Oregon Beach News, Monday 6/17 – Razor Clam Harvest Ban Lifted For Northern Oregon Coast Amid Shellfish Toxin Scare, Governor Kotek Visits Coquille Tribe & 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 17, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governor Kotek Visits Coquille Tribe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Step of Florence is holding its Gala fundraiser June 18th at 5 p.m. beginning with wine and cheese at the Organic Noodle, 2465 US 101. 

May be pop art of text that says 'തழുംടம $65/person-Limited $65/ Seating レレン &iFirst Step RSVP by June 10th for FLorence Families Contact Sandy at 541 1.590.2325 590. 2325 or Transítional 2024 Housing GALA Noodle info@firststepflorence.org at the Organic or purchase tickets directly at https://jvebutter.com/AmR8Pa lune 18th wines 5 cheese Program cheese5pm 5pT Highlights Entree Choice of Chicken, Salmon, or Vegan Ratatoui w/Grains silent Auction, Dinner invíted- You're γε * ትዮ FIRST FIRSTSTEP STEP FLORENCE Transibonal Housing fransibonalHousigix.Famles or Famiies'

Admission is $65 per person and seating is limited. Please RSVP by June 1st. Contact Sandy at 541-590-2325 or send an email toinfo@firststepflorence.org 

You can also purchase tickets directly at https://givebutter.com/AmR8Pq 

Dinner will  offer an entree choice of chicken, salmon, or vegan ratatouille with grains. 

The mission of first step of Florence is to help families residing in the Florence area or in need of safe and stable housing. we offer the only transitional housing program in Florence, according to the website. how are you unique program teaches participants to send and Achieve goals appropriate for their own families progress and includes housing assistance, job placement, and a financial savings plan.

First Step resources and programs are designed to encourage successful living and to date, has helped move over 30 children and their families out of insecure living situations. For more information go to firststepflorence.org and FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/977642333742106/?ref=newsfeed

Siletz Man Taken in Custody After Stand-Off

On 06/16/2024, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office learned through community contacts that 36-year-old James Kelly was inside a private residence owned by his twin-brother, Keith Kelly, in Siletz, OR. Local Law Enforcement have been attempting to apprehend James on multiple warrants issued for his arrest, many calls of community concern, and in relation to a crime Keith was arrested for on 06/10/2024, in which both brothers conspired to threaten a South Beach man with a shotgun.

Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the residence James was reported to be in with assistance from the Toledo Police Department and the Oregon State Police. Attempts to persuade James to exit the residence were unsuccessful until the Inter-Agency Lincoln County Tactical Response Team arrived, including K9 Ghost and his handler. Ultimately James surrendered himself without incident and is lodged at the Lincoln County Jail on warrants for menacing, unlawful use of a weapon, DUII, reckless driving, two counts of misdemeanor driving, and a Linn County Assault in the Fourth Degree warrant.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is grateful for assistance in this case from the Toledo Police Department, Oregon State Police, Newport Police Department, and the Lincoln City Police Department. If you know the whereabouts of wanted persons in Lincoln County, contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 541-265-0777. 

Costco Recalls Some Tillamook Cheese Products Sold in Northwest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lincoln City Police Investigation Leads To Arrest In Child Sex Abuse Case

On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, Lincoln City Police arrested 53-year-old, Daniel Ryan Stuebgen, of Lincoln City at his place of business, Happy Trails Feed and Tack & U-Haul Neighbor Hood dealer, located at 2150 SE Hwy 101, Lincoln City. Mr. Stuebgen was arrested on charges of Rape 2, Sex Abuse 1 and Sodomy II.

The arrest came after a 10 month long investigation conducted by LCPD’s criminal investigations and patrol divisions as well as the Oregon DHS Office of Training, Investigations and Safety. Mr. Stuebgen is suspected of sexually assaulting a 12 year old child during the summer of 2023 at Happy Trails Feed and Tack. During the investigation, it was learned that Mr. Stuebgen was also residing at the business location.  

If you have any information on this case please contact Det. Charles Lane at the Lincoln City Police Department, 541-994-3636. 

Insurer Sues the Builders and Engineers and City Of Astoria Over 2022 Buoy Brewery Collapse

A new lawsuit blames the city of Astoria and several construction and engineering companies for the dramatic collapse of the Buoy Beer brewery on the Astoria waterfront in 2022.

The lawsuit alleges that the city and three private companies — Stricker Engineering, Rickenbach Construction and Columbia Dockworks — ignored decaying pilings on the wharf under the brewery. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Mt. Hawley Insurance Co., says collapse was inevitable given those weaknesses.

The insurance company is seeking to recoup a $9 million property insurance payout it made to Buoy Beer Co., as well as additional punitive damages.

Buoy Beer purchased the former cannery site in 2013 to repurpose as a brewery and restaurant.

Stricker Engineering submitted plans for the brewery’s buildout in 2016, according to the lawsuit, noting plans for larger, heavier equipment on the wharf structure. Astoria building officials then subcontracted a structural review to Clair Co., a Corvallis engineering firm.

The lawsuit alleges Stricker failed to respond to more than half of Clair’s requests for comment on its construction plans. Responses provided, the lawsuit says, were also inadequate.

A Clair official recommended the city deny Stricker’s buildout permit plans, the lawsuit says, because the company did not provide sufficient structural evaluation and design information. Stricker representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But the city, according to the lawsuit, nonetheless approved the permits. The lawsuit alleges that if a comprehensive structural analysis had been completed, the city would have denied the permits and tagged the building for analysis and repair long before the building’s collapse in 2022.

A minor collapse occurred in September 2021, and another construction company recommended the brewery install new supports and complete a detailed inspection of the wharf’s substructure.

Columbia Dockworks, another defendant, along with Rickenbach were brought in to address the wharf’s substructure, the lawsuit said. But it alleged the repairs were “obvious haphazard work” and that defendants failed to alert Buoy about the ongoing danger. Columbia did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit alleges the city allowed work to continue throughout, including the installation of tanks that could weigh between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds even empty of beer and solar panels, and that city officials approved work even after the partial collapse in 2021.

Representatives for the city of Astoria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit says Rickenbach also endangered the brewery by beginning construction work without completing a structural analysis. Mt. Hawley’s lawsuit says Rickenbach was knowledgeable of Astoria building permit requirements yet still failed to comply with them. The company declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Stricker and Rickenbach used engineering calculations that wouldn’t be accurate for new or on-ground construction, much less a decaying wharf. And it accuses the companies of submitting plans to designate the brewery as a historical landmark, a distinction it was awarded in 2013, to avoid the comprehensive structural analysis required of other buildings.

Buoy is not a party to the lawsuit. The company was back to making beer in a facility nearby about a year after the building’s collapse and has since expanded further. (SOURCE)

Lincoln County Accepting Grant Funding Applications for Share Of $398,000 in ARPA Funds for Local Water and Sewer Projects

$398,000 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Ac (ARPA) are set to be distributed to eligible districts in Lincoln County to invest in local water, sewer and drainage projects.

The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law in March of 2021 and provided states, cities, and counties with federal money to support pandemic recovery efforts and economic stimulus. One allowed use for ARPA dollars is to support public water, sewer and drainage projects.

Lincoln County is accepting grant funding applications from local water, sewer and drainage districts in unincorporated Lincoln County for water and sewer projects. Eligible projects must meet the ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) eligible funding requirements.

Districts must be in good standing with State of Oregon financial reporting requirements and show proof of complying with public meeting law requirements. The county has a total of $398,000 to provide for eligible projects from districts. Applications will be reviewed by a committee selected by Lincoln County to look at the financial stability of the organization, the engineering feasibility of the project, and if the project meets ARPA requirements.

The county is planning to use an open grant process to award the funds. Starting June 10 applications will open, they will be awarded on a first come, first served basis to qualifying districts and projects; applications will close once all funds have been allocated.

The county says each eligible district can ask up to $50-thousand total. Projects can be stand-alone projects or a discrete portion of a larger project. Applications will be reviewed by county administrative, legal, and engineering staff to ensure projects meet American Rescue Plan Act, legal and technical requirements. All projects must adhere to federal procurement rules and Davis-Bacon Act requirements.

County officials say they will execute contracts with awarded districts before December 31, 2024. All work on the awarded projects must be completed by subrecipients before December 2026. To apply for the Local Water, Sewer and Drainage Districts’ Grant click here.

OHA 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.


Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seven men were arrested or cited for commercial sexual solicitation:

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

During the mission officers also towed four vehicles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Douglas County Awarded FEMA Grant for Emergency Radio Communications System

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oregonians Targeted By Text Tolling Scam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Contact us: Info@OregonBeachMagazine.com

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