Oregon Beach News, Monday 6/10 – Rare Hoodwinker Sunfish Washed Ashore on Gearhart Beach, Officials Wrap Up Response To Coastal Tar Balls Though Investigation Goes On & 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

Monday, June 10, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather

Rare Hoodwinker Sunfish Washed Ashore on Gearhart Beach Just North of Seaside

A remarkable discovery has captivated beachgoers and marine enthusiasts alike as a 7.3-foot hoodwinker sunfish, rarely seen in these waters, washed ashore on Gearhart Beach, according to the Seaside Aquarium. This unusual sighting of the Mola tecta, known as the hoodwinker sunfish, has sparked curiosity and excitement.

photos by Seaside Aquarium
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Initially mistaken for its more common relative, the ocean sunfish (Mola mola), this specimen caught the attention of researchers, including Mariann Nyegaard from New Zealand. Nyegaard, who identified and described the hoodwinker sunfish in 2017, confirmed through genetic sampling that this was indeed the elusive species.

The Seaside Aquarium has been actively involved, assisting with measurements, photographs, and collecting tissue samples for further study. Researchers are particularly intrigued by the size of this specimen, potentially the largest ever documented.

The presence of the hoodwinker sunfish in the Pacific Northwest challenges previous assumptions that it was confined to the southern hemisphere, the Aquarium stated. Recent sightings along the West Coast, including California and Alaska, suggest a broader range than previously known.

Officials Wrap Up Response To Coastal Tar Balls Though Investigation Goes On

Nearly three weeks after oil coated and killed several birds on the Oregon and southern Washington coasts, officials say they still don’t know where the sticky petroleum product came from.

But they say they’ve done their best to clean up the areas that were affected by the mysterious balls of tar that washed up — and they’ve ended a unified command effort that brought together multiple Oregon, Washington and federal agencies to investigate.

Samples of the sticky substance were seen as far north as Long Beach, Washington, all the way down to Yaquina Head, Oregon. They were first reported on May 19, when several tar balls were spotted around the mouth of the Columbia River by different state agencies.

At least 10 birds had been found covered in oil by May 21, and three of them later died. All the affected birds found were common murres.

Since then, more than 100 people from a dozen federal and state agencies — including U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Washington Department of Ecology — were involved in response to the environmental disaster, collecting nearly a ton of oily debris and cleaning 36 miles of beach.

Over the past several days, responders took advantage of the low tides following stormy weather along the coast to resurvey and clean the impacted areas, according to DEQ.

The agency added that, while the unified effort is over, the investigation continues.

As the tar is mostly cleaned up, DEQ asks if anyone does find oiled birds or other wildlife, they should avoid contact with the animals and call 1-800-22-BIRDS (1-800-222-4737). The agency also advises people not to touch any tar balls when they see them on the beach, and to report them to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802. (SOURCE)

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.

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.

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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.

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

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.

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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:

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.

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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Rodeo Bull Hops Fence at Sisters Rodeo Injuring People Before Being Captured

A rodeo in Sisters Oregon descended into chaos Saturday after a bull escaped the arena and ran loose through the event grounds, leaving three people — including a sheriff’s deputy — injured, officials said. Two people were transported to the hospital due to injuries, according to first responders.

The incident occurred around 10 p.m. PT on Saturday, during the final section of the bull-riding event at Sisters Rodeo. The bull, which was competing at the event, hopped the arena fence and ran out through the grounds and back to the livestock holding pens, according to a statement from Sisters Rodeo.

Video from the incident shared on social media showed the bull striking a rodeo attendee and lifting them off the ground twice.

No details were available on the attendee’s current condition. “Rodeo livestock professionals quickly responded to safely contain the bull,” event organizers said in the statement, adding, “It was secured next to the livestock holding pens by our rodeo pickup men and immediately placed into a pen.”

Lt. Jayson Janes, with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office, told ABC News that the sheriff’s deputy suffered a minor injury while running after the bull after it escaped. It was unclear how the third individual was injured in the melee.

The Rodeo Sports Medicine Team, Sisters-Camp Sherman RFPD, Cloverdale RFPD, rodeo staff and local law enforcement responded immediately with first aid and care, according to event organizers. Sisters Rodeo continued with scheduled events on Sunday as planned.

A southern Oregon lawmaker’s comments on a podcast suggesting non-Christians aren’t qualified to hold elected office didn’t violate legislative rules around a safe and respectful workplace, a House panel determined Monday. 

The House Committee on Conduct voted 3-1 that Rep. E. Werner Reschke, R-Malin, didn’t violate House rules when he told a conservative Christian podcast host that people want Christians, not atheists, Muslims or “materialists,” in government. Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend, joined Republican Reps. Kevin Mannix of Salem and Ed Diehl of Stayton in voting to clear Reschke, while Rep. Thuy Tran, D-Portland, voted against. 

Reschke did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

The investigation into Reschke stemmed from comments he made on a conservative Christian talk show in January that were reported by OPB. During a conversation with former Arkansas lawmaker Jason Rapert, Reschke said he was inspired to run for office because of men including George Washington, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

“You look at men and the struggles that they faced and the faith that they had, and those are the type of people that you want in government making tough decisions during tough times,” he said. “You don’t want a materialist, you don’t want an atheist, you don’t want a Muslim, you don’t want, you want somebody who understands what truth is and understands the nature of man, the nature of government and the nature of God.” 

Democratic leaders condemned his comments and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments that newly appointed state Rep. Dwayne Yunker, R-Grants Pass, had expressed on his campaign website. On the final day of the legislative session, members of civil rights groups and state Rep. Tom Andersen, D-Salem, gathered outside the Capitol to protest Reschke’s and Yunker’s comments. 

“Rep. Reschke’s comment was offensive, and it will impact my working environment and it will affect my interactions with him.” – Rep. Thuy Tran, D-Portland

Meanwhile, an attorney with Jackson Lewis, a Portland law firm, was quietly investigating whether Reschke’s comments violated legislative rules meant to ensure the Capitol is a safe and respectful workplace. Two people who attorney Sarah Ryan described as mandatory reporters said they had been approached by others with concerns about Reschke’s comments, including that at least one person who didn’t want to be identified felt that Reschke’s comments adversely impacted their work at the Capitol. 

Legislative rules require state representatives, senators and nonpartisan supervisors to report any behavior that could violate the Capitol’s workplace policies. Legislative Equity Officer Bor Yang hired Ryan to investigate the reports, as well as a separate complaint about a July 2022 invitation from Reschke to a prayer vigil that was interpreted as threatening to LGBTQ+ individuals. Ryan quickly dismissed that complaint, saying there was no indication it affected anyone at the Capitol. 

She spoke to a dozen people about his comments about Muslims and atheists and found that two were concerned about how Reschke’s comments would affect their work at the Capitol. One was troubled by years-old tweets Reschke had made about Muslims, and another individual feared that Reschke viewed them as lesser. 

“Most of the people that I interviewed were at least initially offended by the comments that were made by Representative Reschke,” Ryan said. “Some had one-on-one conversations with the representative and were satisfied with his explanation, but there were only two people who indicated that the comments had an impact on their work at the Capitol.”

Tran, who is Buddhist, said she absolutely sees an effect from Reschke’s words. 

“Rep. Reschke’s comment was offensive, and it will impact my working environment and it will affect my interactions with him,” she said. 

‘Lessons for all of us’ — Kropf said the comments were clearly disrespectful to Muslims and atheists, but that the Legislature’s workplace harassment rules aren’t clear on what conduct outside of the Capitol should or shouldn’t be allowed. He personally believed Reschke’s comments, made as a state representative on a podcast, were related to his work in the Legislature, but he said he understood how Mannix and Diehl could reach a different conclusion.

“​​I hope that he has been – I think he has been – reflective and appreciative of the impact those words have had and the work that he has to do to continue to restore trust,” Kropf said. “There’s lessons for all of us to learn in this. To me, what this reinforces is that we can be guided by our faith, we can be guided by our beliefs, but we can also be respectful of the faith and the beliefs of others and how that they guide them in our governance for our state.”

Mannix echoed that he believed Reschke has reflected on the comments, and that he hopes Yang will consider those comments as she prepares training for legislators to follow. Reschke did not address the committee and did not respond to a call or emailed questions about the decision or any reflection.

Diehl said he was concerned that legislative workplace rules could become so broad that they stifle lawmakers’ abilities to express themselves and discuss legislation. 

“We’re looking at something that wasn’t even said in the building,” he said. “It was said completely outside the building. It wasn’t even directed at any particular individual, and we’re here having a discussion on it.” (SOURCE)

One week after sharing additional details about its planned merger with Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Science University told staff it’s planning to lay off more than 500 workers.

The news is drawing criticism from unions representing workers at the health care giant.

In an internal email obtained by OPB, OHSU president Dr. Danny Jacobs and senior leadership attributed the cuts to expenses outpacing costs, as Willamette Week first reported.

“Despite our efforts to increase our revenue, our financial position requires difficult choices about internal structures, workforce and programs to ensure that we achieve our state-mandated missions and thrive over the long-term,” Jacobs said in the Thursday email.

An OHSU spokesperson told OPB that the precise number of layoffs will be announced in the coming weeks. On May 30, the health care giant announced that it’s moving forward with its planned merger with Legacy Health.

In Thursday’s email, Jacobs said that, while this news likely raises questions about OHSU’s financial situation, the investment in Legacy is funded by borrowing with 30-year bonds that “cannot be used to close gaps in our fiscal year 2025 OHSU budget or to pay our members.”

OHSU plans to hold a town hall next week to answer staff questions. In the email, leaders said they’ll provide significant updates as soon as possible as part of their “commitment to transparency.”

They said discussions about workforce reductions will start “following the annual review and contract renewal process, with additional reductions happening over the next few months.”

“It’s outrageous and immoral that OHSU is on one hand planning to lay off 500 hard-working people and reduce patient care, while writing checks for million dollar bonuses to their top executives and adding $350,000 to CEO Dr. Danny Jacobs’ retirement account,” said Jennie Olson, president of AFSCME Local 328, in a statement. “OHSU needs to prioritize patients and people instead of lining the pockets of people in ivory towers.” (SOURCE)

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/ 

BottleDrop announced that it has donated a total of $12,000 through its Containers for Change program to help provide food assistance to those in need across the state.

Twelve food banks and pantries throughout Oregon received a donation of $1,000 each.

“As the school year comes to a close, we recognize that many students rely on meals
provided at school and food assistance programs may see an increase in demand over
the next few months,” said Devon Morales, vice president of external affairs for OBRC.
“We are excited to do our part in supporting families who may need extra assistance
during the summer break.”

BottleDrop’s Containers for Change program provides Oregonians with an easy way to donate their OR 10-cent container refunds to nonprofits operating in communities around the state. BottleDrop customers can participate by simply leaving their bag tag stickers off their Green Bags and dropping them off at any BottleDrop facility. OBRC uses 100% of the funds from containers in those bags to support nonprofits, advocacy organizations and foundations.

Each of the nonprofits also participates in the BottleDrop Give program, which supports fundraising efforts year-round. Supporters can either connect with the nonprofit directly to get Blue Bags to fill with their bottles and cans, or Green Bag customers can donate online directly to the nonprofit’s account. Customers can search for participating nonprofits on BottleDrop’s website.

About OBRC — The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative is the industry steward of Oregon’s nationally recognized beverage container redemption system and the operator of the BottleDrop network. On behalf of the beverage industry, OBRC helps Oregonians conveniently recycle over 2 billion containers every year, dramatically reducing litter in Oregon’s special places and boosting recycling outcomes. To learn more, visit BottleDrop.com or OBRC.com.

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:

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

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

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

Oregonians Targeted By Text Tolling Scam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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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