families with eligible children will receive a one-time payment of $120 in food benefits.

Oregon Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) is a new food benefits program to help shrink the hunger gap when children are on summer break and don’t have easy access to healthy meals at school. Summer EBT starts in late June and will provide $120 per eligible child to buy food.  

“Summer break is days away for families with school-age children. During the summer, many families must provide another 10 meals per child, per week. The strain that puts on a family’s grocery budget can amplify child hunger. Summer EBT is on its way to help,” said Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) which is partnering with the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) to provide the new program. 

“Summer EBT is an evidence-based program proven to reduce child hunger and support healthier diets. We want to raise awareness about this new program and make sure families know what to expect and do when the program begins,” said Fariborz Pakseresht, ODHS Director. “Child hunger can have lasting impacts on health and academic achievement. Getting every eligible child connected to Summer EBT will help Oregon’s children thrive year-round and as they grow up.”

Who is eligible for Summer EBT food benefits? — Families can find details about Summer EBT at sebt.oregon.gov

School-aged children are typically eligible for Summer EBT if:

  • Their household already participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Oregon Health Plan (OHP, also known as Medicaid), or
  • They are in foster care, or

 They attend a school that offers the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, and their household’s income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals, or

  • They attend a school that offers the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program and are:
    • Enrolled in migrant programs
    • Experiencing houselessness
    • Participating in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
    • Attending Head Start

Families receiving Summer EBT can continue participating in other meal programs in their schools and communities. 

Summer EBT benefits are not considered in a public charge test and are available to children regardless of immigration status.  

How will families receive Summer EBT food benefits?  — There are two ways families can access Summer EBT benefits. About 70 percent of eligible children will be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT. Families of the remaining 30 percent of eligible children will need to fill out a simple application. 

  • Automatic enrollment: Families that participate in SNAP, TANF or OHP will be automatically enrolled and don’t need to apply. Children in foster care also will be automatically enrolled. For families receiving SNAP or TANF benefits, Summer EBT will be added to the household’s Oregon EBT card. For families receiving OHP, a new EBT card will be mailed to the address on file. Families will get a letter for each eligible child by mail or email when their benefits have been sent. They will receive the benefits in one payment. 
  • Application: Families with children who are not automatically eligible can apply for Summer EBT. To be eligible, children must be enrolled in a school with free or reduced-price meals and live in a household that meets the income requirements for free or reduced-price meals. At sebt.oregon.gov, families can sign-up to get a notification by text or email when it’s time to complete the application. As part of this application, families must provide the child’s name, school, date of birth, address and household income. Qualifying families will be mailed an Oregon EBT card. They will receive the benefits in one payment. 

Families can use their Summer EBT benefits at stores and farmer’s markets that accept EBT. 

More about Summer EBT –

Summer EBT became a new, permanent program for states and certain Indian Tribal Organizations through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. Most states will start providing Summer EBT in June 2024. Oregon’s participation was made possible through an investment from the Oregon State Legislature of $12 million. That investment will draw $83 million in federal funding to Oregon, mostly in the form of grocery benefits families will spend in their communities. 

Additional resources to help meet basic needs:

  • Families can get more support from other summer meal programs as well as through these food resources: Find food resources in your community: needfood.oregon.gov 
  • Find a food pantry: foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org 
  • Text the word “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304
  • Learn about government programs and community resources for older adults and people with disabilities: Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon at 1-855-673-2372 or https://www.adrcoforegon.org
  • Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org 
  • Find local resources and support by contacting your local Community Action Agency: www.caporegon.org/find-services/ 

State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council Will Meet on June 11

Salem, Ore. – The State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council will meet at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. The meeting will take place remotely via the internet on Microsoft Teams and is open to the public. The agenda and handouts will be posted on the council’s website.

  • What: Meeting of the State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council  
  • When: Tuesday, June 11, 2024, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Where: Microsoft Teams | Join Meeting
  • Meeting ID: 216 565 392 995 Passcode: ekgWVp
  • Phone: +1 503-446-4951 Phone conference ID: 944 308 59#
  • Who: State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council

The State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council was established by Governor Kotek’s Executive Order 23-26, Establishing a State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council.

The purpose of the Council is to recommend an action plan to guide awareness education, and usage of artificial intelligence in state government that aligns with the State’s policies, goals, and values and supports public servants to deliver customer service more efficiently and effectively. The recommended action plan shall include concrete executive actions, policies, and investments needed to leverage artificial intelligence while honoring transparency, privacy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Meetings of the State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council are open to the public.

Public comment may be made during the meeting. Sign-up for public comment is required as spots are limited. Sign-up closes Monday, June 9 at noon. Written comment will also be accepted. Written comment can be submitted by mail to the Council Support Office, 550 Airport Rd SE Suite C, Salem, OR 97301 or online via the office form.

Accommodations can be arranged for persons with disabilities, and alternate formats of printed material are available upon request. Please contact Enterprise Information Services at 503-378-3175 at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting to request accommodations. Closed captioning is included on the Microsoft Teams meeting.

Links:

Linn County Sheriff’s Office Investigates as Fire Destroys Dozens of Storage Units Near Lebanon

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan reports yesterday, June 5, 2024, at 7:33 p.m., Linn County Dispatch received a report of flames coming from the Storage Depot in the 36000 block of Highway 34, near Lebanon.  The fire was reported to grow quickly. 

Photo by Corbin Henderson

3rd Alarm Fire destroys multiple storage units.

At 7:33pm June 5th Lebanon Fire District was dispatched to the report of a structure fire in the 36000 block of Hwy 34. Initial reports said the there was a storage unit on fire and flames could be seen. The first arriving officer reported heavy smoke coming from the structure with exposures on both sides of the building. The incident commander quickly requested a second alarm for more additional units and personnel to help battle the blaze. The fire was difficult to extinguish due to water supply and the number of units involved. The incident commander upgraded the fire to a third alarm, which brought in more fire apparatus and personnel to help.

Multiple law enforcement and fire personnel responded to the scene and found multiple storage units involved with active fire. Deputies contacted the caller, Micah Schulte, 43, of Lebanon who gave statements about a torch in his possession that caused the fire after it fell against furniture. Statements provided included using the torch to heat concentrated marijuana product. 

 At around 2:00 am Lebanon Fire district was able to release all the outside agencies that assisted with the fire which included, Albany Fire Department, Scio Fire District, Sweet Home Fire District, Brownsville Fire District, Harrisburg Fire District, Halsey-Shedd Fire District, Tangent Fire District, ODOT, and Linn County Sheriffs Office.  The Lebanon crews remained on scene until early this morning and then were relieved by the oncoming shift. 

Excavation equipment was brought in this morning to assist with the overhauling the fire and aiding in the final extinguishment of deeply seated areas. Fire crews remained on scene until late this afternoon fully extinguishing the fire.

Our investigation team spent most of the day on-site determining the cause and origin of the fire. They were assisted by Oregon State Fire Marshall and LCSO. 

Deputies will continue to investigate as leads develop and more information becomes available from the Oregon State Fire Marshalls Office. Schulte was taken into custody and lodged at the Linn County Jail for Reckless Burning and Criminal Mischief II. 

Fire crews and deputies continue to work on scene and gather information. The cost of the damage is unknown at this time, but several storage units are impacted, and the damage will be significant. 

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Caleb Riley with the Linn County Sheriff’s office at (541) 967-3950. 

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.

West Coast’s ShakeAlert System gets Major Upgrade

The ShakeAlert System is available to cell phone users in California, Oregon and Washington.

The U.S. Geological Survey and its partners are announcing a new capability to characterize large earthquakes quickly, helping inform the public about potentially damaging shaking headed their way. In addition to over 1500 seismic sensors that detect ground shaking, the ShakeAlert System now makes use of sensors that detect earth-surface movement via satellite.

“While rare, earthquakes greater than magnitude 7 can have the greatest impact on human lives and infrastructure,” said Robert de Groot, with the USGS ShakeAlert Operations Team. “Future major offshore earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, which could be similar to the 2011 M 9.1 earthquake in Japan, underscore the importance of incorporating satellite data stream into the ShakeAlert System.” 

The newly added ShakeAlert capability that uses data from real-time Global Navigation Satellite System sensors may more quickly and accurately determine the magnitude and the area of shaking from very large earthquakes, resulting in faster notifications for people to take a protective action, such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On. GNSS data, which includes the well-known US-based Global Positioning System, are now used in addition to seismic data to detect earthquakes. While seismic sensors measure how quickly the ground is shaking, GNSS sensors measure how far the ground moves up, down, or sideways during an earthquake. 

The ShakeAlert System, currently available in California, Oregon, and Washington, can protect people and infrastructure by delivering alerts to cell phones and triggering automatic actions like slowing down trains to prevent derailments, opening firehouse doors so they don’t jam shut, and closing valves to protect water systems.  

The ShakeAlert GNSS integration and ongoing operations is a partnership of the USGS, the National Science Foundation funded EarthScope Consortium, university partners with significant contributions from the University of Washington, Central Washington University, UC Berkeley, and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. 

The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System is managed by the U.S. Geological Survey in partnership with state agencies and universities and it is a public safety tool for over 50 million residents and visitors in California, Oregon, Washington. When the ShakeAlert seismic sensor buildout is completed at the end of 2025 there will be a network of over 2000 ShakeAlert stations poised to protect residents and visitors in California, Oregon, and Washington. 

For more information on how this new capability works, watch this video.   (SOURCE)

Oregon has the highest rate of animal vehicle collisions on the West Coast.

The Oregon Zoo and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have developed a project to identify the deadliest roads. The iNaturalist Roadkills of Oregon project asks you to take photos of animals killed by cars.

The picture will be uploaded into an app, so biologists will be able to track areas where the most collisions occur. Currently, only large animals like deer and elk are tracked. This project will monitor all animals that are killed.

Roadways and vehicular traffic are a significant contributor to fragmentation of habitat and impacts to wildlife, including injury and mortality. The purpose of this project is to improve our understanding of the impacts of roads on Oregon’s wildlife, and to identify roadkill hot spots and vulnerabilities among a diversity of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. This information can help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and make roadways safer. Please go to: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/roadkills-of-oregon/journal

Crater Lake National Park is seeking your input on a draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan. Public comment on the plan is being sought through June 14

The National Park Service (NPS) is dedicated to serving all visitors to help them find meaning in the resources of the national park system and its stories. Recently, park staff embarked on a process to ensure that key park experiences are available to all visitors, regardless of race, nationality, socioeconomic status, or ability. Park staff conducted a self-evaluation of the accessibility of park facilities, services, activities, and programs. Based on these findings, staff then drafted a transition plan that identifies opportunities and critical steps for improving accessibility parkwide.

This draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan resulted from the work of an interdisciplinary team of NPS staff, including planning, design, and construction professionals; and interpretive, resource, visitor safety, maintenance, and accessibility specialists. The draft plan identifies key visitor experiences at the park and existing barriers to accessing these experiences for people with disabilities.

The plan provides recommendations for removing barriers at priority park areas, including specific actions, example site plans, and anticipated time frames for implementation. It also addresses park policies, practices, communication, and training needs.

The goals of the plan are as follows:

1) Document existing park barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities.
2) Provide an effective approach for upgrading facilities, services, and programs.
3) Instill a culture around creating universal access.

All recommended actions will be subject to funding, consultation with other agencies, consultation with Tribes, and compliance with federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Moving forward, the National Park Service will use this plan as a guide to obtain funding and plan and implement projects that will improve accessibility throughout the park.

Your input on the draft plan will help us as we work to ensure that Crater Lake National Park is more accessible to all visitors. To review the draft plan and send online comments, click on “Document List” or “Open for Comment” on the left side of the web page. The plan will be open for comment for 37 days, from May 8, 2024, to June 14, 2024. —- https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=123216

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.

https://www.oregon.gov/osp/missing/pages/missingpersons.aspx

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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